Ivey threads the needle
As the state’s public health order’s Friday expiration approached, there was mounting pressure on Gov. Kay Ivey to end the mask mandate. Texas had just dropped its. So had Mississippi and Louisiana, leaving Alabama pretty much alone in the South for having a mask-wearing mandate as part of its coronavirus state of emergency health orders. That drumbeat continued here in the state as officials, groups and media commentators urged Ivey to end the order. Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth issued a statement to that effect, as did the Alabama Policy Institute. The State Senate even passed a resolution on the matter, which Democrats in the chamber didn’t seem to notice. That’s to say nothing of conservative talk radio and social media, which have been filled with those eager for Ivey to abandon masks. The writing seemed to be on the wall that Alabama would follow suit with other southern states, especially after a Breitbart article claimed to have “exclusive” knowledge that Ivey’s decision to drop the mask mandate was imminent (boy, do those guys have egg on their faces now).
Of course, Ivey didn’t spike the mask mandate. On Thursday, she announced she was extending it for five more weeks under a revised public health order that relaxes rules for bars and restaurants. She also said this extension would be the state’s last, which served two important purposes: 1 – it gave people a light at the end of the tunnel for this prolonged pandemic without also communicating a false sense of security, and; 2 – it gave businesses, especially retailers, a date certain to work toward in reshaping their policies and adjusting to a new set of rules.
Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers are in the best place they have been in eight months. Before a data dump that skewed the numbers, average new infections were at 644 a day, the lowest since early October. The number of those hospitalized with COVID-19 is down to 544, the lowest total since May 31. Also, the state has surpassed the milestone of 1 million vaccine doses given. All these point to unmistakable progress in finally putting the pandemic to bed. But, even a casual reading of the data shows that our biggest spikes have come after holidays known for family gatherings, most notably the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ivey acknowledged that Easter approaching on April 4 factored into her decision.
Will the decision hurt Ivey politically? Not much, if at all. There will be (and already has been) anger over this extension in the most conservative corners of the state. People don’t like wearing masks and are just generally fed up with this whole situation. But aside from some short-lived complaints, there won’t likely be major negative consequences for her in the long term. Also, her political situation is different than, say, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is reeling politically after his state froze over and lost power for days on end.
However, one group you won’t hear complaints from is business owners. In fact, IAP is told that businesses themselves were among those working behind the scenes asking Ivey to extend the order. After the announcement, Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown went on record saying it was “a wise decision to give employers a more than 30-day notice of lifting the mask mandate. She has given employers time to think through next steps and implement or adjust their policies. Many in our membership interact constantly with the general public and required face coverings for entry into their stores and places of businesses even before the mandate. They will still have that option after April 9.”
Senate 2022 update
As it stands at the moment, the 2022 primary elections are scheduled to be held on May 22, 2022, exactly 441 days from today. However, should legislation pass moving those dates because of the Census data delay, the primary wouldn’t be held until July 14, which is 492 days away, or perhaps even later if Sen. Jim McClendon amends his bill. All that is to say we are still a long way off from people actually casting votes in this much ballyhooed open primary for the U.S. Senate.
Former Ambassador Linda Blanchard made a nice splash with her first-to-market announcement, which both showed off her Trump bonafides and her ability to fund part of her campaign. $5 million is nothing to sneeze at in Alabama, nor is the $3 million she subsequently reserved for television ads, some of which you should start seeing soon. She’s going to need television ads and a lot of them to go from virtually unknown to competitive with others whose names have been on the ballot for years. Sources involved with the campaign say Blanchard is uniquely positioned to appeal to MAGA voters while also quietly communicating to the business community that she’s not a crazy person.
Well-placed sources tell IAP that Secretary of State John Merrill is “all in” on a Senate run and is quietly organizing a campaign behind the scenes. Merrill is well known as the hardest working politician in the state and his strength will lie in retail politics. But that won’t be enough in the modern era, in which millions must be spent in television, radio and digital advertising in order to compete. He maintains about $300,000 in his federal campaign account having never closed it after he dropped out of the 2020 Senate race, which gives him some money to operate. Merrill is also known as an effective manager. Few can argue he hasn’t been an effective Secretary of State, managing some of the state’s most logistically challenging elections. The question is can he translate that into momentum on a campaign trail that will almost certainly be dominated by seeing who can appear to be closest to Donald Trump. To be sure, Merrill has Trump connections, but his strengths are organization and good government. Sources tell IAP to expect a formal announcement by this time next month, which will likely come with a well-organized campaign infrastructure, including county chairs in most, if not all counties.
