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1-11-07 Oconee Native and OCHS Class of 1956 Grad is Head of Alabama State Senate

We commend Hinton Mitchem on his career and accomplishments. NOT BAD FOR AN OCONEE COUNTY ‘COUNTRY BOY’!!!

AVOC

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January 10, 2007

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Oconee Native and OCHS Class of 1956 Grad is Head of Alabama State Senate

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.

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It is always good to hear of success of lifetime friends.   For many of us who lived in Oconee County in the 1940’s and 1950’s established lifetime bonds.   We had one High School and most folks did not move much.

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It was not uncommon for folks to start out in the First Grade together and graduate together 12 years later.   The county and schools were not very big and we all knew each other.   Sometimes, classmates would have siblings younger or older than the class.   That widened the circle of friends.

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One person who attended Watkinsville School (OCHS Class of 1956) was Hinton Mitchem who was born in Oconee County and grew up at Eastville.His sister Barbara Jean Mitchem Lucas was a classmate of mine and graduated from OCHS with me and Betty in 1958.

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Hinton worked part-time at an Athens Grocery Store to support his attendance at UGA where many of us commuted after High School.

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Hinton went onto be a successful businessman in Union Grove, Alabama.He had a Tractor Business.   He was elected to the Senate in 1978 as a Democrat and has been re-elected continuously over the last 30 years.   He was recently elected the Alabama Senate Pro-Tem and becomes the most powerful Senator and a very influential figure in the State of Alabama.  

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We commend and congratulate Hinton Mitchem on his career and accomplishments.NOT BAD FOR AN OCONEE COUNTY ‘COUNTRY BOY’!!   

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FOR MORE ON Oconee County Schools and their History, SEE:

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http://oconeeteachers.com/index.php

http://www.avoc.info/info/article.php?article=502&ENGINEsessID=ffbfb387d5952e96e8a394e723e2fbdf

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1-10-07 Information on Senator Hinton Mitchem, President- Pro Tem Alabama Senate

Senator Hinton Mitchem (AL)

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Current Office: State Senator
Current District: 9
Office Seeking: State Senator
District Seeking: 9
First Elected: 11/07/1978
Last Elected: 11/05/2002
Next Election: 2006
Party: Democrat

Committees:
Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Confirmations
Commerce, Transportation, and Utilities
Finance and Taxation Education
Finance and Taxation General Fund, Deputy Chair
Small Business and Economic Development

Background Information
Gender: Male
Family: 3 Children: Todd, Tanya, Derrick.
Birth date: 05/18/1938
Birthplace: Oconee County, GA
Home City: Albertville, AL
Religion: Presbyterian

Education:
BS, Education, University of Georgia.

Professional Experience:
Owner, Hinton Mitchem Tractor Company Incorporated, present.

Political Experience:
Senator, Alabama State Senate, 1978-present
Representatives, Alabama State House of Representatives, 1974-1978.

Organizations:
Member, Rotary Club.


Capitol Address
Alabama State House, Room 733
11 South Union Street
Montgomery, AL  36130-4600
Phone: 334-242-7876
Fax:

District Address - Business
412-A Gunter Avenue
Guntersville, AL  35976
Phone: 256-582-0619 (Business)
Fax: 256-582-7049

District Address - Union Grove
106 Ridgewood Circle
Union Grove, AL  35175
Phone: 256-498-6600
Fax:

Campaign Address
106 Ridgewood Circle
Union Grove, AL  35715
Phone: 256-498-6600


1-10-07 Alabama Senate remains Democratic with Leader Hinton Mitchem, a Native of Eastville and OCHS Class of 1956 Alumnus

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The Birmingham News

http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1168424778157570.xml&coll=2&thispage=2

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January 10, 2007

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Democrats prevail

Party keeps grip on Senate after bipartisan effort falters 18-17

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

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DAVID WHITE

News staff writer

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MONTGOMERY - Democrats kept control of the Alabama Senate by an 18-17 vote Tuesday after a bipartisan group of seven Democrats and all 12 Senate Republicans fell apart.

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The bipartisan group, led by Sen. Jim Preuitt, D-Talladega, announced late last month that it had 19 committed votes. But two Democrats - Sen. Phil Poole of Moundville and Sen. Rodger Smitherman of Birmingham - left the group and sided with 16 other Democrats to form the 18-vote majority that elected Sen. Hinton Mitchem, D-Union Grove, to lead the Senate as president pro-tempore.

