1. Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise
Freshman representative Barry Moore is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He’s a founder or investor in multiple successful businesses, most notably Barry Moore Industries, a commercial waste management company based in Enterprise. Every vote he casts in the legislature is informed by his extensive private sector experience.
If it’s about smaller government, lower taxes, less spending or decreased government regulation, Moore’s going to be with you 100 percent of the time.
With Ft. Rucker located in his district, Moore has also been a leading advocate for military families. He shepherded a bill that made it easier for active duty military personnel to get in-state tuition, and a similar bill making it easier for military spouses to get business licenses. He also sponsored a bill that would’ve reduced unemployment benefits for certain persons receiving pension payments.
The vote that most illustrates Moore’s rock-ribbed conservatism occurred during the 2011 session. A bill to extend unemployment benefits was passed overwhelmingly in the House by a vote of 94-1. The one “no” vote? Barry Moore.
In a state house packed full of Republicans, Moore is the most dependable conservative vote in the Alabama legislature.
2. Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle
Known among his colleagues for his sense of humor and willingness to say — and tweet — exactly what’s on his mind, Rep. Henry really hit his stride as a legislator during the 2013 session.
He was the lead House sponsor on the Omnibus Gun Bill, giving Alabama what proponents of the bill called “the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country.” The gun bill was one of the most contentious pieces of legislation during the 2013 session. When negotiations got heated between staunch Second Amendment advocates, business interests, law enforcement personnel and other stakeholders, Henry was a steady, constitutional-conservative champion, balancing Second Amendment and Fifth Amendment concerns in an effort to build consensus.
Over the last few sessions, Henry sponsored the “Tim Tebow Act,” a bill that would allow homeschooled students equal access to sports and extracurricular activities; a “loser pays” bill to discourage frivolous lawsuits; and numerous pro-life bills.
If you’re a conservative, you want Henry in the room working for you.
3. Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Daphne
Pittman’s libertarian streak is a little unnerving to his senate colleagues sometimes, but if the preservation of the free market is a big deal for you, Pittman’s your guy. He was even a member of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign team in Alabama.
His top duty in the senate is overseeing the biggest pot of money in state government — the education budget.
The budget has not experienced proration since Pittman took over at the helm.
When he’s not mixing it up on the seventh floor of the state house, Pittman runs Pittman Tractor Company, an Authorized Hyundai Dealer selling and repairing heavy equipments all over south Alabama.
A small business owner who fiercely defends the free market. That’s music to conservatives’ ears.
4. Sen. Phil Williams, R-Gadsden
Williams is a hard-charging conservative bulldog, a trait that likely comes from his quarter century of military service that included multiple tours overseas — one each in Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier this month, LTC Williams took over command of the 4th Alabama Army National Guard.
In the legislature, Williams has pushed bills on a wide range of conservative issues.
He led the floor debate and ultimately helped win the repeal of the legislative pay raise Democrats gave themselves in 2007. He’s sponsored and supported numerous pro-life bills, including twice carrying the Personhood bill, which declares that life begins at conception. In recent sessions he’s been the lead sponsor on numerous proposals aimed at streamlining and downsizing state government.
Prior to his current private sector gig as an attorney with his own firm, Williams & Associates, LLC, Williams was in full-time ministry for seven years with the international youth outreach organization YoungLife.
5. Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale
Never one to shy away from a fight, Tea Party favorite Scott Beason has been in the middle of just about every controversial bill the Alabama legislature has taken up in recent years.
Want to pass the country’s toughest immigration law? Beason will be the lead sponsor. Want to expand and protect gun rights? Beason’s your guy. Want to repeal Common Core? Beason’s leading the charge.
There are a lot of legislators who could be on this list based on their conservative voting record. Beason’s on here because he’s not just going to vote for it, he’s going to sponsor it, stump for it, yell at the press about it and push his colleagues to support it until it’s finally done.
6. Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Arab
Scofield is the senate’s tort reform champion. He’s led the charge against frivolous lawsuits as part of the GOP’s efforts to make Alabama the most business-friendly state in the country. He’s a guaranteed “yes” vote on any piece of conservative legislation, and a “no” vote on anything that strays from his conservative, down-home roots.
Scofield is also one of Alabama’s most socially conservative legislators. He has sponsored and supported numerous pieces of pro-life legislation since he was elected just three short years ago.
7. Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville
Wallace describes himself in his bio as a “Conservative Christian who will fearlessly defend my God, country, and family against all who would do them harm.”
He’s is a staunch defender of Alabama’s right-to-work status. His very first bill in the legislature paved the way to make it more difficult for employee unions to organize using intimidation. It was past as part of Republicans’ “Handshake with Alabama,” a series of bills delivering on GOP campaign promises after the 2010 elections.
He’s earned a reputation around the state house as a calm operator who stands on principle, even when it’s not politically correct or socially convenient.
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims