Teachers unions, trial lawyers associations, and radical environmental groups are examples of organizations that are operating across the country in an effort to undermine conservative policy makers. Alabama may be a solid red state, but don’t think for a second these groups have stopped working hard to influence our state government any way they can.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the notable liberal special interest groups in Alabama, along with the operatives they have enlisted to help advance their agenda behind-the-scenes.
Alabama Education Association
Johnson is AEA’s in-house pollster and strategist. He provides strategic guidance and messaging advice for them on issues as they come before the legislature. He also keeps the data flowing on specific races in which the AEA wants to get involved — usually on behalf of Democrats, but more recently for AEA-friendly Republican primary candidates.
Alabama Association for Justice
The trial lawyers association is one of Alabama’s longest standing liberal Democrat special interest groups, and Avery represents them before the legislature in Montgomery. They’re attempting to project themselves as more Republican-friendly in the new landscape, but their anti-growth agenda remains the same. They continue to fight tooth and nail against all tort reform efforts.
Radical Environmental Groups
Rountree has been the environmentalists “inside man” at the Alabama Public Service Commission for years, first as Chief of Staff to liberal Democrat Susan Parker and now as Chief of Staff of Republican Terry Dunn. He was recently on hand for the Alabama Environmental Council’s coal hate fest at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, but his environmentalist roots extend much deeper into the past. He’s a long-time John Kerry supporter and donor. And yes, that’s the same John Kerry who told the U.S. Senate that climate change is “of as significant a level of importance” as Syria or Iran’s nuclear ambition…seriously. For the radical enviros, having one of their ideological brethren up at the PSC, and inside a Republican office, has been quite a coup.
The Old Democrat Machine
When Lowell Baron ruled the Democrat-controlled Alabama Senate with an iron fist, Wheeler was his “right hand man.” Today, Wheeler continues to be a player among the old guard Democrats as they plot their resurgence. Their task will be much more difficult after redistricting, but don’t think for a second they’re going to go quietly into the night. She’s a registered lobbyist for the AEA, but her primary concern is furthering the Democrat cause. Even with Democrats in the minority, she’s omnipresent on the seventh floor of the State House strategizing on behalf of the minority caucus.