By Larry Lee
As we know, Alabama will hold a special election this year to fill the vacancy left when Senator Jeff Sessions was picked by President Trump as his Attorney General.
When such happens, the governor has the authority to pick a successor. So Governor Robert Bentley, you remember him don’t you, interviewed a long list of hopefuls and settled on Attorney General Luther Strange. And though many believed Bentley and Strange worked out a deal in which Strange would drop an investigation into the governor’s foolishness in exchange for a seat among the 100 members of the U.S. Senate, both denied any such conniving as just sore grapes from the other 246 hopefuls.
So “Big” Luther took up residence in Washington and shortly after, Governor Bentley took up residence in the land of the forgotten.
Of course, Bentley assured Strange that the seat was his for sure until at least the November 2018 general election. But then Kay Ivey took over in the governor’s office and upset the apple cart by calling for a special election in 2017.
The line of potential candidates began to form immediately. As best I can determine, there are now 10 Republicans ready to go to the starting line and eight Democrats.
And immediately, people began to press me to join in the fray. Well, at least two did. One was Kirk my barber and the other was my favorite waitress at Montgomery’s Farmer’s Market Cafe, Leigh. Kirk told me I had the perfect head for politics and I figure if anyone knows my head, it’s him. And Leigh suggested that if I were a real live U.S. Senator I might leave more substantial tips. Which I suppose means that she was not a totally unbiased on-looker.
So I began to ponder the situation. Which means I hit the road to test the waters among those wise and learned folks who gather each morning to drink coffee, talk about football and the weather and cuss politicians.
My first stop was in Hacoda in Geneva County. I also hit Remlap (which for you unlearned is Palmer spelled backwards), Blues Old Stand, Faunsdale, Vina and Flat Rock. I wore a pair of overalls to blend in with the locals. Every time I asked if they were gonna vote for Big Luther in those parts I got a blank stare. One old timer told me they thought he died years ago, obviously confusing Big Luther with Big Jim Folsom.
Several asked me what a U.S. Senator does. When I told them “they make laws” the usual response was, “… we got too many laws already.” One asked me where I live. When I told him, “Montgomery” he proclaimed, “They make too many laws down there too.”
Frankly it didn’t take me long to realize that my little network of new-found friends were much more interested in when it would rain again than who might represent them in Washington. And by the time I got home, I’d pretty much decided they were right.
So I thought it best to stop the guessing right in its tracks and go ahead and declare my intentions. I know Kirk and Leigh will be disappointed. But I’ll leave her an extra dollar tip tomorrow morning and she will be fine.
As for those 18 who have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, my advice is to not spend much time in Hacoda, Remlap, Blues Old Stand, Faunsdale, Vina and Flat Rock. Not unless you have a good rain in your hip pocket.
Larry Lee led the study Lessons Learned from Rural Schools and is a longtime advocate for public education. firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog larryeducation.com