The Man Who Would Be #ALpolitics Governor Is No Longer A Contender.
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, July 2, 2015
In what could only be described as a total shock to political observers statewide, Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (R, Alabaster), age 44 of Alabaster, a licensed attorney, was arrested Wednesday & charged with DUI by the Alabaster Police Department, and booked into Shelby County jail without bond.
He represents Senate District 14, which includes parts of Shelby, Chilton, Jefferson, Bibb and Hale counties.
In addition to having been influential in Alabama prison reform legislation, and being Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he is president of the Alabama Law Institute, and on the Alabama Republican Party State Executive Committee.
Cam Ward’s diligent efforts in prison reform have not gone unnoticed, and many political observers – myself included – figured him to be on a short list of future gubernatorial candidates. But with his recent DUI arrest by Alabaster Police, he has in effect committed political hari-kari, and his legislative, and professional political career is now effectively over.
Instances of Alabama politicians being arrested for DUI is not without precedent.
Three term State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Zeb Little (D, Cullman) was charged with DUI in April 2009, and faced additional charges of failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, violation of the open container law, and driving with an expired license.
Little, then aged 40, refused to submit to a chemical test for intoxication, which, according to Alabama State Law, invokes an automatic suspension of driving privileges.
That matter became campaign fodder during the November 2010 General Election, and Paul Bussman, a local dentist who challenged Little on the Republican ticket, won by an overwhelming majority.
While two political partisans have attempted to come to Cam Ward’s rescue via Social Media, he has – in essence – been hung out to dry by those closest to him politically. It will certainly be interesting to see how things unfold in the days, and weeks ahead as Alabama heads into an agreement with the Department of Justice to reform Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, the legislation for much of which was his work.
When news of Ward’s arrest circulated, Brian Rell, Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt Tweeted:
We all make mistakes; it is what we do after making them that counts. @SenCamWard is no different. He has done good things and will do more — brian rell (@brianrell) July 2, 2015
WSFA, TV-12, Montgomery, reported that Alabama State Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed released this statement following Cam Ward’s DUI arrest:
“Senator Ward made a mistake. We encourage him to seek help and will be there for emotional and spiritual support.”
Earlier in the day, at 9:45AM, before his arrest, Cam Ward Tweeted:
“Enjoyed visiting with Bibb Career Academy this afternoon and working with them on tech improvements” which cross-posted a link to an image on Instagram.
He was elected to the State Senate in the 2010 November General Election after being twice elected to the AL House of Representatives.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Troy State University in 1993, a law degree from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham in 1996, and was admitted to the Alabama Bar Association in September 1996.
His AL state legislative biography states he specializes in economic development & serves as the Executive Director of the Industrial Development Board of Alabaster. In addition, he is a member of the following committees:
• Chairman of Judiciary
• Chairman of Local Legislation Shelby County
• Vice Chairman of Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development
• Member of Confirmations, and
• Finance and Taxation General Fund
• Member per rule 47a of: Health and Human Services, Transportation & Energy, and Constitution Ethics and Elections committees
According to Capt. Ken Burchfield with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Cam Ward will not be released from jail until early Thursday morning.
A DUI arrest is often one of the most significantly telling signs of a problem with alcohol, which has – by the time of the arrest – has likely been ongoing for several years.
As well, alcoholism frequently underlies further, more significant emotional problems of long-standing duration.
Here’s hoping Cam Ward gets the help he needs to overcome one of society’s most troubling problems.
UPDATE: Thursday, 02July2015
According to a report from the Birmingham metro area teevee station ABC 33-40, Alabama State Senator Cam Ward released the following statement to them concerning his DUI arrest by Alabaster Police yesterday:
“My failure at dealing with stress led me to make incredibly reckless decisions. I recognize that I used alcohol as a crutch. I was very wrong and deeply apologize to my family, friends and constituents. I plan on seeking professional assistance immediately.”
According to a report on the AL.com website, at a Press Conference this morning (Thursday, 02July2015) concerning Senator Cam Ward’s DUI arrest, Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney read from a prepared statement and told reporters that the APD received a phone call concerning a suspected drunk driver on Highway 119 around 12:46PM. Shortly thereafter, APD spotted the vehicle and made a traffic stop on Warrior Park on Thompson Road. Chief Rigney said, “As the officer spoke to Mr. Ward, Mr. Ward exhibited signs of intoxication. Mr. Ward was asked to perform several field sobriety tests, which he failed. At that time, Mr. Ward was placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI.”
After his arrest, APD then transported Mr. Ward to the Alabaster Police Department, where he was charged with Driving while Under the Influence, and was later transported to the Shelby County Jail in Columbiana with a $1,000 bond.
Chief Rigney added that this morning, Mr. Ward was transported back to the Alabaster Police Department and was released at 5:21AM after posting bond.
Mr. Ward’s court date is August 12 in Alabaster City Court.