Mac McCutcheon re-elected as Alabama House speaker
MONTGOMERY — Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) on Tuesday was re-elected in a resounding, bipartisan 98-1 vote.
Upon his re-election, McCutcheon delivered the following remarks from the well of the chamber:
Let me begin by thanking you for the trust and confidence you have placed in me with this election as speaker of the House. Since first assuming this office a few years ago, I have tried hard to preside in a manner that is as fair and impartial as the good Lord above will allow me. You have my promise that the same fairness and impartiality will be in evidence over the next four years.
Before I became speaker, I served as the House Rules chairman, a position that I enjoyed. It was also one that taught me a deep respect for the legislative process and instilled in me a determination to let it work as it was intended.
As a legislator you have two choices before you. You can choose to be guided primarily by your own ambitions, desires, and personal interests, or you can choose to be led by a desire to make Alabama a better place for the constituents you represent.
In other words, you can choose to be a flash in the pan, or you can build a lasting legacy of goodwill, trust, integrity, and sound policy. I’ve made my decision and hope you make the same choice.
The members in this chamber will not always agree on everything, and there will be moments of tension and discord. At those difficult moments, do not turn your back and walk away in anger. Instead, come to the table, negotiate in good faith, and help work out the differences.
To the new members who will cast their first vote today, let me give you a piece of advice. It’s the key to success in this body, and it can be summed up in one word – relationships. Get to know your fellow members, develop a foxhole friendship during the legislative battles that are sure to come, always have their back and ask that they always have yours in return.
If you develop these relationships, do your homework on the issues, and ask questions you think are in need of being asked during debates – you will be successful in this body.
I want this quadrennium to be defined by four simple words – Building a better Alabama.
That’s not just a phrase. It’s not just a goal. I want it to be our mission.
Our state is already great in many ways, but we are going to use the next four years to literally build a better Alabama for all of its citizens.
Building a better Alabama means building better roads and better bridges so Alabamians can travel safely and conveniently and businesses can transport their goods without needless delay. Our sister southeastern states have already taken action to address their transportation needs, and we will quickly fall behind them if we do not act now.
Building a better Alabama means building an even better economy with even more jobs and opportunity so every individual who is able to work can work. Alabama already ranks among the nation’s leaders in industrial recruitment and job growth, but I believe we can do even better.
Building a better Alabama means building a better education system so all of our children and grandchildren can reach their full potential and one day compete for high-paying, long-lasting 21st Century jobs.
Building a better Alabama means building a better standard of ethics that embraces commonsense guidelines while ensuring officials who violate the public trust feel the firm hand of justice and the sharp pain of punishment.
The items I have outlined offer us a difficult, complicated, and ambitious mission, but as I look out at all of you today, I am confident it is one we can accomplish together. So let us all agree – Republican and Democrat alike – that the mission to build a better Alabama begins right here, right now, in this chamber.
In closing, let me say that I am a man of faith and grace. I believe each of us has been put in a position of leadership to accomplish God’s will, and each one of us has been chosen for a purpose.
We are here to govern with honor, and we are here to follow the rule of law.
We are here to serve the people of Alabama to the very best of our abilities…so help us God.
Thank you for this honor you have given me today.
Other housekeeping on Tuesday
During the first day of the 2019 organizational session on Tuesday, the House also re-elected Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) in a bipartisan vote of 84-13. Gaston defeated state Rep. Mary Moore (D-Birmingham).
Then, in a 99-0 vote, the House re-elected Jeff Woodard as clerk.
McCutcheon announced House committee leaders last month.
The speaker is back to work leading the chamber just weeks after being hospitalized with a heart issue while returning home from the legislative orientation session in Montgomery.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn