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TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Sen. Preuitt will provide Senate good leadership

The Alabama Senate can do far worse than elect Lawrence County native Jim Preuitt as its president pro tem when legislators meet Tuesday.

Sen. Preuitt, D-Talladega, is one of the most even-handed, soft-spoken members of the Legislature. But don't let that demeanor fool you. Elected to his sixth term to the upper house, Sen. Preuitt is smart and tough. That's perhaps why he's the leader of the coalition of Democrats and Republicans who caused Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, to give up the power base he's held since 1999, and why Sen. Hinton Mitchem, D-Union Grove, doesn't appear to stand much of a chance of winning the leadership position.

Sen. Mitchem built his campaign for president pro tem around his Marshall County base, which is a good argument for Tennessee Valley support. But Sen. Preuitt has deep roots in Morgan and Lawrence counties.

Sen. Tom Butler, D-Madison, who represents Limestone County, helped organize Sen. Preuitt's challenge to Sen. Barron of Fyffe and should be in line for meaningful committee slots.

Sen. Barron's dictatorial leadership eroded his support and embittered many of his colleagues. Sen. Preuitt's leadership would be markedly different, which the Senate needs after Sen. Barron gives up control.

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