Pike County’s senate status secure

Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 13, 2012

“I feel a lot of times in the Legislature like the new, young upstart,” state Sen. Bryan Taylor said this week.

Illustrating his point, Bryan began to tell the story of a new, young store manager for Walmart. “He comes in with a plan to reform Walmart,” Taylor said. “He gets to the store and finds this retired gentlemen greeting people at the door.”

The manager notices the greeter shows up late for work each day. He mentions punctuality to the greeter, who just nods his head and shows up late again the next day. After several days of this, the manager takes action. Knowing that the greeter is retired from the military, the manager poses a question:

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“Sir, when you were in military and would show up late in the morning, what would people say to you?”

A long pause. And then:

“Well, usually they said ‘Good morning, general. How would you like your coffee?’”

Taylor used the anecdote on Thursday to illustrate his relationship to Sen. Jimmy Holley. Taylor is the first-term Republican representing Pike County. Holley is the veteran legislator, serving his fourth term as a senator after serving five terms in the House of Representatives.

“I feel a lot like that Walmart manager around him,” Taylor said with a smile.

Both men were on hand Thursday for the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast.

Taylor, R-Prattville, was the keynote speaker, providing the legislative update to his constituents in Pike County. Holley, the longtime legislator from Coffee County, was on hand to meet the folks he will likely serve one day.

“If I have the honor of being elected again, I look forward to being your state senator,” Holley told the crowd. “You’re giving up a lot in losing Senator Taylor: he’s a great legal mind and a tenacious young individual whose engaged in the process.”

The change comes as a result of legislative redistricting, the realignment of district lines that takes place every 10 years. When Pike County leaders realized legislative redistricting would bring about a change in the county’s representation, they had one primary concern.

“We wanted to make sure we could keep Pike County together,” Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said.

Talking this week to business and civic leaders gathered at the breakfast, Lunsford share some insight into the work he and Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage did in preparation of the redistricting effort.

“When it became clear that we were going to have a change in senate representation for Pike County, we went to Sen. Taylor with one request,” Lunsford said. “We wanted to keep Pike County … and we were able to do that.”

Pike County has been represented since 2010 by Taylor, a first-term senator who replaced longtime Democrat Wendell Mitchell. And, Pike County has long benefitted from strong working relationships and support from its state senators.

The prospect of Pike County being divided into multiple Senate districts prompted concern and action among government leaders.

Not only did they lobby for one district, they also spoke up in favor of moving into the 31st District, represented by Holley.

“We knew Senator Holley and had a lot in common with Coffee County, which he represents,” Lunsford told the crowd. “He was instrumental in helping us secure the training center at Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations and has been a friend of Pike County for a long time, even though he hasn’t formally been our senator.”

Holley, a Coffee County native, is a skilled and effective lawmaker, well-versed in both the process and the policy.

“In the Legislature, process is everything,” Taylor said. “If you don’t know the process, the policy doesn’t matter. Jimmy Holley is one of those who know the process and care about the policy.”

That’s good news for Pike County and our future. Having supportive legislators is important. Having well-respected and effective lawmakers is even better. We’ve benefitted from excellent representation in both the Senate and House.

And, if both men are returned to the Senate in 2012, Taylor made a promise.

“You will have two senators from Pike County,” he said. “Because I will continue to support you.”

So, to borrow Taylor’s analogy, we’d have both the upstart and the general on our team. That’s impressive.


Stacy G. Graning is publisher of The Messenger. Contact her at stacy.graning@troymessenger.com