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Advisory Committee For Trade Policy And Negotiation
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Advisory Committee For Trade Policy And Negotiation

Members for two-year terms: James Philip Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and Paul Norman Beckner, president and chief executive officer of Citizens for a Sound Economy.

01/21/2003
Advisory Committee For Trade Policy And Negotiation
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Advisory Committee For Trade Policy And Negotiation

Members for two-year terms: James Philip Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and Paul Norman Beckner, president and chief executive officer of Citizens for a Sound Economy.

01/21/2003
Misguided drug plan
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Misguided drug plan

BY Donald Lambro

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise wants a Canadian-style system to control pharmaceutical prices. But if he gets his way, West Virginians will have fewer drug choices and longer, more costly illnesses. Faced with a state budget crisis, deepened by rising Medicaid costs, Mr. Wise blames higher drug prices for West Virginia's fiscal woes and wants drug-makers to charge the same prices set by the Canadian government, not by the marketplace.

01/20/2003
Misguided drug plan
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Misguided drug plan

BY Donald Lambro

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise wants a Canadian-style system to control pharmaceutical prices. But if he gets his way, West Virginians will have fewer drug choices and longer, more costly illnesses. Faced with a state budget crisis, deepened by rising Medicaid costs, Mr. Wise blames higher drug prices for West Virginia's fiscal woes and wants drug-makers to charge the same prices set by the Canadian government, not by the marketplace. But Canada's rigid price-control system isn't the answer. Because of its price-fixing, many of the newer and more effective pharmaceuticals for illnesses like cancer and hypertension are unavailable there. The price of many medicines here is high, but they treat or prevent illnesses that would cost people hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the medicines themselves. Price controls that impose disincentives to develop new drug treatments, or prevent the best drugs from getting to ill patients, would make health care worse, not better. A study by economist Frank Lichtenberg at Columbia University shows that every dollar spent on newer generations of drugs saved four times that amount in hospital costs. Citizens for a Sound Economy [CSE], a Washington-based free market group that is lobbying against Gov. Wise's plan, explains that "because prescription drugs are more often used for preventive care, they stave off more debilitating, more costly medical conditions requiring expensive and lengthy hospitalization. While a $600 annual prescription for two leading cholesterol-reducing drugs may seem expensive, it is the long-term effect of those drugs that helps avert an emergency bypass operation and lengthy hospital stay at an average cost of $300,000." CSE has launched a public awareness campaign in West Virginia to counter Mr. Wise's misguided proposals for a Canadian system. In addition to a series of radio ads critical of the governor's plan, it is sending "Canadian Health-Care First-Aid Kits" to state legislators. Included is a five-year calendar "so West Virginia citizens can schedule their emergency surgery at a pace consistent with the delays Canadian citizens must endure." "Wise's proposed solution to West Virginia's crisis is nothing more than a hidden tax on drug-makers - one that will force citizens to ultimately pay the price through the drastic reduction of services and lack of availability of life-saving drugs," said CSE President Paul Beckner. In many cases, West Virginians will be forced to use cheaper generic drugs that are often not as effective as original drugs or the newer drugs that replace them. But there is more in Mr. Wise's initiative than meets the eye. The governor has had a long affiliation with Business for Affordable Medicine, a fat-cat lobbying group whose members "will reap billions of dollars in windfalls if more patients are forced to switch to generic drugs," according to the CSE. Mr. Wise's crusade to adopt Canada's price-control system ignores some important facts, according to a CSE study. Among them: c Some, though not all, drug prices are cheaper in Canada, subsidized by taxpayers who on average send more than 35 percent of their income to finance the government's welfare state programs. "But when a government buys drugs, it must ration them. With no private sector alternatives, patients have no choice but to accept what their government - not their doctor - decides is best," says a CSE spokesperson. c If Americans were required to buy the same pills in Canada that they bought here, they would end up paying 3 percent more, according to a study by University of Pennsylvania professor Patricia Danzon. The reason, according to the CSE, is that "generic drugs, which account for half of U.S. consumption, are less expensive under the competitive U.S. system than the price-controlled Canadian system." * The Canadian plan that Wise wants to copy has a notoriously poor health care record. Writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Richard Davies, a cardiologist at the University of Ottawa, found that more than 1,500 people were on lengthy waiting lists for heart bypass surgery. Some die before surgery can be scheduled. * As for Canada's drug program, a recent survey found that nearly 30 percent of British Columbia doctors reported that patients ended up in the hospital because of government-mandated substitutions of prescribed drugs. Congress will no doubt be debating a prescription drug plan this year. And there will undoubtedly be lawmakers here who, like Wise, want to use Canada's system. That would be a monumental, and in some cases deadly, mistake. A market-oriented plan can be devised to help poor and low-income people get the medications they need. This could be part of a competitive prescription drug benefit system that lets consumers shop around for the health-care coverage that suits their needs and their pocketbook. Such a plan should be part of a larger reform that gives taxpayers a tax credit to offset their medical expenses, including drugs. The best way to keep down drug prices is to encourage competition in the pharmaceutical industry and wider choices among public and private benefit plans. The worst way would be a Canadian-style, state-preferred drug list that prohibits doctors from prescribing the most effective drugs on the market for their patients. Donald Lambro, chief political correspondent for The Washington Times, is a nationally syndicated columnist.