Some folks tell IAP that an announcement is imminent from Congressman Mo Brooks. Others say it’s still a ways off. Brooks was said to have wanted to jump in the race early, taking advantage of his high visibility from January and perhaps clearing some of the field. Now it is clear there is a long way to go and there’s no reason to rush. It’s likely that if the election were held today among the announced and expected-to-announce candidates, Brooks would prevail in a Republican primary because of his well-known conservative stances and well-publicized challenging of the 2020 election on behalf of Trump. But with so much time to go before the election, could a concerted effort to undermine his record be effective enough to keep him out of the primary? It’s no secret that Brooks is not a favorite of the business and farming communities. In fact, those relationships have been downright hostile at times. There is talk of a quiet coalition working behind the scenes to raise the kind of money it would take to damage Brooks on the airwaves, much like national groups did during his Senate run in 2017. IAP is told that the threat of that, and losing his safe House seat in the process, is the only thing that would keep him out of the race, or get him to switch back to running for reelection. There’s a chance you could see Mo bide his time a little longer, continuing his string of Fox News appearances as the field settles more.
Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt continues to mull over a run. Britt has received encouragement from a wide swath of GOP faithful from around Alabama as well as nationally. She would no doubt be able to raise substantial amounts of money and, like Blanchard, would need it to raise her name recognition with voters. What makes Britt’s situation different that other would-be candidates is that the job she currently occupies is by far the best gig, one she is uniquely qualified to do and can stay in as long as she wants.
Former YellowHammer founder, Trump administration staffer and tell-all book writer Cliff Sims recently made waves when Politico reported that he was being courted by MAGA world to pursue the Senate seat. Those articles don’t happen by themselves, and IAP is told the source was at the tippy top of Trump world – someone who could almost guarantee not only the former president’s support, but also plenty of financial support to go with it. However, word to IAP is Sims will forgo a Senate campaign, having settled back nicely in Birmingham, where he and his wife are raising a son.
Interestingly, the two candidates who narrowly lost out to 2nd District Congressman Barry Moore are both considering a run: Jeff Coleman and Jessica Taylor. Coleman, who had led the race until the COVID-19 extension left him out of gas, has been making calls to friends and supporters saying he’s strongly considering a run. Taylor, whose “Conservative Squad” messaging continued after her exit from the race, is also considering getting her campaign gang back together to give it another shot statewide.
On the Democratic side, Congresswoman Terri Sewell is talking about a possible run for the seat. Even after what happened in Georgia earlier this year, it is hard to imagine Alabama electing a Democrat in a general election without extraordinary circumstances. Still, Sewell would give Democrats a proud candidate to rally around and fully embrace while Republicans go through another brutal primary. An energized base of voters could make a difference if the GOP nominates a problematic candidate as it did in 2017. IAP has heard rumors for months that Sewell has been considering retiring from the House in the near future, and a high-profile Senate run would be an interesting bookend to her congressional service and perhaps set up other private opportunities for the future.
Anytime offices start getting vacated, it begins a musical chairs of sort of candidates scrambling to position themselves for a potential opportunity. Again, it’s a long way until Election Day, but most state offices are likely to stay put including Governor, Lt. Governor and Treasurer. At the moment, Ivey is on track to run for reelection, with approval ratings high enough that few legitimate candidates would challenge her. Ainsworth, having decided not to pursue the Senate, will also stay put, unless something changes in Ivey’s decision-making.
Win or lose his Senate campaign, Merrill will be vacating the Secretary of State’s office, opening up a position that can been a key launching pad for higher office (see: Don Siegelman). The names we are hearing on the GOP side for this office are State Rep. Wes Allen, outgoing ALGOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan and State Auditor Jim Zeigler. Zeigler has three times run successfully for statewide office, so he probably has the name recognition advantage. Allen is an up-and-coming state lawmaker who is making a name for himself in the Legislature. And nobody has worked harder on Republican politics and done more favors for local GOP officials than Lathan. If they all three run, this could be quite a race to watch in 2022.
