MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama Republicans have elected Sen. Steve Livingston of Scottsboro as the new majority leader Tuesday.
This comes after Sen. Clay Scofield announced Monday that he’s stepping down from the position to join the Business Council of Alabama. The change in lawmakers continues the recent trend of North Alabama lawmakers in leadership.
The five northeast counties of Jackson, DeKalb, Morgan, Madison and Marshall are all home to some of the more powerful positions in the assembly.
In the House, that includes the speaker, majority leader, minority leader and General Fund budget chairman. In the Senate, it includes the lieutenant governor (who presides), the Education Budget chairman and now the new majority leader.
“I have some big shoes to fill, and I’m going to do my best to do what I can to make the members be comfortable with me and also do the best for Alabama,” Sen. Livingston said.
Livingston says lawmakers are working to improve the entire state, even if they hail from the same region.
“We’re here for Alabama and trying to make it better, make the citizens better and provide better opportunities for our kids in school and moving forward,” Livingston said.
Political Analyst Steve Flowers says having more leaders from north Alabama makes sense as its population grows, but it hasn’t always been that way.
“Historically, they have not had that kind of representation. The power in the legislature rested in South Alabama,” Flowers said.
Flowers points out that several lawmakers from Jefferson County also hold powerful committee and leadership roles, so it’s not just north Alabama. But he says it does help an area to have lawmakers in those positions.
“To have folks from your part of the state or your neck of the woods being in charge of the budgets and the flow of legislation, obviously helps your part of the state,” Flowers said.
Livingston says he’ll be meeting with caucus members over the next few weeks to talk about legislative priorities ahead of the next session, which starts in February.