Baxley discusses government, family

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 30, 2004

Alabama Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley spoke about government, good leadership and family at Thursday’s Buttonhole Breakfast.

Baxley, who became Alabama’s first female lieutenant governor in 2002, compared government to a family household as she talked to business, political and civic leaders yesterday morning at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center. According to Baxley, leaders of both governments and families should do what’s best for the entire group. “The father might want a new boat,” Baxley said. “The mother might want new house paint. Who knows what the kids might want.”

In government, special interests were the children. “They may yell for what they want, but we need to care,” Baxley said. “They’re an important segment of this state. We need to listen to them.”

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Baxley added that citizens must be heard during budget season, which begins in the governor’s office in the fall and ends in September. The governor receives income projections and expenditure requests and compiles a budget based on the numbers. The budget then goes to committee, which is often the first chance citizens have the chance to examine it. “So of course the budget gets changed,” Baxley said. “Don’t think the committees are messing things up by changing the budget. They are hearing things the governor didn’t hear. The word is ‘us.’ It’s all about us.”

One member of those committees is State Sen. Hank Sanders, whom Baxley praised on Thursday. “From a distance, I saw Sen. Sanders and thought, ‘I don’t think I care for him,'” Baxley said.

Baxley added, though, that her opinion of Sanders had changed. “He pulls people together,” she said. “He can be the voice of reason. He sits in committees and listens to everyone and then says, ‘Maybe we should think about it.’ It’s building a consensus. It’s part of leadership.”

Baxley said she respected elected officials because they put themselves in situations most would avoid. According to Baxley, the media has tarnished politicians and created cynicism about government in the minds of citizens.

Baxley urged Chambers of Commerce to overcome that cynicism by building communities. “The time to do that is now,” Baxley said. “We’ve lost a sense of community.”

Before receiving a standing ovation from everyone present, Baxley emphasized that having a good life didn’t mean problems never surfaced. “It means you have faith and work toward making things better,” Baxley said. “This area is one part of the puzzle. It’s your job to make it better.”