On Wednesday, Stephanie Smith addressed a joint meeting of the Shelby, Jefferson, and St. Clair County Young Republican Clubs. The three groups of YRs were gathered at Hoover Tactical Firearms to watch Wednesday night’s Republican Party Presidential Debate.
Smith is the third president of the Alabama Policy Institute (API).
Smith said API was founded in 1989 by Gary Palmer and Tom Parker. Palmer served as President until he ran for Congress in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District – a position he still holds. Caleb Crosby led the group for about eight years until being replaced by Smith in January.
“The Alabama Policy Institute has gone through some transition over the last nine years,” said Smith.
“We try to strike a balance between the social conservative side and fiscal conservative side,” Smith said.
“We try to set a conservative agenda for the state,” Smith explained. “To hold elected officials accountable for their vote.”
“We opine on national issues with our congressional delegation, but we are more focused on state issues,” Smith continued.
She went on to explain to the YRs how to watch the debate.
“Try to focus on the issues rather than the personality,” Smith said. “With Trump not being here, they are going to try to jockey for that second spot.”
She handed out sheets and asked the group to rank the candidates on the issues and how close they came to their views without the bias of how they felt about the candidates before the debate.
“It has been interesting to me since I took over API in January,” Smith said. “I have had national officials come up to me and ask, why are you here? Alabama is great. You have a supermajority. You can pass whatever you want.”
“Many of the men and women in leadership are more moderate,” Smith explained of state government. “They are not as conservative on the Alabama side.”
“There are plenty of things we can do to be more conservative as a state,” Smith said. “We are nonpartisan, but we are conservative-led.”
She said that one thing that API does is “push out as much information as we can.”
State Representative Susan Dubose (R-Greystone) said, “I cannot tell you how beneficial Stephanie and her group have been to me.”
Dubose said that the information that she gets from API is trustworthy. “It is actual fact. It is not something that they made up,” Dubose said.
The YRs then watched the over two-hour debate. Former President Donald Trump elected not to participate in the debate.
Also at Wednesday night’s event was former State Senator Bryan Taylor, who is running for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and Alabama Court of Civil Appeals Judge Matt Fridy.
Before Smith’s presentation, the Shelby County Young Republicans elected their officers. Shane Plyler was elected the group’s chairman. River Morris was elected Vice Chair.
St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman Logan Glass announced that the club is raffling off a customized AR-15 built by one of the club’s members. Tickets are $5 each.
The Alabama presidential primary is on Tuesday, March 5.
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