By Ken Freeman
Chairman, The Alliance for Citizen’s Rights
“I believe in the Republican Party, and I will not abandon it. I will join with those whose belief system will NEVER include censure.”
Mary Scott Hunter, Alabama Political Reporter, August 26, 2013.
I am delighted to see that Mary Scott Hunter has seen the light. Mary Scott’s recent conversion to “defender of free speech and the big tent approach to political views” rises to the level of an epiphany brought about no doubt by her own censure. Even so, I am amazed and pleased by her apparent philosophical reversal.
Mary Scott was Common Core’s main spokesperson and lobbyist extraordinaire to the legislature whose primary job description appeared to be to silence those wishing to express opposing views on Common Core.
But she was not alone. Her mentor, Dr. Thomas Bice, Alabama State Superintendent of Education, foresaw this tidal wave of resistance to Common Core well in advance and took actions to suppress it. Two years ago, with his and Mary Scott’s support, the Alabama Legislature passed House Bill 431, titled “the School Board Governance Improvement Act of 2012.” It states in part that each local school board member, “shall endorse ideas, initiatives, and programs that are designed to improve the quality of public education for all students.”(This was code for the Common Core mandate.) It further provides that any board member who fails to support the program shall be subject to “formal censure or reprimand”… and may also be subject to “disqualification from eligibility for future appointment, reappointment, or election to any local board of education in the state.”
This bill created the bureaucratic brass-knuckles that Dr. Bice needed to whip local school board members and the schools that they represented into compliance on Common Core. (In fairness to the individual members of the Legislature, I am sure that most of them never foresaw this law being so misused as to threaten local school board members into endorsing Common Core, but Bice and company obviously did.)
Mary Scott from all appearances loved seeing Dr. Bice crack that whip. She loved it so much that only a few months ago she and Tracy Roberts, another State School Board member, tried to use this same law to censure Stephanie Bell and Betty Peters, two State School Board members who are opposed to Common Core. (We have the video.) This was an even bigger perversion of the law since HB-431 does not even apply to the State School Board.
So it appears that Mary Scott was all in favor of censure before, when she could use it against others, but NOT NOW when it applies to her! As they say, “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.”
Apparently, “She who lives by the censure also dies by the censure.”
I do agree with her that something like a censure should never be taken lightly. Mary Scott Hunter’s censure certainly was not. The debate over a typical resolution of the Executive Committee is usually a three to four minute affair at most- Mary Scott’s censure debate lasted one hour and fifteen minutes. She defended herself in person. She is a lawyer and was certainly not “defenseless before the savage mob” as she has portrayed herself to the media and to her fellow Republicans. Even after all that debate, she was censured by over a two to one margin.
A general overview of the arguments in favor of censure could be summarized by what several ladies said toward the end of the debate. They said Mary Scott ran as a Tea Party conservative. She said that she was for family values and that she would fight against Federal intrusion into Alabama education. She said she would help stop Common Core. We believed her when she said what she stood for. We promoted her to our friends and neighbors. We handed out her literature. We wrote letters to the editor on her behalf. Our families stood on street corners holding up her campaign signs in the heat and sometimes in the rain. We gave her money that we could ill afford and in short we did everything we could to get her elected because we believed her. Four months after she was elected she had become the darling of Common Core and was doing everything in her power to work against us.
For two years we have tried to bring her back- to turn her around. She has refused to even listen. She does not represent us and we feel that she misrepresented herself to us. The time has come to do something about it. We will vote for censure!
It was not an easy thing to censure one of their own. It took courage for the Madison Co. Executive Committee to do the right thing. But they did. Now she and other politicians who don’t think that they should be held accountable by their constituents are trying to shift the blame to the Executive Committee and take the spotlight off her offenses.
But if Mary Scott Hunter has truly seen the light, if as she says in her own words she really intends to, “join with those whose belief system will NEVER include censure,” then she needs to disassociate herself from Dr. Bice and resign from the State School Board. There are people there who certainly believe in censure and have demonstrated that they will silence opposition by any means possible!