By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
We are all haunted to an extent by the bad choices we make in this life. This is perhaps doubly true for the Alabama House Republican Caucus, which in November 2014 could have selected state Representative Jim Carns (R from Vestavia) to be the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives instead of re-electing Rep. Mike Hubbard to what is arguably the most powerful position in Alabama state government.
The whole national spectacle of the sitting Speaker of the Alabama House being convicted of 12 counts of felony ethics violations could have been avoided if only more GOP legislators had stood up and put the best interests of the state of Alabama ahead of their love for Mike Hubbard. The state could have avoided these last 19 unproductive months with a cloud hanging over everything that state government did. But only seven legislators would join Carns’s call for new leadership. State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay) looking back on that moment, praised those eight legislators as “unsung heroes who need to be recognized and remembered.”
Rep. Morrow said in a statement, “With all the attention being given to the Mike Hubbard conviction and all those who have participated in his wrong doing, there are unsung heroes who need to be recognized and remembered. Representatives Jim Carns, Corey Harbison, Randall Shedd, David Standridge, Allen Treadaway, Tim Wadsworth, Issac Whorton, and one unknown member – these are the unsung heroes of the Mike Hubbard escapade. These are the men who banned together to vote for someone other than Mike Hubbard (Jim Carns) after Mike Hubbard had been indicted on 23 counts of public corruption and insisted he remain speaker.”
Rep. Morrow said, “Even with that many counts against him, Hubbard still wanted to be speaker, an election was held and the majority still voted for him to remain. But not these 8 men. As a result, some of them lost prestigious committee assignments, the convenience of their longtime State House parking spaces and were treated like second-class citizens or legislators this case. But in the end, the courage it took them to stand up against one of the most powerful leaders of our time may or may not help them in some way – more than likely it will not. But what it will do is show the people of Alabama and their fellow legislators what integrity is and what a real act of courage is, as it exemplified not going along with the status quo in Montgomery. And that makes them unsung heroes of the Hubbard charade of corruption.”
Hubbard faced another challenger before the 2015 legislative session this time from State Representative Phil Williams (R-Huntsville). This time the legislators had the benefit of all of the released email evidence showing that Hubbard constantly solicited lobbyists for favors and benefits, still the Caucus chose to back Hubbard…..and then there was a new round of Hubbard punishing those legislators who stood against him.
Once the jury delivered its’ guilty verdict, Mike Hubbard was stripped of his seat in the legislature and his Speakership. According to the rules of the House, Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) is now the Speaker. The House Republican Caucus will likely decide who their next leader will be in their next caucus meeting.