Tin Shop Tartan - Randolph County Alabama's Own Snarky and Surly Scot Gets All Native

Blogging from the suburbs of the Tin Shop community, Captain Plaid brings Progressivism, and a share of Quixotic angst, to the ridges and hollows of Randolph County, Alabama. Hardly a booster yet rooted here enough to fight, Plaidsters can perhaps find like cause in trying to build local solutions to global concerns. Education, environment, economy, entertainment, engagement ... Trust the Tartan!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Anniston Star looks at our Senate 13th

Today's Anniston Star gives us Primary sources: Candidate Q&As with our Kim Benefield and Dino Dial duking it out in the 13th featured first. Kim S. covers the bases, although she sounded a little too conservative for my lefty tastes, and says the right thing with the 1901 Constitution. I think Dino is a bit chapped that his "good name" is being run down. "Facts are stubborn things!" is what that darned Reagan claimed so I'm sure Dino has heard that one before from his Gooper cronies. Here's their language:

State Senate, District 13 Democratic primary

Gerald Dial (incumbent)
Age: 68
Experience: five terms (20 years) in state Senate

Kim Benefield
Age: 49
Experience: Randolph County circuit clerk since 1988

Do you favor letting citizens vote on whether to hold a convention to draft a new Constitution for the state of Alabama?

Dial: While I would support a referendum to allow citizens to vote on having a convention to draft a new Constitution for Alabama, I won’t do so if that means opportunities to raise taxes on working families. Any rewrite of our Constitution needs to be strictly for updating it for the 21st century, not a backdoor attempt to raise revenue on the backs of working families.

Benefield: I believe strongly in allowing the people of Alabama the right to vote on important issues that would include writing a new Constitution. The 1901 Constitution is racist and puts almost total political power in Montgomery, which blocks the people’s ability to make needed changes on the local level. As senator, I will be a strong advocate for improving the Constitution and giving local people the right to make local decisions.

Would you support a bill requiring groups that lobby the Legislature to reveal the sources of their funding?

Dial: People should know the influence that special interests exert on members of the Legislature. Groups should have to reveal where they get their funding, the same way members of the Senate should come clean when they spend $5,000 of the public’s money on shoe shines. I’ve always been honest and up-front as a legislator, and it’s time others were just as accountable.

Benefield: Special-interest funding of campaigns is one of the great problems we face in Alabama because after the election is over too many of the politicians are loyal to the special interests. As the old saying goes, "They dance with those who brung them." I am going to represent the people’s interests, not the special interests. That is one of the great differences between my opponent and me. After 32 years, Gerald Dial has become a part of the Montgomery system and is beholden to the special interests.

Would you support legislation outlawing PAC-to-PAC transfers?

Dial: Regulating PAC-to-PAC transfers would be a solid first step toward making Montgomery open and transparent. My opponent, for example, reported taking 100 percent of her funding from trial lawyers. But we might never know who is pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into my district to run down my name.

Benefield: PAC-to-PAC transfers should be banned because it is a process that blocks the voters from knowing where contributions come from. I would also support limiting the amount a person can receive from PACs. Again, we need to return the system to where it represents the people and not the PACs and special interests.

If the economy takes a downturn and revenues fall substantially, what budget cuts would you make first?

Dial: There is only one thing I am focused on cutting in the Legislature, and that is taxes on working families. I think we are seeing the effects of what happens when Montgomery does the right thing and returns excess revenue to the people. If the economy takes a downturn, I’ll work to do what’s necessary. Right now, though, I’m going to fight to lower taxes for the people of my district.

Benefield: Government has gotten too big and taxes have gotten too high. There are few agencies that I believe could not afford some restructuring to save tax dollars. However, I want to be clear that I would never support diverting tax dollars earmarked for education to be used for other purposes. The money set aside for our schools should go to our schools and nowhere else.

What can be done to promote economic development in rural Alabama?

Dial: Infrastructure and job training are crucial to economic development in our rural communities. That’s why I’ve helped bring home $77 million for worker training in the past four years. We also need to continue to build new roads and improve existing roads. Under my watch, my district has received more than $40 million for new roads and bridges. Job training and better transportation are the most important things we can do to build the future of east Alabama.

Benefield: The first bill I will sponsor will be to create the Center for Rural Alabama, which Sen. Dial killed this year. This bill was approved in the House unanimously and would have passed the Senate if Sen. Dial had not killed it to pay back some of his political associates. Sen. Dial’s action was wrong, and it really hurt efforts to support rural economic development.

Well done Kim Possible, dare I write "Probable" given the people I talk with all figuring this one ought to be a cake walk. Admittedly all the folks I'm talking with a Kim fans in that they know her and worked with her yet I think this thing can and will work out for her/us once people learn of this ReThuglican Lite's record and position. Dino's been down there since I was a mere stripling and I think we've had about all we can stand of his efforts.

Finally, Kim looks thirty when she's nearly reached a half century yet The Clay Combover is only 68? It matters not since we figure to put him out to pasture soon. Peace ... or War