Opinion | Steve Flowers: Shelby, Ivey can brush off Senate special election critiques

February 7, 2018

By Steve Flowers
Inside the Statehouse

A few weeks back my column illuminated the career and influence attained by our senior U.S. Senator Richard Shelby. In the column and in my book, “Six Decades of Alabama Political Stories,” I reference the fact that our current senior senator will be regarded as one of Alabama’s greatest U.S. Senators. I consider Lister Hill, John Sparkman, and Richard Shelby in that triumvirate. However, history more than likely will reveal that Shelby is eclipsing Hill and Sparkman in the annals of senatorial lore.
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Remembering those we lost in 2017

December 27, 2017

By Steve Flowers
Inside the Statehouse

At the close of each year, my tradition is to acknowledge the passing away of significant political leaders from the political stage in our beloved state.

We lost some icons this year. As I sit in my office writing this year-end column, pictures of two of my favorite friends and legends adorn my walls. The photos of Governor Albert Brewer and Congressman Jim Martin look down at me. Both were Christian gentlemen.

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Landslide Luther?

June 28, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

In Alabama politics many times appointments to political offices filled by an acting governor have an adverse effect on that appointee if and when they seek election to that office for a full term. Every time George Wallace appointed someone to a political post, even in the prime of his popularity and power, they invariably lost in the next election.

Well folks, ole Dr. Bentley ain’t George Wallace and his appointment of Luther Strange to the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions may come back to haunt Big Luther. His appointment is even more problematic due to the appearance of collusion surrounding the appointment. The taint of the Bentley appointment hovers over Big Luther’s tall head in Washington.
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A great movie, but would anyone believe it?

April 19, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

We in the Deep South have a unique history of political theatrics. The only northern states that rival our colorfulness are New Jersey and Illinois. In those two states you are expected to be corrupt, especially Chicago.

Our most colorful southern state has always been Louisiana. The parishes and bayous of the Pelican State gave us Huey Long and other characters. No other states can hold a candle to Louisiana’s brazen corruption. They not only expect their politicians to steal and cavort, they frown on them if they do not. The environment of Louisiana politics is bred towards corruption and debauchery. They not only gave us the glamour of the King Fish, Huey Long, they are proud of their infamous reputation.
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The Democrat Derby

March 29, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

Last week we handicapped some of the potential horses in the upcoming 2018 Governor’s Race. We mentioned Judge Roy Moore, PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh, Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, Secretary of State John Merrill, State Treasurer Young Boozer, State Senator Del Marsh and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. Some others that may be considering pursuing the brass ring of Alabama politics are Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, Supreme Court Justice Jim Main, Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington, Trump’s Trumpeter in the State Perry Hooper, Jr., Huntsville State Representative Jim Patterson and ADECA Director and former Prattville Mayor Jim Byard. You can also add former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville to the mix of possible gubernatorial candidates.
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Governor’s Derby

March 22, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

We are on the cusp of one of the best political years in modern political history in the Heart of Dixie. Prior to the 1970’s our constitution disallowed succession of office for our state constitutional offices. In other words, you could not run for two consecutive four year terms. That is why George Wallace ran his wife in his place in 1966. George and Lurleen campaigned side-by-side. George would wink at the crowds still drawn to courthouse squares by a country band and say, “I’m going to be her number one advisor.” By the way, she won in a landslide. She beat eight male opponents without a runoff, including two former governors, an agriculture commissioner, the sitting state attorney general and two powerful state senators.
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Internet tax, roads need attention

March 15, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

My tradition for over two decades has been to give my children money for Christmas. Under this system there is no returning of items. They get what they want or need. There is no way that I would know what style of clothing, color or size they like. It works well.

The most illuminating thing that occurred to me this year is that both of my daughters and my granddaughter bought all of their Christmas gifts from me online. Without question, our country and state have changed dramatically technologically in my lifetime. Therefore, Alabama and other states have to change the way that sales tax is collected. States have to find a solution and the will to derive sales tax from online purchases.
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Lame Duck Governor wants prisons

March 8, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

The premier issue of this year’s legislative session will be whether to borrow a massive amount of money to build new prisons in the state. This initiative appears to be our lame duck Governor Robert Bentley’s primary agenda.

Last year Bentley proposed an $800 million bond issue for new prisons. He has come forward with a similar proposal this year. His plan would close all existing prisons and replace them with three new super men’s prisons and one smaller women’s prison.
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Things are getting complex

February 15, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

This third year of the quadrennium Regular Session of the legislature has recently gotten a lot more complex. These next four months will be trying times for the Alabama legislature. They will not only have to deal with a beleaguered General Fund Budget that has to feed a money-eating monster named Medicaid, they have an overcrowding problem in the state prisons to deal with as well as major public school systems being taken over by the state because of mismanagement and underfunding.
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The people want to vote

February 1, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

During the past couple of months everywhere I go people continually ask me why in the world the legislature could not simply put the issue of whether they could vote for or against a lottery on the November ballot.

The fact that this inquiry has lingered for this long tells me that folks are upset about this travesty. They are mad at the legislature. However, the blame lies with the governor. Read More

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