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Friends let loose at Carter in good fun at CASA roast

By Holly Hollman · 340-2445

ATHENS — To hear it told, Elkmont’s Tommy Carter, a 36-year veteran of the State House, is a pastry eating, feeble minded, conniving politician.

According to Sen. Tom Butler, D-Madison, when Carter was a representative, he liked dealing with what he called “sticky bun” money.

Butler said the main reason Carter like giving funds to local Limestone organizations was because he could do it at a breakfast meeting and consume limitless supplies of sticky buns.

Athens Mayor Dan Williams said Carter has been around so long, he has a mind like a steel trap.

“It’s rusty and illegal in 36 states,” Williams said.

Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely said opponents often discuss how Carter remained in office for more than three decades.

“One opponent said it’s because Tommy knows the pen is mightier than the sword,” Blakely said. “I asked what that meant, and his opponent said, ‘With the stroke of a pen, he eliminates opponents from his district.’ ”

For those who don’t know, Blakely’s tale refers to when Carter had his district lines redrawn after nearly losing the Democratic primary to Steve White. The newly designed district didn’t include White’s residence.

These outlandish remarks about Carter weren’t spoken in meanness. Carter was the star Saturday night at the annual CASA Roast, which raises money for the Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound of Limestone County. CASA sold tickets to the dinner and roasting, which it held at the Athens Senior Center.

Carter took the ribbing in stride, although he interrupted Butler several times. Carter did that by causing a caged fake bird he received as a gag gift to chirp incessantly.

Butler continued, unperturbed.

“The Governor (Bob Riley) asked me if Tommy liked him,” Butler said. “I told him Tommy liked him very much, that he had even found a stray dog he named Riley. The governor looked puzzled and said he didn’t know if that was a compliment or not. I said, ‘It is. Why, that dog sits on Tommy’s lap all the time.’ ”

Carter didn’t let Butler get the last word. He said Butler has been in office so long, he’s been able to keep others from running against him by fibbing.

“Tom tells them, ‘You can’t run against me. I’m appointed,’ ” Carter said, “and some of them actually believe him.”

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