By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, January 14, the newly re-elected Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) announced the individual Representatives chosen for leadership positions during the 2015 thru 2018 quadrennium.
Speaker Mike Hubbard said that he was very pleased with the organizational session. Some changes in the rules were made on the floor that actually made our rules better. This morning the House adopted the joint rules that came down from the Senate.
Representative Hubbard said in a written statement, “We’ve made tremendous strides over the past four years towards improving education, growing the economy, and protecting the rights and values that Alabamians hold dear. I am confident that group of legislators will continue to lead our fight and move Alabama forward. The backgrounds, talents, and proven leadership of each of these individuals makes them uniquely qualified to fill these posts, and I look forward to working with them over the next four years.”
Speaker Hubbard said that four years ago the GOP took control of the House for the first time, intent on moving Alabama forward and reforming state government. “Four years later we are still the reformers. We are still ready to move Alabama forward even more.”
Rep. Hubbard said that it was difficult to select Chairmen because there are many talented Republicans. The Caucus full of driven conservatives and they have put a great deal of thought into selecting their leadership team. “We make recommendations to the caucus and then bring it to the full caucus.”
Speaker Hubbard then introduced his House GOP leadership team one by one.
For Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) was unanimously elected.
Hubbard said in a written statement on Facebook, “It was a great honor to swear in Dr. Victor Gaston as the Speaker Pro Tem. He is an invaluable member of our team and a great driver in implementing the conservative reforms that have Alabama heading in the right direction.”
Speaker Pro Tem Gaston said on Facebook, “I was happy that Jean and Hank as well as James and Charlie (Gaston’s family) were with me when the Alabama House of Representatives elected me to be the Speaker Pro Tempore. I’m thankful that many friends in District 100 make it possible for me to hold this position.”
The Speaker then introduced Rep. Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) who returns as House Majority Leader. Hubbard said that he credits Hammon’s work with why the caucus has been so unified and gotten so much done.
Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) was introduced as the Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. Hubbard said that McCutcheon is respected by both the Republican and Democratic Caucus’s. “He has done an outstanding job.”
Rep. McCutcheon said in a written statement on Facebook, “Today, I was appointed to serve a second quadrennium as the Rules Committee Chairman in the Alabama House of Representatives. I’m proud to continue to serve the people of my district and the state of Alabama in this capacity. We have tremendous challenges ahead, but I’m confident that our House Leadership Team will continue the bold, conservative reforms that will move our state forward.”
Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) was introduced as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Hubbard said, “He is very dedicated and has continued to work throughout the year.”
Hubbard introduced Rep. Steve Clouse as Chairman of the Ways and Mean General Fund Committee. Hubbard said that Steve Clouse has a very difficult job. In particularly the first year of the quadrennium.
To head the Agriculture and Forestry Committee Hubbard introduced Rep. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay). Hubbard said that Sessions owns and operates a huge farm in Grand Bay. His leadership will be a huge boost for our State.
Next was Rep. Howard Sanderford (R-Huntsville) who returns as Chair of the Boards, Agencies, and Commissions Committee. Hubbard said that Sanderford has done an outstanding job with that Committee.
Hubbard introduced Rep. K. L. Brown (R-Jacksonville) as Chair of the new Children and Senior Advocacy Committee. Hubbard said he is an, “…outstanding member of the Caucus. I look forward to working with him.”
Rep. Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) was introduced as the Chair of the Commerce and Small Business Committee. Hubbard said, “As you know we have made it our number one goal that Alabama is the most business friendly state in America.”
Rep. Randy Davis (R-Daphne) was introduced as Chair of the Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee. Hubbard said that Davis has handled these issues with real expertise and is uniquely qualified to do this job.
Rep. Steve McMillan (R-Bay Minette) was introduced as Chair of the County and Municipal Government Committee. Hubbard told McMillan, “I look forward to serving with you again.”
Rep. Alan Harper (R-Northport) was introduced as Chair of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. Hubbard said that we will see some very important bills go through this committee.
