Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse: Labor Day in Alabama

  With Labor Day approaching, it signifies that the long hot summer will soon be coming to an end. It seems that the summers are getting hotter and hotter. I was born and raised in south Alabama, so I was accustomed to long, hot summers. I remember when there was no air conditioning in houses or cars. It was hot, but seems hotter today. I think we have gotten softer. It also seems that we do not have the spring or fall seasons anymore. All of a sudden one day in mid-May, it is 86 degrees and it never goes below that through mid-September, or maybe even October. We have about 5 months out of the year where the temperature is mostly in the 90s.

  This Monday is Labor Day. It usually does not cool off much, but we Alabamians seem to think that Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. I guess it is because it also usually marks the beginning of college football season. For those of us who are political junkies, Labor Day also marks the beginning of the political season.

  In past political years most campaigns for the November general election kicked off on Labor Day. This year is a biggie because 2016 is a presidential year. This year will bring to life one of the nastiest presidential races in memory. Both candidates already have unfavorable ratings of over 50 percent. That means that whoever is elected, the majority of the people in the country will hate their president.

  In bygone days, every major candidate for statewide office would be in northwest Alabama this Monday. There is an event held in the northwest corner of Alabama known as the Terry Family Reunion. It is the largest family reunion in Alabama. Serious Alabama politicians know about this annual event that has been going on for many years. Not everyone who attends this family reunion has Terry family roots, but a good many do. It has become a must-do event for aspiring statewide and definitely local candidates. Every candidate for Sheriff, Probate Judge, Legislature or Constable will be at the Terry Reunion, which is held in the corner of Lawrence County. It is an event for all politicians but especially for those from the Quad Cities of Sheffield, Florence, Tuscumbia, and Muscle Shoals and also for politicians from the counties of Colbert, Lauderdale, Franklin, Lawrence, and Morgan. In the past you could be assured that every statewide candidate for Lt. Governor, Supreme Court, and every other constitutional office would be there.

  The Terry Family Reunion will have everything to eat, especially good barbeque. There will be political speeches and lots of one on one campaigning. Although there will be Labor Day barbeques from one end of the state to the other, none will be as political as the Terry Family Reunion just south of Tuscumbia and just north of Moulton and Russellville.

  Labor Day is also a day to salute the American worker. We salute and honor our working men and women. As we salute and honor our Alabama workers, it should be noted that Alabama has historically been one of the most unionized states in the South.

  Even with the upcoming presidential election on the horizon, I do not see how the last one third of this political year could be nearly as exciting or eventful as the first two thirds of the year have been in Alabama politics. The Mike Hubbard conviction, Roy Moore being removed from the bench, and the sensational, salacious Robert Bentley saga are all fodder for another book.

  The Alabama Legislature does not appear overly interested in moving forward with impeachment proceedings against ole Bentley. It is common knowledge that the feds are interested in and investigating his affair. Therefore, poking their collective nose into his business would be like getting the cart ahead of the horse. It would also amount to the pot calling the kettle black. It would be hard to explain or defend voting for a man indicted for 23 counts of felony ethics law transgressions as your leader/speaker and then voting to impeach a poor old 74-year-old retired doctor, who has not stolen a dime and does not even take a salary as governor. It would give a new meaning to the word hypocrisy.

  About the author: 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 He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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