By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY— Two Republican State Representatives deny accusations they were recruiting Democrats in an effort to oust Speaker Mike Hubbard.
Rep. Phil Williams (R-Madison) hasn’t made a secret of his campaign to replace Hubbard, neither has Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) denied his support for Williams.
Chuck Dean (al.com) recently reported, “The effort by some Republicans to oust House Speaker Mike Hubbard has them crossing party lines, seeking the votes of Democrats and offering their old political rivals incentives to help them unseat one of the most influential Republicans in the State.”
Later in the piece, Dean cites unnamed Democrats who claim Henry was the one negotiating with them on behalf of Williams.
Both men made it abundantly clear in conversations with the Alabama Political Reporter that they were not seeking support outside of the House Republican Caucus.
The al.com story said Henry was not available for comment, however, Henry said he did comment on the publication’s webpage comment section. Henry said, to his amazement, his remarks were deleted minutes after he posted to the site.
“[Dean] says I wasn’t available for comment, so I put my comment on their website so everybody would know…here’s my comment,” said Henry. “I said, ‘It is not true. I did not have any conversation with any Democrat.’”
His comment was later removed from al.com’s comment section.
Henry stressed that he was always available to al.com for comment, “[Archibald and Whitmire] may be printing stuff that I don’t want to deal with, but they will call me and I will give them a quote and, guess what, they quote me.”
Williams said, “For the record, I absolutely have not had those conversations because that is not the kind of government organization that I am standing for. I am just really perplexed at times about things that are said or done.”
Williams pointed to the irony of being accused of a backroom deal with anyone, because his platform takes that power away from the Speaker. “Anyone that has followed my platform should be scratching their head because I am the guy who says that the committees should select Chairs,” said Williams. “We should downsize the role of the speakership to take a different tact and go a different direction, so I am not in a position to wheel and deal with anybody on things like that.”
William and Henry made no bones about the need for a leadership change in the House, but their vision of the next speaker is diametrically opposed to the ham-fisted approach Hubbard has employed.
William concluded by saying, “We need to regain the confidence of the people of Alabama. I think there is a cloud hanging over the Legislature that should not be there.”
Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) was quoted in the al.com report. Rogers was called regarding this report, but his voice mail was full.