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Legislators should do the work they’re hired to do—Opinion

By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

In the past three years of the Republican supermajority, the State House has become a revolving door for employment opportunities and climbing the corporate ladder.

Since 2010, eight public servants have resigned in favor of more powerful or profitable positions. Of those eight, half stepped into appointed positions under Governor Bentley: Representative Greg Canfield, Representative Spencer Collier, Representative Elwin Thomas and Representative Blaine Galliher. One ran for a county judgeship and three took positions in the private sector working as lobbyists: Secretary of State Beth Chapman, Congressman Jo Bonner and Representative Jay Love.

The number may even hit nine by next week if the rumors are true–word around the State House is that Representative Jim Barton is resigning to work for Kinney Capitol Group.

Of course, Barton has assured his constituents that he has “no plans” of resigning.

Every time a state legislator resigns, the county and state split the cost of a special election, which can be more than $50,000 to $60,000 per race, depending on how many people run for the vacated seat.

After six legislative special elections and one Congressional special election, that cost around half a million dollars.

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We live in a state where we struggle to find the money to give our teachers a raise. We can’t afford to put free volunteer resource officers in our schools. We rob the education trust fund to cover our obligations and we can’t find it in the budget to take free federal dollars to expand medicaid.

From state contracts to lobbying kickbacks, our legislators are making boatloads of money by capitalizing on their positions. They could at least complete the job they were hired to do in the first place.

Instead, they cost me and you–the taxpayers–thousands of dollars so they can get a pay raise and a new benefit package.

When we vote for representatives, we hire them to represent us for a full term. We don’t send them to Montgomery so they can boost their careers or use elected office to jump to a higher position.

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