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Is this the first step in the reconciliation of Alabama Democrats?

Former Sen. Doug Jones penned a letter praising current ADP leadership for reinstating diversity caucuses — a big step in ending internal party conflict.

There appears to be at least some level of unity within the Alabama Democratic Party. 

On Monday, former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones penned a letter praising party leadership for their actions at last Saturday’s meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee. Jones’ letter was the result of party leadership and the executive committee adopting new bylaws that reinstated many of the party’s diversity caucuses, restoring voting power to a wide range of diverse groups within ADP. 

“On Saturday the (SDEC) took a major step toward redeeming the soul of the Alabama Democratic Party,” Jones wrote. “I was satisfied with the SDEC action because it supported diversity and inclusion within the Democratic Party, which I have been advocating for since 2018 when I supported challengers to the election of party officers.” 

The action taken Saturday came after months of heated arguments within the ADP ranks, which included several challenges to bylaws pushed through during a May meeting of the SDEC. Those bylaws dissolved most diversity caucuses, and they reimplemented much of the tremendous power held by the party’s Black caucus, the Alabama Democratic Conference. 

To illustrate the heated nature of the conflict, Jones wrote in his letter that he has been compared to former Alabama Gov. George Wallace and called a “Dixiecrat.” Jones, who is probably most famous for prosecuting the KKK members responsible for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, said he’d let his record of civil rights speak for itself. 

Democratic National Committee officers entered the fray, threatening party leadership with a loss of funds and a loss of delegates should some effort not be made to restore the diversity caucuses. ADP Chairman Randy Kelley and ADC chairman Joe Reed – both largely viewed as the catalysts behind the bylaws changes – agreed to begin a process of examining the bylaws and making appropriate changes. 

Still, given the heated nature of the disagreement between the two sides, many felt that little, if any, progress would be made towards actually restoring the diversity caucuses and relinquishing power. All of which made Saturday’s approval of those new bylaws unexpected. 

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“It is time to look forward and not backward, to continue to heal and continue to build,” Jones wrote. “Democrats in Alabama have incredible opportunities coming up in 2024 with the opportunity to pick up a congressional seat, which is not a given – we have to work hard for it, and in 2026 as a number of statewide offices will be open. Granted, it’s going to be a long, tough road, but we are resilient and we are on the right side of history. We have had success before and we can have it again as long as we continue to work together.”

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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