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The vote means an all-Democratic group of senators will continue to run the Senate, just as Democratic groups ran the Senate from 1999 through 2006 under President Pro-Tem Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe. Barron did not seek another term as pro-tem.

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The 18-17 vote ``assures that we'll have good, stable, progressive leadership by Democrats for the next four years," Barron said.

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Several Republican senators said continued Democratic control of the Senate would make it harder for Republican Gov. Bob Riley to get much of his campaign platform passed into law, such as his plan to cut taxes by $00 million a year.

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``I would think that would be dead," said Sen. Scott Beason, R-Fultondale.

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``It was not a good day for the governor's proposals," said Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills. ``He'll face the same problem the next four years that he did the last four years - not getting a fair hearing."

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Mitchem said he intends to be pro-tem for just two years. He said he plans to step down Jan. 1, 2009, and recommend that Smitherman follow him as pro-tem. Smitherman said the 18 senators who voted for Mitchem as pro-tem have committed to vote for him in 2009, though he agreed there's no guarantee that will happen.

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Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, said that he thinks public education will fare better with an all-Democratic coalition running the Senate, and that black senators will hold more powerful positions. ``It's a great day for Alabama, and it's a great day for African-Americans," said Sanders.

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Tuesday's vote means the coalition of 18 Democrats in the next few years almost certainly will hold the Senate's top leadership positions, such as the chairmanships of committees that can rewrite or kill proposals.

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Mitchem said his side in coming days would announce committee assignments and fill other posts. Voting on bills won't start until March 6, when this year's regular session of the Legislature begins.

Vote surprises senators:

Lawmakers planned to continue the organizational session this morning by reviewing the results of the Nov. 7 elections.

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Tuesday's 18-17 vote was a surprise to many senators.

A group of seven Democrats led by Preuitt for several weeks had publicly agreed to vote with the 12 Senate Republicans to form a majority to run the Senate. The bipartisan coalition would have given Republicans their biggest role in running the Senate since the Reconstruction era after the Civil War.

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But it didn't last. Smitherman and Poole left the coalition and sided with the all-Democratic group.

Poole said his switch was ``best for my district."

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``I negotiated for my district," said Poole. He declined to say whether he had been promised any roads or other projects in his district if he switched.

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Smitherman said he changed his mind because he feared Republicans would form the majority on the Senate's education-budget committee, and he didn't want Republicans deciding how public schools in his district would be funded.

Sen. Larry Dixon, R-Montgomery, said that Smitherman and Poole lied to Republicans and the Preuitt-led Democrats, and that they had committed as late as Monday that they still were with that group.

The last-minute changes by Poole and Smitherman gave the all-Democratic side the 18-vote majority Tuesday, while five Democrats and all 12 Senate Republicans voted unsuccessfully for Sen. E.B. McClain, D-Midfield, to be pro-tem after Preuitt withdrew his name.

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``There are 17 disappointed people on our side that felt we were misled by two people who had committed to us," Waggoner said.

Riley spokesman Jeff Emerson said Riley supported the Preuitt-led coalition. ``He thinks the only real way to make significant achievements is with bipartisan cooperation," Emerson said. ``That doesn't mean there can't still be bipartisan cooperation, no matter who's running the Senate. That's what we're hoping for."

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Mitchem pledged to treat all 35 senators fairly and to listen to their concerns. ``I'm going to do everything possible that I can in the next two years to do what I can to bring all of us together," he said.

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``I'm quite overwhelmed," Mitchem said. ``This has got to be the capping of the highest honor that I've ever received, to be able to serve as pro-tem of the Alabama Senate."

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Mitchem last year chaired the Senate committee that drafted the state operating budget for non-education agencies. The 68-year-old for many years owned a tractor dealership in Albertville, but he sold it in 2005.

He served in the Alabama House of Representatives in 1974-78 and in the Senate in 1978-86. He lost a bid for lieutenant governor in 1986, but returned to the Senate in a special election in June 1987 and has served continuously since then. His Senate district covers all of Marshall County and parts of Blount and Madison counties.

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McDowell Lee, secretary of the Senate since 1963, presided over the Senate election for pro-tem in the absence of Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley. John Hamm, Baxley's chief of staff, said Baxley stayed away on doctor's orders. She suffered a stroke Thanksgiving morning and has been through weeks of therapy.

E-mail: dwhite@bhamnews.com


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