By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, January 11, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan announced that the State Steering Committee had passed a resolution calling for embattled Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) to resign.
State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) disagreed strongly with the resolution. Rep. Williams said, “It’s unfortunate to see the politics of personal destruction rear it’s ugly head in our party and in our State.”
Former Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn (R) came forward to announce his support for Terry Lathan’s decision. Dunn said, “I stated as soon as he was indicted that he should step down as Speaker of the House out of respect for the state, the party, and the Legislators.” Dunn is a member of the state Executive Committee and is currently a candidate for President of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Republican State Executive Committee member Trey Edwards said, “I’m proud of the Alabama Republican Party and Chairwoman Lathan for time and time again standing up for conservative, small government values. I am proud to be a member of the Alabama Republican State Committee, representing Lauderdale County. I am looking forward to hopefully confirming this resolution among the full body at our meeting in February if Hubbard hasn’t been kicked out by then.”
State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) told the Associated Press’s Kim Chandler that he will push for members of the House to select a new speaker in the upcoming 2016 Regular session. Rep. Henry told the AP, “As things started coming out and we started seeing facts of the case, it didn’t really match up.” Henry said, “I don’t think he can effectively lead the House with everything going on.”
Commissioner Dunn said, “I don’t believe he will step down, because in his eyes, he will see it as an admission of guilt. I believe it will take stronger action but this is a good start.”
State Representative Phil Williams (R-Huntsville) has announced that he will run against Hubbard to be the next speaker. In November Rep. Williams addressed the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans. Rep. Williams said, “The members are ready for a change. The current speaker is a wonderfully talented bright guy.” He chooses all the committees, he chooses all the chairs, he is a gatekeeper between the candidate and the fundraiser. There is a lot of talent in the House. Downsizing the role of the speaker would empower the members.”
Rep. Phil Williams said, “I voted for the current speaker two times.” A lot of information has been released in the last six months that is not good. “I don’t think our current leadership is going to get Alabama to the next level.”
Rep. Jack Williams however remains unconvinced. Jack Williams said, “The resolution was proposed, according to al.com by a member of the House who did not have the votes in the Republican Caucus to oust the Speaker so he took an internal Caucus decision and drug the Alabama Republican Party into it. Unfortunately, the Chair of the Republican Party foolishly allowed this to happen.”
Rep. Jack Williams said, “A plurality of the steering committee has abandoned a bedrock principle of our country. The accused are innocent until proven guilty. Apparently that doesn’t apply when it gets too hot in the kitchen.” “The decision of who leads to House and Senate are left to the members, not the Party. This is a terrible distraction for our party.”
House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) said, “In regards to the resolution from the Alabama Republican Party’s steering committee, this is an internal fight among Republicans, Democrats are focused on creating jobs and passing a lottery.”
Former Commissioner Dunn said, “People just don’t know the real Mike Hubbard. It’s time for arrogant Hubbard to go! He had the nerve to call me over to the House to tell me I was taking my job as Commissioner “too seriously”. To show his authority, I was never allowed to attend the State of the State address. My wife and I were escorted out each time we tried to attend, by his cronies, along with the Chairman of the GOP, Bill Armistead because I wouldn’t follow his orders. This was his way of sending a message of who was in control. Mike tried to control all state agencies. For example, in 2010 when a legislator was elected to the Senate made the statement, “I’ll be damned if he is going to call up here and try to run the Senate too.” This type of behavior has been going on for the last five years. When the legislators see that he has lost his power you will see a lot of change for the better in the House. It’s time to stop the Riley cronies from trying to control the state government. Pride comes before the fall.”
Rep. Jack Williams concluded, “Today was an ugly day for the Alabama Republican Party. Hopefully future leadership will act with greater wisdom.”
The State Legislature reconvenes in Montgomery on February 2. The Republican Party Executive Committee will meet in Mobile for their biannual meeting on February 28. The Alabama Primary is on March 1. Speaker Mike Hubbard’s long delayed trial is scheduled to begin on March 28.