To head the Education Policy Committee Hubbard introduced Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur). Hubbard said that we needed someone tough to head this committee. “She is absolutely committed to shaking things up in education.” Rep. Hubbard said there are going to be some controversial issues in this quadrennium.
Hubbard then introduced Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) to head the Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee. Hubbard said that Ball has been a hostage negotiator for the state police and in addition to his role Chairing the Committee he plays an important role in our caucus.
Speaker Hubbard said that Rep. Lesley Vance (R-Phoenix City) will head the Financial Services Committee. She was not present due to health issues.
The New Chair of the Health Committee will be Rep. April Weaver (R-Brierfield). Hubbard said, “If it is healthcare she is our go to person. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to head this committee.” Weaver is a trained nurse.
Hubbard next introduced Rep. Mike Hill (R-Columbiana) to lead the Insurance Committee. Hubbard said that Hill has been here a while. It is important to us that the state hold insurance companies accountable to make sure that we are being fair to constituents. “Mike provides our leadership team with advice and counsel.”
Rep. Allen Boothe (R-Troy) returns as Chair of the Internal Affairs Committee. Hubbard said that Boothe, “Has done an outstanding job.” Boothe is a former police chief.
Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) an attorney will be the Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Hubbard said that Jones has, “Shown an ability to bring people together.” The Speaker said, “We have got a problem with prisons. That will be going through his committee.” Hubbard said that Rep. Jim Hill (R-Odenville) will be the Vice Chair of the Committee. Hubbard said that Hill through his 20 years of service as a judge knows more about prisons and the justice system than anyone else.
Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton) will Chair the Local Legislation Committee. Hubbard said that Baker will fully vet the local bills so there are no surprises on the floor.
Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) was introduced as the Chair of the New Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. Speaker Hubbard said, “I don’t think there is any state that is more patriotic than Alabama. Hubbard said that Moore is universally respected in the legislature. “He is the most ethical and honest person that I know.”
Hubbard announced that Rep. Randy Wood (R-Anniston) has moved to Chair the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. Hubbard said, “Randy is a valued leader. I appreciate him serving in this new role.”
Rep. Mark Tuggle (R-Alexander City) will Chair the State Government Committee. Hubbard said, “Anything you can justify sending to State government because everything we do is State government….Mark is very tenacious and that is what we needed.”
The Technology and Research Committee will be Chaired by Rep. Phil Williams (R-Monrovia). Hubbard said that Williams holds 40 patents. “Carly’s Law went through that committee.” “He will be playing a very big role.”
Rep. Lynn Greer (R-Rogersville) was introduced as Chair of the Transportation, Utilities, and Infrastructure Committee. Hubbard said of Greer, “When he gets up to say something people stop what they are doing and they listen to him.”
Speaker Hubbard said in a written statement on Facebook, “Honored to stand with the new House Leadership team for the 2014-2018 quadrennium. Together, we are confident in our ability to keep Alabama heading in the right direction by implementing conservative reforms that empower local businesses, ensure children receive a world-class education, and protect our rights from an overreaching federal government.”
In response to media questions, Hubbard said that I don’t think there is any secret that dealing with the prison crisis will be a priority. “There will not be any easy solutions.” Hubbard said that he has asked the Governor to present a plan. It is his job is to send us over his proposal.
Hubbard said however, “I doubt very seriously that the proposal he sends over will be the exact one that comes out (of the legislature).” Chairman Clouse and his team will have a very difficult job.”
ABC 33/40 News Reporter Lauren Walsh asked Speaker Hubbard is his upcoming trial would interfere with the coming 2015 legislative session.
Speaker Hubbard said, “I have no concern.”
The embattled Speaker said, ‘You saw in my election that the people in my district have confidence in me. You saw yesterday that my colleagues in the House have shown their confidence. 99 members of the House voted for me for Speaker, except Rep. Alvin Holmes who voted for himself.’
“I am concentrating on being the Speaker of the House. In time the truth will come out.”
Speaker Hubbard faces a trial on 23 indictments of ethics law violations in his roles as Speaker of the House and as the former Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.