By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Mack Butler a Republican businessman and Etowah County School Board member from Rainbow City has announced that he is a candidate for the State House of Representatives seat vacated when Representative Blaine Galliher (R) was appointed the new Legislative Director for Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. House District 30 is composed of parts of Etowah and St. Clair Counties.
Immediately following the Governor’s announcement that the party primaries for the Special Election would be on October 30th, Mr. Butler agreed to talk to ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’. Mr. Brown said, “I plan to take my 10 years on the Etowah County Board of Education overseeing an 80 Million dollar Budget, 1100 Employees, which is the 3rd Largest Employer in Etowah County, plus my over 27 years as a small business owner to the State House representing State House District 30.”
Mr. Butler said that while he has been on the Etowah County School Board they have had to deal with several prorations and has had to make numerous budget cuts. When faced with these challenges Mr. Butler said, “We have taken the ball and run with it.” Mr. Butler said that he planned to take that experience to Montgomery where he plans to identify places where cuts can be made so that the state can function on the income that it has.
‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ asked Mr. Butler about the September 18th Referendum where the state legislature is asking the voters to borrow $435 million from the Alabama Trust Fund. Mr. Butler said, “My humble opinion is it looks like the best option is to take that money, but we need to pay it back.” Mr. Butler expressed confidence that when the economy turned around the state would have the income stream to pay back the trust fund, but that the state legislature would have to show exercise discipline when that time comes. Mr. Butler said, “We have got to pay this money back.” “We have got to be good stewards of the people’s money.” He also acknowledged that the Sept. 18th referendum, “Could go either way.”
On the subject of Charter Schools, Mr. Butler said, “The jury is still out on charter schools.” He was concerned that they don’t consistently show improvement everywhere that they have been tried. He said that, “At this point I would like to see flexibility.” “Take the handcuffs off and give the local school boards the flexibility.”
A recent ranking by Forbes Magazine indicated that Alabama’s public universities were not among the top schools in the country. We asked Mr. Butler if the state legislature could do anything about the apparent decline in academic standards. Mr. Butler said, “Definitely, as long as the legislature is contributing the funding they can set expectations.” Butler said that the public colleges in Alabama, “Need to step up their game” and improve their performance.
Butler said, “I want to see economic recovery.” Butler complained that career tech centers are under-utilized. He credited the skills he learned at the career tech center with his own success. Butler said that the state’s school systems need to get kids, college or career ready. We need to teach people to be career ready so that they can succeed in life and become taxpayers rather than becoming reliant on state assistance. Mr. Butler said that he is confident that our best days are ahead of us.
We asked if the state had made it too difficult for third parties and independents to run in the Alabama elections. Mr. Butler did not think so. He felt that the law was fair for everyone just like it was written and did not support any changes to the election laws at this time.
Butler estimates that a primary battle will cost about $60,000 and he is confident that he will be able to raise that kind of money. Butler said that elected Democrats told him that the district was drawn to be a Republican District and that they expected that if the Democrats field a candidate he or she will have difficulty raising money. Butler expected that the people of District 30 will vote to keep the district Republican.
St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman Freddie Turrentine told, ‘The Alabama Political Reporter,’ “We are going to work hard to get the winner of the Republican Primary elected and we will do whatever it takes to hold on to the seat for the Republican Party.”
Mr. Butler said that he has garnered endorsements from all over the district. He said that he was just endorsed by the Etowah County Fraternal Order of Police. Mr. Butler has also been Chairman of the Etowah Republican Party and he has been President of the Etowah Country School Board twice.
Mack Butler has run Butler Electric Contractors for 27 years. He has also been running Butler Properties for ten years. Butler Properties develops subdivisions and other real estate.