By Terry Lathan
Chairman, Alabama Republican Party
Remember that time the Republicans in the Alabama Legislature accomplished these reforms?
• Saved $1 billion annually by slashing government employment, consolidating agencies and deleting duplicate services while also passing strong economic incentives
• Implemented historic school choice and charter schools
• Enacted a rolling reserve fund for education funding stability
• Terminated private union dues being processed by government employees
• Closed PAC to PAC transfers for a transparent political reporting process
• Added a new photo voter ID law as well as supplying a free ID if needed
• Intensified our pro-life laws ranking as one of the strongest ‘life’ states in the nation
Just to name a few. Not a bad start for just six legislative sessions.
But still, these tremendous reforms make boring headlines.
The embarrassing situation with Governor Bentley and the criminal charges against speaker Hubbard are currently dominating the news. We should remember that the GOP legislature has passed legislation that makes a true difference in the lives of our people and businesses. While the other two stories make for deep humiliation, the often used saying of “They are all alike!” does not apply.
We certainly are not “all alike.”
In politics, there seems to be a “one size fits all” type of thinking. I submit that while this catchy phrase might work for clothes, it is not applicable to people, including our elected officials. Each individual public servant should be held to high levels of integrity, honorable expectations and judged accordingly by the citizens.
When I taught 5th grade, I observed that some teachers would discipline their whole class for the bad behavior of a few. Their frustration levels would hit a high mark and they reacted with an entire class punishment. I rejected this type of “one size fits all” disciplinary action. I found it illogical to punish the students who were working hard and trying to learn for a few who made poor personal choices. I rewarded those who earned their credit and applied punishment to those who didn’t.
Facts will ultimately dictate the outcome of Governor Bentley and Speaker Hubbard’s different situations. However, it is imperative that we do not lose sight of the solid, conservative reforms that our GOP team has accomplished in just six years. The slow drip of discouraging stories about two high ranking state officials is not the whole story. We cannot blame the many honorable, hard working public servants when a few let us down.
With a record breaking March 1 primary of 860,000 voters, our Party is strong. As a contrast, the Alabama Democratic primary had 396,000 voters. Even when we do not all agree on a few issues, the Alabama Republicans have stayed on a course that has made our state stronger. Add the conservative Alabama congressional team in DC, and we are in good hands.
People sometimes will let us down-that’s a sure thing. Republicans need to remember our Party principles have not changed. Let us lift up the positive reforms we have made. As we work on the tough issues together, let us ignore the “one size fits all” brand of thinking in politics.
We celebrate the historic and conservative reforms that the Republican majority has implemented in Alabama. We ask our voters to become engaged with their elected officials and let your voices be heard. America and Alabama need us all now, maybe more than ever.
The Republican Party is not defined by a few individuals. We should be defined by our hard work to elect conservative officials. In Alabama, we have done just that with no intentions of stopping anytime soon.