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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chief justice undecided on 2010

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb said Thursday she has received encouragement from people who want her to remain head of the state's judicial system and those who want her to run for governor in 2010. She did say in a statement that she believes she has the "knowledge, the experience and the leadership abilities to do a good job as governor."

"At this point, I'm not ready to make a decision, and it is too important, not only for my family and me, but more significantly for the state I serve, to make it in haste," she said in the statement released Thursday morning.

Cobb, a Democrat, has been speculated as a candidate in recent weeks. Her name surfaced after Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. said he would run for reelection for his current position and not for governor.

The chief justice does oversee the state's judicial system and its 2,600 employees. She has worked her way up the judicial system for 30 years and said she has been able to work on issues like juvenile justice.

"As governor, however, I could do even more to help Alabama's children, by working to end child abuse and neglect and to change the priorities in Montgomery so that we focus on creating jobs and improving our schools," she said. "Right now, I am not certain that the needs of the next generation always come before concerns of the next election."

Cobb said she is interested in the answers to two vital questions: "what strengths do we have today?" and "what do we want Alabama to become tomorrow?"

"Unfortunately, I have yet to hear them even asked by any candidate," she said. " ... The next governor must seek those answers, while facing a tough economy, shrinking budgets and a political atmosphere in Montgomery that doesn't exactly breed compromise. It will require putting service to the people ahead of allegiance to one party or to the interest groups that fund political campaigns. Easier said than done, I know. But it is more critical right now than perhaps at any time in our state's history."

Cobb said she has the knowledge and experience, but she also knows the "application process can be very tough."

"Alabama politics is not for the faint of heart," she said. "Running a campaign, even a winning campaign, means losing cherished time with the people I love. So as I go forward with this decision, my eyes are open, even if my heart remains unsettled."

The chief justice said she would seek advice from her family and from people throughout the state.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen


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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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