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In 1999, then-Gov. Don Siegelman failed to push a lottery ballot constitutional amendment across the finish line by a 10-point, nearly 100,000-vote margin.

Since that failed vote, Alabama has struggled with the complicated issue of gaming. However, 23 years later, he suggests the Democrats make the issue central to its reemergence efforts.

During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," the former governor weighed in on the Democratic Party's current challenges to be relevant in Alabama.

He argued against Democrats falling back on attacking former President Donald Trump to win over the public.

"You can do both simultaneously," Siegelman said when asked if the best approach for his party was locally or statewide. "But it's going to take a party chairman that is committed to building the party and who understands the importance of the issues facing the people of Alabama. And it's not Donald Trump. We don't need to campaign on Donald Trump. We need to campaign on issues that are important to people. And yes, I think the election of the party chairman is critical to moving the Democratic Party forward and making it competitive."

Siegelman urged Democrats to consider the lottery as a means to provide education needs for the state.

"Running on education," Siegelman replied. "Again, running on the lottery, explaining to people what's at stake. We are not going to raise taxes to pay for universal early learning. We're not going to raise taxes to put technology into every classroom. We're not going to raise taxes to offer students afterschool jobs or trade job training or higher education. That's going to have to come through a source of revenue that's free from taxes, and the only thing that's out there right now is the billion-dollar jackpot.

"I think the people of Alabama would in a heartbeat vote to establish an education lottery where the money was devoted to education and not all of these other ancillary problems that the state faces."

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.

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