Reed Elected President Pro-Tempore of Alabama Senate

Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, was unanimously picked Monday by Alabama Senate Republicans to be the next president pro tempore of the chamber, putting Reed in the top leadership role in the Senate and the third highest position in state government. 

The action by senators was in the form of a nomination that is expected to be successful during a vote in the full Senate, with Republicans controlling 27 of the 35 seats in the Senate. 

A rules change in 1999 watered down the power of the lieutenant governor, making the post of president pro tem in reality the highest leadership role in the Senate. 

The nomination came ater Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said Monday he would step down from that role at the start of the 2021 Regular Session, which starts Feb. 2. Marsh had already announced he was not seeking re-election in 2020. He has served as pro tem since 2010.

Reed, 55, has been senate majority leader since 2015. He was re-elected to his Senate seat in 2014 and 2018 without opposition. 

Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, was also picked by Republicans to follow Reed as majority leader. 

Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, told AL.com, he doesn't see major changes for the Senate as part of the changeover. “Senator Reed works hand-in-hand with Senator Marsh. I see a stable transition,” Ward said.

Reed told the Eagle Tuesday afternoon that in the wake of Marsh's intentions to not run again that it was "a natural progression and an opportunity to maybe take additional responsibilities within the Senate body. I began to think about it and look at it as an opportunity for me, and made it known to my colleagues over time that if and when Senator Marsh decided to step aside, that I would be interested in the opportunity." He said he hoped that his years as majority leader demonstrated he could do the job. 

He said a number of his colleagues also came to him about the possibility of become pro tem.

At Monday's meeting, Marsh made the announcement he had several things he wanted to focus on, and he would step aside as pro tem, Reed said, adding that Marsh had "hinted" beforehand he would make the announcement then, and that it was completely his decision. 

"At that point, a little bit to my surprise, I was quickly nominated, and there was a vote taken by my colleagues, and I was elected unanimously by our caucus to be the pro temp once Senator Marsh stepped aside," he said. However, he emphasized that the formal resignation from the role and Reed's election by the full Senate will not come until the start of the session. 

Reed said he has a "great relationship" with Sen. Bobby Singleton, the minority leader, and has already spoken to him. "He's also offered his support," he said, adding he will be speaking soon to other members of the minority caucus to ask for their support.

He said he has known Scofield for many years, as they were both first elected together. "He is a businessman and farmer from up in Marshall County," he said, adding they will be able to work well together. 

As for the pro tem position, Reed said while he has led the majority caucus of Republicans in the chamber, the pro tem role, elected by the full Senate, will have responsibilities to the full Senate. It will involve operation of the Senate and the Senate staff, he said. The pro tem will also be responsible for a number of appointments and is third in line to succession as governor in the Alabama Constitution, after the governor and lieutenant governor. 

While he will have more responsibility, he will stay the same in focusing to be a "servant leader" to the chamber and to help other senators to be recognized and heard for their thoughts and ideas as part of deliberations. He said he would also be the governor's "primary contact" with the Senate. 

He said he would continue to represent his Senate district and continue those normal responsibilities, bringing "a highlight and a focus on my own district." 

Reed said business needs would be a focus in the coming session, saying he is hearing from colleagues across both chambers and from constituents that Alabamians "are focused keenly right now" on the economy and job growth, and how to keep businesses open. They also want to "take every option to mitigate the coronavirus," he said. Some resulting packages he will focus on are renewing and creating incentive packages to recruit business for the state. 

He also wants to concentrate on conservative budget methods, adding the state is in much better shape economically to deal with the pandemic because of the state's conservative approach, compared to other states. As a result, he said Alabama has not had to deal with the deep cuts other states have. 

On COVID-19, he said upcoming vaccines sound promising, but the state has "a ways to go before we get to the timing where those products are readily available for our citizenry." He said the state needed to work with federal officials and the Alabama Department of Public Health in the meantime. 

"I just want people to know what an honor and privilege it is for me at the deepest personal level to be able to serve my district first, and the people of my home district," Reed said, "and to be selected as the leader of the state Senate is a great honor. I take it very seriously. I want to do the absolutely best job I possibly can. I will never claim to have all the answers, but I will everything I can to be a leader that the people the people of my district can be proud of." 

Reed has served in the Senate since 2010, where he represents the 5th District, including Walker, Winston, Fayette, Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties. 

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published this page in News 2020-11-26 11:32:59 -0600