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Change breeds familiarity in politics

By M.J. Ellington
mjellington@decaturdaily.com· (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — In Alabama Democratic and Republican party politics, nowhere is the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” more apparent than in the rewards given chief worker bees after hard-fought political contests.

The Republicans

Take the case of the current chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh is easing out of her job as chief party spokeswoman and back into a job as Gov. Bob Riley’s senior aide.

During Riley’s first term, Cavanaugh was appointments director and deputy chief of staff. After two years, she resigned to run for the Republican Party post and became the first woman to hold the position.

Her term as chairman ends in February, and she returns to Goat Hill. Once again Cavanaugh will advise and handle appointments for the governor, but this time with a fancier title.

Former director of the Alabama chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a pro-business grass-roots advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., Cavanaugh also worked in Washington for the Republican National Committee and served on the staff of U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan, R-Mobile.

Moving out of the job that Cavanaugh will fill is Bryan Taylor, who will be policy director for the Riley administration. Taylor is on leave from Birmingham-based Bradley, Arant, Rose and White, the same mega law firm where former candidate for lieutenant governor Luther Strange is a partner.

Taylor will handle policy initiatives and be responsible for turning the governor’s policy package into legislative bill form. He also has ties to Republicans known on a national scale. A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Taylor was a legal intern for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and worked with that state’s House of Representatives.

The Democrats

People familiar with state Democratic political faces may see two familiar faces in Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom’s new office.

Former campaign staff members for two Democratic candidates for governor now hang their professional hats in Folsom’s Statehouse office.

Mike Martin is Folsom’s legislative director and will work with members of the Legislature in a new position in the lieutenant governor’s office.

Martin was former Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley’s campaign manager in her run for governor last year. In 2002, he managed Charles Bishop’s primary effort against former Gov. Don Siegelman. He also has ties to teacher lobbyist Paul Hubbert, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association.

Previously, Martin edited Alabama School Journal for the AEA.

The publication goes to members of the teachers’ union across the state. Among other things, the publication keeps teachers updated on what is happening in the Legislature. Martin also lobbied and edited publications for the Alabama Trial Lawyers.

Folsom’s director of external affairs is Chip Hill. Before the 2006 Democratic primary, Hill was media relations director in Siegelman’s campaign for governor. Hill then moved to the Folsom campaign after Siegelman’s defeat. In the lieutenant governor’s office, Hill will work in media relations and constituent affairs for Folsom.

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