Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom said this week that his bid for re-election offers voters an experienced candidate who will work to create new jobs while avoiding partisan politics.
“Across the state, people are tired of vicious partisanship. They want to see the House and Senate working together. They want to see the legislature working with the governor to try to solve the critical problems facing the state over the next four years. I offer that in my candidacy.”
Folsom, who has also served as governor and a member of the public service commission, identified economic development as the top issue of this election year and cited his work to recruit the Mercedes-Benz production facility near Tuscaloosa as evidence of his track record at bringing new jobs to the state.
“That created 150,000 jobs in or related to automobile production. Now we have the Honda plant, which has been a key to growth in the St. Clair area and a huge boost to the whole state. We’ve reached a milestone in that Alabama is now recognized as the center of the automotive industry by international suppliers coming into our state.”
The lieutenant governor also pledged to help resolve economic and environmental concerns stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“We have to hold BP accountable for what’s taking place,” he said. “I hear a lot of complaints coming from the Gulf Coast of Alabama to the effect that what’s being done has not been what was promised. If we have to, we’ll take a look at legislation to make sure that, now and in the future, companies are held accountable for their drilling privileges in our state.”
Folsom said he is “all for doing all we can do to stem the tied of illegal immigration in this state, but I disagree with some things that have been proposed that focus on private businesses picking up the tab for the effort. It’s not their responsibility.”
How new federal health care reform plans will affect Alabama remains uncertain, he added.
“There are some good things in the plan, but a lot of people have a lot of problems with it. There is a lot of discontent in the health care industry and the medical community, and my discussions with the experts and practicing physicians, the have concerns that the plan isn’t realistic in the business world. I don’t think we’re looking at the final plan, though. I think, like when Medicare was first passed, there’s going to be a lot of changes over the next couple of years.”
Folsom, a Democrat who faces Republican opposition in the general election from State Treasurer Kay Ivey, denied charges that his recent campaign ads have attempted to distance himself from his political party. “I don’t know where that thinking comes from. By making it an issue of Democrat or Republican, my opponent is trying to hide her inexperience behind a party label.”
With the exception of a few years, he said, “I’ve held elective office since 1978, and everyone knows what party I belong to. I’ve got a proven track record of being very independent in my actions and working to do what’s best across party lines. People talk about partisanship, but they’re results-oriented. They’re more concerned with what you do than what party you’re in.”