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Facing primary challenge, Rep. Dickie Drake defends his record

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.

Alabama goes to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the Republican primary. This is the last days for campaigns to reach out to voters to influence their decisions. For many desperate campaigns this is also the time to go negative.

In House District 45, incumbent state Representative Dickie Drake, R-Leeds, is facing a primary challenge from former Shelby County Commissioner Ted Crockett. Crockett has recently mailed out a flyer attacking Drake and questioning his conservative credentials.

Drake told the Alabama Political Reporter that Crockett is telling lies and is vigorously defending his record. Drake told APR that former Commissioner Crockett “Is just printing out lies and I am just trying to run a clean campaign.”

“When Ted Crockett says that I failed the Conservative Test, he gave you figures using the American Conservative Union Rating as a source,” Drake said in a release. “This same source gives 59% average in the House of Representatives. I have 63% overall lifetime average.”

Drake listed a number of areas where he believes that Crockett is being untruthful.

“The following are truthful facts with regard to the untruthful statements made by my opponent. Mr. Crockett is distorting the truth!” Rep. Drake wrote.

“Mr. Crockett says that I promised to vote for a statewide gas tax increase. I did not; I said that I would vote for the people to decide (big difference)!,” Drake said. “SB 311 Rental Car Tax: This tax was passed in 2002 long before I was in the legislature. SB 311 is enabling legislation that tells when and for what the tax may be applied. HB14 Auto Title Tax: It costs more than what was being charged to issue the title; it was not raised for many years. HB12 Nursing Home Beds: This was done at the request of the nursing home association; this is not passed along to the consumer. There are matching Federal funds 2 for 1; for every $400.00 raised, the Federal government gives back $800.00. HB8 New Tax on Prescriptions: This bill is for the pharmacies and is not passed on to the consumer; the price of medicine is controlled; the pharmacy must pay this.”

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That tax was later repealed by the legislature and the money refunded to the pharmacies.

“HB3 Cigarette Tax: Many people on Medicaid have tobacco-related diseases,” Drake wrote. “This money is going directly to Medicaid. They are paying for their own treatment instead of passing it along to all citizens of the State.. HB573 Reauthorize One Cent Sales Tax in Jeffco: The vote for 1 cent sales tax rescinded another 1 cent sales tax that allowed us to refinance the school bonds at a lower interest rate allowing more money for schools. Some money, not 42 million went to other entities; however, millions of dollars went to every school in Jefferson County (divided pro rata share). The so-called “slush fund” is an extremely-controlled discretionary fund (with so many rules) that can be used for community projects throughout Jefferson County. Applications may be made for projects, but the project has to meet extreme requirements.”

“HB467 Controlling Sewer Rates: My opponent is providing totally inaccurate information according to the PSC and Department of Revenue,” Drake said. “The original contract at the point of sale by the Shelby County Commission called for 8% increase per year for the first 11 years; then, an increase of 3-4% thereafter. My opponent says he voted no to the sale. However, surely he did his job as a Commissioner and negotiated the contract to protect his constituents even if he said no. He says that he is a great negotiator, but he left the people unprotected and did not have their best interest at heart. The PSC will mandate and regulate.”

Dickie Drake was elected in a special election late in 2011 after his brother, state Representative Owen Drake (R-Leeds) died from cancer/

“My opponent says that I voted to put the Jeffco occupational tax on the calendar in 2011. TRUTH: 1. You do not vote to put anything on the calendar. 2. I WAS NOT THERE TO VOTE IN 2011; neither was my brother who was very sick with cancer.”

“My opponent, Ted Crockett, says that he will work to lower sewer rates on private sewers in Shelby County and find ways to reduce increases on Jefferson County sewers,” Drake continued. “His plan is to ask

SouthWest Water Company to lower their rates based on the Tax Reform; however, this is a wish not a plan. If the PSC gets involved, the rates will be regulated; this is a plan, and it is my plan. With regard to Jefferson County sewer rates, they are under a Federal court decree. Federal trumps State.”

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Rep. Drake served 42 years in the military and is a retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. During that time, he served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Kosovo, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Representative Drake flew 102 combat sorties with over 500 hours of combat time. Drake has 31 military awards including: Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal with 4 devices; Aerial Achievement Medal with 2 devices; Air Force Commendation Medal with 2 devices; Air Force Achievement Medal with 2 devices; Southwest Asia Service Medal with star; Kosovo Campaign Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; and Iraqi Campaign Medal. Among his awards are the Colonel Leo Thorsness Veteran Award and the National Patrick Henry Award.

Speaker Mac McCutcheon recently made Drake Chairman of the House Military and Veterans Committee.

“Dickie Drake had a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, and the knowledge, wisdom and first-hand experience he brings to the chairmanship will serve every veteran and active military member well,” McCutcheon said. “Barry Moore was a tireless and effective advocate for all who wore a uniform, and I am confident that Dickie Drake will carry the same torch proudly.”

The major party primaries will be on Tuesday.

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

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