Tag: Republican

OPINION: Doug Jones is the ‘more competent and helpful’ choice for U.S. Senate

Arynn Williams, Correspondent

In November, the presidency isn’t the only office we’re voting for: Alabamians will vote in the senate race between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Tommy Tuberville. 

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OPINION: Jeff Sessions is the best man to send to Washington on behalf of Alabama

Will Milner, Special to the Chanticleer

As the Northern Regional Vice Chair for the College Republican Federation of Alabama, I have traveled the state to listen to candidates make their case on who should become the Republican Party’s nominee for the United States Senate seat. This is why I know that Jeff Sessions is the best man to send to Washington on behalf of our state.

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Republican tax hikes or the democratic lottery?

It’s like watching a mouse chase a cat. Alabama governor Robert Bentley, a Republican, has been stumping for weeks now making his case for higher taxes.

It seems like some kind of nightmare from a House of Cards episode, but it is real and it is happening in the most conservative state in the union. Most politicos have watched this for weeks now wondering when it will stop.

When will the governor realize that he is using the wrong script? When will his staffers yell: ‘No! No! We meant tax cuts!’ But it has not happened. In fact, it is so serious it is becoming a heated debate between the governor and legislative leaders in his own party.

The partisan GOP blog Yellowhammer News has even been blasting the governor for his proposals in recent weeks. One of their most damning headlines reads: “Awkward: Bentley pushes tax hikes while campaign site still promises ‘No New Taxes’.”

Yet, while Republican legislators decry his proposals, they openly admit dark days are not only ahead, but are here, when it comes to state budgets: particularly the General Fund which funds Medicaid, prisons, law enforcement and courts. All of this begs the question: is there a common-ground solution?

Alabama House Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) says there is. For the fourth year, he is proposing an amendment to the Alabama constitution that will allow the people of Alabama to vote on a lottery. The difference is, this time he is offering two bills: one for the General Fund and one for the Education Trust Fund.

He says he made this change in hopes that the GOP-controlled legislature will consider a lottery as an option as opposed to the governor’s tax increases. Admittedly, this puts legislators between a proverbial rock and a hard place.

On one hand, you could support your governor’s tax increases and possibly lose your next bid for re-election. On the other, you could support a democratic lottery proposal even if you might be against gambling yourself (or at least to those who ask).

But the third option, perhaps the worst of them all, is that you do nothing to solve the state’s budget issues and you go down in history as a do-nothing legislator comparable to the “Washington status quo” that you probably ran against in your election.

State leaders need to suck it up, sit down and come up with solid common sense solutions to the state’s budget problems. With the lottery polling upwards of 70 percent and tax increases not even a serious topic of discussion for most Alabamians, I say let the people vote!

It’s time for state leaders to come together and put the issue on the ballot for citizens to decide. From a self preservation perspective, you’d think letting voters make the decision to bring a lottery is much easier to digest than making the decision yourself to raise taxes on them without their input.

But, hey! In Alabama, there are mice chasing cats up and down Capitol Hill and all around the state. We just get to sit back and enjoy the show.

Brett Johnson
Political Columnist

The people have spoken

Last Tuesday, the people of Alabama and the American public made their selections for those who will represent them in government.

Overwhelmingly, this election turned out to be a full referendum on President Obama’s administration and policy initiatives.

This was especially true in Alabama where Republicans increased their majorities statewide and in the legislative chambers. In the Alabama House of Representatives, Republicans increased their supermajority of 66 to 72 seats of the 105, and in the Senate their supermajority was increased from 23 to 25 of the 35 total seats.

These numbers show that the Republican Party in Alabama now controls 97 of 140 seats in the Legislature (70% of all seats), not to mention all seven statewide offices. So what does this mean for Alabamians?

While some may interpret these results as a “stamp of approval” for policies passed by the Republican-led legislature over the past four years, I have to disagree. If you paid any attention to the political commercials blasting the airwaves across the state for the past few months, you will see why.

With so little emphasis on the record of candidates over the past few years and such heavy emphasis on “fighting Obama,” one must conclude that the results of this election was a referendum on President Obama’s policies. This makes one wonder how much attention will be paid to the actions of those who were elected over the next four years.

In this election, only 40 percent, or 1 million, of the state’s 2.5 million registered voters turned out to cast their ballot. In Alabama there are 3.7 million citizens who are eligible to vote.

Therefore, only about 27 percent, just over one-fourth of Alabama’s voting age population actually voted. Because candidates who won election were selected with at least a 51 percent majority vote, an assumption can be made that only about 13 percent of Alabama’s voting population selected those who will represent us in government for the next four years.

This is very troubling, not just from a governing perspective, but from a civic engagement perspective. When little over 10 percent of a population is selecting their government’s representatives, that leaves virtually 90 percent of citizens completely unrepresented.

So who’s to blame? Those who did not vote, quite frankly. A disengaged citizenry is just as harmful to the population as a whole as is a bad government. We can only hope that Alabamians will monitor the actions of their government and that our government will work to represent all of Alabama.

After all, President Obama only has two years left in office, but the current state government will serve four years. Keep your eyes and ears to the ground, Alabama. You know I will!

Brett Johnson
Staff Writer