01/20/2003
Misguided drug plan
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Press Release

Misguided drug plan

This piece originally ran in the Washington Times on Monday, January 20, 2003 West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise wants a Canadian-style system to control pharmaceutical prices. But if he gets his way, West Virginians will have fewer drug choices and longer, more costly illnesses. Faced with a state budget crisis, deepened by rising Medicaid costs, Mr. Wise blames higher drug prices for West Virginia's fiscal woes and wants drug-makers to charge the same prices set by the Canadian government, not by the marketplace.

01/20/2003
Misguided Drug Plan
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Misguided Drug Plan

BY Donald Lambro

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise wants a Canadian-style system to control pharmaceutical prices. But if he gets his way, West Virginians will have fewer drug choices and longer, more costly illnesses. Faced with a state budget crisis, deepened by rising Medicaid costs, Mr. Wise blames higher drug prices for West Virginia's fiscal woes and wants drug-makers to charge the same prices set by the Canadian government, not by the marketplace. But Canada's rigid price-control system isn't the answer. Because of its price-fixing, many of the newer and more effective pharmaceuticals for illnesses like cancer and hypertension are unavailable there. The price of many medicines here is high, but they treat or prevent illnesses that would cost people hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the medicines themselves. Price controls that impose disincentives to develop new drug treatments, or prevent the best drugs from getting to ill patients, would make health care worse, not better. A study by economist Frank Lichtenberg at Columbia University shows that every dollar spent on newer generations of drugs saved four times that amount in hospital costs. Citizens for a Sound Economy [CSE], a Washington-based free market group that is lobbying against Gov. Wise's plan, explains that "because prescription drugs are more often used for preventive care, they stave off more debilitating, more costly medical conditions requiring expensive and lengthy hospitalization. While a $600 annual prescription for two leading cholesterol-reducing drugs may seem expensive, it is the long-term effect of those drugs that helps avert an emergency bypass operation and lengthy hospital stay at an average cost of $300,000." CSE has launched a public awareness campaign in West Virginia to counter Mr. Wise's misguided proposals for a Canadian system. In addition to a series of radio ads critical of the governor's plan, it is sending "Canadian Health-Care First-Aid Kits" to state legislators. Included is a five-year calendar "so West Virginia citizens can schedule their emergency surgery at a pace consistent with the delays Canadian citizens must endure." "Wise's proposed solution to West Virginia's crisis is nothing more than a hidden tax on drug-makers - one that will force citizens to ultimately pay the price through the drastic reduction of services and lack of availability of life-saving drugs," said CSE President Paul Beckner. In many cases, West Virginians will be forced to use cheaper generic drugs that are often not as effective as original drugs or the newer drugs that replace them. But there is more in Mr. Wise's initiative than meets the eye. The governor has had a long affiliation with Business for Affordable Medicine, a fat-cat lobbying group whose members "will reap billions of dollars in windfalls if more patients are forced to switch to generic drugs," according to the CSE. Mr. Wise's crusade to adopt Canada's price-control system ignores some important facts, according to a CSE study. Among them: c Some, though not all, drug prices are cheaper in Canada, subsidized by taxpayers who on average send more than 35 percent of their income to finance the government's welfare state programs. "But when a government buys drugs, it must ration them. With no private sector alternatives, patients have no choice but to accept what their government - not their doctor - decides is best," says a CSE spokesperson. c If Americans were required to buy the same pills in Canada that they bought here, they would end up paying 3 percent more, according to a study by University of Pennsylvania professor Patricia Danzon. The reason, according to the CSE, is that "generic drugs, which account for half of U.S. consumption, are less expensive under the competitive U.S. system than the price-controlled Canadian system." * The Canadian plan that Wise wants to copy has a notoriously poor health care record. Writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Richard Davies, a cardiologist at the University of Ottawa, found that more than 1,500 people were on lengthy waiting lists for heart bypass surgery. Some die before surgery can be scheduled. * As for Canada's drug program, a recent survey found that nearly 30 percent of British Columbia doctors reported that patients ended up in the hospital because of government-mandated substitutions of prescribed drugs. Congress will no doubt be debating a prescription drug plan this year. And there will undoubtedly be lawmakers here who, like Wise, want to use Canada's system. That would be a monumental, and in some cases deadly, mistake. A market-oriented plan can be devised to help poor and low-income people get the medications they need. This could be part of a competitive prescription drug benefit system that lets consumers shop around for the health-care coverage that suits their needs and their pocketbook. Such a plan should be part of a larger reform that gives taxpayers a tax credit to offset their medical expenses, including drugs. The best way to keep down drug prices is to encourage competition in the pharmaceutical industry and wider choices among public and private benefit plans. The worst way would be a Canadian-style, state-preferred drug list that prohibits doctors from prescribing the most effective drugs on the market for their patients.

