I’m not sure all Alabamians realize what would have happened to their state government had federal stimulus money not been made available to Alabama by the Obama Administration. I understand from very good sources that state services and public education would have suffered beyond comprehension in the absence of those funds. Fortunately, the Governor and the Alabama Legislature were able to put off the day of fiscal reckoning in our state as a result of the stimulus money. But that day of reckoning will come in the very near future. From all accounts, it appears that the next Governor of Alabama and the next Legislature will inherit a fiscal nightmare. That will result from a combination of a bad national economy and past failures in Alabama to put our own fiscal house in order. Frankly, based on the long historical perspective, nothing will happen in any legislative session in 2010 to solve any fiscal problems for our state.
Even with these dismal prospects on the horizon, there are lots of folks who want to follow Bob Riley as governor. I hoped that the Riley legacy would have included a complete reform of our state tax structure, but that didn’t happen. Such a monumental undertaking certainly won’t occur during his last year in office, since it will be an election year. But tax reform and putting our fiscal house in order will be a story for another day.
So for now, let’s take a look at the folks who still are considered probable, or at least likely, candidates for Governor of Alabama. On the Democratic side, there are several folks who want to be our next governor. They are Sue Bell Cobb, Artur Davis, and Ron Sparks. Those seeking the top on the GOP side job include Robert Bentley, Charles Bishop, Bradley Byrne, Kay Ivey, Tim James, Bill Johnson, and Roy Moore. According to my information, Judge Moore is still leading the polls among likely Republican voters and I hear that isn’t making the GOP bosses very happy.
Already a number of men who were thought to be sure candidates have taken their names out of consideration. Those include Roger Bedford, Jo Bonner, Jack Hawkins, Jim Folsom, and Seth Hammett. Roger Bedford, who would have made a very good governor in my opinion, elected to stay in the state Senate. Roger says he owes it to folks in his District to remain in the state Senate. The Franklin County native has been a most effective member of that body.
Interestingly, some political observers still believe Dr. David Bronner, who I believe is an ideal person to serve as governor and deal with the very tough issues of tax reform and fiscal responsibility, could be drafted by one of the parties. His entry would make things pick up considerably and would certainly make for a lively race. Even without Dr. Bronner, the next year in Alabama should be very interesting politically.
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