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Rep. Victor Gaston elected House speaker pro tem

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Alabama House of Representatives was in session for the first time in 2019 for its organizational session Tuesday, and State Rep. Victor Gaston, R-Mobile, was elected as the Speaker Pro Tem, a position he has held for the last eight years.

State Representative Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) nominated Victor Gaston for another term as Speaker Pro Tem. State Rep. April Weaver seconded the nomination.
State Representative Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) nominated herself for the position of Speaker Pro Tem.

State Rep. Thomas Jackson (D-Thomasville) seconded Moore’s nomination.

“I was trying to do that incognito,” Rep. Jackson said. “I don’t know why Mary nominated herself but Democracy works best when all of us participate. Mary would do a good job.

The House voted 84-to-13 in favor of Gaston. There was one abstention.

Gaston was sworn in as Speaker Pro Tem for another four years. If the Speaker of the House dies, is away, is incapacitated, steps out of his chair, or is convicted of a felony (as Mike Hubbard was in 2016) the House Pro Tem assumes the authority and function of the Speaker. Gaston was actually elevated to Speaker after Hubbard’s conviction; though eventually the House Republican Caucus chose Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) as Speaker. The House Pro Tem also has a lot of responsibilities in the day to day running of the House

Gaston, surrounded by grandchildren, thanked the legislators for electing him again.

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“Jean (Mrs. Gaston) is fighting a very serious health condition but we are fighting it.” Gaston said. “In 1982 when people of my party did not get elected and I was just going to make a good show of it; but Jean said no we are going to work hard and win it and we did.”

Gaston said that he could never have won that first election without all of the work that his wife, and his parents and her parents did. Gaston said that his mother, age 97 is still living.

“The speaker has outlined some thing that we need to do to move our state forward not just for my grandchildren and your grandchildren; but for all of the children in this state,” Gaston said. “We need to move this state forward. We need roads and bridges to be improved. We need troopers on the highway. We need mental health services. I hope that we will all bear in mind and do what is best for the state.”

Gaston also announced that Rep. “Harry Shiver is recovering from surgery.”

Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) was elected as Speaker of the House in a 98 to 1 vote.

Jeff Woodard was elected the Clerk of the House in a 99-to-0 vote.

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

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The appointment on Tuesday is effective immediately.