01/20/2003
WHO'S WHO AMONG ADVISERS, CABINET MEMBERS
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WHO'S WHO AMONG ADVISERS, CABINET MEMBERS

BY DAVID WHITE

MONTGOMERY - Republican Gov.-elect Bob Riley so far has picked 14 white men, two black men, two white women and one black woman to become his top advisers and leaders of major state agencies. Riley will be sworn in Monday, and most of his Cabinet appointees start work this week. Some of Riley's appointees are retired corporate leaders. Riley, 58, is a businessman, too, owning a Clay County cattle farm and a trucking business. He has said he's a millionaire. Some are old friends or former campaign workers. Riley has yet to appoint people to lead departments overseeing children's affairs, state troopers, prisons, Medicaid, labor and human resources. The governor-elect said he hopes to fill at least some of those posts by Thursday, but he wants to make sure he gets the best people possible. Some state department heads, such as the state health officer and personnel director, are appointed by boards rather than the governor. A board also hires the human resources commissioner, but the governor chairs that board and traditionally has a big say in who the commissioner will be. Here are biographical sketches of Riley's appointees so far: Press secretary David Azbell Salary: $73,000. Born: Dec. 17, 1968. Hometown: Montgomery. Education: Studied political science and journalism, University of Alabama, 1987-91, did not graduate. Professional experience: Press secretary for Riley's campaign, 2002; deputy secretary of state, 1999-2002; deputy press secretary for Gov. Fob James, 1997-99; personal aide and spokesman for former Gov. George Wallace, 1995-97. Political experience: Has not held public office. Emergency management director Bruce Baughman Salary: $76,336. [He will be paid at a rate of $140,000 a year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the next eight months, until he retires from federal service.] Born: July 22, 1948. Hometown: Oceanside, Calif.; lived many years in Mississippi, now in northern Virginia. Education: Bachelor's degree in history, Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss., 1971; master's in education, Mississippi State University, 1978; graduated from a program for senior executives, Harvard University. Professional experience: Stepping down as director of FEMA's Office of National Preparedness; worked for FEMA, 1979-present; worked for emergency management agency in Mississippi, 1975-79; Marine artillery officer, 1971-75. Political experience: Has not held public office. Insurance commissioner Walter Bell Salary: $76,336. Born: Oct. 1, 1943. Hometown: Mobile. Education: Bachelor's degree in general studies, concentration in finance, Spring Hill College, Mobile, 1983. Professional experience: Worked for The MONY Group, a life insurance company based in New York City, 1983-2002, including as national director of emerging markets and vice president for diversity marketing; previously worked in retail banking with First National Bank of Mobile; holds a partnership interest in a Mobile minor league baseball team. Political experience: Has not held public office. Head of the Alabama National Guard C. Mark Bowen Salary: $76,336. Born: Feb. 21, 1940. Hometown: Lives on a 300-acre cattle farm near Barfield. Education: Bachelor's degree in pharmacy, Auburn University, 1964; graduated, Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, 1985. Professional experience: Served 44 years in Alabama's Army National Guard, retired as a major general in 167th Logistical Support Command, 2000; owned Lineville Clinic Pharmacy and Wadley Clinic Pharmacy for about 30 years, sold three years ago. Political experience: Eight years on the Clay County school board, is resigning to work for Riley. Revenue commissioner Dwight Carlisle Jr. Salary: $76,336. Born: Nov. 7, 1935. Hometown: Alexander City. Education: Bachelor's degree in textile engineering, Auburn University, 1958. Professional experience: Retired from Russell Corp. as chief executive officer, 1991; had worked at Russell since the 1950s. Political experience: Has not held public office. Head of senior services Irene Collins Salary: $76,336. Born: July 2, 1942. Hometown: Birmingham; lives near Columbiana. Education: Bachelor's degree in health services administration, LaSalle University in Mandeville, La., 2002. Professional experience: Executive director of the Jefferson County Council of Aging, 1996-present; previously owned a travel agency and bridal salon in Birmingham. Political experience: Has not held public office. Director of economic and community affairs John Harrison Salary: $76,336. Born: Dec. 27, 1944. Hometown: Grew up in Selma; has lived in Luverne for 30 years. Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing, Troy State University, 1967; Louisiana State University's Graduate School of Banking of the South, 1988. Professional experience: President and chief executive officer of First Citizens Bank in Luverne, 1983-last week; member of the bank's board of directors; owner and president of Crenshaw Land and Timber Co. Political experience: Elected mayor of Luverne 1988, re-elected 1992, 1996 and 2000. Plans to resign before taking his new job. Superintendent of banks Anthony Humphries Salary: $132,000. Born: May 13, 1955 Hometown: Louisville, Ky.; lives in Oxford. Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, Auburn University, 1977; Louisiana State University's Graduate School of Banking of the South, 1988. Professional experience: President and co-owner of TRI Staffing Inc. since 2001; chief executive officer, SouthTrust Bank of Calhoun County, 1997-2001; worked at AmSouth Bank, 1983-97, including as commercial banking sales manager for northeast Alabama; worked in commercial loan department of what is now SouthTrust Bank, 1977-83. Political experience: Has not held public office. Industrial relations director Phyllis Kennedy Salary: $105,000. Born: July 21, 1940. Hometown: Titus. Education: Bachelor's degree in home economics, from what is now Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, 1962. Professional experience: Retired after nine years as Alabama state director of the National Federation of Inde pendent Business; previously NFIB's Southeast regional public affairs coordinator in Atlanta; district director in Atlanta for former U.S. Rep. Elliott Levitas, D-Ga., 1981-84. Political experience: Has not held public office. Governor's legal adviser Troy King Salary: $88,000. Born: Aug. 22, 1968. Hometown: Elba; lives in Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in history and social science, Troy State University, 1990; law degree, University of Alabama, 1994. Professional experience: Assistant attorney general since 1999; assistant legal adviser, deputy legal adviser or deputy chief of staff for Gov. Fob James, 1995-99. Political experience: Lost Republican primary for secretary of state, 2002. Conservation and natural resources commissioner Barnett Lawley Salary: $76,336. Born: Aug. 23, 1945. Hometown: Pell City. Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration, Auburn University, 1967. Professional experience: Retired president and former owner of M.B. Lawley Inc., gasoline and convenience store company; former president, Alabama Oilmen's Association; served six years on the board of directors, Alabama Wildlife Federation; has been active in Ducks Unlimited and the National Turkey Federation. Political experience: Has not held public office. Transportation director Joe McInnes Salary: $76,336. Born: March 7, 1943. Hometown: Wetumpka; lives in Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in chemistry, University of Alabama, 1966; law degree, Jones Law School, 1974. Professional experience: Retired as executive vice president, chief administrative officer and corporate secretary of Blount International Inc. in Montgomery, 1999; chairman of Blount Cultural Park in Montgomery. Political experience: Has not held public office. Finance director Drayton Nabers Jr. Salary: $76,336. Born: Dec. 2, 1940. Hometown: Birmingham. Education: Bachelor's degree in religion and English, Princeton University, 1962; law degree, Yale University, 1965. Professional experience: Recently resigned as chairman, Protective Life Corp., to become finance director; worked at Protective Life starting in 1979 ; Cabaniss Johnston Gardner Dumas & O'Neal law firm, 1967-1979. Political experience: Has not held public office. Legislative affairs director Quentin Riggins Salary: $76,336. Born: April 14, 1968. Hometown: Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in marketing and distributive education, Auburn University, 1992. Professional experience: Legislative analyst, Alabama House Speaker Seth Hammett, 1999-last week; previously a legislative liaison for Gov. Fob James; sideline reporter, Auburn Network radio broadcasts football games, since 1991. Political experience: Has not held public office. Chief of staff Toby Roth Salary: $98,000. Born: March 4, 1968. Hometown: Muskogee, Okla.; lives in Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, the University of Alabama, 1990; law degree, College of William and Mary, in 1993. Professional experience: Campaign manager for Riley, 2002; vice president for advancement, Business Council of Alabama, 2001-02; Alabama director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a conservative national lobby, 1998-2001; manager of political affairs, BCA, 1996-98; finance director, Justice Harold See's campaign, 1996; previously practiced law with Birmingham lawyer Ottie Akers. Political experience: Has not held public office. Mental health and retardation commissioner Kathy Sawyer Salary: $122,446. Born: Jan. 20, 1954. Hometown: Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in social welfare, University of Alabama, 1975; master's in social work, UA, 1976. Professional experience: Commissioner, Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, since 1999; director of advocacy office for people served by the department, 1985-99; regional coordinator for communitybased programs for mentally retarded people in north Alabama, 1977-85; child protective services worker in Arizona, 1976-77. Political experience: Has not held public office. Tourism and travel director Lee Sentell Salary: $76,336. Born: April 8, 1944. Hometown: Ashland. Education: Bachelor's degree in communications, Auburn University, 1967. Professional experience: Director of tourism, Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, since 1991; worked 10 years as marketing director, U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville; 12 years as reporter and editor, The Decatur Daily. Political experience: Has not held public office. Senior adviser and counselor Dalton Smith Salary: $88,000. Born: July 30, 1965. Hometown: Birmingham. Education: Bachelor's degree in economics, Auburn University, 1987; law degree, University of Alabama, 1990. Professional experience: Bob Riley's campaign policy director, 2002; partner, SVG Properties; policy analyst, Empower America, a conservative policy group, 1993-95; legislative assistant to then-U.S. Sen. Howell Heflin, 1991-93. Political experience: Has not held public office. State development director Neal Wade Salary: $130,000. Born: Nov. 8, 1946. Hometown: Monroeville. Education: Bachelor's degree in history, Samford University, 1969. Professional experience: Vice president for economic development, The St. Joe Co., a timber and real estate development company in Florida, since 2000; president, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, 1991-2000; corporate communications executive, Alabama Power Co., 1978-91. Political experience: Has not held public office.

