Trey Edwards: “Time for accountability in state government”

Trey Edwards of Victory Social Media

Trey Edwards of Victory Social Media

This past week has been another chapter in the seemingly never-ending saga involving our Governor. Despite his claims that he never took advantage of his office to protect his affair, he had a state helicopter fly his wallet to him after he drove himself to the coast to escape a confrontation over that affair with his wife. This means he used taxpayer dollars to hide his affair – otherwise, he could have just easily called a family friend to retrieve the wallet. It was the desire to keep the affair and the argument a secret that necessitated using state employees and equipment.

It is not generally a good idea to pass laws that will have a major impact on our state based on the improprieties of one man. With that being said, it is long past time for our state to implement some common-sense accountability measures. These issues have become the rule – not the exception – in Alabama politics. I have a few recommendations:

1) Recall Legislation
With the spotlight on the Governor right now and on the fact that our impeachment process for statewide officials is poorly understood, this is a prime opportunity for ambitious legislators to push a recall bill. Allow average citizens to petition for a recall election of any elected official. Since there is no possible way they can be removed for their actions during most of their term, they are more likely to abuse that privilege and vote in a manner that does not represent their constituents. Recall legislation would force every elected official to constantly be weighing each vote against their constituents’ wishes.

2) Closed Primaries
In Alabama, we do not have party registration. Democrats can vote in the Republican primaries and vice versa. This is the same thing as stockholders from one company being able to go into the stockholder’s meeting of that company’s rival, and cast votes on policy changes. What would happen? Naturally, they’d vote against that company’s best interests in order to help their side down the road. This happens on a regular basis in both state and county races. The most well-funded candidate typically has a better chance of winning elections, as they can simply spend money to get members of one party to turn out in the other’s primary to support them – or to take out potential rivals. This gives a distinct disadvantage to the candidates that are running on their beliefs – because ideology and issues are no longer a factor. We want candidates that focus on issues rather than rhetoric. These are the more pure-hearted ones – the ones that will fight for more accountability and do what they genuinely believe the right thing is to do.

3) Ethics Reform
What is the Alabama Ethics Commission’s job? Apparently, their job is to rubber-stamp any and every request from those in power. Our Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, is currently facing trial for 23 felony indictments – many of which were signed off on by the Ethics Commission in advance – and this will be one of Hubbard’s defenses when he goes to trial. The commission is appointed by the very people they are hired to oversee. They are not an independent third party, but rather an internal agency with zero incentive to do their job. If they actually held Hubbard accountable to any ethical standard, he would simply have them replaced. We need to reform the Ethics Commission and make it an independent agency directly subject to either the voters themselves or to a combination of the three branches of government.

Comments, critiques, or insults? Find me on Facebook or e-mail me at trey@victorysocialmedia.com

See you next week…

Trey Edwards


Trey Edwards’ political column appears weekly on ShoalsInsider.com

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