Last summer I wrote a column for al.com explaining why Mobile’s Republican state Rep. Chris Pringle would make a fine Speaker of the House. He didn’t get the post, but now the job of Majority Leader is open — and for the same reasons I offered then, I urge his colleagues to elect him to that position. I say so without regard to the good qualities of any of his opponents, but only, and specifically, because of the high regard I have for Pringle’s demonstrated abilities.
Pringle served as the Republicans’ leader in the House back in the 1990s before taking 12 years off from public service.
He did a great job then, both for GOP political purposes and in terms of substance. Also, as I wrote last summer:
Legislatively, Pringle fits the old model of a workhorse rather than a show-horse. As far as can be gleaned, he holds the Alabama record for authoring the repeal of more bad or antiquated laws than any other legislator.
Also, Pringle for years has criticized Alabama’s finance and public-accounts systems – and, sure enough, this year the state’s audit was late because a no-bid contract produced a new accounting system that doesn’t work. That news was followed in June by the firing of a top official at the finance office after a significant security breach.
The GOP caucus’ internal election will be Wednesday, two days from when I write this. Pringle’s letter to his colleagues strikes just the right tone:
I’ve fought beside you for more transparency in state government and I think most would agree that I “sweat the legislative details.” I strive to work well with all of my colleagues in the House and to find common ground even when there is disagreement. I’ve learned that the greatest level of success is achieved when lines of communication are open and everyone has a seat at the table. Above all, you can always count on me to be an honest broker.
With scandals and/or controversy surrounding state Republicans from the governor to the prior speaker to the chief justice and to the just-resigned House majority leader, Chris Pringle would help re-establish (or, some would say, just plain “establish”) his party’s reputation for integrity, while adding a real nuts-and-bolts ability to legislate. More important, the election of Pringle as House majority leader could finally start renewing the faith of all Alabamans in the probity of their government. — Quin Hillyer
Update: Alas, Pringle lost. The new majority leader is Nathaniel Ledbetter of Rainsville.