Every four years legislators come and go. Some bring joy when they come in, others when they go out, but they all bring joy.
In the Legislature, we will lose approximately 19 members of the House of Representatives. Here are the ones I can confirm and the counties they represent: Mike Ball, Madison; Connie Rowe, Blount and Walker; Allen Farley, Jefferson and Shelby; Howard Sanderford, Madison; Mac McCutcheon, Limestone and Madison; Becky Nordgren, Calhoun, Dekalb and Etowah; Mike Holmes, Elmore; K.L. Brown, Calhoun; Rodney Sullivan, Pickens and Tuscaloosa; Rich Wingo, Tuscaloosa; Harry Shiver, Baldwin and Monroe; Kirk Hatcher, Montgomery; Wes Allen, Dale and Pike; Mike Jones, Coffee, Covington and Escambia; and Steve McMillan, Baldwin. Most of these folks are retiring, and others are seeking different positions. There are still two or three members who are hush-hush about their plans.
In the Senate, we will lose Jim McClendon, Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega; Del Marsh, Calhoun and Talladega; Priscilla Dunn, Jefferson and Jimmy Holley, Coffee, Covington, Dale and Pike. These are all retirements.
Thankfully, all these men and women have given their time to serve the public and should be commended. Whether you agree with them or not, you cannot deny they have sacrificed in some way to serve. They have put themselves out there for public scrutiny. People in Alabama hate the Legislature, but they love their legislators. They should. They have represented you and hopefully been accessible to you. Most of them are good, sincere people who did what few are willing to do – run for office, live in a glass house and serve the public. Fault any of them if you want, but in most cases, they genuinely worked hard to represent the people they were elected to serve.
When these 23 men and women walk out the door of the Legislature, so will hundreds of combined years of institutional knowledge. That is concerning.
Already, there are people lining up for these jobs. Good people. I encourage you to get to know them during this campaign season. Then cast your vote next year for the one who more closely aligns with your personal beliefs and political views. Get off the sidelines and get involved in a campaign or two. Volunteer your time, energy, effort and money into electing who you want to represent you. Then your complaining about their actions in Montgomery will be validated.
These open seats present concerned citizens with many opportunities to let their voices be heard before new officials are elected. The ballot box and the pen are valuable, powerful tools. Use them for your own good to choose the people who will represent you and shape your future. There are many opportunities in 2022.
Beth Chapman is Alabama’s former State Auditor and 51st Secretary of State. She now owns and operates Beth Chapman & Associates, LLC. She can be reached at [email protected].