• U.S.

A GUIDE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES: ALABAMA

16 minute read
TIME

ALABAMA

Population (1994): 4,219,000 (up 4.4% from 1990); 1.6% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 3,138,000; 1994 turnout, 38%

Median age: 33.0 years

Median household income: $23,597 ($8,667 below U.S. median)

Unemployment: 5.2% (0.4% below U.S. average, March 1996)

Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 41% Bush (R): 48% Perot (I): 11%

Congressional delegation: Five Democrats, four Republicans

Alabama is home to a long list of renowned black figures, from George Washington Carver to Nat King Cole to Jesse Owens, but it is perhaps best remembered for Selma and Birmingham and some of the most violent civil-rights skirmishes of the 20th century. Much has changed since the turbulent Sixties, but there is still only one African American from Alabama in Congress. Despite a Democratic surge during the Wallace era, voters in the Camellia State still lean toward the g.o.p. as space-age communities like Huntsville grow and heavy industry, attracted by the state’s red, iron-filled soil, declines.

ROGER BEDFORD (D) SENATE (OPEN SEAT)

BORN: July 2, 1956, Fort Belvadere, Va. EDUCATION: U of Alabama, B.S., 1978; Samford U, J.D., 1981 FAMILY: Wife, Maudie; one child RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Alabama Senate, 1983-, chairman, Judiciary Committee, 1995- ADDRESS: 2361 Fairlane Drive, Suite M320, Montgomery 36116. Tel.: 334-244-1956

Democrats lost an Alabama Senate seat when Richard Shelby switched parties. Now, with Howell Heflin stepping down, they could lose the other. But Bedford, who underwent a 1990 bone-marrow transplant to combat cancer, is a fighter with the experience to win. Campaigning on a family-and-faith platform, he opposes school vouchers and supports federal programs that help children.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NR Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES National Service YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Let’s visit a classroom, where Alabama’s future will be determined, and explain to those children and their parents why, in the richest country on earth, we can’t find money for Head Start and school lunches.”

JEFF SESSIONS (R) SENATE (OPEN SEAT)

BORN: Dec. 24, 1946, Hybart EDUCATION: Huntingdon College, B.A.; U of Alabama, J.D. FAMILY: Wife, Mary Blackshear; three children RELIGION: Methodist MILITARY: Army, 1973; Army Reserve, 1974-86 OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: State Attorney General, 1995- ADDRESS: 4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery 36106. Tel.: 334-270-4040

Politics in Alabama being conservative, Democrats often vote like Republicans, so the G.O.P. counts on Session’s name recognition to give him an edge for this open seat. Like his opponent, Sessions is passionately anti-drug and pro-family, but he’s also campaigning on a Republican platform of lower taxes and fiscal frugality. He’s for “modest cuts” in spending, but he vows to stand by Medicare and Social Security. If elected, Sessions would give the g.o.p. control of both Alabama Senate seats for the first time since Reconstruction.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR National Service NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I can’t wait to be involved in the battle to preserve the taxpayers’ dollars.”

SONNY CALLAHAN (R) District 1 (Southwest–Mobile)

BORN: Sept. 11, 1932, Mobile EDUCATION: McGill High School, graduated, 1950 FAMILY: Wife, Karen; five children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: Navy, 1952-54 OCCUPATION: Moving-and-storage-company executive POLITICAL CAREER: Alabama House, 1971-79, Senate, 1979-83; sought Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, 1982; U.S. House, 1984- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 7641, Mobile 36607. Tel.: 334-476-0096

Callahan does what it takes to make it. He started work at age 12, after his father died, was a Democratic politician for a dozen years, switched parties when the First District Congressman retired in 1984, and won the seat that year as a Republican. As a g.o.p. leader in a G.O.P. House, Callahan can count on his reputation as a successful miner of federal funds as being more secure than ever.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I am a member of the Committee on Appropriations, and…I will guarantee to everyone that we are not going to cut Medicare under any circumstance.”

