State Sen. Stutts applauds ADPH’s Dr. Scott Harris, Says State Health Officer selection should be ‘apolitical’
Despite a hue and cry from the public regarding State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris’ decision to take a long and deliberative approach to reopen the Alabama economy, most lawmakers have been reluctant to criticize Harris’ effort throughout the pandemic.
That includes State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Tuscumbia), a practicing medical doctor who sees Harris’ role in this ordeal as a difficult one given the lack of a historical precedent.
He told Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Saturday that Harris had done “a very good job” and argued against applying a political process to the selection of the State Health Officer in the future.
“I think Dr. Harris has done a very, very good job,” Stutts said. “Again, as I said before about the data, we have not had a pandemic of this magnitude since 1918. So there was nobody Dr. Harris could go to and say, ‘Well, how did y’all handle this the last time? You got any ideas or recommendations about this? There was nobody in the State Health Department, or in fact, the whole country that had ever dealt with something like this, or before. Again, he was looking at the data initially that had the data that were overwhelmed that had a tremendous number of cases. And he made some decisions based on those numbers, and in hindsight, the things that he did worked. It did flatten the curve in Alabama.”
“I’m not going to be critical of any of the early decisions he made,” he continued. “Like I said, personally I think now it is time to move on. As far as how he is selected, you know, the State Board of Health makes that decision, and its made up of physicians that are on the Medical Association’s state board. It also has pharmacists on it. It has a veterinarian on it. It has a wide variety of people that would have an interest in public health on that board. I think they made a good selection. I think Dr. Harris has done an outstanding job. And I applaud what he’s done. I think we need to move on now I’m not going to be critical of the decisions he made four, five or six weeks ago.”
Stutts argued the best way to determine the State Health Officer should be done by this group of qualified people.
“I think his selection should be apolitical,” Stutts said. “He’s appointed by a board of people that are very, very qualified to decide who is going to be a state health officer. You have to look no further than Dr. Harris to see what his qualifications are. He’s [practiced] primary care medicine in Alabama in a medium-sized town. He’s got additional training in public health and epidemiology. He is very, very well qualified to be in the position he is in. It doesn’t need to be a political appointment. It needs to be appointed by a group of people who look at those qualifications and look at the most qualified person.”
@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 Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.