If Gov. Kay Ivey is to have any threat to her path to the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year, many think it could come from Greenville businessman Tim James.
James, a candidate for governor in 2010, has not committed to a run in 2022 but is often mentioned among the possibilities.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” James came out swinging at the Republican leadership in Alabama on various topics, including education, taxation, gambling and marijuana.
Since taking control of the legislature in 2010, James gave Republican members a low score for how it has handled education.
“I think it is certainly a ‘D,'” he said. “I mean — you can’t decline from a decade ago because when we were scoring in the mid-40s — 46, 45, 46. And now, we’re 52. So obviously, we’re on a very dangerous slippery slope. You just don’t turn it around talking about it. You have to have a force that is willing to engage and go into the battles, fight the battles and take on the system, take on the structure, take on the bureaucracy, the unions, go into the school boards across the state. You know, a governor is someone that has to be the backbone of principals and teachers. We have to cover their back so they can take authority of their classroom and their schools. And when third parties come at them, and complain, and threaten them, the governor is the one that stands in the gap. And that’s the first thing that you have to put in place is a system where principals and teachers have full authority without fear to do what they need to do in their classrooms.”
James was also critical of Ivey and her 2019 push for the Rebuild Alabama Act, which resulted in an increase in the state’s fuel tax.
However, he also took issue with state leaders on gambling and the focus on the legalization of medical marijuana as well. James insisted Alabama looked as if it were a combination of California, Nevada and Colorado.
“If I look at this — if I look at the state government in the last half a decade, on many fronts, it looks like a combination of California, Nevada and Colorado,” he explained. “California represents taxes. Nevada represents gambling. And Colorado represents marijuana. If I was sitting in space looking at what this legislature has done, there is no way you could convince me that this conservative state that we live in, in the Bible Belt, is Alabama because I cannot believe the legislation that they have passed or tried to pass. It is in conflict with everything Alabamians stand for. They have lost their way. I don’t know what’s on their mind. But it is time they begin to sober up and get their feet back out of the clouds and out on the ground because what they have done and seek to do is not in the best interest of the people of Alabama.”
On gambling, James warned of the impacts casino gaming could have on the state and suggested legislators got “greedy” in their 2021 push for a comprehensive gaming bill, which he said was designed to turn Alabama into the “Las Vegas of the South.”
“I’m against gambling of all sorts,” James said. “The difference today versus Phenix City is that it was illegal, and they did it in the dark. But now, the Republican Party and the Republican leadership are out front — the Governor’s office and the leaders in the legislature. I mean, they want to turn Alabama into the Las Vegas of the South. You know, it didn’t pass — but it didn’t pass that gambling legislation because they got greedy. They were putting forth nine casinos in the state of Alabama. And then, they wanted a few more, and the legislature got crossed up, and it didn’t make it on the ballot. They speak in terms of the gambling as lottery but what they’re after is full-blown head-on casinos. And they were pushing nine casinos in Alabama. Thankfully it failed for other reasons, but we do not need to do that. We don’t need to turn Alabama into Mississippi, into southern Mississippi with these casinos all over the place. It has been going on for a long, long time. All I can tell you is if you just go to the places that have these casinos, all you have to do is look one block away, and you’re going to see blight in every one of them. It does not build infrastructure. It does not create anything but problems. If you look at the studies on gambling, there’s no place where they’re a net-net benefit in the country.”
@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.