Alabama judiciary panel chairman has no plans to quit after arrest

Cam Ward mugshot

The chairman of the Alabama Senate’s Judiciary Committee said drinking and driving was a “huge mistake” but he doesn’t think he should resign after his arrest on a drunken-driving charge.

Republican state Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster told WIAT-TV in an interview aired late Monday that he was using alcohol as a crutch to deal with stress, and driving while doing so was a “whopper” of a mistake.

But Ward said he doesn’t believe he should quit either his Senate seat or his industrial development job with the city of Alabaster.

“I think I have a lot to contribute in the Senate,” said Ward, 44.

Ward said he wasn’t working at the time he was stopped.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh previously said he had no plans to remove Ward as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which handles bills related to legal issues, including prison reform legislation approved in the last session.

Ward was stopped by Alabaster police about midday July 1. The arrest occurred about two hours after Ward posted a photo of himself on social media visiting a Bibb County vocational school, and Ward said in the interview he was driving home from Bibb County when he was stopped.

Ward, who is awaiting an Aug. 12 court date, did not say in the interview whether he would plead guilty to the charge, which is a misdemeanor. But he acknowledged drinking alcohol and driving.

“Obviously, I made a huge mistake. I drank alcohol while driving an automobile,” Ward said. He said his action that day “wasn’t a repeated problem.”

Ward said he supports the enforcement of strong DUI laws for himself or anyone else. He said he has sought and received help since his arrest but didn’t specify what type.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.