With the general election now over, we at least know who the brand new members of both the Alabama House and Senate will be. There will be 12 new Senators and 28 new House members.
Actually, three of the Senators are former House members moving to the other chamber. These are Donnie Chesteen of Geneva; David Sessions of Grand Bay and Jack Williams of Wilmer. They will be joined by brand new Senators Garlan Gudger of Cullman; Sam Givhan of Huntsville, Andrew Jones of Centre; Randy Price of Opelika, Dan Roberts of Birmingham; Will Barfoot of Montgomery and Chis Elliott of Spanish Fort. Former Senator Tom Butler of Huntsville is returning after sitting out a couple of sessions.
New House members are: Andrew Sorrell of Muscle Shoals; Parker Moore of Decatur; Andy Whitt of Harvest, Proncey Robertson of Mt. Hope; Scott Stadthagen of Hartselle; Tracy Estes of Winfield; Jamie Kiel of Russellville; Rex Reynolds of Huntsville; Gil Isbell of Gadsden, Craig Lipscomb of Gadsden, Debbie Wood of Valley; Ginny Shaver of Centre; David Wheeler of Vestavia Hills; Neil Rafferty of Birmingham; Rodney Sullivan of Northport; Brett Easterbrook of Fruitdale; TaShina Morris of Montgomery; Kirk Hatcher of Montgomery; Ed Oliver of Dadeville, Jeremy Gray of Opelika; Jeff Sorrells of Hartford; Will Dismukes of Prattville, Wes Allen of Troy; Rhett Marques of Enterprise; Matt Simpson of Daphne, Sam Jones of Mobile, Shane Stringer of Citronelle and Chip Brown of Mobile.
In all, 34 percent of the Senate is new, while 27 percent of the House is.
The House will meet this week to organize leadership.. Of the 15 members of the House Ways & Means Education committee appointed to serve after the 2014 election, eight of them are no longer in the legislature. Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa currently chairs this committee and is likely to return.
As to the education policy committee, chaired by Terri Collins of Decatur, seven of the 13 members no longer are in the House.
So there are plenty of new players now in the game. Will this bode well for education? Time will tell. But this is definitely an opportunity for public schools.