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Lt. Governor candidates make their pitch

By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – With the Alabama runoff primary elections just days away, Alabama voters have been inundated with negative attack ads.

The race between Twinkle Cavanaugh and Will Ainsworth has seen its fair share of mudslinging and name calling. But, now that it’s getting down to the wire, Alabama Daily News asked if the candidates would put aside these tactics and just get down to the goals behind their campaigns for office.

Both candidates were asked to provide five points that best show why they want to be Lt. Governor and what they would want to do in the job. There was just one rule: no talking about the other candidate or campaign. 

Here are the highlights:

Twinkle Cavanaugh

Cavanaugh’s top selling point to voters is that she has been a long time devoted Republican who is pro-life, supports the Second Amendment and has kept her word on cutting taxes and saving taxpayers money.

She highlights her work as president of the Public Service Commission where she says she was able to help return $13 million from the PSC to the state’s general fund in 2017 and lower electricity rates to save Alabama Power customers $337 million collectively.

Cavanaugh says that if she were elected she would, “bring her experience of rightsizing state government to the Lt. Governor’s Office and make it her mission to give the people of Alabama a full accounting of all state agencies.”

Improving education is a goal of both candidates. Cavanaugh says she wants to promote policies that help students obtain the education they need to find rewarding jobs and help ensure Alabama businesses have the workforce needed to sustain a growing economy.

“Whether it is a certificate, credential, 2-year college degree, or a 4-year degree, our children will need to compete for quality, high-paying jobs,” Cavanaugh said. “Right now, only 37 percent of our workforce meets this criterion.  This is nowhere near good enough, so focusing on a strong finish to our children’s education is much-needed for not only our families but Alabama’s economy, too.”

The other pillars of Cavanaugh’s campaign are improving infrastructure and regulatory reform.

She calls infrastructure “the backbone of commerce” and explains that when the basic roads, bridges and waterways are fixed then that will lead to business succeeding and economic growth in Alabama.

Easing regulations on businesses can lead to greater job growth, Cavanaugh says. She says Alabama should take a note from President Trump’s playbook any use regulatory reforms to unleash economic opportunities. 

Cavanaugh’s campaign also has one more note of interest: if she wins the nomination and if she and Kay Ivey go on to win the general election then they would be the first all-female Governor/ Lieutenant Governor team in U.S. history. Food for thought.

Will Ainsworth

Ainsworth wants to highlight to voters his experience of being a businessman and not a long-term politician. Having only served in the State House for one term allows him to retain his outsider perspective when addressing government problems, he says.

Ainsworth said one of his main goals will be to help push legislation that limits the number of terms politicians can serve and allows voters to throw elected leaders out of office before the next election. 

“A term limit law will stop the career politicians in their tracks so that true citizen servants who seek public service for all of the right reasons can make needed changes in Montgomery.  My recall legislation will ensure, for example, that public officials who are accused of violating the public’s trust cannot continue to serve for months or years on end while awaiting trial if their constituents want them removed,” Ainsworth said via email.

To highlight his business side, Ainsworth said that he promises to use the position of lieutenant governor to bring more job growth to Alabama.

“Because the office falls under the executive branch, I plan to work closely with the governor and the Department of Commerce in helping bring new jobs and better opportunities to the citizens of Alabama,” Ainsworth said.

Ainsworth’s wife was a pre-kindergarten teacher and he says that he wants to continue Alabama’s success in programs like First Class Pre-K.  

“We must also expand classroom technology – which includes electronic textbooks, smartboards, tablets, high-speed broadband, and other 21st Century technologies – so that our children are more attuned to what awaits them in the workplace,” Ainsworth said.

Ainsworth also believes that making students ready for the workforce once they leave school will improve Alabama’s economy.

“Expanding career tech opportunities in our K-12 system is certainly a firm foundation upon which we can build our economic future, and enriching and improving workforce development opportunities in our community college system is another integral part,” said Ainsworth.

The GOP runoff election is Tuesday, July 17.

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