Republican State Auditor hopeful Stan Cooke is taking a different approach than his opponents to set himself apart in his bid for public office.
During an appearance on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5 on Monday, Cooke pledged to use the power of the State Auditor’s office to pressure the state to get out of the alcohol business, mainly the stores operated by the Alcohol Beverage Commission throughout the state.
Cooke said he did not have a position on alcohol but insisted the finances of the ABC board should be exposed and vowed to do so if elected to the post. He recounted a question he received at a campaign appearance in Shelby County about the agency.
“[T]he question was asked about the Alcohol Beverage Commission in Alabama,” he said. “And that is discretionary money. And they wanted to know — of course, this person was anti-drinking, anti-alcohol, and I’m not taking that approach at all. My approach was this: that the state should not be in private competition, private business or small business. I believe the state’s competition is unconstitutional.”
“The state auditor, since it is discretionary money, can audit the ABC Board, see how much money is coming in every year and then see who they are paying their leases, their rent to,” Cooke continued. “Every one of their locations is in a building, in a county. And do those buildings belong to a bureaucrat in Montgomery, a former state legislator, a current state legislator? Who are we paying this rent to? And the conversation we had with the people in Shelby County was would it not be great for the state to get out of the business altogether and sell those businesses to a private business owner and let their business rise or fall on their ability to operate and do business?”
Cooke alleged that consumers, including some businesses, were sending empty trucks across state lines to purchase cheaper alcohol to avoid the costs associated with doing business with the State of Alabama’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
“When the state gets involved, things go wrong, and I think we need to be out of the alcohol business altogether,” he added.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.