In the spirit of the Thanksgiving celebrations recently passed, let us give our thanks to that Higher Authority for allowing us to benefit from Lea's service to our community. For those of us in Lea's House district, we should give thanks to the talented citizens who have stepped forward to carry on Lea's work in our state government.
As we approach the election of Lea's successor for his House district seat, we should be grateful for the opportunity to have a free and open election. That is a privilege we need to exercise. As we do so, I encourage each candidate to express his or her thoughts about the future of Alabama. Of great interest to me is the prospect of a comprehensive reform of the Alabama Constitution of 1901. I hope the candidates will share their opinions on this.
I will wholeheartedly support and vote for a candidate who supports a constitutional convention, elected by Alabama citizens, to develop a modern constitution that supports the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by national courts, makes all government actions at the state and local levels completely transparent and not subject to smoke-filled rooms directed by special interests (ALFA, the Alabama Education Association, out-of-state gambling interests, timber barons and other groups opposed to all taxes that affect them while pushing the tax burden onto the middle- and low-income classes). They should also support home rule for municipalities and counties without having to rely on amendments to the 1901 document. What the constitutional convention produces should then be put to a yes or no vote by Alabama citizens.
There has been groundwork towards this in the effort of many of us in a mock constitutional convention that has drafted a document that may be a starting point for citizens elected to a real constitutional convention. I was privileged to help with this as the representative for Lea's district.
What we developed is far from perfect, but it is a great improvement over the 1901 document. I trust the citizens of Alabama to take the next step in a real constitutional convention. Those who would replace Lea Fite need to make their positions on this issue clear.
Daniel E. Spector lives in Jacksonville.