With the Auditor’s office also vacated, the name being discussed in political circles is former State Sen. Rusty Glover or Mobile. Glover ran for Lt. Governor in 2018, falling short of making the runoff. But he also avoided the shoot out at the top of the ticket and walked away without getting negative hits. He’s well-liked in the party and would be a strong candidate if he decides to run.
Should Brooks pull the trigger and run for Senate, his 5th Congressional District seat would open up. Or would it? We won’t know whether Alabama will lose a congressional seat until April at the earliest and won’t know the district lines until well after that. The North Alabama lines could look a lot different. Even so, Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong is keen to run for Congress to replace Brooks so long as there is a district that makes sense for him.
It’s still pretty early for too much talk about challenges in legislative races. In fact, we might not have updated legislative district lines until August or September. One potential challenge IAP has become aware of is to State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville. Dismukes has had a rough few years. After getting elected in a landslide in 2018, he flirted with running for U.S. Senate, then announced for U.S. Congress before dropping out amid a crowded field. He later faced public criticism for attending a birthday party honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who later co-founded the Ku Klux Klan. After that, Dismukes was charged with theft by the Montgomery County District Attorney and turned himself in. He has since kept a low profile, including in the ongoing legislative session in which he has filed no legislation. Dismukes has not announced whether or not he’ll run again, but whether or not he does, a new name has emerged as a contender for the House District 88 seat: Joshua Pendergrass. A former communications director to Gov. Kay Ivey, Pendergrass has recently left the Alabama Policy Institute to focus on pastoring his church and pursue other opportunities. He also worked with Brent Buchanan back in the Public Strategy Associates days and could possibly pull on him for help.
Tuberville minds his political side
U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville made a big impression with hiring a staff full of experienced professionals to run his offices in Washington and Alabama. You might think that, given a six year term and the way he won convincingly in both the primary and general elections, the former coach could take a break from the campaign world for a while. The truth is, however, that even senators are always running and the smart ones will keep a political operation running even after the last campaign. To that end, Tuberville has brought on Liz Williams to handle all aspects of his fundraising operation moving forward. Williams’s firm – EBW Development – will manage all state, DC, national, and digital fundraising work for the newly elected senator. EBW presumably stands for her full name, Elizabeth Bloom Williams. The prominent Montgomery fundraiser is married to PowerSouth’s Taylor Williams and is the daughter of longtime lobbyist Hal Bloom. Williams expects to keep some of the same team in place – many of the consultants in Alabama that worked for Tuberville previously will continue to have future roles. Outside of Alabama, Williams has re-upped well performing advisors to the team: High Cotton Consulting, based in Washington, D.C., as well as the O’Rourke Group for national fundraising operations, and Jeff Vreeland’s Prosper Group for digital fundraising. They’ll also open up a new major donor program through a joint fundraising committee called Tuberville Victory Committee. It’s a robust fundraising operation that signals Tuberville is already serious about running for reelection in six years.
How goes the session
After four three-day weeks, the Legislature will finally resume a more normal schedule of two legislative days on Tuesday and Thursday with committee Wednesday in between. They plan to meet for the 13th and 14th legislative days this week, meaning that by the time the final gavel sounds Thursday we will practically be half way finished with the 2021 session. The week of March 22 will be spring break and there is a good change lawmakers will go ahead and take two weeks off instead of one. It seems they have time to spare, after all. That means, starting Friday, the House and Senate will have 66 calendar days in which they can meet 16 legislative days. That’s plenty of time, even accounting for two weeks of spring break and a ten-day delay between the 29th and 30th days of the session. Remember that, under Alabama’s constitution, the governor has pocket veto authority after the session adjourns, Sine Die. So, if the Legislature waits to send important bills, say the gambling, on the last day of session, she can veto it within ten days and they have no recourse. That’s why the Legislature typically passes all the important bills before adjourning for ten days so that the governor’s timetable for vetoes is past. That way, if there are any line item amendments they don’t like, the Legislature can simply override them with a simple majority vote and they can avoid the pocket veto.
