Roberts won't seek fourth term
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
District No. 4 State Senator Tommy Ed Roberts of Hartselle, a Democrat, has announced he won't seek re-election for a fourth consecutive term in 2006.
Roberts said he decided to go ahead and announce his intentions well in advance of the next election in order to create a level playing field for anyone who is interested in seeking the office.
"Under the law a prospective candidate can begin accepting donations for his or her campaign as early as June 6, 2006. That's important because political campaigns are time- consuming and expensive," he said.
District No. 4 encompasses all of Morgan County and the southern portions of Limestone and Madison counties, including about half of the city of Madison and Redstone Arsenal. Finding a replacement for Roberts is expected to attract a lot of interest from both Democrats and Republicans. Decatur attorney Robert Orr has already announced he will be a candidate for the office, as has former State Representative Dr. Angela Mancuso.
Roberts said his retirement from politics will give him more time to pursue other interests such as playing golf and spending more time with his family. He and his wife, Pat, who serves as financial officer for Hartselle City Schools, have an adult son and daughter and six grandchildren between the ages of 10 and 18.
"I won't be leaving Hartselle. This is my home," Roberts said. "I want to always be involved in helping the community grow and, any way I can help do that, I welcome the opportunity."
Roberts was elected to the State Senate in 1994 and re-elected in 1998 and 2002. He served two terms in the State House of Representatives, from 1974 to 1982. During his political career, he has served under four governors, George Wallace, Fob James, Don Siegleman and Bob Riley.
In the nine elections in which his name has been on the ballot, he has won eight and has carried the Hartselle precinct every time. He received a majority of the votes in all of Morgan County's precincts in 2002.
From 1980 to 2001, he was executive director of the Morgan County Economic Development Association. Under his leadership, new and existing industries in the county invested $4.7 million and created 14,742 jobs.
The people I've represented have always been good to me and I will always appreciate that," Roberts said.
"I thank my family who always gave me their complete support, stood by me and worked hard for me in every election. I thank the people who supported me over the years from the bottom of my heart. It has been an honor to represent and serve you," Roberts said.
Roberts has earned the respect of his peers in the senate and has been given a heavy load of responsibility. He is chairman of the Business and Labor Committee and a member of four other committees. They are the Finance, Taxation and Education Committee, Constitution and Elections Committee, State Administration Committee and the Senate Ethics Committee, an elected position he shares with four other senators.
Of the legislation he has sponsored and/or worked hard for passage, he mentioned four areas as having special significance. They are an identity theft law, incentives to help locate Boeing and Trico Steel (now Nucor) in Morgan County, public funding for volunteer fire departments in Morgan County and the legalization of Class 3 fireworks in the state.
"I believe in a 'citizen' legislature and I have always tried to vote on the merit of the issues rather than for the personalities or special interests involved," Roberts stated. "I believe the people send you to Montgomery to think, educate yourself and vote your convictions no matter what party you represent."