Andrew Sorrell Announces for State House of Representatives

(Muscle Shoals, AL) Today, Republican Andrew Sorrell announced he will run for the State House of Representatives, District 3. Marcel Black, a 27-year incumbent Democrat, currently holds the seat. “I decided to run for this office to give the voters of House District 3 a clear choice this election cycle: a choice between a liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican,” said Sorrell. “I believe my positions on issues and my conservative upbringing reflect the positions and upbringing of the majority of my district.” Sorrell is a 31-year-old entrepreneur, private pilot, advanced SCUBA diver, Eagle Scout, and well-known local anti-tax activist. He grew up in Muscle Shoals and attended Webster Elementary School, McBride Middle School, and Muscle Shoals High School, graduating in 2004. Sorrell completed his 4-year Business Management degree at the University of North Alabama (UNA) in less than 2 years, finishing in July 2006. Sorrell started his first business in his parents’ screen porch at age 16 with his brother, Matthew. In 2010, the business expanded to open a brick and mortar store. Infinity College Textbooks has now sold over 400,000 college textbooks on the Internet and currently employs 27 people. His second business, Gold, Guns, and Guitars, Inc. opened in April 2015 and has 8 employees. This upscale pawnshop is located on Florence Boulevard and has sold 3,000 guns since its door opened. Andrew also began buying rental real estate at age 19 and owns multiple rental properties, both commercial and residential. “With the amount of job loss in Colbert and Lawrence Counties, District 3 needs a conservative, Christian small businessman who knows how to create jobs and fight higher taxes,” Sorrell added. Sorrell resides in Muscle Shoals where he and his fiancée, Hannah, are building a home. They are getting married at Hannah’s home church in Greenville, SC on June 30th, 2017.  Hannah will be moving to Alabama immediately after the wedding. The primary election will be held June 5th, 2018.  The district includes Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Town Creek, Hillsboro, North Courtland, a small portion of Florence, and surrounding areas. For more information, visit www.AndrewSorrell.com or “@SorrellForStateHouse” on Facebook.

Special Needs

By Andrew Sorrell   I have always been pro-life.  As the son of a Baptist preacher, I was raised in a conservative Christian household.  We were taught that each life was created by God and that life was a gift.  It was something to be treasured and protected at all costs.  I never imagined that I would one day meet and fall in love with a special needs teacher and that my pro-life positions would be challenged and strengthened. One of the first things I learned about Hannah was that she had a sibling with a learning disability.  Shortly thereafter she told me that she had just received her Master’s degree and had signed a contract to teach at Hidden Treasure, a special needs school in Taylors, SC. Here is part of the story in her words: “When people find out I taught kids with special needs, many of them respond with “That’s great! ….I could never do that”. Here’s the thing though: I didn’t think I could either. I have a sibling with a learning disability, so I knew more than the average person about different disabilities. However, even while getting my education degree, my plan was not to work with kids with special needs. When I did my student teaching internship I was assigned to a public school that was the hub of disabilities for Greenville County. That was a jumping off point for working at a school that specialized in individualized education for kids with special needs. I was very nervous, but I knew if God called me to teach at this school, He would equip me. We had kids with autism, Down syndrome, emotional struggles, birth defects, intellectual disabilities, and more.” Several times over the course of the last year, I had the opportunity to visit Hannah at Hidden Treasure.  The first time I interacted with the children was at a fundraiser last November.  I saw them again when I surprised Hannah with flowers in the lunchroom on Valentine’s Day, and again when I attended the school’s play in May. What struck me first was that nobody seemed to notice that the children were special needs students. They saw smiles, heard laughter, and watched as kids surpassed what doctors ever thought they would accomplish. They heard kids who had hearing loss singing their hearts out, those with speech disabilities acting in a play, and those who had been bullied for being different blossoming and making friends. Anyone who went to the school saw learning and loving. You see, these kids just needed a little extra time, a little more individual help, and a whole lot of love. What we got back from the students was far more than what we ever gave them.  These kids are some of the most loving, joyful, and accepting people in the world. One thought that resonated with me all year was that pro-choice individuals claim it is a woman’s right to abort kids like this. They say that the mother’s right trumps the right of the child, and that having a child with special needs would be too hard in most circumstances. And yes, it can be hard. But it can also bring incredible joy. I believe every child is valuable and deserves a chance at life. Teaching children with special needs was a unique opportunity for Hannah to experience joy and fulfillment on a level most people will not be blessed with the opportunity to understand.  It was also a unique opportunity for me to understand the pro-life issue on a deeper level than I ever had before. Of all the moments that have made me proud of Hannah, seeing her direct the school play is at the top of the list.  There were very few dry eyes at the end of that performance. In a country where the political left is determined to celebrate diversity, I intend to celebrate it by standing up for the rights of the unborn, including those with special needs.