Both chambers want to have the budgets cleared of their chamber of origin by Spring Break. The House will do its work Tuesday, dispensing of the General Fund budget on the House floor. As passed by committee, the General Fund stands at $2.4 billion, which would be a record amount. That’s $78.9 million above Fiscal Year 2021 and $15 million above the governor’s recommendation. According to the spreadsheet from Rep. Steve Clouse and his staff, that $15 million extra is spread pretty evenly among state agencies. The Education Trust Fund could be in the Finance & Taxation – Education Committee on Wednesday. Sen. Arthur Orr, who chairs the committee, has been telling lawmakers and lobbyists to get their final requests in for weeks. A substitute has yet to be released, so the ETF stands a $7.65 billion, a $440.8 million increase over the current fiscal year.
For years, Alabama politicos have been talking about the “big broadband push” that would eventually come. After much anticipation, that push is now here in the form of “Connect Alabama,” an effort to get Senate Bill 215 over the finish line and signed into law this legislative session.
Why? Alabama ranks 47th nationally in broadband connectivity. A full 57% of Alabamians still don’t have access to fiber services, with 20% not having any high-speed internet at all. And these inglorious distinctions were exposed even more during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh and is traveling with – though separate from – his wide-ranging gambling bill, would create a new state agency to oversee the expansion and availability of high-speed broadband services throughout the state. The bill creates a nine-member Alabama Digital Expansion Authority (ADEA) to oversee the expansion and availability of high-speed broadband services throughout the state. It also creates the Alabama Digital Expansion Finance Corporation that could issue bonds of up to $250 million to finance eligible projects. Up until now, the state’s broadband efforts have been funded through various federal grants as well as state grants appropriated by the Legislature and managed by ADECA. The expansion would be at least partially funded through a gambling expansion bill also sponsored by Marsh. Though even without the gaming bill, the state expects to receive significant funds from the federal government and ADEA would provide a receptacle for any such funds. Making recommendations to the ADEA Authority board will be a larger Connect Alabama Advisory Board, which IAP is told will be comprised of 24 leaders from various fields and industries.
The bill cleared the Senate on a 32-0 vote. However, it still could face some resistance. In previous years, cable internet providers have proven to be effective impediments to government-funded broadband expansion even outside the legislative process. As YellowHammer’s Tim Howe reported last year, cable companies would often challenge the broadband grants, which they are allowed to do under ADECA’s grant process, effectively killing expansion projects before they got started. Cable companies say they only challenge projects when they encroach into already-served areas, arguing that new government-funded broadband infrastructure should focus on unserved areas, not areas where there is already private investment.
Advocates for the legislation, including electric utilities, education and farming organizations and large trade associations like the Alabama Association of Realtors, say that the state lacks a planning and policy organization to help coordinate and incentivize the state’s broadband expansion efforts and that now is the time to take expansion to the next level. It remains to be seen whether or not cable and telecommunications companies will mount a fight to Marsh’s bill when it travels to the House where it is being carried by Majority Whip Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, despite adding language to the bill in the Senate which give their companies 70% of the available funds for end user projects.
Club For Growth
State lawmakers in Alabama are getting a taste of what Members of Congress deal with in the various score cards that are meant to prod them into voting a certain way. The Club for Growth, which has frustrated congressmen with its questionable score cards over the years, is now apparently getting into the state legislative arena. The Club recently released its scorecards for the 2020 Alabama Regular Session, one on legislation and the other on attendance.
Interestingly, in the arguably the most conservative state in the country, the average House Republican score on legislation was 15% while Senate Republicans managed an average of 21%. The average Senate Democrat score was 6% and the average House Democrat score was 0%. One might think given such low scores the Club would have revisited its rubric to do a little more research on the bills it was scoring. Among the bills Club scored against were unanimous or near-unanimous bills like the Maxwell Air Force Base improvement bill, the General Fund and its supplemental, the school construction bond, the Education Trust Fund supplemental and multiple Sunset bills like the extension of the Cosmetology Board. Yes, they gave negative marks to lawmakers who voted for Sunset bills and the unanimous, bi-partisan General Fund.
It gets better. The Club attempted to do an attendance or “missed votes” counter to keep members accountable for being present and active. Club claimed that the average Alabama House member missed 30% of floor votes. The only problem? They counted every single floor vote, including local bills, in their count. Some old school members like to vote on all local bills to give them enough support to clear the House, so many of them got good attendance marks. However, most House members do not vote on local bills that don’t involve their areas out of courtesy, and those members were all tagged with poor attendance/ voting records. Did Reps. Joe Lovvorn, Kerry Rich and Becky Nordgren miss 35% of their votes like the scorecard says? Of course not. They just opted out of local bills that don’t involve their areas. The Senate is a little different in that many local bills pass with the “short roll,” or a previously adopted roll call vote that can be used to quickly pass non controversial legislation.