01/19/2003
Who's Who Among Advisers, Cabinet Members
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Who's Who Among Advisers, Cabinet Members

BY David White

MONTGOMERY - Republican Gov.-elect Bob Riley so far has picked 14 white men, two black men, two white women and one black woman to become his top advisers and leaders of major state agencies. Riley will be sworn in Monday, and most of his Cabinet appointees start work this week. Some of Riley's appointees are retired corporate leaders. Riley, 58, is a businessman, too, owning a Clay County cattle farm and a trucking business. He has said he's a millionaire. Some are old friends or former campaign workers. Riley has yet to appoint people to lead departments overseeing children's affairs, state troopers, prisons, Medicaid, labor and human resources. The governor-elect said he hopes to fill at least some of those posts by Thursday, but he wants to make sure he gets the best people possible. Some state department heads, such as the state health officer and personnel director, are appointed by boards rather than the governor. A board also hires the human resources commissioner, but the governor chairs that board and traditionally has a big say in who the commissioner will be. Here are biographical sketches of Riley's appointees so far: Press secretary David Azbell Salary: $73,000. Born: Dec. 17, 1968. Hometown: Montgomery. Education: Studied political science and journalism, University of Alabama, 1987-91, did not graduate. Professional experience: Press secretary for Riley's campaign, 2002; deputy secretary of state, 1999-2002; deputy press secretary for Gov. Fob James, 1997-99; personal aide and spokesman for former Gov. George Wallace, 1995-97. Political experience: Has not held public office. Emergency management director Bruce Baughman Salary: $76,336. [He will be paid at a rate of $140,000 a year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the next eight months, until he retires from federal service.] Born: July 22, 1948. Hometown: Oceanside, Calif.; lived many years in Mississippi, now in northern Virginia. Education: Bachelor's degree in history, Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss., 1971; master's in education, Mississippi State University, 1978; graduated from a program for senior executives, Harvard University. Professional experience: Stepping down as director of FEMA's Office of National Preparedness; worked for FEMA, 1979-present; worked for emergency management agency in Mississippi, 1975-79; Marine artillery officer, 1971-75. Political experience: Has not held public office. Insurance commissioner Walter Bell Salary: $76,336. Born: Oct. 1, 1943. Hometown: Mobile. Education: Bachelor's degree in general studies, concentration in finance, Spring Hill College, Mobile, 1983. Professional experience: Worked for The MONY Group, a life insurance company based in New York City, 1983-2002, including as national director of emerging markets and vice president for diversity marketing; previously worked in retail banking with First National Bank of Mobile; holds a partnership interest in a Mobile minor league baseball team. Political experience: Has not held public office. Head of the Alabama National Guard C. Mark Bowen Salary: $76,336. Born: Feb. 21, 1940. Hometown: Lives on a 300-acre cattle farm near Barfield. Education: Bachelor's degree in pharmacy, Auburn University, 1964; graduated, Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, 1985. Professional experience: Served 44 years in Alabama's Army National Guard, retired as a major general in 167th Logistical Support Command, 2000; owned Lineville Clinic Pharmacy and Wadley Clinic Pharmacy for about 30 years, sold three years ago. Political experience: Eight years on the Clay County school board, is resigning to work for Riley. Revenue commissioner Dwight Carlisle Jr. Salary: $76,336. Born: Nov. 7, 1935. Hometown: Alexander City. Education: Bachelor's degree in textile engineering, Auburn University, 1958. Professional experience: Retired from Russell Corp. as chief executive officer, 1991; had worked at Russell since the 1950s. Political experience: Has not held public office. Head of senior services Irene Collins Salary: $76,336. Born: July 2, 1942. Hometown: Birmingham; lives near Columbiana. Education: Bachelor's degree in health services administration, LaSalle University in Mandeville, La., 2002. Professional experience: Executive director of the Jefferson County Council of Aging, 1996-present; previously owned a travel agency and bridal salon in Birmingham. Political experience: Has not held public office. Director of economic and community affairs John Harrison Salary: $76,336. Born: Dec. 27, 1944. Hometown: Grew up in Selma; has lived in Luverne for 30 years. Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing, Troy State University, 1967; Louisiana State University's Graduate School of Banking of the South, 1988. Professional experience: President and chief executive officer of First Citizens Bank in Luverne, 1983-last week; member of the bank's board of directors; owner and president of Crenshaw Land and Timber Co. Political experience: Elected mayor of Luverne 1988, re-elected 1992, 1996 and 2000. Plans to resign before taking his new job. Superintendent of banks Anthony Humphries Salary: $132,000. Born: May 13, 1955 Hometown: Louisville, Ky.; lives in Oxford. Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, Auburn University, 1977; Louisiana State University's Graduate School of Banking of the South, 1988. Professional experience: President and co-owner of TRI Staffing Inc. since 2001; chief executive officer, SouthTrust Bank of Calhoun County, 1997-2001; worked at AmSouth Bank, 1983-97, including as commercial banking sales manager for northeast Alabama; worked in commercial loan department of what is now SouthTrust Bank, 1977-83. Political experience: Has not held public office. Industrial relations director Phyllis Kennedy Salary: $105,000. Born: July 21, 1940. Hometown: Titus. Education: Bachelor's degree in home economics, from what is now Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, 1962. Professional experience: Retired after nine years as Alabama state director of the National Federation of Inde pendent Business; previously NFIB's Southeast regional public affairs coordinator in Atlanta; district director in Atlanta for former U.S. Rep. Elliott Levitas, D-Ga., 1981-84. Political experience: Has not held public office. Governor's legal adviser Troy King Salary: $88,000. Born: Aug. 22, 1968. Hometown: Elba; lives in Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in history and social science, Troy State University, 1990; law degree, University of Alabama, 1994. Professional experience: Assistant attorney general since 1999; assistant legal adviser, deputy legal adviser or deputy chief of staff for Gov. Fob James, 1995-99. Political experience: Lost Republican primary for secretary of state, 2002. Conservation and natural resources commissioner Barnett Lawley Salary: $76,336. Born: Aug. 23, 1945. Hometown: Pell City. Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration, Auburn University, 1967. Professional experience: Retired president and former owner of M.B. Lawley Inc., gasoline and convenience store company; former president, Alabama Oilmen's Association; served six years on the board of directors, Alabama Wildlife Federation; has been active in Ducks Unlimited and the National Turkey Federation. Political experience: Has not held public office. Transportation director Joe McInnes Salary: $76,336. Born: March 7, 1943. Hometown: Wetumpka; lives in Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in chemistry, University of Alabama, 1966; law degree, Jones Law School, 1974. Professional experience: Retired as executive vice president, chief administrative officer and corporate secretary of Blount International Inc. in Montgomery, 1999; chairman of Blount Cultural Park in Montgomery. Political experience: Has not held public office. Finance director Drayton Nabers Jr. Salary: $76,336. Born: Dec. 2, 1940. Hometown: Birmingham. Education: Bachelor's degree in religion and English, Princeton University, 1962; law degree, Yale University, 1965. Professional experience: Recently resigned as chairman, Protective Life Corp., to become finance director; worked at Protective Life starting in 1979 ; Cabaniss Johnston Gardner Dumas & O'Neal law firm, 1967-1979. Political experience: Has not held public office. Legislative affairs director Quentin Riggins Salary: $76,336. Born: April 14, 1968. Hometown: Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in marketing and distributive education, Auburn University, 1992. Professional experience: Legislative analyst, Alabama House Speaker Seth Hammett, 1999-last week; previously a legislative liaison for Gov. Fob James; sideline reporter, Auburn Network radio broadcasts football games, since 1991. Political experience: Has not held public office. Chief of staff Toby Roth Salary: $98,000. Born: March 4, 1968. Hometown: Muskogee, Okla.; lives in Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, the University of Alabama, 1990; law degree, College of William and Mary, in 1993. Professional experience: Campaign manager for Riley, 2002; vice president for advancement, Business Council of Alabama, 2001-02; Alabama director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a conservative national lobby, 1998-2001; manager of political affairs, BCA, 1996-98; finance director, Justice Harold See's campaign, 1996; previously practiced law with Birmingham lawyer Ottie Akers. Political experience: Has not held public office. Mental health and retardation commissioner Kathy Sawyer Salary: $122,446. Born: Jan. 20, 1954. Hometown: Montgomery. Education: Bachelor's degree in social welfare, University of Alabama, 1975; master's in social work, UA, 1976. Professional experience: Commissioner, Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, since 1999; director of advocacy office for people served by the department, 1985-99; regional coordinator for communitybased programs for mentally retarded people in north Alabama, 1977-85; child protective services worker in Arizona, 1976-77. Political experience: Has not held public office. Tourism and travel director Lee Sentell Salary: $76,336. Born: April 8, 1944. Hometown: Ashland. Education: Bachelor's degree in communications, Auburn University, 1967. Professional experience: Director of tourism, Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, since 1991; worked 10 years as marketing director, U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville; 12 years as reporter and editor, The Decatur Daily. Political experience: Has not held public office. Senior adviser and counselor Dalton Smith Salary: $88,000. Born: July 30, 1965. Hometown: Birmingham. Education: Bachelor's degree in economics, Auburn University, 1987; law degree, University of Alabama, 1990. Professional experience: Bob Riley's campaign policy director, 2002; partner, SVG Properties; policy analyst, Empower America, a conservative policy group, 1993-95; legislative assistant to then-U.S. Sen. Howell Heflin, 1991-93. Political experience: Has not held public office. State development director Neal Wade Salary: $130,000. Born: Nov. 8, 1946. Hometown: Monroeville. Education: Bachelor's degree in history, Samford University, 1969. Professional experience: Vice president for economic development, The St. Joe Co., a timber and real estate development company in Florida, since 2000; president, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, 1991-2000; corporate communications executive, Alabama Power Co., 1978-91. Political experience: Has not held public office

