State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) is planning a bid to fill the potentially soon-to-be-vacant State Senate Majority Leader post should current Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) resign to take a government affairs position with the Business Council of Alabama.
1819 News reported Tuesday on Scofield's rumored departure, which one lawmaker called "the worst kept secret in Montgomery."
Chambliss told 1819 News on Tuesday he was considering a run for the post and discussed what he believed he could bring to the table.
Chambliss took office in 2015 after a long tenure in local government. During his tenure, Chambliss sat on several Senate committees. He currently chairs the Joint Legislative Prison Committee and the Local Legislation Committee.
Historically, the River Region has not been the beneficiary of a legislative leadership post, making Chambliss's potential to win the majority leader position unique for an area close to the Capitol.
"I've lived in the River Region all my life," Chambliss said. "I grew up watching the news with my dad and following politics. I just want to be involved in making our region and our state the best place we can make it. And I just think this is an opportunity, should it become available, for me to do that."
The Senate Majority Leader carries many responsibilities, but its main focus is advancing the GOP caucus's legislative agenda. The majority leader is the head of the Alabama Senate Republican Caucus and follows the direction of the Senate Pro-Tem, currently Greg Reed (R-Jasper).
"I think my strengths are organization, planning and communications and talking," Chambliss said. "So pulling our caucus together, knowing what their priorities are, what they're hearing from their districts and what they want to accomplish, and pulling all that together into a cohesive plan that we can all move together in as a Republican Caucus."
He continued, "Details matter, and you have to have someone – and I will be someone – in leadership that is focused on the details. You have to look big-picture and long-term. But to get to that big picture and long-term, there are a lot of details between here and there. So a focus on those details in preparation of that roadmap and getting where we need to go: I think that would be my strength."
Additionally, the Senate Majority Leader is responsible for traveling to speak at events and participate in fundraising activities. Some are more adept at this mission than others, and Chambliss feels up to the task.
"It's part of the job and part of the responsibilities," he said. "I see it as going across the state and selling those who are interested in state governments and politics on the plan of the caucus and what the caucus wants to accomplish. Selling them and helping them see that, and then want to buy into what our goals and ambitions are for our state."
The Alabama Legislature operates with a Republican supermajority. Still, Republicans in both chambers must reach across the aisle to mutually work towards specific goals.
Chambliss said he has extensive experience dealing with Democratic leadership in the Senate, working through partisan and non-partisan issues. He also said he would remain resolute in caucus priorities while working with Senate Democrats, allowing non-partisan legislation to move smoothly.
"I would say 80 or 90% of the things we deal with are really not partisan type issues," Chambliss continued. "So, we work across the aisle on those issues to make our state better. Then there are issues that are partisan, and we are just not going to agree. If those are issues that our caucus wants to proceed with, then I will be involved with the planning and figuring out exactly how to accomplish the goals of our caucus."
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