State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter, R – Rainsville, the Republican Caucus nominee for Speaker of the Alabama House, announced on Wednesday the names of the final seven representatives that he plans to appoint as committee chairs if he is elected to lead the body during an organizational session in January.
Because Republicans hold a 77-member supermajority in the Alabama House, Ledbetter’s selection as the GOP Speaker nominee is considered by many to be tantamount to election.
“These committee chairs will handle some of the most important issues that affect the daily lives of Alabamians – health, public education, election integrity, veterans affairs, accountability to taxpayers, and local measures,” Ledbetter said. “And because the ability to easily transport goods plays such a vital role in Alabama’s economic development efforts, the new House committee on ports and waterways will be especially important in keeping our state growing.”
The planned committee chair appointments include:
- State Rep. Chip Brown, R – Hollinger’s Island, will chair the new House Ports, Waterways, and Intermodal Transit Committee.
Elected to the Alabama House in 2018, Brown previously held a seat on the agenda-setting Rules Committee and also served on the body’s Economic Development and Tourism, Urban and Rural Development, Insurance, and Mobile County Legislation committees.
Employed as a commercial realtor and entrepreneur, Brown served in the Alabama Army National Guard and was deployed with the U.S. Army at the Central Command Forward Operations Headquarters in Southwest Asia during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was also twice deployed as a military advisor in Afghanistan.
Ledbetter said he created the new House committee because Alabama possesses more than ten percent of our nation’s fresh water, and when combined with the expansion of the State Docks in Mobile, the Tennessee/Tombigbee Waterway, the ports of Huntsville and Birmingham, and the port being constructed in Montgomery, that transportation hub can be leveraged into one of our state’s strongest economic assets.
- State Rep. Phillip Pettus, R – Killen, will chair the House Fiscal Responsibility Committee.
Elected to the Alabama House in 2014 and originally appointed chair of the House Fiscal Responsibility Committee by Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R – Monrovia, Pettus also held seats on the Judiciary Committee, the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee in the previous quadrennium.
Prior to joining the House of Representatives, Pettus worked as an Alabama State Trooper and attained the rank of captain. Following 25 years of service, he retired from the Alabama Department of Public Safety in 2013.
- State Rep. Bob Fincher, R – Rocky Branch, will chair the House Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee.
Elected to the Alabama House in 2014, Fincher will once again serve as chair of the House Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee, a post that he was originally appointed to fill under Speaker McCutcheon. He previously held seats on the House Education Policy, Agriculture and Policy, and Local Legislation Committees, as well.
A retired educator, Fincher taught at Woodland High School and New Hope Christian School and twice served as one of Alabama’s presidential electors.
- State Rep. Ed Oliver, R – Dadeville, will chair the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Oliver joined the Alabama House in 2018 and previously held seats on the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, the Fiscal Responsibility Committee, and the Health Committee.
A graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Oliver served as a military helicopter pilot and inspector general and devoted 31 total years to active duty, reserve, and National Guard service. He was employed for 15 years as a civilian helicopter air ambulance pilot.
- State Rep. Alan Baker, R – Brewton, will chair the House Local Legislation Committee.
Baker will once again chair the House Local Legislation Committee, a panel he previously led under Speaker McCutcheon. During the prior quadrennium he also served as vice chair of the House Education Policy and the agenda-setting House Rules Committee.
Prior to his election to the Alabama House in 2006, Baker worked for 27 years as an educator and football coach in Alabama public schools. While coaching at T.R. Miller High School, he won five state championships in football and five in track.
- State Rep. Terri Collins, R – Decatur, will chair the House Education Policy Committee.
Collins, who sponsored and passed the landmark Alabama Literacy Act in 2019, will once again serve as chair of the House Education Policy Committee. Throughout the prior quadrennium, she held a seat on the House Ways and Means Education Committee and also chaired the Alabama School Safety and Student Security Task Force.
Elected to the House in 2010, Collins is a retired marketing executive and businesswoman who enjoyed a 16-year career in the banking industry in Decatur.
- State Rep. Paul Lee, R – Dothan, will chair the House Health Committee.
Lee will continue to chair the House Health Committee after originally being appointed to the post by Speaker McCutcheon in 2019. He has served as a member of the committee since first winning election to the Alabama House in 2010.
Lee is a former Dothan city commissioner who retired from Sony’s Magnetic Tape Division as senior production specialist following 31 years of service. He is currently the executive director of Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center in Dothan.