Ebene Magazine – Why Georgia Senate Races Matter Today For Alabama

Today’s second round of US Senate elections in Georgia means more to Alabama than Alabama suspects.

“Perhaps the biggest loser in all of this would be the state of Alabama,” said Angi Stalnaker, a Republican political consultant based in Montgomery.

If Democrats gain control of the Senate, Richard Shelby of Alabama – a Republican from Tuscaloosa – will lose his position as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. This committee basically decides how Congress will spend taxpayer dollars.

“What Alabamians need to understand is that who the president is is important, when it comes to the state of Alabama, having Richard Shelby in office is much more important in terms of credits, military bases, for everything, ”Stalnaker said. “Alabama is receiving a lot more than what some people in other states would consider our fair share because of Senator Shelby’s power. “

So, if you need a deep interest in both Georgian races, protecting Shelby’s influential position might be a reason.

“Richard Shelby is one of the most powerful senators in government,” Stalnaker said. “He’s one of the most powerful people in government. A lot of it is because of committee assignments. “

If Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win the Senate races, each party will have 50 elected members. The balance of power, however, will shift to Democrats due to Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could vote a tie for Senate Speaker.

The ruling party establishes committee chair assignments, which means Shelby would be removed from his role as appropriations chair if the Democrats come to power.

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No other member of the Alabama congressional delegation heads a committee. And if they did, it would still pale next to the Speaker of the Senate Appropriations. Stalnaker said she believed the appropriation chairman was the third most powerful position in the Senate – behind only the majority leader and the minority leader.

And Shelby has excelled in delivering government projects in Alabama and, in particular, in the northern Alabama hub in Huntsville – the home of Redstone Arsenal.

Shelby is widely praised for his work which has led to over $ 1 billion for a new FBI campus in the arsenal. In the latest spending bill, enacted last month by President Donald Trump, more than $ 560 million was included for the construction of the FBI campus. Nine buildings are currently under construction inside the gates of the army base.

An additional $ 3.45 billion was raised for NASA programs run at the Marshall Space Flight Center – also located in Redstone.

But Shelby’s influence is being felt statewide – from $ 2.7 billion in the latest spending budget for overhauled and maintained army vehicles at Anniston Army Depot to $ 1.2 billion in $ 50 million Fort Rucker flight training for the National Water Center located at the University of Alabama. .

Of course, even if the Democrats win and Shelby is no longer the head of the credits committee, he will still be able to help fund federal efforts in Alabama if for no other reason than his seniority. and his experience, Stalnaker said.

Nonetheless, given the choice, the appropriation chair is an extremely valuable position for the state senator who occupies that position.

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