By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
State Rep. and Speaker of House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, is running for re-election in the House of Representatives after his first session as speaker of House.
McCutcheon stressed in his announcement that he felt there was still much to be changed in the Legislature.
“Since taking office, Montgomery hasn’t changed me – I still set up my camper and live at the campground during session – but I have sure tried my best to start changing Montgomery,” McCutcheon said. “We’re working every day to bring unprecedented transparency to the way we draft state budgets, we’re holding public officials who abuse their offices accountable for their actions, and we are making great efforts to maximize every penny that taxpayers entrust to us.”
McCutcheon oversaw his first regular session as speaker of the House in the spring, and faced many challenges as controversial legislation moved through the chamber. Notably, the Confederate Monument bill, Prison construction bills, and Legislative redistricting bills all faced multiple delay tactics by Democratic representatives.
State Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery, said the session was one of the worst he’d seen during his two-decade tenure as a legislator.
Tensions in the House came to a boiling point towards the end of the session when House Democrat leaders accused one GOP representative of sending a racist email. The incident culminated in the House chamber when one Democratic representative told the email sender that he would “punch his nose off.”
McCutcheon attempted to calm the chamber down as state Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, began to yell during her time at the podium. Eventually, McCutcheon called the House to recess and went to talk to Democrats on the House floor.
The conversation with Democratic leaders ended with Givan pointing her finger in McCutcheon’s face and leaving the floor. He soon followed and after hours of talking the Legislature came back into session with McCutcheon leading the body in prayer.
After the prayer, McCutcheon said he would dedicate himself to communicating with the minority party in order to better facilitate conversation in the House.
The former police officer and U.S. Army veteran has been in the House since 2006 and took over the speaker of the House in place of former Rep. Mike Hubbard, who was convicted on several ethics violations last year.
Before taking the office of speaker of the House, McCutcheon served on the House Rules Committee as chairman.