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Buck's Pocket is where politicians lick their wounds

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY—I knew when I said it that it would not go unnoticed.
Last week I was interviewed on a local TV station about the 2006 gubernatorial election and in passing I noted that three of the four announced candidates would end up at Buck's Pocket licking their wounds.
The phone began to ring only moments after that interview ended. Where and what is Buck's Pocket, the callers wanted to know.
First off let me say that Buck's Pocket is an honest to goodness place in Alabama…it is a state park which sprawls over parts of three counties in northeast Alabama: Jackson, DeKalb and Marshall.
But more to the point, how did this isolated park become a part of Alabama political legend?
I cannot attest to the authenticity of this story, but here is how it was told to me:
During his 1946 race for governor in the Democratic Primary, James E. (Big Jim) Folsom was in a spirited contest with Lt. Gov. Handy Ellis and Agriculture Commissioner Joe Poole. (Gordon Persons and Elbert Boozer were also in the race but they were not factors.)
In one of his stump speeches he said he was going to whip Ellis and Poole so bad they would have to go to Buck's Pocket to lick their wounds.
Apparently he knew where Buck's Pocket was, although at the time it was not a state park.
No matter, for decades the expression has been used…Buck's Pocket is a "recovery room" for defeated politicians.
By the way, Gov. Bob Riley, Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley and former Chief Justice Roy Moore have never been to Buck's Pocket…they have never lost a race for public office. Former Gov. Don Siegelman will not need a map to find it should he lose in 2006. He has been there twice…he lost a bid for governor in 1990 and another for the same office in 2004.
In addition, his proposal would provide financial rewards for whistle-blowers who turn in the violators.
"The cause of Alabama's illegal alien disaster is simple: Too many people hire illegal aliens despite their illegal status," Brooks said.
"These people are motivated by personal profit and care not one twit about the damage their conduct inflicts on the rest of Alabama."
Brooks noted the recent shooting death of a Huntsville policeman by an illegal alien, as well as several fatal automobile accidents involving illegal aliens, motivated him to propose this new law.
He was elected president-elect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at that organization's convention in Chicago last week.
Bell is the first Alabama commissioner ever elected to this position.
He will take office next December.
Bell was named Insurance Commissioner by Gov. Riley in 2003. A native of Mobile, he is a retired vice president of MONY Insurance group.
The facility will be funded by a state and local grants of more than $21 million. Construction on the 85,000 square foot building is expected to begin early in 2006.
Gov. Riley committed $5.5 million in state bond money for the project provided construction begins within two years. Gadsden State has operated a branch in Centre for several years.

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