DON WOMACK (D) District 1

BORN: May 18, 1948, Pensacola, Fla. EDUCATION: U of South Alabama, B.S., 1974; Boston U, M.B.A., 1990 FAMILY: Wife, Maureen; one child RELIGION: Methodist MILITARY: Marines, 1967-70 OCCUPATION: Investment broker; financial planner POLITICAL CAREER: Democratic nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 85085, Mobile 36685. Tel.: 334-470-1702

Womack is running in a solid Republican district–it voted for Bush by substantial margins in both ’88 and ’92–against a solid Republican, six-term incumbent. But he has been this route before and apparently wasn’t discouraged by his 34-point 1994 loss, against the same opponent. Womack predicts that “the Gingrich budget” would cause Alabamans to lose billions of dollars in funding for Medicaid, Medicare and child-nutrition programs.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NR Abortion YES Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “There is a price tag for being a trained seal, only Sonny Callahan isn’t picking up the tab. Alabama’s seniors, children, students and workers are.”

TERRY EVERETT (R) District 2 (Southeast–part of Montgomery; Dothan)

BORN: Feb. 15, 1937, Dothan EDUCATION: Enterprise State Junior College, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1983 FAMILY: Wife, Barbara RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: Air Force, 1955-59 OCCUPATION: Newspaper executive; farm owner POLITICAL CAREER: U.S. House, 1992- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1460, Enterprise 36331. Tel.: 334-273-0331

Everett, finishing his second term, has been guided by the concerns of a district that includes local military bases and defense contractors. He also supported a bill to help educate children of civilian employees of the military, proposed a House peanut caucus–good for a district that grows lots of peanuts–and has worked on getting federally subsidized water service in rural areas.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Nearly $5 trillion of debt placed upon our children and grandchildren demands a response. We must take action now. We must pass the balanced-budget amendment.”

BOB GAINES (D) District 2

BORN: Aug. 23, 1946, Hutchinson, Kan. EDUCATION: Troy State U, B.S., 1969, M.S., 1972 FAMILY: Wife, Patsy; two children RELIGION: Methodist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Teacher POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 432, Daleville 36322. Tel.: 334-308-9000

Gaines, despite promising to bring a “conservative philosophy” back to the Democratic Party, supported the minimum wage and is against cutting Medicare. A longtime Alabaman who has worked the past 14 years as a lobbyist for the Alabama Education Association, he sees himself as “a man of the people” and calls his opponent a Newt Gingrich groupie. Though he faces an incumbent whose victory percentage rose from 48 to 74 after his first term in office, Gaines enjoys endorsements from the AFL-CIO and the Alabama Education Association.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NO Abortion NO Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “In an effort to…ensure that our children have no worse opportunity than we had, I have decided to get off the sidelines, leave my comfort zone and enter the arena.”

T.D. LITTLE (D) District 3 (East–Anniston; Auburn)

BORN: June 21, 1942, Covington County EDUCATION: U of Alabama, B.S., 1964, J.D., 1967 FAMILY: Widowed; two children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer; professor POLITICAL CAREER: Alabama Senate, 1974-86; sought Democratic nomination for state Treasurer, 1986; Alabama Senate, 1991- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 2366, Auburn 36201. Tel.: 334-704-0401

In this home of the conservative white Democrat, Little hopes his attack on the G.O.P. agenda combined with support of fiscal restraint will be the right mix to win this open, though previously Democratic, seat. Running on a “Revive the American Dream” ticket, he cites attacks on Medicare and student loans as a reason Americans have lost faith in government. In this middle-ground district, victory may go to the candidate who avoids being tagged an extremist.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NR Abortion YES Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare NR Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The government must live within its means, the same as our farmers, teachers, bus drivers and other taxpayers.”

