There are seven candidates vying to go to Washington to represent the citizens of Alabama’s 6th Congressional District. I am supporting State Senator Scott Beason, a home-grown conservative with a record of sticking to his guns and his principles (literally). Like me and so many of us around the country, one might call him a “bitter clinger,” however, I prefer the description Breitbart coined. Scott Beason is a “Happy Warrior.”
A lifelong resident of Alabama, Beason grew up middle class, playing little league and high school sports. He graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide) in 1991 with a degree in Geology and a minor in English and eventually worked as a geologist/environmental scientist for RUST Environment & Infrastructure. He and his wife, Lori Quick Beason, married in 1992 and have three children: Keller (14), Merritt (11), and McCalan (7), all of whom attend public schools. Beason describes himself as a “man driven by his faith.” His friends say he is a family man, active in his community and church. He’s been known to arrive late to local political events in jeans or sweats, coming straight from coaching his son’s ball team. His supporters say he is the candidate who will fight to defend the Constitution and Alabama values.
Beason lost his first run in politics when he ran for Alabama’s Senate in 1994 at age 24. In 1998, he won a seat in the Alabama House, chose not to seek reelection after eight years and instead ran for the Senate again in 2006. He won and is still the incumbent for Alabama’s 17th Senate seat, having won his reelection primary in 2010 with 62% of the vote and the general with 81%. In 2012, Beason challenged then incumbent Bachus in AL-06. Bachus outspent Beason more than 15 to 1, pouring $1.5 million into his campaign and won re-election. However, Beason easily beat out the other challengers and significantly increased his name recognition. Earlier this year, before deciding to run for AL-06, Beason announced he would not seek re-election for a third state senate term though unopposed, keeping his promise to “not hold a seat for the sake of holding it.”
As a conservative Republican, Beason has broken with the GOP from time to time. In 2003, he opposed Amendment One - the largest proposed tax increase in Alabama's history, supported both by then Governor Riley and other fellow Republicans. His opposition hinged on the belief that government should cut back to solve budget shortfalls, not raise taxes. He said legislators knew they were going to be short of revenues “but they didn't have the political will to cut the budgets back so we could balance the budget." Alabama voters agreed and defeated the amendment. Beason supporters are certain he will take his proven budget cutting philosophy to Washington.
During his time in Montgomery, Beason sponsored a variety of conservative legislation, including the most comprehensive anti-illegal immigration bill in the country, measures to protect Alabama from national healthcare mandates, exemption of health savings accounts from income tax, and the Omnibus Gun Bill of 2013 which was designed to protect the Second Amendment rights of Alabama citizens. He has supported pro-life, school choice and welfare reform legislation. He has been the unquestioned leader in the state on conservative issues.
Earlier this year, Beason sponsored SB354 , more commonly known to Alabamians as the carry in car bill (would have allowed us to carry loaded pistols in our cars without a concealed carry permit) based on his belief that citizens should not have to pay a fee in order to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Unfortunately, too many of our state legislators didn’t have the same fortitude as Beason. They apparently chose to listen to the Alabama Business Council and the Alabama Sheriff’s Association which opposed the bill so it died in the state house. Beason is the only candidate in the race with an A+ rating from the NRA.
Beason also sponsored bills that would have repealed and/or at least delayed the implementation of the Common Core, a federally mandated education standards program, from Alabama schools. Despite overwhelming support for repeal among conservative groups in Alabama across the country and resolutions passed by the Alabama GOP and the Shelby County GOP and other groups, the state legislature failed to pass this bill which was also opposed by the Alabama Business Council. Starting to see a pattern here? Guess which candidate hasn’t gotten any money from big business. Beason’s volunteers, working unpaid and on our own time, want to elect a man we trust will not succumb to the power and greed that seems to take over upon arrival in the nation’s capital. At the same time, we wonder who will take up the mantle to fight for us at the state level.
Beason has felt the sting of arrows from Democrats and the more moderate Republicans, as well as from local and national media. Even after building the most conservative, anti-tax, smaller government record and reputation in the Alabama Legislature, detractors take pot shots at him for voting for the infamous legislative pay raise. Seven years later he says the same thing he said then, “We can all say how it ought to be, but we will not fix our problems in Montgomery or Washington until we create a situation where regular middle class people can serve the public – not just the elite. Otherwise, the middle class gets a raw deal because it is not rightfully represented.” Many are unaware that unlike other state employees, the annual pay for state legislators does not include paid health insurance or retirement benefits, nor do they receive any additional allowance for food and travel expenses. There are a good number of legislators who work “on the side” for special interest groups and lobbyists. Scott Beason isn’t one of them. Further, prior to the pay increase, state senators made around $29,000 annually plus a one-time per session expense of $19.20 (the cost of a round trip train ticket to Montgomery years ago). That salary made it nearly impossible for an average citizen to support a family and serve as the representatives our founding fathers envisioned, but it didn’t deter wealthier individual (cough, attorneys) who could afford the pay and time away from a regular job. Beason and a majority of the state legislature agreed to raise the pay to $41,000 annually which is hardly a windfall to anyone raising a family but it is enough to attract a few more average citizens and small business owners to run. The percentage of the raise is used in attack ads because it has more impact than the actual dollars, plus nobody ever points out that state legislators do not get the same benefits as federal legislators or other state employees.
Regardless of the pressure to be politically correct, Beason doesn’t hesitate to be honest and up front about his views with the people of Alabama. Asked about his stance on amnesty at one of the televised debates, Beason again drew laughs. “I don’t think there’s anyone here who doesn’t know where I stand on illegal immigration.” He’s been unfairly called a racist, a gun nut, an extremist. Haven’t we all? But he’s still standing with his principles intact. His supporters believe he will take his strength and courage to fight corruption to the Hill. Ask Beason about the personal attacks and a slight grin comes over his face. “Liberals don’t hate the guy who claims he is conservative but does nothing. If you do what you say, some folks get upset about it.”
Scott Beason continues to be our happy warrior, defending the conservative principles that many just claim to support. We need to ask ourselves if we believe in what we say enough to stand with the one person who has honestly fought for our values, or will we hide from controversy and just hope the guy who buys the most ads, or the one approved of by the press and moderates, or the one indebted to special interest, or the one outsiders have chosen, is tough enough for the job.
Vote for Scott Beason on Tuesday, June 3, 2013. If you’re not sure where you vote, visit www.alabamavotes.gov.
Local activist in Alabama, Melody Warbington
Campaign website http://scottbeason.com/
Wimpy President ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i12KfJvEx6M
Bold Colors radio spot https://soundcloud.com/scott-beason-for-congress/bold-colors-radio-spot
Becky “I’m a born-free American Woman” Gerritson ad http://vimeo.com/95463719