He was doing what he often does when he has free time — giving out food to the homeless in downtown Athens. For Republican candidate Andrew Alvey, running for the 10th Congressional District seat is just another way to serve. And he puts his money there too, having promised 10% of his campaign donations to fight homelessness.
Alvey says for him, it’s all about service.
“I have served people in church, so I know how to serve people, and I know what my role is and that’s what my role is,” he said. “...If you’re a Christian, you need to serve others. This is the way I want to serve.”
However, if elected, politics will not become a way of life for this first-time candidate. He vows he will serve only three terms. A serious proponent of term limits, Alvey said he takes direction from the father of the country.
“Washington put the country before himself,” he said. “When offered absolute power, he refused. When there were no term limits on the presidency, he stepped down after two terms.”
Alvey says he considers Presidents George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt as his political mentors. Washington for the reasons listed above and Roosevelt because he “embodied the American spirit.”
“(He was) constantly seeking new ways to create equal opportunity for all,” Alvey said. “He instilled in his countrymen a spirit of determination and vigor. He sought equality of opportunity, not outcome.”
While the two late presidents have helped form his politics, Alvey said Jesus Christ has had the greatest influence on his life.
“Without my faith in Christ, I would not be the man I am today,” he said. “I would not have the courage to stand up for the individual and champion Christian principles. Galatians 5:13 says, ‘For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.’”
Once dealing with a stutter and uncomfortable speaking before a crowd, Alvey said he never imagined he would someday be running for office and speaking in front of people. But he said God prepared him. As a teenager, when his church asked him to help lead a children’s program, which was “Sunday School times 100,” he said, Alvey agreed and found himself standing in a room of people and teaching a lesson. He said the first time was “worse than any speech ever made anywhere, and I was sweating.” But as time went on, the stutter disappeared, and Alvey found he enjoyed leading the class.
Today, his audience is older and bigger, but he maintains that love of teaching the word as he leads a group of college students and a high school group during Bible study each week. Active in The Athens Church, Alvey has found his greatest supporters in those young men he teaches. They often feed the homeless and volunteer for other organizations each month. He enjoys serving as a mentor and helping the young men as they go to school and devote time to Bible study and serving others.
After completing his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Georgia in 2020, Alvey went to work for Action Inc., an Athens non-profit agency helping students navigate their education, college choices and funding. He says he loved the job, but once he decided to run for public office, he had to quit the federally-funded program.
“I also oversaw all the data for a fatherhood program which sought to establish a relationship with incarcerated fathers with their children,” he said. “I enjoyed my time there, but felt this was something I needed to do. This is 100 percent new to me. I learn something new every day, and it’s a fun process.”
Not surprisingly, people might mistake Alvey for a college student because at 25, he is notably young to be in politics.
“I have found that at first when people meet me, they’re expecting very little,” Alvey said, adding with a laugh that “they think I’m a child. I have curly hair, too, which makes me look like a child. Which if they go into it with low expectations, I don’t have to perform that well, right? But when they speak to me at any length, they can see I’m serious about this. I wouldn’t have quit my job to run for Congress if I wasn’t serious.”
He says politicians who are just seeking power and money “disgust” him.
Despite his youth, Alvey has seen his share of tough times. Growing up, his father was a banker and the family moved around a lot — seven different states and nine different cities. Alvey estimates he went to half a dozen elementary schools before graduating from Nagel Middle School and then Anderson High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2014. Born in Louisville, Ky., Alvey went to Faulkner Christian University in Montgomery, Ala., where he was a linebacker on the football team. And then he got sick. He lost 20 pounds in two weeks due to a bout with salmonella he says came from undercooked chicken. The illness derailed his football career, so Alvey went back to Ohio where he received his bachelor’s degree in three years in political science from the University of Cincinnati. He went for a stint at the University of Miami Law School, but decided that was not for him.
During his freshman year of college, Alvey interned for Ohio Congressman Brad Wenstrup in his district office. He also worked for a time with a lobbying group in downtown Atlanta.
He and his family moved to Georgia about seven years ago to be near his maternal grandparents in Social Circle. His mother grew up in Gwinnett County in Duluth and Lilburn. Alvey lives in Social Circle, near where it borders Monroe. His mother also lives in Social Circle. Alvey’s parents divorced in January. His mother, Pam Alvey is a nurse at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. His father, Andy Alvey, is vice president of operations for Cadence Bank in Houston, Texas. His older sister, Allie Alvey, lives in Columbus, Ohio, where she is a victims’ advocate coordinator for a non-profit that helps children who have been traumatized.
Alvey says he is thankful for his grandparents, Ron and Carol Pennington. His grandmother is a retired hairstylist and his grandfather is the retired principal of Grayson High School. His paternal grandparents are deceased, but Alvey said he is close to his Great-Aunt Sara Tinker, whom he calls his “grandmother figure” on his father’s side of the family.
He is unabashed about how much he loves his mother.
