Homewood Star: Vestavia Hills businessman to challenge Palmer for Sixth Congressional District

Originally published on thehomewoodstar.com.
By Jon Anderson

A Vestavia Hills resident with more than 24 years in the automotive industry, Gerrick Wilkins, on Thursday announced he is opposing Gary Palmer in the Republican primary for Alabama Congressional District 6 in March 2024.

The new Congressional District 6 approved by a federal court Thursday stretches from Jefferson County to Autauga County and includes Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Trussville, Clay, Shelby County, most of north Jefferson County and parts of Hoover and Homewood.

Wilkins, speaking at Veterans Park in Hoover Thursday afternoon, said he decided to run against Palmer after Palmer earlier this year announced he would break a promise not to serve more than 10 years and is seeking a sixth two-year term.

Wilkins said he believes in term limits and not career politicians and said Palmer has done more talk than action and made some poor decisions that do not adequately represent Alabama values.

Wilkins said Palmer “refused to support the Parents Bill of Rights,” legislation passed by the House of Representatives in March that, among other things, would allow parents to review curriculum and inspect reading materials at their child’s school, prevent school officials from taking the place of parents in regard to giving consent for vaccinations and from changing a child’s gender identification or sex-based accommodations without parental consent.

When the legislation was approved with a 213-208 vote, Palmer was one of 14 members of the House of Representatives who did not vote, according to online Congressional records.

Wilkins also criticized Palmer for advocating for spending billions of dollars to aid Ukraine in its war with Russia while the United States faces an “invasion” at its southern border.

“We need a representative to say, ‘No more — no more prioritizing foreign security over American security,’” Wilkins said. “There is a crisis at the southern border, and it has been neglected by this inept administration and allowed to flourish under apathetic Congressional leadership and oversight.”

Wilkins said Palmer seems “mired in the ways of the D.C. swamp.

“He has been complacent with theorizing about policy and occasionally voting the right way,” Wilkins said. “Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District deserves more. We deserve a tireless advocate — a representative who goes beyond mere words, embodied with action and initiative. … It’s high time we elect a representative who prioritizes action and Alabama values over passive committee attendance and idle policy discussions.”

Wilkins said government cannot overlook the pressing moral issues of the day.

“Our society faces an urgent call to safeguard the unborn, to counter child exploitation and eradicate the scourge of human trafficking that is pervading our country,” Wilkins said. “My commitment to the intrinsic value of everyone from conception to natural end remains steadfast and unwavering. I pledge to spearhead policies that nurture and protect life and confront the menace of human trafficking at its roots.”

Wilkins also said he will fight for fiscal responsibility in Congress, support a balanced budget amendment and push for significant cuts to the federal bureaucracy.

“We have a $33 trillion national debt, and it’s growing at $2 trillion a year,” he said. “At this point, if we don’t make some serious cuts to federal spending, then we’re not going to enjoy the same prosperous country that allowed me to be successful and that’s allowed so many to achieve the American dream. Interest payments on that debt alone will be the single largest budget item within just a few short years, and that’s a problem.”

He blames career politicians. “When you have someone that drives your car into the ditch, it’s time for a change of tactics and often times for a change of drivers,” he said.

Wilkins also said the federal government has overstepped its bounds in regard to education. He said he plans to introduce legislation to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education and allocate those tax dollars back to the state and local governments.

The education system in the United States is at a critical juncture, he said.

“It’s threatened by insidious ideologies of the radical, woke left,” Wilkins said. “It is my sincere objective to restore power to the families and communities, advocating for educational freedom and local control. The time has come to dismantle the bureaucratic goliath that is stifling our education system and replace it with policies that foster choice and innovation. … Parents should have the choice of which school their children attend and how they educate their kids. We need policies that ensure education over indoctrination.”


Wilkins grew up in New Mexico and attended Pensacola Christian College, where he met his wife, Carol. They married and moved to Virginia, where he finished his undergraduate studies in theology and his wife got her master’s degree at Liberty University.

He then began working in the automotive industry and has been in that industry for more than 24 years. He served as finance director for Sonic Automotive for five years, then sales manager at John Eagle Honda in Dallas for two years, general manager of Precision Honda and Nissan for two years, general manager for Serra Honda in Birmingham for seven years, executive manager for Serra Kia in Gardendale for almost seven years, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Heritage Auto Finance in Birmingham for eight years and general manager of Greenway Automotive in Nashville for seven months, according to his LinkedIn bio. Some of those jobs were held concurrently.

More recently, for almost five years, he has served as a broker in the sale of dealerships, closing 34 franchise dealership sales valued at more than $500 million, he said.

He and his family lived in Dallas a few years, but they have been in the Birmingham area the past 17 years, he said. His family moved to Inverness initially and then to Liberty Park in 2014. He and his wife, have a 19-year-old daughter who was homeschooled and now attends the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

Wilkins obtained a master’s degree in business administration from Samford University in 2016 and serves on an advisory board for Samford’s Brock School of Business. He also is on the board for Mission Increase Central Alabama, an organization that provides free coaching to nonprofits on a Biblical approach to fundraising.

He has never run for public office before but believes his experience in business will serve him well in Congress, he said.

When asked whom he supports in the 2024 presidential election, Wilkins said he thinks any of the Republican candidates would be better than Biden.

“I voted for Trump in the last election and will likely vote for him again at this point unless something changes between now and March,” he said. “He’s a business leader, and he’s an outsider like myself, and he’s focused on draining the swamp and getting rid of the corruption. I think it’s the career politicians that got us into this problem, and we need more business leaders like Trump in office.”

Wilkins said he believes he is the only serious challenger to Palmer. “I am committed to putting substantial resources into this campaign, and I think I’ve got pretty broad support in the business community as well.”

Subscribe for News Updates

Protect Our Border

Here’s my plan to put America First.