The conservative citizens' group, the Common Sense Campaign (CSC), has created a new annual award.

The group announced Wednesday that they have established "The Dr. Lou Campomenosi Patriot of the Year Award."

"Dr. Lou," as friends call him, is retiring and moving home to Louisiana after 14 years of service as head of the group.

An award luncheon was held Wednesday at Ed's Seafood Shed in Spanish Fort as a surprise going away party for Dr. Lou and his wife, Jeanette. The group released a resolution at the luncheon establishing the award.

The resolution read:

Establishment of “The Dr. Lou Campomenosi Alabama Patriot of the Year Award”

Whereas, Dr. Lou Campomenosi has served his nation, state and community as a leader of the Common Sense Campaign from 2009 to 2023; and

Whereas, Dr. Lou served his country as a U.S. Marine; and

Whereas, Dr. Lou has led the fight to repeal Common Core, to establish school choice, to ban Critical Race Theory in schools, to oppose tax increases, to enhance election integrity and to elect Constitutionalist, limited government candidates for office; and

Whereas, Dr. Lou has finished the good fight and is retiring from the Presidency of the Common Sense Campaign and moving close to his family in his home of Louisiana; and

Whereas, Dr. Lou leaves the Common Sense Campaign with a solid legacy for the future.


The annual Dr. Lou Campomenosi Alabama Patriot of the Year Award is hereby established; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: Alabama’s most effective advocate for Constitutionalism, limited government, and pro-American policies be selected annually as recipient of the Dr. Lou Campomenosi Alabama Patriot of the Year Award.

DONE this 25 day of October, 2023 by the Common Sense Campaign Tea Party, meeting in Spanish Fort, Alabama. 

Dr. Lou, of Fairhope, thanked the 40 people there and said he was humbled by the award. He gave his farewell address as head of the group.

Dr. Lou, 78, was a career U.S. Marine, serving in the Gulf War. Since his 1992 retirement, he has been a political science instructor at Tulane, Southern Mississippi, the University of North Alabama in Florence and Springhill College in Mobile.

He and his wife moved to Alabama after losing their home in Bay St. Louis, Miss., to Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Lou has for years had a weekly talk show on WABF radio in Fairhope named "Conservative Watchdog." He has been a frequent guest on talk shows across Alabama.

Businessman Pete Riehm of Mobile has been named the new head of the group. Riehm, a commercial real estate agent, was designated as "Interim CSC President" by the Common Sense Board.

Riehm is retired Navy. He served as Commanding Officer of the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Mobile.

The Baldwin-Mobile-based group became a statewide factor as it conceived the annual "Welcome Back Rally," when taxpayers descend on Montgomery yearly to start the legislative session. The rally features conservative speakers outside the Alabama Statehouse around the opening day of regular legislative sessions.

In its 14 years, CSC has taken the following actions:

  • Helped defeat ALDOT's proposed toll on the I-10 Bayway in 2019. Common Sense's large citizen rally at Five Rivers Center on the Mobile Bay causeway highlighted citizen opposition to the toll.

  • Helped defeat statewide Amendment One in 2020. It would have taken away the right to vote on members of the State School Board and made them all appointed by the governor.

  • Successfully pressured the city of Mobile to abolish new taxpayer-funded positions of liaisons for LGTQ inclusion.

  • Successfully backed action by the State School Board that banned Critical Race Theory in Alabama public schools.

  • Fell short in efforts to pass school choice legislation.

  • Fell short in efforts to repeal the Common Core standards in Alabama schools.

  • Fell short on opposition to the 2019 gasoline tax increase of ten cents a gallon.

Riehm says he will push for specific plans to get results on conservative issues identified by the group. 

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].