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Alabama Elections Directory 2006

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Lt Gov: Mend It or End It

Let's do something about the Lieutenant Governor. Not Lucy Baxley, but the office itself.

We all know that since the Windom/Siegelman showdown in early 1999, that the office is no longer necessary. Let's either get rid of the office altogether or actually give the LG something to do. Either eliminate it and save Alabama taxpayers from subsidizing boredom or find a new way to get our money's worth from the office.

Several states don't have a Lieutenat Governor at all. NH, VT, TN, NJ, WY, OR, and AZ all don't have an LG and they seem to get by ok. "What happens when the governor has to leave office before his term is up?", you may ask. They just have another official take over. In some states it's the State Senate leader and in others it's the Secretary of State. But Alabamians can devise their own order of succession. In short, a LG is not necessary for a smooth transition if a governor leaves office early.

Or if we just have to have a Lieutenant Governor, let's at least give them something to do. It'd be naive to think that the State Senate will cede the power it gained in the 1999 coup back to the LG, but there's no reason not to give the office some power.

What about giving the LG the duties of the State Auditor? Many people, including the current state auditor Beth Chapman, have discussed eliminating the office. Why don't we just put the auditor's duties under the LG's purview. Since the LG is already elected independently of the governor, there is no reason to think that the LG wouldn't be any less independent of the governor's office than under the current system of the partisanly elected auditor.

Or if you can't go for that, then let's find some new role for the Lieutenant Governor. In Louisiana, the LG is in charge of tourism. Alabama certianly doesn't have the tourism industry that LA does (or at least did), but that's not a bad idea for starters. There is no reason why the LG couldn't be charged with tackling such an issue (or issues) to earn their paycheck.

Seeing the once omnipotent office of Alabama's Lieutenant Governor now impotently idling away their term yawing in the State Senate is depressing. It's like Willie Mays playing for the Mets or Johnny Unitas in a Chargers uniform. It's just unnatural.

It doesn't really matter to me what happens to the LG's office, as long as changes are made. Eliminate it. Merge it. Empower it. Just do something.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good observations. but, if we are serious about corruption and govt waste, the PSC should be eliminated. It is nothing but a pass through for graft and corruption. Tennessee got rid of its PSC in 1993 and today, has lower utility rates than alabama. The PSC is owned by the utilities and the commissioners are a shady lot indeed. jan cook and her lawyer the shady terry butts, jim sullivan and his destin condo, and of course, george wallace who has never held a private sector job in his life.
I hope the FBI nails the PSC corruption in the coming months. And while their at it, keep an eye on Siegelman too.

8:59:00 AM  
Blogger CNH_320 said...

I think the LG should run on a ticket with the Gov. If the whole point of an LG is to have someone "on deck" to take over the governorship, then he or she should run with the governor. If the Gov and LG are of the same party, and moreover likely two people who get along with each other, then the gov can assign a portfolio of executive responsibilities to the LG. It would also make for a smoother transition should the LG have to take over.

10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous cloyd said...

the less offices we have, the cheaper it is on the taxpayers. I say get rid of the lt gov office and the psc and the govt unions. without govt unions, thieves like paul hubbert cant own our govt like a mafia boss.

12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a correction. Vermont does have a Lite Gov; Brian Dubie.

And New Jersey is about to get one.

12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Political Stranger said...

I agree with you on this one Zac, we need to change our Lt. Governor's duties. As of now, it looks like the office is going to be pretty much given to Wallace. Since its largely ceremonial now anyway, that seems to be the perfect place for him. However, I agree with some of the posters here. Let's let the candidates for governor pick a lt. governor candidate. That will take one more office off the ballot and allow the governor to at least pick one person on the Executive Branch in Alabama.

While we're at it, I think everyone on here should consider Alabama condensing its ballot. Right now we will be voting for a ton of statewide offices (I haven't counted how many will be on my ballot at home yet) and most of us know nothing about the candidates. If we can find a way to condense the ballot by taking most of the Executive Branch offices off the ballot, then let's do it. After all, we allow the President to appoint the Executive Branch once he's elected. Why can't we do the same thing at the state level?

2:49:00 PM  
Blogger PoliSciZac said...

You're right, VT does have an LG and NJ is in the process of adding one for the 2009 election cycle.

I think the idea of the Gov and LG running as a ticket is a fine one. That occurs in many states. In some states the LG is chosen by voters in the primary and in others the two run as partners in the primary.

When the gov and LG run as a ticket through the primary and general, the ticket is usually balanced in some way -- gender, geography, race, etc. I think that might not be a bad idea.

I'm just ready to see the LG given some actually responsibility.

2:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has george wallace jr. ever had a private sector job? no, of course not, it would be sacrilege for the wallace family to be decent hard working private citizens.

3:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Easy on George Jr.

You've obviously never met the man. He's a great guy, a hard worker, and plays a mean guitar.

But regardless of what you think, anonymous, he's our next Lt. Gov.

9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Political Stranger said, “most of us know nothing about the candidates”.

Some information about candidates can be gleaned from their campaign websites, if they have one. I haven’t been able to determine if George Wallace has one, so if he does, and anyone knows how to find it on the internet, I would appreciate it if they would post that information here. He may think he has so much name recognition, family legacy, and powerful backing that he doesn’t need one. He does have one for his position on the PSC.
For those seeking information, I know that these candidates have campaign websites:
For gubernatorial candidates – Riley, Moore, Baxley, Siegelman, Mathis, and Nall.
For Lt. Gov. candidates – Brooks and Strange.
For Atty. Gen – King and Tyson
For Supreme Court – Parker.
There may be others I haven’t located yet, and one place to look for them, plus other info on candidates is on Zac’s 2006 Statewide Offices page @
Another route to take would be to enter the candidate’s name in browser search engines. With so many avenues to information there is no reason to being uninformed.

9:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think anyone that has never had a real private sector job should not be allowed to offer themselves for public least not until lobbyists and pac transfers are outlawed. This Wallace guy has never had a real job and is heir to one the most corrupt families in alabama history.

11:45:00 AM  
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