Ashland attorney and Democratic candidate for District 13, Greg Varner, is reporting on his campaign blog that former Democratic Senator Gerald Dial intends to qualify and run as a Republican this year. The current Democratic Senator, Kim Benefield, isn't running for re-election.
The Political Parlor wrote about this possibility last November, but speculation increased the past week as the April 2nd filing deadline gets closer.
It looks like a done deal, as Varner noted:
At the event, Gerald Dial announced that he would qualify to run this Friday as a Republican.
Varner's whole blog post discusses his support for Constitution reform and it's well worth taking the time to read the whole thing. As a taste, here's the jaw-dropping part:
During his [Dial's] “announcement speech,” he made an argument against constitutional reform that I have not heard and, to be frank, do not understand. He contended that “home rule” was a dangerous principle. For example he argued that, “if we had had home rule, Lowndes County would not have any white land-owners.” I cannot follow this argument at all. If local government raised taxes, it would be on everyone, black and white. If they imposed a tax just on whites, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution would stand in the way. Accordingly, I believe this to be a mere scare tactic.
Scare tactic? I admire Varner's restraint. I'd call it lunatic fringe, wingnut race-baiting – which goes a long way towards explaining why I could never run for office…
More excerpts from Varner's post on the flip.
Third, a new constitution provides us an opportunity to break the concentration of power in Montgomery and decentralize the functions of government. I believe that most political power should reside in local towns and communities (“home rule”), not the salons and backrooms of Montgomery. As Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens; and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite public agents to corruption, plunder and waste.” –Thomas Jefferson to Gideon Granger, 1800. ME 10:167
Fourth, since the document was intended to prevent local control, Montgomery acts as a big, ineffective city council, handling mundane local issues. In addition, the entire state has to then vote on these matters.
Intrigued, I checked out Varner's Web site for more information about him. He appears to be a clear economic populist who thinks we have a moral obligation as a state to address poverty and economic inequality:
Alabama must reject the policies and programs which have created a growing concentration of economic power and control for the wealthy. In the words of the Christian essayist, G.K. Chesterton, the problem with the modern, deformed, version of capitalism is that it creates too few capitalists. What passes for “capitalism” today hardly resembles the principles advanced by Adam Smith, the father of free markets. It is better described as cronyism
As part of government’s calling to pursue public justice, it is our duty to work for, not against, those in need.
We, the people of Alabama, must work to break the concentration of power and rebuild wealth-producing assets and savings to the working people of Alabama.
- First, we should remove inequitable taxes, such as any grocery sales tax, off the poor and working people of Alabama.
- In order to develop savings habits, we could match, dollar-for-dollar, the savings of children from lower-income families.
- We need to consider developing programs, supports, and money incentives that would allow actual workers to buy-out plants in their communities that are closing or moving.
- Lastly, let’s consider being more proactive in our lending to micro-sized business ventures for the poor and working classes. Tested working models of these programs exist all over the world; if we have the will, the world can show us the way.
Wow. Just. Wow.
Of course, nobody's perfect, so I'm sure some (including me) will disagree with his up-front “pro-family, pro-life” stance that he defines as being anti-choice and anti-marriage equality. However, I was heartened by this bit about the importance of supporting families. He's honest about his opinion, but doesn't stoop to gay-baiting and self-righteousness:
Over the past 20 years, however, our leaders have held on to a philosophy which valued free markets over family security, free trade over family traditions, and commercial values over community values.
While I believe we must oppose homosexual marriage, other threats to the family pose more immediate and widespread danger, divorce being one of the most hurtful. Divorce is emotionally and financially hard on children, the couple, and extended family. Another widespread danger to the family is children born to unwed mothers. Between 1960 and 2006, the black community watched as single parenthood increased by 155%; among whites, it increased by 229%. Today, 40% of all babies are born to single parents.
here, he talks about how the US is the only country without paid parental leave and how the financial burden for nursing home care and assisted living could be mitigated if we supported families who wanted to care for their elderly relatives at home
For most in District 13, it is time Alabama became authentically pro-family.
Varner isn't perfect, but he's a darn sight better than what I've come to expect from many Alabama State Senators. Certainly, he's head and shoulders above Mr. “No White Land-Owners” Dial.
According to the Randolph Leader, Heflin attorney and former Clebourne County engineer, Russell Emrick, has also qualified to run in the Democratic primary. I can't find a Web site for him though. Does anyone have any information?
Also, any information about District 13 in general would be great! Feel free to weigh in with comments, facts, and figures in the comments section.