Some pos­i­tive ob­ser­va­tions from the 1st few months of 2017

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

Most times po­lit­i­cal col­umns are crit­i­cal or deroga­tory of politi­cians. How­ever, to­day I would like to share some pos­i­tive ob­ser­va­tions from the first few months of this year.

Some­times I en­joy strid­ing down the halls of our old capi­tol rem­i­nisc­ing about my younger days when I would walk those halls as a page boy and then dur­ing my 30’s and 40’s as a mem­ber of the leg­is­la­ture.

In by­gone days you would never see a con­sti­tu­tional of­fi­cer in their of­fices work­ing on Fri­days, not even the gover­nor.

A few months ago I walked down the halls at about 3:30 on a Fri­day af­ter­noon and popped into Sec­re­tary of State John Mer­rill’s of­fice and to my amaze­ment Sec­re­tary Mer­rill was in his of­fice work­ing.

Af­ter visiting with him a while, I walked across the hall to the State Trea­surer’s of­fice and lo and be­hold there was Young Boozer work­ing away. We chat­ted a while, Young’s daddy was a good friend of mine. His name was also Young Boozer. He was a very suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. He had been a star foot­ball player at Alabama dur­ing the 1920’s with Bear Bryant. He in­ter­cepted a pass that won the Rose Bowl against Stan­ford, which by the way is this Young’s alma mater.

Well about three weeks later I was at­tend­ing a cer­e­mony in the old his­toric House cham­ber, which was also on a Fri­day af­ter­noon.

I re­peated my steps from the pre­vi­ous Fri­day and again Mer­rill and Boozer were in their of­fices work­ing. In essence not only are John Mer­rill and Young Boozer uniquely qual­i­fied for their jobs, these two gentle­men have an hon­est to good­ness work ethic for the peo­ple of Alabama.

Our Se­nior Se­na­tor Richard Shelby has been our U.S. Se­na­tor since 1986. Dur­ing those 30 years he has kept a cam­paign prom­ise made dur­ing that 1986 cam­paign. He has come home and vis­ited all 67 coun­ties each and ev­ery year.

As he be­gins his 6th six-year term he finds him­self in a pin­na­cle of power never be­fore matched in Alabama po­lit­i­cal his­tory.

He is with­out ques­tion one of the five most pow­er­ful men in the United States Se­nate, which makes him one of the na- tion’s most im­por­tant lead­ers. Se­na­tor Shelby chairs the om­nipo­tent Se­nate Rules Com­mit­tee. Within the next two years he will set the record for Se­nate longevity by any Alabama Se­na­tor in his­tory. He will ex­ceed John Spark­man’s record of over 32 years in the Se­nate and he will also be­come Chair­man of the Se­nate Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee.

Most U.S. Se­na­tors in his po­si­tion would en­joy the trap­pings of power and adu­la­tion in Wash­ing­ton. Not Shelby. At 81 years old he spent the months of Fe­bru­ary and March qui­etly trav­el­ing the state visiting with Alabama busi­nesses dis­cussing how he could use his se­nior­ity to en­hance their opportunities and growth.

One Wed­nes­day night in late Fe­bru­ary I joined my old friend Shelby for din­ner in down­town En­ter­prise. He had spent the past two days visiting with mil­i­tary re­lated in­dus­tries through­out the Wire­grass around Ft. Rucker.

As we rem­i­nisced about past times in Alabama pol­i­tics I mar­veled at how sharp Shelby is for 81. He looks and moves more like some­one 61. We are for­tu­nate to have Shelby.

State Se­na­tor Ger­ald Dial has been in the Alabama Se­nate for 30 years. He has adamantly said he is not run­ning for re­elec­tion next year. He is us­ing his last term in the Se­nate to be a leader and work­horse. He seems to be in charge of the Se­nate. He is in­volved with ev­ery ma­jor is­sue and is chair­ing the Reap­por­tion­ment Com­mit­tee, which has to have a res­o­lu­tion by the end of the Ses­sion. He seems more like the Gover­nor than a pow­er­ful State Se­na­tor.

State Se­na­tor Cam Ward has taken the bull by the horns with the prison over­crowd­ing bond is­sue. He has been the ar­chi­tect, de­vel­oper, chief cook and bot­tle washer of this pre­mier and crit­i­cal is­sue.

He has filled a void left by the gover­nor’s of­fice.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve Clouse has be­come the bud­get guru and main­stay of the beleaguered Gen­eral Fund. As Chair­man of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee he has worked adroitly and pru­dently to keep the ship of state afloat. If it were not for Clouse’s dili­gence and stew­ard­ship, the state would be float­ing aim­lessly into the Gulf of Mex­ico.

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 www.steve­flow­ers.us.

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