In any case, if the intent was to intimidate lawmakers into voting their way, Club fumbled big time. Some lawmakers who saw the scorecard openly mocked it. Perhaps more importantly, most never saw it at all.
Push back on Trans bills
By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
More than 55 major companies in the U.S. are opposing recent legislation filed in many states, including Alabama, that specifically target transgender youth saying that the proposed laws seek to “discriminate and promote mistreatment of a targeted LGBTQ population.”
The companies coming out against the bills include Google, Apple, Facebook, Pfizer, Microsoft, Verizon and many more.
A statement released jointly by the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom For All Americans said states that enact such laws will make it difficult for them to properly conduct business.
“These bills would harm our team members and their families, stripping them of opportunities and making them feel unwelcome and at risk in their own communities,” the statement said. “As such, it can be exceedingly difficult for us to recruit the most qualified candidates for jobs in states that pursue such laws, and these measures can place substantial burdens on the families of our employees who already reside in these states. Legislation promoting discrimination directly affects our businesses, whether or not it occurs in the workplace.”
The Alabama Senate recently passed a bill from Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, that would make it a criminal offense to treat transgender youth with puberty-blockers, hormone treatments or surgery.
Violators of the law could face up to 10 years in prison.
“Children aren’t mature enough to make these decisions on surgeries and drugs. The whole point is to protect kids,” Shelnutt said on the Senate floor earlier this month, The Associated Press reported.
Another bill from Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, approved in the House Education Policy Committee says “biological male” student athletes cannot participate against female athletes in K-12 sports.
The bill does not specifically mention transgender students, but says students must play on teams in accordance to the gender assigned to them at birth.
“Women’s rights currently are being trampled on,” Stadthagen said to the committee last month. “It is unfair for biological males to compete and beat females in high school sports.”
The joint statement also said that as these companies look for places to grow their business across the U.S., the passage of these laws will influence decisions.
“America’s business community has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws have a negative effect on our employees, our customers, our competitiveness, and state and national economies,” the statement said.
“As business leaders dedicated to equal treatment, respect, and opportunity for all – as well as to improving the financial and investment climate across the country – we call for public leaders to abandon or oppose efforts to enact this type of discriminatory legislation and ensure fairness for all Americans.”
Permanent reminder of a temporary feeling
One emerging theme in the Legislature this year is lawmakers pushing proposals to alter, undo or turn upside down the many policies and procedures that have irritated them over the last year or so. Some might be sensible, while some are downright bad ideas. But in any case it’s clear that the Legislature came to Montgomery ready to reassert itself after almost a year of Gov. Kay Ivey steering the ship solo.
Jimmy Buffett has a somewhat obscure song titled “Permanent Reminder of a Temporary Feeling,” which playfully tells of episodes in which impulsive choices leave people with unanticipated long term consequences. A tattoo, a drunken wedding in Vegas and other “accidents.” Here’s a stanza:
Vegas in the rain, drunk on cheap champagne
He hears out of tune synthesized chapel bells Painfully ringing.
Where’s his limo ride? Who’s this foreign bride? Is this really Elvis spinning round the ceiling?
Permanent reminder of a temporary feeling,
Forgotten fabrications in the chapels of love.
What is this ring on his finger? Why is he kneeling?
She’s just a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.
Which brings us to some of these proposals. Senate Bill 97 from Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, would involve the Legislature in the emergency declaration business by limiting such orders to 14 days unless extended by the Legislature. The Speaker and Senate Pro Tem could approve an extension jointly if the Legislature was out of session. The current Speaker and Pro Tem are great guys who would surely make good decisions, but the next ones might not be, to say nothing of the ones 30 years from now. Moreover, they weren’t elected statewide by the people of Alabama to make those decisions.
Senate Bill 290 from Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, would prohibit Alabama governors from entering contracts larger than $5 million without the Legislature’s approval. Similarly, House Bill 392 from Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, would require any state agency or department planning to spend more than $10 million or 5% of their annual appropriation from the General Fund, whichever is less, to first be approved by a newly-formed oversight committee on obligation transparency, not the Contract Review Committee. Neither bill would stop Ivey’s prison contract plan, but they are clearly in response to it. Oversight and accountability is a basic function of the Legislature, but these ceilings are so low that they are likely to cause a real bottleneck in the process for some relatively routine contracts.
