By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Kathy Peterson is running as a Republican for President of the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC). Kathy spoke in an exclusive interview with the Alabama Political Reporter on December 23.
Peterson says that she is running for President of the Alabama Public Service Commission because “this is a job I am highly qualified for.” She says that she has 30 years of management experience and has experience working with the PSC in Georgia when she worked for Southern Bell. Peterson says that she has the education and business experience to head the PSC. She said, “I can work with anybody to get things done,” but she added that she “can be hardnosed when I need to be.” She cited her experience working with fortune 500 companies as making her qualified for the PSC head job. Kathy also said that she “has a lot of common sense.”
Peterson said that her focus in office would be to, ”keep utility rates low.” And that the Public Service Commission “needs to be energy advocates.” She admitted that the responsibilities of the PSC representing both the public and Alabama utilities “is a double-edged sword”
Peterson said that President Barack Obama and the United State Environment Protection Agency (EPA) are “aimed at our coal industry in Alabama.” She said, “The EPA has not been able to prove any benefit” to the new rules which will cost the industry billions of dollars and will drive up electricity rates. “Eventually it [cost increase due to new EPA regulations] will hit consumers and businesses. Some 61 percent of our energy in Alabama is coal. The EPA is on a warpath against energy and coal.” Peterson said, “We have to fight back.”
Peterson said that “the Tea Party supports me” and that she also has the support of mainstream conservatives and Republicans. Peterson said that she had “the perfect blend” of supporters stretching from “the center to the far right” to win in a competitive Republican primary. “I am not the underdog.” She feels that is important to get Republicans in charge in Alabama because the state is threatened by the “overreaching arms of the federal government.”
Peterson is opposed in the Republican primary by Alabama PSC commissioner Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh was elected one years ago and is now running for President of the PSC without giving up her current seat on the Public Service Commission. Peterson said Cavanaugh’s decision “was a poor choice by her” and that Cavanaugh was “not doing the job she was elected to do.” Peterson said, “We need somebody that is not ladder climbing.” Chip Brown has also announced that he is running for President of the Alabama Public Service Commission.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democratic incumbent Lucy Baxley in the General Election in November. Baxley, age 74, is the last Democrat holding an Alabama statewide elected office.
Peterson grew up on a farm in Georgia but has been in Alabama for 33 years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Finance from the University of Alabama and a Master’s Degree in Public and Private Management from Birmingham Southern College. She also had advanced management studies at Wharton School of Business. Peterson said that she “grew up very poor” but that childhood “gave me the underpinnings needed in life.” Peterson said that she is “uniquely and well qualified” for PSC President. Peterson, age 60, is married to Dale Peterson who ran unsuccessfully for Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture in 2010.
For more information about Kathy Peterson visit her campaign website at http://www.kathy2012.org/