BOB RILEY (R) District 3

BORN: Oct. 3, 1944, Ashland EDUCATION: U of Alabama, B.S, 1965 FAMILY: Wife, Patsy Adams; four children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Auto dealer; trucking-company executive; farmer POLITICAL CAREER: Ashland city council, 1972-76, candidate for mayor, 1976 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 700, Ashland 36251. Tel.: 800-661-2042

In the race for the seat left open by Democrat Glen Browder, straitlaced Republican Riley wouldn’t seem much of a contender. But though the Third tends to vote Democratic in congressional elections, its Democrats lean toward conservatism. Riley, after two decades out of politics, was invigorated by the Republican revival and wants to help balance the budget, reform welfare, reduce taxes and put prayer in public schools.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “People waste billions of dollars preparing their taxes each year because of a tax code that only tax lawyers and accountants understand.”

ROBERT ADERHOLT (R) District 4 (North Central–Gadsden)

BORN: July 22, 1965, Haleyville EDUCATION: Birmingham Southern U, B.A., 1987; Samford U, J.D., 1990 FAMILY: Wife, Caroline RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Municipal judge; lawyer; gubernatorial aide POLITICAL CAREER: Republican nominee for Alabama House, 1990 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1158, Haleyville 35565. Tel.: 205-486-2605

With the departure of 15-term Democrat Tom Bevill, Republicans consider the Fourth a takeover target. Though youthful, Aderholt is an experienced conservative with a time-honored platform of lower taxes and “traditional” values–school prayer, the prohibition of abortion, the absolute right to keep and bear arms. In a 93% white district that has supported Republican presidential candidates for the past 20 years, voters may see Bevill’s departure as a chance to pass power from old Democratic hands to new and eager Republican ones.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Don’t mess with our traditional family values.”

ROBERT WILSON (D) District 4

BORN: July 7, 1955, Jasper EDUCATION: Samford U, B.S., 1976; Birmingham U., J.D., 1982 FAMILY: Wife, Aletha RELIGION: Methodist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Attorney POLITICAL CAREER: Alabama Senate, 1991-94 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 2088, Jasper 35501. Tel.: 205-384-3030

Democrats face a tough fight against a Republican Party that sees a political opportunity in this open seat. Wilson promises to continue Bevill’s dedication to development of Alabama’s natural resources. (The Congressman’s seniority brought money for roads and economic development into the district.) And like his opponent, Wilson emphasizes family values, which he hopes will extend to the old-style Southern political family of the Fourth District, which has had a Democrat in Congress for 94 years this century.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NR Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I want to continue the tradition of strong, conservative Democratic leadership in Alabama, of looking out for the working families of the Fourth District.”

ROBERT CRAMER (D) District 5 (North–Huntsville)

BORN: Aug. 22, 1947, Huntsville EDUCATION: U of Alabama, B.A., 1969, J.D., 1972 FAMILY: Widowed; one child RELIGION: Methodist MILITARY: Army, 1972; Army Reserve, 1976-78 OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Madison County district attorney, 1981-90; U.S. House 1990- ADDRESS: 223 East Side Square, Huntsville 35801. Tel.: 205-539-0902

Cramer, re-elected with only a 1% margin in 1994, has felt the pinch of the Republican vise and reined in some of his liberal tendencies. Though the g.o.p. has targeted Cramer as vulnerable, it still must contend with his high-achieving freshman year: construction of a superhighway (the “corridor of prosperity”); funding for the Keller Memorial Bridge; and battling to preserve weather-radar coverage for northern Alabama and a strong space program.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I do not want some government bureaucrat determining that my Weather Service office will be closed. I want more protection than that.”

