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Stacy George has a plan to turn Alabama around

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, June 24, 2017, The Alabama Political Reporter (APR) spoke at length with Republican candidate for Governor, Stacy George. George is a former Morgan County Commissioner, a 2014 GOP Gubernatorial candidate, and works for the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC).

APR: There is a possibility that the Congress may pass some part of President Donald J Trump’s infrastructure plan, but ALDOT claims not to have any ability to come up with matching dollars for Alabama to participate. What is your plan to increase funding for road repairs or will road improvement efforts simply have to be postponed?

George: I will not support raising the gas taxes on the working people of Alabama. There is more money than that wasted in state government now. Once I am elected I will freeze hiring of new mid-level bureaucrats and then audit each agency to see where positions can be eliminated or merged with others.

APR: Gov. Bentley proposed borrowing an incredible $850 million to build four new mega prisons. Do you support that plan?

George: Absolutely not. I was the only Governor’s candidate that came to Montgomery on my own time fighting that plan.

George, who works for the Alabama Department of Corrections, said that he has developed his own plan which he calls the, Rock Solid prison plan. He favors getting the non-violent offenders working and then slowly reintegrating them back into society bringing the prison population down over time.

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APR: A bill that would have given Department of Human Services agents powers to inspect and regulate Alabama’s church operated day cares was recently blocked in the Senate. Should that bill pass or did that Legislation trample on the Church’s religious liberties too much?

George: I would have to look at it closely; but at this point I think the government needs to leave the Churches alone. George emphasized that he supports freedom of religion.

APR: According to a number of recent measures Alabama has some of the worst performing schools in the developed world, is it time to scrap the Common Core aligned Alabama College and Career Ready Standards?

George: Yes I am totally opposed to Common Core. I have a detailed plan looking at what works in other states.

APR: Do you favor a lottery, and if so, where should the money go?

George: I favor an education lottery where the proceeds pay for either two-years of technical education or the first two years of university. A percentage of the lottery proceeds would go towards funding a pay raise for teachers to recruit and train quality teachers. My scholarships would require that all of the recipients work at least eight hours a week while in school to get practical experience and develop a work history. I want to test students at age 12 to 14 to identify every student’s strengths and natural inclinations and get them on the path toward the career path best suited for them.

George: I will recruit industry like no one else. I will recruit industries that match the skills of the students and workers. I will focus on increasing tourism to the state and will use low taxes and the low cost of living to attract jobs and industry. I will repeal the sales tax on food so that Alabama families don’t have to struggle as much to make ends meet.

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APR: A recent US Department of Health and Human Services report said that Alabama residents saw their health insurance rates climb an incredible 225 percent under Obamacare. More than any other states. With Blue Cross Blue Shield expected to be the last health insurance carrier in the State by 2019, what can you do, if anything, to help lower the cost of health coverage in Alabama?

George: I have been meeting with healthcare providers to find out their needs. I will recruit at least two insurance companies to Alabama to compete with Blue Cross Blue Shields and would offer them an incentives package to come to Alabama. I would audit the books of Blue Cross Blue Shield to figure out what is going wrong with the company.

APR: A young entrepreneur can go start his business in Dallas/Fort Worth and pay $0 in state income tax. Similarly, he can locate next to a beach in Florida and pay no state income tax. Tennessee has recently ended its tax on investment income so that entrepreneur could go and enjoy the Nashville music scene and pay no state income taxes on his personal or business income. Given the poor schools and the high health care insurance cost, how can you convince that young entrepreneur to come to Alabama?

George: I will look at incentives packages to get that young entrepreneur to come to Alabama. I’m going to save the State money and use the savings on incentives to lure more jobs to the State of Alabama. Bentley raised the pay of every one of his cabinet officials. I will undo all of those raises.

APR: Rep. Oliver Robinson recently pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption. Governor Bentley and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard have also recently been found guilty of misconduct, thus breaking the public trust. Alabama has a global reputation as a pay-to-play state. How do we change that?

George: I have been fighting corruption for 20 years. In Morgan County, I uncovered practices by the Sheriff that led to his going to jail and I filed ethics charges that helped lead to the Alabama Ethics Commission finding against Bentley and his resignation days later. A ‘George’ administration will encourage and incentivize whistle blowers to expose corruption and waste. I am going to cleanup Montgomery.

APR: Should all State contracts be bid?

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George: Yes and I will oppose bid rigging so that only one or two bidders can meet the terms. Everybody will be able to bid. There is not a professional service contract that can not be bid.

APR: Is the expansion of Pre-K helping?

George: I think it is. I think that is one of the few good things that Governor Bentley did in office.

APR: Do we need one budget

George: It terrifies the educators, but I would not be opposed to look at that. Once my accountability measures are in place, I would not be opposed to an open debate on budgeting reform including one budget, which is what most states do.

APR: There is a growing doctor shortage particularly in rural parts of the State. What do you propose that we do?

George: I was just in Selma, in Dallas County, where unemployment has been high for years; yet Selma has both the Alabama River and rail lines there. I want to reach out to existing Alabama businesses and incentivize them to expand instead of recruiting big businesses first and creating an unfair playing field. If we can bring in industry to places like Selma we can get the incomes up to then go out and offer incentives to bring doctors. I would like to partner with the Churches and nonprofits on recruiting doctors. The state has got to have broadband internet access to all the towns in the state, if you have any hope to recruit industry or doctors there.

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APR: Do you favor legalizing medical marijuana?

George: I am open to looking at it. I have been working with a group that has been looking at expanding uses for cannabidiol oil, which is extracted from the marijuana plant, beyond just as a treatment for severe epilepsy. There is also a growing demand for ginseng which has created new opportunities for Alabama farmers.

George emphasized that he wanted to bring God and Jesus back into the schools.

George predicted that he would be able to resolve the prison law suits, because he, unlike the present leadership, was willing to work with the Trump Administration and the Federal government to improve the prison conditions.

 

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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