Becoming an Entrepreneur

By Andrew Sorrell   “They’re $1 each and ice cold. Get ’em before I run out!” I said, as the band students walked back into the band room after a long practice on a hot day.  It was 2001 and I had just started 10th grade at Muscle Shoals High School.  “I’ll give a free Coca-Cola to someone if they’ll help me carry this cooler to my car.”  I was earning $5.15/hour at Chick-Fil-A working nights and weekends and it just didn’t seem like it was adding up very fast.  I was wracking my brain and trying to think of a business I could start. I had always been entrepreneurial.  In elementary school, I trick-or-treated on Halloween and then saved my candy.  All through November I watched as my classmates snuck in a Snickers bar whenever the teachers weren’t watching.   As their candy supply ran out in early December, I sold mine off for a dime a piece and earned several months’ allowance money. In middle school, the science teacher told us all to bring a banana to class on Friday for a project we were working on.  “Anyone who forgets to bring a banana will get a zero on this assignment”, she said.  On Friday morning, I asked my mom for an extra banana.  She was suspicious, especially since she knew I didn’t like bananas.  Her suspicion was well grounded; sure enough, just as I had predicted, several students forgot their bananas.  I promptly auctioned my banana off to the highest bidder and earned $7.  My mom didn’t know whether to be disappointed in me or impressed at my creativity. By high school, I was more determined than ever to become a real entrepreneur.  I profited $1,000 in two months by selling drinks out of my cooler after band practice.  Coca-Cola found out and contacted the school administration and my business was promptly shut down. It was about that time that my brother Matthew came to me with an idea.  He was a freshman at UNA and was shocked how expensive college textbooks were.  At the end of the semester, the bookstore paid pennies on the dollar at buyback.  His idea was to buy books from his classmates for more than the bookstore was paying and then sell them on Amazon.  We became 50/50 partners and bought hundreds of books. Muscle Shoals was on the block system, meaning that you only took 4 classes each day.  Because I was dual-enrolled in college courses, I had 3rd block free.  Including lunch, that gave me 2 full hours of break each day.  Each day I drove home to my parents’ house and wrapped packages of books that had sold online the day before.  I shipped them at the post office and returned to school for 4th block.   My senior class voted me “Most Likely to Succeed” and I decided to attend UNA in Florence and continue building my business from home. My first year of college I read 120 books on personal finance, investing, and small business.  When I graduated in 2006, I was ready to grow my business and hire employees.  I quickly learned what a complicated and complex process opening a small business could be.   After several year’s worth of effort, Infinity Books was up and running. Today, Infinity Books, Inc. employs 25 people and sells 100,000 college textbooks on the Internet each year. I opened my second business in April of 2015. It is an upscale pawn shop located on Florence Boulevard. We call it “Gold, Guns, and Guitars.” That business created 8 more Alabama jobs and has sold 3,000 guns since opening its doors. (I have always loved guns and been a huge supporter of gun rights, so I really enjoy owning this company.) I also bought my first rental property at age 19 and still own several residential and commercial pieces of real estate. I will always be an entrepreneur…an occupation that I think prepared me well to be a State Representative.  I have seen first-hand the difficulties of opening a small business.  I have had to work through all the government red tape and bureaucracy personally, and I know what we need to do to improve the system. Many politicians tell you that if you vote for them they will create jobs, yet few have ever created a job themselves.  I believe Alabama can make itself a more business-friendly environment.  If I am elected, here are three ideas I have to do just that: 1. Eliminate the business personal property tax. 2. Eliminate the Business Privilege tax. These two job-killers are paperwork nightmares and one goes so far as to charge tax annually on all business assets. That includes desks, chairs, lamps, coffee pots, trashcans, staplers, Christmas decorations, toilet paper, etc. It’s just nuts! 3. Eliminate the need for a minor to get a business license if revenues are less than $1 million per year. I don’t believe a 14-year-old boy who wants to spend his summer cutting grass should have to get a business license.  Many young would-be entrepreneurs are discouraged from starting a business by unnecessary government regulations. I hope you’ll consider supporting my campaign and voting to send me to Montgomery.  I believe my small business experience is exactly what we need for State House District 3!

An Early Conversation

By Hannah Sorrell   “Do you think it would be hard on a couple to have a political campaign during their first year of marriage?” “Well,” I said thoughtfully, “It depends on the couple.” “What if it was us?” This conversation happened very early on in my relationship with Andrew. We knew that we were serious about each other, but Andrew was aware of the intensity of a campaign and holding office. What I was most concerned about was not the campaign or the office, but the heart behind the race. I asked Andrew why he was running, and his answers solidified my answer to his question. “Let’s do it.” There were two main reasons I was willing to enthusiastically join Andrew on this journey. The first was Andrew’s extensive involvement with the Republican Party, along with his work on the specific issues. The more questions I asked, the more I came to realize that Andrew knew what he was talking about, and more than that, he had worked exhaustively to make a difference in his community. Being informed is important, but putting the information into action is a vital component to being a good candidate. Since we met I have watched Andrew stand up for right, even to the point of voting to support the Republican Party’s resolution to call on Governor Bentley to resign. The second main reason I am thrilled to walk with Andrew through this race is because of who Andrew is as a person. I love Andrew for many reasons, but three in particular also contributed to my support of his desire to serve District 3. First, Andrew is very committed to what he believes in. I have witnessed that in our relationship as well as in his involvement in politics. When we were dating, Andrew would drive over fourteen hours almost every weekend so we could spend time together. From the very beginning, he has been wholly devoted to me in small things and large things. This commitment extends to making his businesses the best they can be and to serving the people of Alabama in public office. Second, Andrew is a conservative Christian. I dedicated my life to Christ at a young age, and Andrew has a similar testimony. We look forward to serving in a local church. We also believe God has called us to this campaign as a way we can serve Him together. Third, Andrew is one of the most hard-working people I know. In a generation that is criticized for being lazy, Andrew’s commitment to always putting forth his best stands out. He does what needs to be done, and will not ask any of his volunteers to do anything that he will not do himself. I have always been passionate about civic involvement. I wanted to teach young people to understand the processes of government. Once I graduated with my Masters in Communication, I took a job teaching History and Government at a special needs school. I have always admired those who sacrifice their time and resources to set out to make a difference, but little did I know that I would have the joy of being married to one of those people.