Who is Bill Poole? Republican sponsoring gas tax increase bill

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Robert Bentley veterans military
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, right, and state Rep. Bill Poole, beside Gov. Bentley, and others during the singing of the National Anthem on Veterans Day in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. [Photo Credit: Gov. Robert Bentley]

State Representative Bill Poole is sponsoring the bill which would call for a 10 cent tax increase. A proposal that is supported by Governor Kay Ivey and numerous business groups including the Business Council of Alabama (BCA).

“The road to our future must be paved,” said BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt. “Alabama’s transportation system is the backbone of the state’s economy and is crucial to our economic growth, and I commend Governor Ivey for making this a priority of her Administration.”

Poole currently holds the legislative seat vacated by former Governor Robert Bentley. He won it in 2010 after defeating John Fisher (who was since arrested on several felony charges related to drug sales and stolen property.)

From the biography of Poole posted on the Alabama Republican Party website, “Bill grew up in rural Marengo County and is a resident of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Poole is a practicing attorney and is a member of the Alabama State Bar Association, the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association, the Alabama Law Institute and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. In 2010, Poole was elected to serve House District 63 in the Alabama House of Representatives. This important district includes the University of Alabama and much of the City of Tuscaloosa.

Following graduation Poole began his professional career as a Staff Assistant for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways & Means (then chaired by Bill Archer R-TX), as an International Trade Analyst for the international law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. in Washington, D.C., and as an Assistant Manager for Federal Affairs for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in Washington, D.C.

Poole returned to the University of Alabama to attend law school in 2001 and was admitted into the Alabama State Bar Association in 2004.”

In 2013 Poole was named chairman of the House Education and Budget Committee by then Speaker Mike Hubbard. Al.com reported from a statement released at the time in which Hubbard said, ““In his time in the House, Poole has quickly earned the respect of his colleagues and proven that he has the skills and know-how required to make the tough decisions this position requires.”

Once rumored to be a top contender to replace Hubbard as speaker of the house, after Hubbard’s conviction, Poole spoke to Montgomery Advertiser saying, “I have three young children…With a young family, with respect to my professional career and a full-time job, I’m not sure I’m in a position to pursue the office of speaker.”

In an editorial published after the 2017 session, Gordon Stone, the executive director of the Higher Education Partnership, an advocacy organization for the state’s public universities, praised Poole said “For the Higher Education Partnership and the 14 public universities that it serves, the work of Chairman Poole has been extraordinarily positive. He understands that appropriations must recognize all of the education entities for the state and its people to benefit from the dollars invested in public education. He is a friend to K-12, post-secondary and higher education because he treats all segments as valuable. He is quick to contact the educational providers and let them know if a problem is around the corner. He wants to work with each entity to make sure that there is equitable funding.”

According to an announcement he made at the time in 2016 Poole was named to the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship. Part of the  nationally-selected group of 24 elected officials, Poole was to participate in the two-year fellowship designed to bring together lawmakers from across the country who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to work responsibly across partisan divisions and bring greater civility to public discourse.

At the time Poole said, “I believe Alabama is best served when its leaders surround themselves with the best information, the most innovative ideas, and leading experts in their fields to solve the important issues that face our state.”