Flowers returns to state politics

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 9, 2001

Staff Writer

Troy native Steve Flowers has announced his plans to seek the Republican nomination for Alabama’s secretary of state.

At this point, Flowers and Troy King are the only Republican candidates for that office. Current Secretary of State Jim Bennett can not seek re-election because constitutional officers are only allowed to serve two consecutive terms.

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Although Flowers has never sought a statewide office, he served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1982 until 1998, when he chose not to seek re-election.

The former state legislator, served 16 years and gained a reputation as a conservative and pro-business voter on the House floor.

He co-sponsored a voter identification bill, which is a key issue in Flowers’ campaign. As a candidate for secretary of state, Flowers is running on a platform, calling for honest elections in Alabama.

"Voter fraud has been rampant over the last few years and it is time for Alabama to have a voter ID bill to protect our citizens," Flowers said.

"In order to ensure honest elections, the secretary of state needs to be a Republican. The Democratic people have lined up against voter ID. They (Democrats) want felons to get their voting rights restored."

The candidate also believes the secretary of state’s office should be more proactive in striving for honest elections by being at the polls on election day.

"I think, the secretary of state has the power, although it’s never been exercised, to send poll workers into these counties that have an unusual number of election problems. That’s what the chief elections officer should do."

Flowers may have walked out of the political arena in 1998, but he believes it is time to return to public office.

"I’ve always loved politics," Flowers said. "Anyone who’s watched me grow up in Troy knows that.

"I’m in a position where I can, financially, afford to give full-time service to the public, regardless of what the salary is."

He said he is looking forward to being a full-time public officeholder.

"What better job to do, if you love politics, than be the chief elections officer," Flowers said of the secretary of state position.

"That job carried a status to it," he said, referring to the part he can play in luring corporations to Alabama.

As secretary of state, he would offer the governor his assistance in working on industrial development.

Flowers said Bennett told him corporations are impressed when the secretary of state comes calling.

If Flowers becomes secretary of state, he will be the second Troy man to hold a constitutional office. The first was Charles Henderson, who was governor from 1915-1919.

As a child, Flowers attended Troy public schools, before heading to the University of Alabama from which he received his diploma in 1974.

He, then, returned to Troy and went into private business. He began a career in insurance and real estate, which continues today.

Flowers was first elected to public office in 1982 at the age of 30 as state representative for Pike County. In his first race, he received the largest number of votes ever cast for a single candidate in Pike County.

He was overwhelmingly re-elected four times.

As a lawmaker, Flowers was a primary sponsor of legislation that made changes in the state’s civil liability laws, known as tort reform.

Flowers is a member of First Baptist Church in Troy. He is married to the former Nancy Dunn of Montgomery, and has two daughters, Virginia, a 24-year-old student at Samford University’s Cumberland Law School, and Allyson, 18, a freshman at the University of Alabama.