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Inside the Statehouse: James comes from nowhere in 1978 to win governor’s race over 3 Bs

By Steve Flowers The 1978 governor’s race between the three heavyweights, former Gov. Albert Brewer, Attorney General Bill Baxley and Lt. Gov. Jere Beasley was expected to be titanic. All three men had last names beginning with the letter “B.” The press coined the phrase “the three Bs.” The Republicans were relegated to insignificance on the gubernatorial stage. The winner of the Democratic Primary would be ...

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Don’t forget about Alabama’s entrepreneurs

By Slade Blackwell Lately you would have to be hiding under a rock not to hear a politician talk about job creation. Phrases like “economic development,” “industrial recruitment” and “workforce training” have become widely integrated into political conversations. It makes sense. After all, most Alabamians are more concerned about having good jobs than just about anything else other than the health and well- ...

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Inside the Statehouse: 1970, 1974 governor races go to Wallace

By Steve Flowers Albert Brewer began the writing of George Wallace’s political obituary by beating him in the first primary in 1970. However, Wallace arose from the grave by playing his ever present race card. He trumped Brewer with the race issue in the primary runoff and came from behind to win, thus, resurrecting his political career. Wallace would be governor again for a third time. Brewer had mortally ...

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Inside the Statehouse: The greatest governor’s race of the century

By Steve Flowers Upon Lurleen Wallace’s death in May 1968, Lt. Gov. Albert Brewer moved up to governor. Brewer was no novice to state government. He came to the legislature from Morgan County at an early age and rose quickly to become Speaker of the House during his second term. He won the 1966 lieutenant governor’s race against two state senators without a runoff. Brewer was smart and articulate with a cha ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Lurleen Wallace becomes first female Alabama governor

By Steve Flowers After Ryan De Graffenreid’s plane crash and death in February 1966 the governor’s race was wide open. De Graffenreid would have been governor in a cakewalk but it was now a new ballgame with less than 10 weeks until the May election. George Wallace mulled it over for a few weeks, then the amazing story of his wife Lurleen Wallace running for governor came to fruition. George would be her No ...

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EPA’s far-reaching regulatory authority undermines democracy

By Slade Blackwell Last week the Alabama Power Company announced that federal “environmental mandates are forcing (the company) to close two coal-fired generating units…and reduce or eliminate the ability to use coal (at two other plants) by 2016.” Those mandates are a direct product of President Barack Obama’s agenda executed by the EPA: End coal-fueled electricity generation in the United States. Unfortun ...

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Inside the Statehouse: The story of 3 who vied in the 1962 governor’s race

By Steve Flowers If race was a major issue in 1958, being the racist candidate in 1962 was the only way to be elected governor. With this issue in hand and George Wallace’s love for campaigning and remembering names, he would have beaten anybody that year. Big Jim Folsom was really no match for Wallace because Big Jim had always been soft on the race issue. He was a true progressive liberal who would not su ...

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Inside the Statehouse: 1962 governor’s race really began four years earlier

By Steve Flowers The 1962 governor’s race really began in 1958. The governor’s office and the race for it was the big show in Alabama politics in that era. Being a U.S. senator was secondary in Alabama politics. Governor is still probably the most important and glamorous political position today, but it certainly was at that time. Television had not come into its own. Most Alabamians didn’t own a television ...

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Eyeglasses and baseball a dangerous combination

By Zack Steele Since July is Eye Safety Awareness Month, I thought I would bring up a subject I take very seriously, and that’s safety eyewear for sports. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I am a big sports fan. I played sports growing up and played college baseball for about a week (actually, it was two years, but it felt like a week). I still like to watch sports at all levels, especially baseb ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Looking back at, analyzing the 1958 governor race

By Steve Flowers As the 1958 governor’s race dawned, the shadow of Big Jim Folsom loomed over the scene. Even though Big Jim couldn’t be on the ballot, because the Alabama Constitution prohibited a governor from succeeding himself, his larger than life presence was pervasive. Although Big Jim was prohibited from seeking a record third term in 1958, the aspirants couldn’t decide if they wanted his support or ...

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