By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, February 1, Manufacture Alabama announced that it is endorsing incumbent Public Service Commission (PSC) President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (R) for another term. She is being challenged in the Republican Primary by former PSC Commissioner Terry Dunn (R).
Manufacture Alabama’s President, George Clark said that Cavanaugh’s conservative leadership, experience and reputation are responsible for the association’s endorsement. Clark said, “Throughout her tenure at the PSC, Twinkle has protected ratepayers by standing up to environmental extremists and the federal government’s mounting EPA regulations. Her business-minded leadership at the PSC is vital to our State and our State’s industry — because when the price of energy rises, the impact is felt not only by residential and industrial ratepayers but also by our State’s business climate. Competitive and reliable energy is necessary to drive business.”
PSC President Cavanaugh said she that she is humbled by the endorsement: “During these difficult times, the most important issues for Alabama families are jobs, jobs, jobs. Growing manufacturing jobs in our State is critical to putting mamas and daddies back to work.”
Cavanaugh said, “Manufacture Alabama continues to be a strong voice fighting to keep Alabama competitive in the global marketplace. If re-elected, I will continue to fight the liberal [Environmental Protection Agency] EPA and rogue environmental interests in their efforts to raise energy costs and burden employers with mandates that jeopardize our ability to retain and attract good-paying jobs for Alabamians.”
Manufacture Alabama is the leader of a trade association that represents hundreds of companies from a wide range of industries across the State. Clark said, “Twinkle has proven herself to be an advocate for Alabama taxpayers. Under Commissioner Cavanaugh’s leadership, the commission has cut costs by 27 percent and just this year returned $12.5 million to taxpayers.”
President Cavanaugh was elected to the PSC in 2010. In 2012 she was elected PSC President, unseating Lucy Baxley (D). Twinkle was the first ever woman Chair of the Alabama Republican Party. Before that she served as senior advisor to former Alabama Governor Bob Riley and worked as a staff member in the office of former Congressman Sonny Callahan (R). Cavanaugh also previously worked with the Republican National Committee in D.C. and served as executive director of the Alabama Republican Party.
Cavanaugh’s opponent, Terry Dunn, was elected to the PSC alongside Cavanaugh in the GOP landslide election of 2010. Dunn eventually ran afoul of his fellow PSC Commissioners because he wanted formal hearings on utility rates. Cavanaugh and the other commissioners wanted informal hearings. Supporters of the coal industry claimed that formal hearings would allow environmental extremists to gain access to information that would be damaging to Alabama Power in future litigation. In the 2014 Republican Primary, Dunn was unseated by Greene County Commissioner Chris “Chip” Beeker.
Dunn said in his own statement, “First of all, if elected, I will bring creditability and transparency back to the PSC, create a special rate plan for small businesses, and revisit the 5 percent rate increase that the PSC approved the first meeting after my departure.”
The Republican Party Primary will be on March 1.