As the newly-elected Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, I thought it important to take a moment and let readers here know something about my background, my philosophy, and my vision for how the legislative chamber should operate during the upcoming regular session and thereafter.
Though unorthodox, I will begin by letting you know the things I am not.
I am not a career politician. After 25 years in law enforcement, I was elected to the House in 2006 during my first run for office, and I serve solely to give back to the state, community, and neighbors that have been so good to me. My only priority is the office I currently hold
I am not guided by a desire for riches, power or the other temptations that elected office sometimes offers. As a retired police officer living on a monthly pension, my future resources are already determined, and my wife and I are quite thankful for all that life has already provided us.
I am not beholden to any special interests groups. As a lawmaker and public servant, I am beholden to the 45,000 citizens in House District 25, to the people of Alabama, to my family, and to my Lord and Savior.
Now let me tell you the things that I am.
I am a man who is humbled by the confidence and trust that my colleagues have offered by electing me as Speaker of the House, especially following such difficult and often controversial times in our government.
I am determined to utilize the talents, ideas, and input of every member of the House whether man or woman, Republican or Democrat, conservative, moderate, or liberal. A legislator’s worth as a member should not be solely determined by whether a D or an R follows their name on the roster, but rather by their work ethic, their commitment to understanding important issues, and the soundness of the ideas and initiatives they have to offer.
Moving Alabama forward is going to require us to adjust the way the House has operated over the past several decades.
I plan to create a system that opens and embraces the legislative process and allows bills to sink or swim based upon their own merits and the sponsors’ ability to convince their colleagues to offer support. Taking a turn from the politics of the past will not be simple or easy because old habits die hard, but we must begin the effort anyway.
The motto of the Alabama House is “Vox Populi” which means “Voice of the People.” This statement serves as my driving force and rulebook for how the body will operate moving forward. We consist of 105 members, with 105 districts, and 105 different constituencies. It is important to me that our Representatives have every opportunity to be the voice of their district, and this will be the defining feature of our House.
I have discussed the ideas outlined above with members of House and Senate leadership, the lieutenant governor, and Gov. Robert Bentley, and all have indicated some level of support for them.
As a result, I am confident that if we work together, lawmakers can improve Alabama’s future by helping to create jobs for the jobless, offering hope to the hopeless, and providing a quality education to the children who are our future and will one day take our places in this Alabama State House.
Evidence of this fact was on display during the September special session when House members of both parties joined together in passing landmark legislation that pays down a significant portion of our state’s debt, provides needed funding for road and bridge projects related to economic development on the Gulf Coast, and shores up funding needs in the Medicaid agency’s budget. And, best of all, we were able to do all of this with no new taxes.
On the day my colleagues elected me Speaker, I stood in the well of the House and asked God’s blessings on every action, every decision, and every vote that takes place in the chamber so that we may fulfill the calling in Peter 4:10, which reads, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
I believe that if we simply follow that biblical admonition, House members will succeed in doing our jobs well.
Mac McCutcheon serves as Alabama’s Speaker of the House and represents District 25 which encompasses the communities of Madison City, Huntsville, Capshaw, Monrovia and East Limestone. Follow Speaker McCutcheon on Twitter via @MacDistrict25 and Facebook at facebook.com/speakermccutcheon.