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Handshakes & middle fingers: Alabama & Kentucky House Speakers engage in war of words

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (left) and Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (right)
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (left) and Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (right)

During the 2010 election cycle, Alabama Republicans campaigned on a list of promises called the “Handshake With Alabama.” The campaign was wildly successful, propelling Republicans into the majority for the first time since Reconstruction.

It was so successful, in fact, that Kentucky Republicans are openly copying it with their 2014 campaign platform, dubbed the “Handshake with Kentucky.”

Republicans in the Bluegrass State currently hold 46 seats in the 100-member Kentucky House of Representatives.

One of their biggest obstacles to taking over the majority is the current Speaker of the House, Democrat Greg Stumbo. When Stumbo found out that the Kentucky GOP was looking to copy the successful “Handshake” campaign that was executed in Alabama, he took the opportunity to share his perception of his southern state neighbors.

“Gov. Beshear has said on many occasions that if the Republicans take over the House that we will become in Kentucky like Alabama and Mississipp,” he said. “We’ll move backwards. … This is proof positive of what we’ve been saying.”

On Thursday, Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard responded to Stumbo’s comments.

“Speaker Stumbo recently said that if Republicans take over the Legislature in Kentucky, the state could begin to resemble Alabama. That may well be true,” Hubbard said. “Kentucky might follow in Alabama’s footsteps as a recognized national leader in economic development and begin to recruit companies like Airbus and Remington and the major automotive manufacturers who continue to locate here. It might also develop state-of-the-art education programs like the Alabama Reading Initiative and our First Class pre-K initiative, both of which are ranked as the best in the United States. While Republicans are offering the citizens of Kentucky a firm and honest handshake, it is obvious that Speaker Stumbo is giving them just the middle finger.”

Your move, Stumbo.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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