Resignations are fiscally irresponsible

Published 6:21pm Monday, July 29, 2013

In the past three years of the quadrennium, several notable elected officials have abandoned their elected posts in favor of more lucrative positions. These resignations are disingenuous to the people they represent and fiscally irresponsible for the State of Alabama.

In 2011, State Rep. Greg Canfield was appointed director of the Department of Commerce and Representative Jim Carns was elected to replace him in a special election. That same year, State Rep. David Sessions won a special election to replace State Rep. Spencer Collier when Collier resigned to take a position as director of the Alabama Department of Education.

The next year, we welcomed State Sen. Bill Hightower and State Rep. David Standridge and State Rep. Mack Butler to the Alabama House of Representatives. Hightower filled State Sen. Ben Brooks’ seat when he was elected as a circuit judge in Mobile County.

Standridge replaced State Rep. Elwyn Thomas when he resigned to become the executive director of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission. Butler was elected to fill State Rep. Blaine Galliher’s seat when he resigned to serve as Gov. Robert Bentley’s Legislative Director.

This year, State Rep. Randall Shedd replaced State Rep. Jeremy Oden, who was appointed to the Alabama Public Service Commission in December 2012. Secretary of State Beth Chapman is resigning to take a job with ALFA, however Bentley is able to appoint her replacement.

We still have two seats left to fill: U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner is resigning his seat to take a job at the University of Alabama and State Rep. Jay Love is resigning to work in private sector education lobbying. Conflicting evidence suggests that State Rep. Jim Barton is considering resigning his seat as well.

These nine resignations indicate a lack of dedication to public office. It shows that many Republicans see public service as a stepping-stone to advance their careers — not as a way to help the people of their districts.

Furthermore, of the eight Republican legislators who have resigned, all have campaigned on a platform of “fiscal responsibility.”

The cost of a special election is tremendous. Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed estimates the cost to fill Love’s seat will be more than $50,000.

When voters elect an individual, they do it in the good faith that their representative will act in their best interests. The overwhelming number of resignations has shown that they are not acting with the best intention of representing their district or with the best interest of fiscal responsibility. So voters, please remember this when you go to the polls in 2014; a “fiscally responsible” platform does not ensure responsible behavior.

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