By Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison
Sen. Rusty Glover (R-Semmes) wants to take away the right of the people to elect their own representatives to serve in the Alabama State House.
He has introduced Senate Bill 15 a constitutional amendment that would allow the Governor of Alabama to appoint someone to fill any vacant seat with less than two years remaining on the term.
This was the case in Jefferson County, when Gov. Kay Ivey appointed Mike Anderton, a Republican, to fill the position of Jefferson County District Attorney, a position which voters elected a Democrat.
This was also the case in Etowah County, when Gov. Ivey appointed George Day to the 16th Judicial Circuit in Etowah County formerly held by retiring Democrat William Allen Millican.
Instead of selecting a qualified Democrat to serve, the Governor put party politics over the constituency of the area when seeking a replacement.
Currently, there are four vacant seats in the Alabama Legislature: one in the Alabama Senate and three in the Alabama House of Representatives.
Sen. Quinton T. Ross Jr. (D-Montgomery), who represented District 26, resigned from office in October.
In the House Rep. Jim Patterson (R-Maridianville), who represented District 21, died in October; and Rep. George Bandy (D-Opelika), who represented District 83, died in January. Additionally, District 4, a seat formerly held by Rep. Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) resigned from office in September.
If this bill passes, it potentially would give the governor the authority to select a senator for Montgomery’s District 26, a seat which was last held by a Democrat, and three seats in the House, one of which was held by a Democrat.
This bill is an affront on voting rights, which Alabamians have fought long and hard to attain in this state.
This bill will take the power of the vote away from local constituents and give the governor unchecked powers to appoint to fill the vacancy, which will undoubtedly would put politics over the wishes of the electorate.
Some will say it saves money on special elections, but at what price are we selling the local voice of the people.
This is a slippery slope to tread and a bad bill which should be defeated. It takes away local authority and the power of the people to decide.