Saturday, December 16, 2006

Such a great loss

Four more years as the Alabama Senate's president pro tem is out of the question for state Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, who will leave the post next month, eight years after his coalition stripped the lieutenant governor of many powers and gave them to Barron.

His probable -- though not certain, as The Huntsville Times noted Friday -- successor is Sen. Jim Preuitt, D-Talladega, who has the bipartisan support of 19 of the chamber's 35 members. (Twelve are Republicans who want to be in control, and seven are Democrats who either don't much like Barron's leadership style or who also want to end up in the governing majority.) Barron can't be too happy about that outcome, given his recent push to bring stray Democrats back into the party fold by promising to step down as pro tem as long as Preuitt didn't end up in charge.

The Legislature's upper chamber has lost the kind of bold leader who spearheaded a ban on small-town police issuing tickets on interstates after getting pulled over himself and who recently condemned the payday loan industry after years as the owner of payday loan shops. Somehow, though, Alabama will survive.

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