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Nabers likely to have many opponents in 2006 election

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–Even before it was made official that Drayton Nabers would become the new Chief Justice, the lines were already forming by those eager to take him on when he runs for a full term in 2006.
The Democrats are watering at the mouth at the prospect of taking on Nabers, so are what might be called the "Roy Moore Republicans."
While his resume is most impressive, Nabers is viewed by his critics as a "Big Mule" favorite. He worked in a law firm which represented corporate giants, later he was CEO of Protective Life Insurance, most certainly a corporate giant.
That makes him highly suspect to the trial lawyers of Alabama. No way will he go unchallenged by this group. In fact, as previously mentioned in this space, Appellate Court Judge Sue Bell Cobb, a Democrat, is already being touted as a likely challenger.
And who is to say that ousted Chief Justice Roy Moore won't make another run for the office? His removal from office does not preclude him from running again.
And if not Moore, keep a close eye on Tom Parker, who won the GOP nomination for a seat on the high court a few weeks ago. If Parker wins the seat in November either he or Moore is a likely candidate for CJ in two years.
The bottom line: Chief Justice Nabers won't have much time to enjoy the trappings of his office before he must start campaigning for a full term.
A final note: Who will replace Nabers as Finance Director in the Riley cabinet? My bet is that by the time you read this column . . . I am writing this on Friday morning . . . Jim Main will be appointed to that post. Main now serves as an advisor to Gov. Riley and served as chief of staff during a part of Fob James second administration.
Hawkins had another distinctive–he was one of the last surviving World War II veterans in the Legislature. There was a time in the distant past when it was almost a qualification for office to be a WWII vet…to wear what was called a "Ruptured Duck" in your lapel.
You were reminded as I was during the recent dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington how few of us veterans of that war are left.
And I winced every time I heard that about 1,000 of those vets are dying every day.
Hawkins was not a high-profile legislator, unlike many who never saw a TV camera they didn't like. But in his quiet way he was effective.
Years ago, appalled by the alarming death rate on state highways, Hawkins became a crusader for seat belt use.
He led the fight for a law mandating the use of seat belts and followed that up with a law which empowered law enforcement officers to stop motorists who were not buckled up. Without question, those laws have saved lives.
Estimates on population growth by the U. S. Census Bureau show that Birmingham continues its slow but steady decline in population. The reason is simple: Birmingham has no room to grow…it is completely surrounded by other incorporated municipalities.
Not so Montgomery.
In fact there is only one other incorporated municipality in Montgomery County . . . Pike Road.
Already under construction by RSA is the 35-story Battle House Office Tower in Mobile which will be connected to the Battle House Hotel, and now it is reported that the RSA is interested in purchasing an existing 24-story hotel in downtown Mobile…the Riverview Plaza.
RSA is also the majority stock holder of the Grand Hotel across Mobile Bay at Point Clear.