Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Featured Opinion

Opinion | Organizational session, legislative leadership with potential new stars

The Legislature has met for their organizational session and elected their leadership for the next four years.

Both the House and Senate leadership remain essentially the same as the last quadrennium.

Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, was elected Senate President Pro Tem. Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, remains majority leader. Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia, continues as rules chairman. Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, will again be chairman of finance and taxation/education. The only new leader will be Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Escambia, who will be chairman of the Senate General Fund Committee.

The House leadership is completely intact. Rep. Mac McCutchen, R-Madison, was reelected as Speaker of the House. Veteran Legislator, Victor Gaston, R-Mobile will be Speaker Pro Tem. Representative Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, will be Chairman of the General Fund Ways and Means Committee. Representative Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, will Chair the Education Budget Committee. Representative Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, will set the House Agenda as Rules Committee Chairman and Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Dekalb, will serve as Majority leader.

Representative Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, will be the House Minority Leader and Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, will be Senate Minority Leader. There a good many new House members and Senate members. Approximately 30 percent of the House of Representatives is comprised of new members.

The Freshman Class of State Senators has 13 new members. That makes up one-third of the 35-member body. There are 11 new Republicans and two new Democrats in the Senate.

This new class of legislators has some potential stars. First on most lists in the Senate is Sam Givhan from Huntsville. Givhan is the grandson of legendary Black Belt Senator, Walter C. Givhan. He comes to the Senate with not only a strong pedigree, but extensive leadership experience. He is a successful economic developer and attorney. He has been chairman of the Madison County Republican Party.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Sen. Will Barfoot of Montgomery will be an able replacement for Dick Brewbaker in his Montgomery, Pike Road, Autauga, Elmore and Crenshaw district. He is an attorney by profession and is open, affable and very likable. He may be as popular as Brewbaker. He carried every box in his district against a viable opponent.

Young Garlan Gudger will be a quick study and will be a stalwart bulldog for his Cullman and Northwest Alabama district. He has deep roots in Cullman County and has a bright future.

Sen. Donnie Chesteen moves over from the House to the Senate. His Wiregrass district encompasses all of Dothan and Houston and Geneva counties. He is a native of the area and very popular. He is a former coach, knows his people and has not become aloof. He is humble, accessible and a thoughtful decisive legislator. He will fit in well in the Senate and will probably stay awhile.

Sen. Chris Elliott of Baldwin will be immensely effective. He has been a Baldwin County Commissioner and will be a fierce advocate for the coastal area.

Sen. David Sessions from Mobile moves from the House to the Senate. He is a successful farmer and will be an effective voice for the Gulf Coast region.

Centre Sen. Andrew Jones is very sincere. He will be an ardent worker for his Etowah/Cherokee district.

Newly elected Sen. Dan Roberts, R-Mountain Brook, is a successful businessman who has been active civically in Jefferson County for years and will serving in the Senate as a public servant.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

In the House, Rep. David Wheeler from Vestavia has been around Alabama politics for 40 years. This will be a small learning curve for him.

Young Will Dismukes of Autauga appears on most lists of potential rising stars. He has a bright future.

Wes Allen from Troy has been Probate Judge of Pike County. He is young with governmental experience.

Tracy Estes from Marion County will be a diligent and effective representative for his Northwest Alabama district.

Several of the Freshman House members have governmental experience. Jeff Sorrells has been mayor of Hartford. Rhett Marquis from Coffee County comes from the Enterprise City Council. Rex Reynolds from Huntsville has a lot of law enforcement experience. Many observers point to Ginny Shaver of Cherokee County as a real leader to follow.

When it comes to young legislative stars, the two brightest are still Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa on the Republican side and Anthony Daniels from Huntsville for the Democrats.

See you next week.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at

More from the Alabama Political Reporter


With a month before the first session of the quadrennium, only 16 pre-filed bills have been made available to the public.


Shelby appropriated a mind-boggling $660 million of extra earmarked dollars to our state.


The bill proposes significant reductions in the amount of days offered in return for good behavior from incarcerated individuals.


The Legislature had their every four year organizational session earlier this month.


The bill adds mandatory minimum sentences for people possessing amounts of fentanyl that signify an intent to distribute the deadly drug.


Although courts generally respect parental rights, Paschal said he wants to enshrine them as fundamental rights by statute.


The committees are a crucial piece of the legislative process.


The session in the Senate lasted approximately 13 minutes, with little discussion on the rules package taking place on the floor.