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Alabama Elections Directory 2006

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Longtime State Rep Dead at 66

Longtime member of the State House Jack Venable (D- Tallassee) lost his battle to leukemia on Friday night. First elected in 1974 Venable had risen to chair the House Rules Committee and was well respected by members of both parties.

Here are just a couple of examples of Venable's colleagues immense respect for him:

Mac Gipson (R-Prattville) : "I'm just heartsick, heartbroken and my heartfelt sympathies go to the family, his district and for the state," he said. "Jack Venable was a strict constitutionalist and my mentor. He helped me immensely because we shared Elmore County."

Seth Hammett (D-Andalusia): "Jack was one of the greatest statesmen to ever serve in the Alabama Legislature," "He was one of the finest people I ever met and a very close friend."

Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery): "He was one of the most brilliant people I've ever served with as it relates to parliamentary procedures, rules and the legislative process. He had integrity and his word was always good,"

Both the Decatur Daily and Montgomery Advertiser have more details on Venable and his legacy.

Though there will be political machinations in the days to come involving, I'd expect those to begin in earnest only after the Tuesday funeral.

A special election will be necessary and while Bob Riley will have the final decision on the timeline, generally it takes around 5 months to fill a vacancy.

This 31st District is comprised of Democratic leaning Coosa county and GOP dominant Elmore county. It will be a challenge for Democrats to hold this district, and some in the party are likely to encourage Venable's widow or one of his two sons to run.

I'll look more into the political realities of this sad situation in the days to come, but this is a time to remember a legislative legend.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may go Dem but will probably go rep.

12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Don Seibold said...

I concur with all the tributes to Rep. Venable. Having had some dealings with him I can say that he was always responsive and straightforward, rather than dancing around issues or evading them. Jack proudly continued to wear the Democrat label although his actions were more centrist, if not leaning a bit toward the right. It will be interesting to see speculations as to who might replace him from his district, but even more interesting to me will be who might replace him as the House Rules Committee Chairman. Losing him from that position, with the power it has, was a blow to my efforts to help bring Initiative and Referendum to Alabama, because Jack assured me that he was a proponent of I&R, whereas whoever replaces him as chair may not be.

9:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least Venable does not have to listen to or see don siegelman ever again!!!

11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Don said...

Eulogizing Venable, Hammett was quoted as saying that if a vote was called for in the HOR and Venable was not on the floor, he (Hammet) would just push the button and cast Venable's vote for him. I have confirmed with 3 members of the HOR that this is a common practice there. Imagine, if you will, Alvin Holmes, or anyone other than your elected representative casting what is supposed to be YOUR vote, cast for you by YOUR elected representative.

1:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the picture, and I thought that Kim Wanous died. Whew.

4:32:00 AM  
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