By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Last week, three of the four candidates for Public Service Commission (PSC) Place 2 spoke to voters at the Jefferson County Republican Party Straw poll. Chip Beeker, Phillip Brown, and Jonathan Barbee are all challenging incumbent PSC Commissioner Terry Dunn (R) and all three challengers addressed Jefferson County Republican voters at the Gardendale Civic Center.
Chip Beeker was the first to address the Jefferson County GOP. Beeker said he has three children and nine grandchildren. Beeker is a farmer who raises catfish, cows, and has a timber business. Beeker lives near Eutaw in Greene County. Beeker is a former Greene County Commissioner and Chairman of the Greene County Republicans.
Beeker said that when he was Chairman of the Greene County Commission he got visited by radical environmentalists. They wanted to close the Greene County Steam Plant. They said it wasn’t good for the citizens and they tried to use underhanded means to close the plant which employs many local residents.
Beeker said, “We kept the steam plant.” “I am used to fighting the radical environmentalists.”
Beeker said that he has the endorsements of Manufacture Alabama, the Tea Party Patriots of Aabama, the Alabama Realtors Association, and the Retail Association of Alabama. Beeker said that he is so thankful for the endorsements and asked for the straw poll participants to vote for him as well.
Jonathan Barbee said I want to thank all of you for having me out here. “My parents have been great about putting signs all over the county and the state.” Barbee warned that President Barack H. Obama is attacking small businesses and the important coal industry. “If we lose the coal industry our (power) rates will go up 17 percent.”
Barbee said that EPA mandates and regulations have raised the cost of construction of the new coal powered electricity plant in Kemper Mississippi resulting in higher power rates on the people of Mississippi and the plant is not even done yet.
Barbee vowed to fight the radical agenda of the Obama administration and said that he has written a letter to President Obama in which he promised to fight the costly liberal environmental agenda. “You know we are going to get audited now.” “I will fight for what is right.”
Barbee said that he is waging an effective social media campaign and has released his first TV commercial which he asked participants to share with their friends. I am asking for your help and asking for your vote.
Phillip Brown is the Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Minority GOP and is part of a record number of Black Republicans running for office in Alabama. Brown is a minister and an education employee.
Brown said that it is very difficult at times to make a decision when it is not expedient but making tough decisions requires integrity, courage, and common sense.
Brown said, “No commissioner can be overly influenced by someone else.” “It is not sufficient to know what to do we must have testicular fortitude.” Brown said that common sense everyday solutions are important.
Brown promised to bring integrity, courage, and common sense to the Public Service Commission. Brown said, “I need your vote today and I need your commitment to vote for me on June 3.”
Incumbent PSC Commissioner Place #2 Terry Dunn was not at the Gardendale event; but he defended his record on Facebook recently. Commissioner Dunn said, “We need somebody to look after the consumers and that’s what I try to do. Let the consumers know what is going on and make sure that pendulum isn’t swinging to the utility side like it has been for 30 years.”
Terry Dunn said, “My job is to make sure that rates are as low as they can be while maintaining service reliability for the ratepayers. I am for whatever fuel mixture it takes to keep the rates as low as possible. I made the same statement as Southern Co. CEO Fanning early in my first term but was attacked and labeled as an ‘environmentalist and against coal’ for doing the job I was elected to do which is maintaining a balance between the utilities and ratepayers.”
Chip Beeker narrowly won the Gardendale Straw Poll.
The Republican Primary is on June 3.