(Above: Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL2) discusses her future with Yellowhammer CEO Cliff Sims)
Maybe it is a result of there being very little drama this year in Alabama at the top of the ticket, but Alabama political insiders are already speculating about who’s going to run for what office in 2018.
The governor, attorney general and lt. governor will all bump up against their term limit in 2018, assuming they all win re-election this year (a reasonable assumption). That will undoubtedly set off a game of musical chairs among the up-and-coming crop of ambitious Alabama politicians.
There are several names that are brought up in just about every conversation about the future of Alabama politics, but one that has started to get mentioned more frequently in recent months is Martha Roby.
Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District representative has risen quickly in just a handful of years in D.C.
Roby was most recently appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which plays a major role in the allocation of federal tax dollars, and the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which was given the high-profile task of investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on an American diplomatic compound that left four Americans dead.
Her rising profile in D.C., coupled with the fact that her young family still lives in Montgomery, has led some prominent Alabama business leaders to speculate that a run for Alabama’s highest office may be in her future.
“Being in congress is tough on families,” one Alabama CEO told Yellowhammer on condition of anonymity so he could speak freely. “Think about (state senator) Cam Ward, for example. Everyone thought he was going to run for congress when (U.S. Rep.) Spencer (Bachus) retired. But when the job opened up, Cam passed because he didn’t want to be away from his daughter. He’d worked with Spencer before getting elected to the Legislature and knew what that job was like. You’ve got to think the idea of being at home every night in Alabama is appealing to anyone with a young family.
“But look, it’s not all about that,” he continued. “The fact of the matter is that Martha’s a highly competent, well-liked, Republican who’s already been elected to the United States Congress. That’s a great place to start from if she does ever consider running statewide. Her challenges will be getting known outside of her district and building up a donor base around the state.”
At least six Alabama congressmen have made the jump directly to the governor’s office, but only one in the last 100 years — former Gov. Bob Riley.
But whether a run for statewide office is in Roby’s future or not, she already seems to be making inroads in areas of the state outside of her District.
This week’s Yellowhammer Exchange interview was filmed at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham while she was in town meeting with key leaders.
However, when asked about her future, she was quick to say that she’s entirely focused on her current job, at least for now.
“I’m very flattered that my name would be mentioned in a conversation about the future of politics in this wonderful state,” Roby said. “I love my state, and that’s one of the reasons I want to be representing Alabama’s 2nd District in Congress… So right now my focus really, honestly is on my constituents and being the best member of Congress that I can be. That’s really where my heart is.”
Check out the video to watch Roby answer the question about her future. Previous segments of the interview can be viewed by clicking on the links below:
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims