Although he has been on the job for a little less than two months, Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board administrator Curtis Stewart has struck a very deferential tone regarding the future of his agency.
During an appearance on APTV's "Capitol Journal," Stewart acknowledged it was the Alabama Legislature's prerogative as to whether or not the retail sales component would be privatized.
However, he also insisted the ABC Board was doing a "good job" fulfilling its responsibilities.
"There are so many parts when it comes to alcohol," he said. "There are concerns about overuse, alcohol getting in the wrong hands. There's a concern about competing against private businesses. So, a number of issues are brought up in that respect. If this is a year like prior years, there may be bills that come up about that this year, and those are concerns that are valid, and they need to be listened to."
"Our role, though, at the ABC Board is to provide the product that people want in a safe environment at a reasonable price and to protect the safety of the public," Stewart continued. "It's the legislature's call as to whether or not they privatize. We think that we perform a valuable service. We think that that sweet spot we're in in Alabama, where we have just the right amount of regulation, but we also have the private liquor stores, is just the place to be. But, of course, we will do whatever the legislature directs us to do."
"My reaction to it is we do a good job the way we do it," he added. "The way it is set up in Alabama is the way to set it up, but we will do what the legislature says."
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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