01/19/2003
Yet another daffy tax idea at City Hall
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Yet another daffy tax idea at City Hall

BY Charlie Edgren

My guess is that you don't know a whole lot about the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Lagomorpha, family Leporidae, genus Lepus. But if you're into the mental and emotional self-flagellation of following city government, you have instinctual knowledge of the hare, because of so many hare-brained ideas hopping from the portals of City Hall. Latest, of course, is the utter insanity of wanting to levy a city sales tax on gasoline. To call that hare-brained is to insult the intelligence of hares. Take one of the poorest cities in the United States and slap a new tax on the residents. Yeah, that makes sense. Make the poor a little poorer and decrease the quality of life for everyone. It's interesting to note that while this brain glitch jackrabbits around City Hall, U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska is calling for an increase in the federal gasoline tax, currently 18.4 cents a gallon, to more than 33 cents per gallon by 2009. How cute, one would complement the other. And it's little known that during the 77th Texas legislative session, HB 1682 was introduced, a measure that would have raised the current 20-cent-per-gallon state gas tax to 25 cents. Fortunately, it didn't make it. But keep an eye on this 78th Legislature, which soon will be casting about desperately for ways to offset an estimated $9.9 billion budget shortfall. Don't bet that a higher gasoline tax won't be in the legislators' bag of tricks. Citizens for a Sound Economy said that if such a tax is passed: Only four states would pay higher gas taxes than Texas; The average family of four would pay $1,164 per year in gas taxes; and, since it's a regressive tax, farmers, ranchers and the lower-income would pay a disproportionate share. The Texas Public Policy Foundation determined that there would be a net loss of 29,190 jobs to the statewide tax increase, and even those who don't own a car would feel the pinch in higher prices at the store due to transportation-cost increases. Even riding the bus would become more expensive. It's not hard to see the same kinds of things happening in El Paso should we be short-sighted enough to continue taxing ourselves into oblivion. Latest pastime -- For those people who constantly cavil and whine that there's nothing to do in El Paso, I submit: The new and expensive, bond-issue-financed canopy at Cohen Stadium is finished, just in time for El Paso's windy season. When a windstorm is forecast, or you sense a subtly increasing breeze as you watch Abrams A1 main battle tanks blown off railcars, wend your way to Cohen and watch The Canopy. You might recall how a windstorm shredded The Canopy last year when it was almost up. My personal theory is that Mother Nature regarded it as an eyesore besmirching her beautiful Franklin Mountains, took umbrage and puffed it away. People who installed The Canopy this latest time maintain it will withstand a 150-mph wind. We shall see. But meanwhile, it gives something for El Pasoans to do during an idle moment; what else is there to do during a windstorm? And by the amusement and diversion it has provided, and no doubt will again, it has improved our quality of life which, after all, was the goal of the bond issue. Charlie Edgren is an editorial writer for the El Paso Times. E-mail address: cedgrenelpasotimes.com

01/18/2003
Yet another daffy tax idea at City Hall