“She was the person in my life who showed me I can do anything if I put my mind to it,” Alvey said. “She’s been supportive of me and all my dreams and she kind of instilled that can-do attitude in me. She’s a great woman, and she has been the most instrumental in my walk with God as well. She showed me what true love looks like so I could understand that it’s even greater and better with Jesus Christ. I was blessed to have a mother who showed me that love.”
Alvey said when his mother felt sad following her divorce earlier this year, her son took her skydiving.
“I personally love skydiving and I run marathons — anything with adrenaline,” Alvey said, adding that his mother had always been afraid of heights, so skydiving helped her address her fears, which he said had a “snowball effect.”
“Whenever you need to make a change, take a physical step,” Alvey said. He said skydiving was that step for his mother, and it helped her as she moved forward.
In 2019, Alvey was hit by a car in an intersection in Monroe, which totaled his vehicle and landed him with a concussion. The damage left him unable to read or speak normally for a month. He could talk, but his sentences had long pauses in them as he got his thoughts together.
“Looking back, it taught me what can happen when you apply legitimate effort,” Alvey said of his recovery. “I continue to live my life with the understanding God doesn’t call you to harm you, but to do his will.”
Now fully recovered, Alvey said the experience taught him perseverance.
These days, he and his full-time team of four, plus an army of volunteers are busy campaigning for the 2022 election.
“My long-term goal in life is to serve God in whatever capacity he calls me toward,” Alvey said. “Right now, I believe it is running for this office. After three terms, I would do whatever God is calling me toward. It sounds like a vague answer, but that is how I live my life. Do I have ambitions? Of course. But those desires always come second to God. If my ambitions and God’s plan align, then that would be amazing. If not, then I know God has something even better in store. Keep your eyes on God and keep moving forward. Everything else will work itself out.”
In addition to campaigning and serving his church, Alvey also enjoys time spent with his girlfriend, Hana Andrew. A mutual friend introduced them at church and Alvey often accompanies her as she visits churches and sings, sometimes as a guest soloist or with a group. She handles his social media information for the campaign and disciples young women through Wesley. Sometimes Alvey and Andrew will combine their two groups for activities. She also encourages him as he continues to seek ways to serve others.
“Whenever I have a free day, I like to give back to the community in some way,” Alvey said. “It could be helping the homeless or helping a church with an event. I really just want to pour into my community, which is something that I believe any candidate for office should be doing. A lot of them discuss serving, yet do not serve. If we actually want to see a change in our country, then we should hold our politicians to a higher standard than they are currently being held.”
Does he think he might be an inspiration to others?
“I would just want them to know for themselves that you can do anything,” Alvey said. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there, Theodore Roosevelt said. Look at the candidates. We’re all going to agree on the (Republican) platform. Look at who you want to actually serve you in Washington... I’m the type of person that if I see something, I want to go fix it.”
For more information, go to www.andrewalvey.org.
Candidates running for the 2022 U.S. Congressional District 10 seat are being asked to answer a questionnaire posed by the Herald. A sampling of Alvey’s answers is below. The full Q&A transcript can be found under Election 2022 on our website, www.henryherald.com
Why are you a Republican?
“The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan has always believed in the power of the individual. I am a Republican because I believe in the worth and ability endowed upon us by God of every single person in this country. For too long have politicians, on both sides, told us that they would save us from the chaos and turmoil. The truth is that most politicians make promises they cannot or will not keep just to get a vote. The Republican party is better than this. America is better than this pathetic pandering of professional politicians. Where has our party’s fiscal conservatism gone? Where has the commitment to the individual? The party has been mutated by politicians seeking reelection who only champion Republican values when it benefits them.”
What led you to get involved in politics?
“I am running for Congress to make a difference. For too long have individuals sought political office for their own benefit. I want to serve my community, and the best way to do that is serving in Congress. I want to make a statement, similar to our Founding Fathers, that neither birth nor wealth entitles an individual to positions of importance. Instead, one’s standing is, and should, be based on merit and effort. In the words of Tim Tebow: ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’”
Do you think U.S. businesses should pay more in taxes? If so, how much more and why?
“No. Fewer taxes equates to more money the business can reinvest in themselves and their employees. More money invested equates to better services, higher salaries, and more products, thus strengthening the economy.”
Do you support the current open border immigration system? What do you think about a border wall? Please explain your answers.
“No. The immigration system needs significant reform. We have 10.5 million illegal immigrants living in American. Widespread deportation is not feasible, but we cannot offer a pathway to citizenship until the border is secured. Thus, a secured border is the first step in solving our chaotic immigration policies.”
Regarding Critical Race Theory, do you think promoting it will help or hurt efforts to improve race relations in the U.S? Please explain your answer. Also, should it be taught in America’s public schools? Why or why not?
“Teaching that America is built upon white privilege and the dominance of minorities is harmful. Has America been perfect in the past? No, but we have strived for perfection. Can you name me a person, other than Jesus Christ, who has been perfect and not made a mistake? If we can be forgiving of others, we should also be forgiving of our nation. America is the greatest country to ever exist.”