James cites cronyism in Capitol

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Tim James, a Republican candidate for governor, was in Luverne last week, and during a visit at the Luverne Rotary Club cited cronyism as one of Alabama's biggest problems.

The term "crony" is defined in Webster's Dictionary as "a very close friend."

"We have a governor (in office) who has been in political positions for 20 years n his record reflects his long-term relationships with big business,' and we have had more cronyism in this state then ever before," James said. "I have spent the last 15 years of my life starting companies n I have absolutely no professional political experience, which is why I believe I will make a good governor."

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James said he became motivated to run for the chief office of state government after a visit to Birmingham, approximately eight months ago.

"A public school principal was asked why her students could not excel in school," James said. "She replied, they all come from poor backgrounds' n she was giving them a crutch to lean on n that is wrong."

James said he is interested in instituting certain comparison guidelines for students.

"I want students to be compared to their own scores one year ago, instead of a national average," he said. "Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) scores are inching up, but slowly."

James said he believes the principal of a school should be a focal point.

"The principal is the central focal point of a school, as he or she should be n the one common denominator in the school," he said. "If you put a strong principal in a school, one that is weak, it will have to improve."

James said the principal should also be responsible for all discipline in a school.

"Teachers should not have to deal with discipline problems," he said. "That is the job of the principal."

James also said he is an advocate of character education.

"A child should hear things of truth and substance n words about character and integrity. If they don't hear it at home, then where else will they hear it, if not in school?" he asked.

James also spoke about his views on fixing proration.

"It's a function of budgeting," he said. "The legislature is setting budgets based on five percent growth, instead of what has actually been one to two percent growth n they have in effect over-budgeted.

"We had one hiccup n the worst recession in 20 years n it should not have happened, but the legislature would not decrease spending based on less income," James said.

Regarding the Alabama Constitution and issues of constitutional reform, James said he is more in favor of appropriate amendments, rather then re-writing the document.

"The Alabama Constitution is more restraining on state government then the U.S. Constitution is on federal government," he said. "Some have called our Constitution racist n anything in our Constitution regarding racism is dead language' n it has been amended out.

"Don't take it away completely, it is the history of our state n truth in history, for our children to see what and where we have come from," he said. "And this thing the governor is working on, trying to get a Constitutional Convention n it is all about money, and I will resist it to the end," James said.