For more than two decades, Alabama has been landing one significant economic development project after another, transforming the state into an epicenter for the aerospace, automotive, and defense industries.
Companies looking where to locate are attracted to our state’s business-friendly labor policies and focus on workforce development. Alabama’s right-to-work status has been a tremendous advantage, as Alabama is one of only 11 states that has constitutionally protected the right to work.
However, the recent U.S. Senate special election and the spotlight it shone on Alabama threatened to bring the advancements of the last 25 years to a screeching halt. The Republican candidate, Roy Moore, with a knack for incendiary comments, made him – and Alabama – fodder for national news and international attention.
Alabama U.S. Senator Richard Shelby announced publicly that while not voting for the Democratic candidate, he would be writing in a “distinguished Republican.” Now, supporters of Judge Moore are blaming Senator Shelby – and not their candidate – for the lopsided loss. With financing from an out-of-state investor, Moore supporters are seeking to have Senator Shelby censured by the Alabama Republican Party.
The Business Council of Alabama and its leadership will mobilize and energize the business community to oppose all efforts to adopt this negative resolution that works against the business community, the economic well-being of Alabama, and our No. 1 advocate in Washington, D.C. – Senator Richard Shelby.
I have publicly urged the Republican Party to adopt a resolution that commends Senator Shelby for his service to Alabama. If you look at the economic development projects in Alabama, there is one constant: Senator Richard Shelby. He deserves better than a fringe element of the GOP attacking him by not telling the truth – seeking revenge for their losing campaign.
The recent announcements of Montgomery landing the F-35 Lightning mission and Huntsville gaining the joint Toyota-Mazda facility goes to Senator Shelby and his unwavering courage and leadership to stand his ground for Alabama. In my opinion, without his principled stand, the Toyota-Mazda plant would have gone to North Carolina – especially if Mr. Moore had been elected.
Let’s put the past behind us and move on. If we don’t, the business community in Alabama needs to determine the best way to invest its resources with organizations and movements that will move Alabama forward… period, starting today!
William J. Canary is the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama