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Bill Britt: Why are some Republicans holding Alabama jobs hostage?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Last week was suppose to be “Jobs Week,” at the State Capitol.

But as Thursday morning ticked into Thursday afternoon it became increasingly apparent that something had gone terribly wrong.

HB159 and HB160 are keystone bills toward jobs creation for the people of Alabama. Businesses around the country and the world are watching to see if the Republican-led government of Alabama will offer incentive to bring business and jobs to the state.

While it seemed that the House was poised to do just that, a small group of so-called Republicans ran for cover denying the GOP the votes needed to pass this very consequential bill.

On Tuesday, union boss Henry Mabry attend the Economic Development and Tourism committee meeting. Economic Development and Tourism is the committee that would be taking the bill to the floor. During the meeting Mabry blustered and bloviated at the House committee members, challenging and even daring the committee to pass any bill not pre-approved by the AEA.

In a tone that would have made Jimmy Hoffa proud, Mabry chided the committee’s GOP members with an arrogant glee. (See, “AEA’s Mabry angers committee members,” in today’s APR.)

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Little did Committee Chairman Barry Mask (R-Wetumpka) or any others within the GOP know that Mabry had a few RINO-Brand aces up his sleeve.

When the votes were to be counted on Thursday some key members of the GOP caucus were no where in sight. Like Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero from the television mobster series ‘Sopranos,’ some Republicans were working for the other side.

In the legislature there are many ways to register a ‘no’ vote, one is to just not show up. Three house members did just that. The three that skulked away on Thursday were Todd Greeson (R-Ider), Elwyn Thomas, (R-Oneonta) and Jeremy Oden (R-Vinemont).

What were these men running from?

The people of Alabama are hurting for jobs, money is scarce and yet when these threes votes was needed to bring jobs and industry to Alabama they left town. Where I come from we have a name for people like that, let’s just say I question their intestinal fortitude.

Some have said these are men of independent thought and that they did not want to blindly go along with the GOP Leadership.

Please, sell that somewhere else, these men’s thought process is more tied to their backsides than their brains. I wonder if the good people of Ider, Oneonta and Vinemont know that their representatives are voting against their jobs. Everyone of these towns desperately needs good, high-paying jobs but when Greeson, Thomas and Oden could have cast a vote for the people of their district, they choose rather to vote for the “No Jobs Bill,” of the AEA. What does Mabry have on these guys?

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We know what he has on Alan Boothe (R-Troy). Last year, Boothe switched parties and was accepted into the GOP ranks. At the time, both Boothe’s daughter and son-in-law worked for the AEA. Soon after Boothe switched parties, his daughter and son-in-law were fired from their AEA positions. Oh, Boothe’s family members have been rehired, I guess the threat worked.

This is the type of thuggery that the AEA uses on those who do not tow the line. Going after a man’s family is the lowest form of intimidation but Mafia-style tactics have always been a favorite of the labor unions. It is just like a union that claims to care so much about the children to use them as pawns in their worship and will to power.

Others that are “sensitive” to AEA issues jump ship as well, they are Steve Hurst (R-Mumford) another party-switcher and Ron Johnson (R-Sylacauga).

When Alabama needs jobs these men are worried about only one job, their own.

It is time to man up, the GOP is a pro-growth, pro-jobs, capitalist party. Can’t hang then get off the horse.

I don’t think that Republicans should vote along party lines all the time if they have a real disagreement, say, If these men opposed Charter Schools on principles, I understand that. But to be against creating jobs in our state is unconscionable.

The jobs bill will hopefully pass (maybe even some Democrats will stand by for the working people of our state), but these so-called Republicans should stand up and be counted for their constituents, many who need a good paycheck.

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Putting an ‘R’ next to your name and then running away from a bill that would put food on the table of Alabamian is a disgrace. Maybe AEA money or AEA threats are enough for some to trade for their integrity.

Today is Valentines Day a good day to give something nice to the ones we love. I hope the house will give the people of Alabama the gift of jobs.

Of course, for those who have opposed the jobs bill there will be a day of reckoning. I like to think of that day as another mob related incident,  the St. Valentines Day Massacre, not with violence (to clarify for those sensitive to any reference to gun play) but with voter’s revenge.

Bill Britt
Written By

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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