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http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Yet another daffy tax idea at City Hall

BY Charlie Edgren

My guess is that you don't know a whole lot about the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Lagomorpha, family Leporidae, genus Lepus. But if you're into the mental and emotional self-flagellation of following city government, you have instinctual knowledge of the hare, because of so many hare-brained ideas hopping from the portals of City Hall. Latest, of course, is the utter insanity of wanting to levy a city sales tax on gasoline. To call that hare-brained is to insult the intelligence of hares. Take one of the poorest cities in the United States and slap a new tax on the residents. Yeah, that makes sense. Make the poor a little poorer and decrease the quality of life for everyone. It's interesting to note that while this brain glitch jackrabbits around City Hall, U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska is calling for an increase in the federal gasoline tax, currently 18.4 cents a gallon, to more than 33 cents per gallon by 2009. How cute, one would complement the other. And it's little known that during the 77th Texas legislative session, HB 1682 was introduced, a measure that would have raised the current 20-cent-per-gallon state gas tax to 25 cents. Fortunately, it didn't make it. But keep an eye on this 78th Legislature, which soon will be casting about desperately for ways to offset an estimated $9.9 billion budget shortfall. Don't bet that a higher gasoline tax won't be in the legislators' bag of tricks. Citizens for a Sound Economy said that if such a tax is passed: Only four states would pay higher gas taxes than Texas; The average family of four would pay $1,164 per year in gas taxes; and, since it's a regressive tax, farmers, ranchers and the lower-income would pay a disproportionate share. The Texas Public Policy Foundation determined that there would be a net loss of 29,190 jobs to the statewide tax increase, and even those who don't own a car would feel the pinch in higher prices at the store due to transportation-cost increases. Even riding the bus would become more expensive. It's not hard to see the same kinds of things happening in El Paso should we be short-sighted enough to continue taxing ourselves into oblivion. Latest pastime -- For those people who constantly cavil and whine that there's nothing to do in El Paso, I submit: The new and expensive, bond-issue-financed canopy at Cohen Stadium is finished, just in time for El Paso's windy season. When a windstorm is forecast, or you sense a subtly increasing breeze as you watch Abrams A1 main battle tanks blown off railcars, wend your way to Cohen and watch The Canopy. You might recall how a windstorm shredded The Canopy last year when it was almost up. My personal theory is that Mother Nature regarded it as an eyesore besmirching her beautiful Franklin Mountains, took umbrage and puffed it away. People who installed The Canopy this latest time maintain it will withstand a 150-mph wind. We shall see. But meanwhile, it gives something for El Pasoans to do during an idle moment; what else is there to do during a windstorm? And by the amusement and diversion it has provided, and no doubt will again, it has improved our quality of life which, after all, was the goal of the bond issue. Charlie Edgren is an editorial writer for the El Paso Times. E-mail address: cedgrenelpasotimes.com

01/18/2003

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