The 2016 presidential election win by Donald Trump signaled a populist sentiment within American politics that continues to be a significant part of Republican Party politics across the country and in Alabama.
During an appearance on Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal" this week, Business Council of Alabama interim executive director Robin Stone was asked to react to a "populist" sentiment that is sometimes at odds with the business community.
Stone said that while he appreciates the individual's civil liberties, employers have "rights and responsibilities" that should be acknowledged.
"The business community takes a lot of responsibility in all the communities," Stone said. "When a company comes in, and Alabama is so fortunate that we've got so many marquee companies who have been here – Mercedes and Honda and Boeing and Austal, and all of these people who are scattered throughout the state, and they came here because they love the business climate and because they had a great labor force and because they thought they could be productive. And they have – they've all been productive. A company will come to Alabama maybe for incentives and things like that, but they're going to grow, and they're going to prosper because of the business climate that they have.
"And I think when a company comes in, they make a commitment to the state and also to the communities where they operate. And I understand the ideas of civil liberties and issues like that. And we certainly do, too. We want to honor and respect all of the civil liberties, but employers have rights and employers have responsibilities, too. And that's where we come in – to try and talk to the legislature and other policymakers to tell them that the business community needs to be heard on these issues that may seem to be more populist kind of issues but also have an impact on the business community and the people who create and retain jobs."
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