Finally, there’s House Bill 21 from Becky Nordgren, R-Gadsden, which would allow the Legislature to call itself into a special session. Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road has a companion bill in the Senate. The House Constitution, Campaigns & Elections Committee had to good sense to kill this legislation with Chairman Chris Pringle explaining that it would essentially turn the Legislature into a full-time branch without the resources and staff to accommodate it. Apparently Nordgren, along with other lawmakers and conservative groups, are forgetting some of the basic constraints put on the Legislature in the constitution. Anyone with a basic understanding of Alabama politics knows that the Legislature is by far the most powerful branch. The reason it is only allowed to meet for 30 legislative days within 105 calendar days is to limit what it can do, understanding that, given the lack of true veto power, the executive is powerless to have much of a check at all on the will of the Legislature. And while that will might seem good to the folks serving in it now, that almost certainly won’t be the case one day. Ask any Republican who lived and worked through Democratic dominance of the Legislature right up until 2010 what could have happened if the Legislature could call itself into special session. Ask them what Paul Hubbert could have done with that kind of power.
The larger point is that, if passed, these could all be permanent reminders of temporary feelings. Some lawmakers aren’t happy about the public health orders, the prison contracts or not being called into special session last year, among other things. It would behoove them to think through all of the potential negative consequences that could exist in the long term if we put these proposals in the constitution just to satisfy a temporary frustration.
After more than 45 years on the job, Richard C. “Dickey” Whitaker has retired as Executive Director of the Medial Association of the State of Alabama. A staple of Alabama politics, Whitaker got his start in the House of Representatives under House Clerk John Pemberton back in the mid-60s and became the first non-lawyer reading clerk in the House in 1972. Whitaker has achieved many legislative accomplishments during his tenure in Alabama politics — in fact, too many to list — but one of the most notable is his ushering of landmark medical liability reform through the Alabama Legislature in 1987 and 1992. To this day, he vehemently defends these critical laws that have fostered fairness in the courtroom for Alabama physicians and allowed the state to attract medical talent that otherwise would have settled elsewhere, somewhere where tort reforms had been enacted. Taking over the position is Niko Corley, who has been lobbying with the MASA for more than 12 years now. It’s not easy taking over for a “living legend” at a premier association like that, but Corely is uniquely qualified to do so, having the relationships within the organization and the Legislature to be effective.
Dana Gresham, who most recently was chief of staff for former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, has taken a position with Mindset, a public policy and advocacy firm in Washington, D.C. A Birmingham native, Gresham has worked on the Hill in many capacities, including staffing the Congressional Black Caucus, the New Democrat Coalition, the Blue Dog Coalition and serving as chief of staff to former Congressman Artur Davis. During the Obama Administration, Gresham served as the Department of Transportation’s top liaison to Congress and served as senior advisor to two Secretaries of Transportation. Interestingly, former Jeff Sessions chief of staff Rick Dearborn is a partner at Mindset.
Adam Thompson recently left the Alabama Department of Senior Services for a position with Americans For Prosperity. He’ll be a policy manager, leading a team of policy experts working on various national public policy issues. Thompson has more than 12 years in government experience, having worked for the Secretary of State’s office for several years and served as Deputy Commissioner of Senior Services. Thompson tells IAP he will remain in Alabama and work remotely rather than move to Washington, D.C.
The Alabama Bar Association has announced its new leadership team for its EEGR Section and they include names most familiar to Alabama Politics. They are:
- Chairperson: Ryan Robichaux, Partner at Bradley
- Vice-chair: Mary Margaret Carroll, Partner at Fine Geddie
- Secretary: Jim Entrekin, General Counsel at the Legislative Services Agency
- Treasurer: Chad Pilcher, Partner at Balch & Bingham
- Section Council: Raymond Bell – Shareholder at Maynard Cooper, Holly Caraway McCorkle –
Executive Director at Alabama Council for Behavioral Healthcare, and Scott Gray.
- Legislative Committee: Jason Isbell, Maynard Cooper
- Significant Decisions Committee: Chambers Waller, White Arnold & Dowd