By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In a press conference held immediately after the new Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Madison) left the Chamber Floor, he promised that the House would be entering a new era, returning the body to the people of Alabama.
McCutcheon said, his leadership style will be more to listen to the members of the House body, “We call the House of Representatives ‘The People’s House,’” stating that the members of the House represent smaller constituency numbers who have a voice through their elected representatives.
He said that as Speaker, he would not have an agenda from the Chair, but an agenda from the people and the people who have been elected to represent them. “I will not be introducing any bills. I don’t think the Speaker ought to come in set the agenda and have an agenda. I think the Speaker should be the leader of the members of the House so that they can be setting the agenda,” said McCutcheon.
He said that there are some great men and women in the House, and that they work very hard for the people of Alabama. He said, “What I want to do as Speaker is be a very good leader, I want to highlight their qualities and their integrity, and by doing that, I think the people will focus again on their elected leaders. If they will respond, which I know they will, then we will be able to show the people that we are moving into a new era.”
McCutcheon said, that he wasn’t expecting any immediate changes and that the House will go through the Special Session with his role being talking to all of the members of the House, critiquing all of the leadership, and asking their opinions about what “they think about the ways that we have been doing things, and how can we do better?”
Sources within the Speaker’s Office said, it is anticipated that Ron Johnson will step up as rules chairman for this Special Session with any further changes not being addressed until the 2017 Regular Session.
When asked what he meant in his speech about the days of imperial leadership being over, McCutcheon responded, “I think the Speaker should be in tune with the members. It’s not about the Speaker and the Speaker’s agenda, it’s about the members’ agenda.”
As for the current session, McCutcheon said that they are still going through the pieces of proposed legislation, the call from the Governor and that they would begin sorting through it Tuesday night then begin working with the leadership.
“We are going to start sorting through the issues and fine print, if you will. We are going to start talking to the membership and get their opinions about the legislation that we are going to be addressing,” said McCutcheon.
For the first time on record, after being sworn in, and before speaking to the House Body, McCutcheon asked his pastor to pray with him and the House members. “I had asked the pastor if he would just have a special prayer over me and my spirit, so that I would go into this role with the proper attitude.”