WAYNE PARKER (R) District 5

BORN: Sept. 28, 1959, Huntsville EDUCATION: Auburn U, B.A., 1982; American Graduate School of International Management, M.A., 1989 FAMILY: Wife, Lisa; four children RELIGION: Presbyterian MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Advertising executive; international lending officer POLITICAL CAREER: Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: 4906 Whitesburg Drive, Huntsville 35802. Tel.: 205-881-0000

Son-in-law of Texas Congressman Bill Archer, Parker wants the seat he nearly won two years ago. A fourth-generation citizen of Huntsville, he touts his support of the district’s military and space industry–the Defense Department alone employs 7,500 area residents–and, with an opponent with less pac money to spend than he had a year ago, Parker may close the narrow gap.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “This election is about making sure that the world our children and grandchildren inherit from us is a world with all of the opportunity and freedom that they deserve. I want to pass them a torch that is still burning.”

SPENCER BACHUS (R) District 6 (Part of Birmingham and suburbs)

BORN: Dec. 28, 1947, Birmingham EDUCATION: Auburn U, B.A., 1969; U of Alabama, J.D., 1972 FAMILY: Wife, Linda; three children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: National Guard, 1969-71 OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Alabama Senate, 1983; Alabama House, 1983-87; U.S. House, 1992- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 59444, Birmingham 35259. Tel.: 205-414-0023

An enthusiastic conservative on economic, cultural and foreign issues, Bachus represents a 90% white district considered one of the most Republican in the nation (in 1992 it gave George Bush 64% of its vote). In 1994 he fought against NEA grants to artists and cultural institutions. And this year he sponsored a bill to determine how much U.S. currency is counterfeited abroad. He also has a reputation for taking care of his constituents.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “International counterfeiting funds terrorism. Counterfeit currency is the currency of choice for terrorists. It makes their activities less traceable. It lowers their cost of doing mischief.”

MARY LYNN BATES (D) District 6

BORN: Nov. 6, 1947, New Orleans EDUCATION: Samford U, B.A., 1970, J.D., 1978 FAMILY: Husband, Jesse Martin Bates III; two children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 660279, Birmingham 35266. Tel.: 205-823-9459

In a heavily Republican district, Bates knows she’s a long shot. But her frustration with Congress–two government shutdowns and a threat to default on the national debt–propelled her into the race. Though she feels the TIME/CQ Issues are too complex for a yes-or-no response, she has plenty of opinions about them. Bates wants a balanced budget, and believes it can be achieved with common sense and compassion.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “We can care for our elderly, educate our children, protect our environment and improve our standard of living without mortgaging our future.”

EARL HILLIARD (D) District 7 (West Central–parts of Birmingham, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa)

BORN: April 9, 1942, Birmingham EDUCATION: Morehouse College, B.A., 1964; Howard U, J.D., 1967; Atlanta U, M.B.A., 1970 FAMILY: Wife, Mary Franklin; two children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Alabama House, 1975-81, Senate, 1981-93; U.S. House, 1992- ADDRESS: 1614 Third Avenue North, Birmingham 35203. Tel.: 205-324-7575

Hilliard, the first black man from Alabama to serve in Congress since Reconstruction, represents an African American-majority district, opposing tax breaks for the rich, promoting public education and keeping civil rights from being forgotten.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Republicans have slashed funds for reading and math programs, they have slashed funds for safe and drug-free schools, for vocational education and adult-education programs. There seems to be no end to this madness.”

JOE POWELL (R) District 7

BORN: Sept. 20, 1971, Tuscaloosa EDUCATION: U of Alabama, B.A., 1993 FAMILY: Wife, Mikki RELIGION: Southern Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Restaurant owner POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 70514, Tuscaloosa 35407. Tel.: 205-366-9696

When Bob Dole came through the Seventh, he predicted that Powell, the youngest candidate for the House, would be the district’s next Congressman. Though Powell, the only white man running for this office in a 64% African-American district, is no shoo-in, he got a lot farther than anybody thought he might. And in one of the poorest districts in the U.S., Powell supports welfare, but it is support joined with detailed plans to improve the economy–from business and government partnerships, to federal improvement of roads, to town fairs–so that welfare’s beneficiaries will have jobs to escape to.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I can’t be black. And if you have to be black to win this district I won’t win–plain and simple.”

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