“Gen” Burleson as legislator
One frequently hears political candidates today say, “I’m not a politician.” “Gen” Burleson’s principal occupation was that of educator; however, he was a quick study and soon acquired the legislative skills necessary to do battle for his constituents’ interests.
Even though he was ultimately unsuccessful in the biggest struggle of his two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives, Rep. F. E. Burleson’s defeat could not be attributed to a lack of effort on his part.
July 12, 1927—Decatur and Hartselle delegations were gathering at Montgomery today as the time for the presentation of the courthouse commission bill, authored by Rep. John Patterson of Decatur, was drawing near. Consideration of the bill had been twice delayed by the illness of F. E. Burleson, the Hartselle legislator.
(Critics of the position being advanced by Rep. Burleson doubted that he was ill. They felt that feigning illness was a delaying tactic of legislators who know they do not have the votes to pass or defeat the bill in which they are most interested.)
Interest in the measure to rebuild the burned-out Morgan County courthouse is extremely high throughout the county. Mr. Burleson will lead the fight (ultimately unsuccessful) against the Patterson bill, which would rebuild the Morgan seat of government in Decatur. Hartselle people feel the burned–out courthouse should be rebuilt in Hartselle and favor a referendum that will allow county voters to decide the matter.
July 12, 1927— (later) Rep. F. E. Burleson spoke at length in the Alabama Legislature this afternoon but was unable to prevent a majority of his colleagues from passing a bill setting up a commission to oversee the rebuilding of the fire-ravaged Morgan County courthouse in Decatur.
Following are headlines of news stories related to the struggle over the Burleson effort ultimately to rebuild the courthouse in Hartselle:
July 12, 1927—“Montgomery Filled with Morgan Countians Today…Capital Crowded While Patterson Asks Commission…Decatur Delegation Is Off on Early Train for Montgomery…Hartselle Sent a Large Number…Fight Expected When Burleson Opposes Local Measure…”
July 12, 1927 —“Two Local Fights Scheduled Today…Morgan Battle Is Set This Afternoon at 2:30 o’clock…”
July 12, 1927—“Decatur Leads in Registration for Seventh Day...Highest Record in a Single Day Rolled Up on Monday…923 Are Added to Vote Lists…Hartselle Comes Back Strong Today to Offset Monday…”
July 13, 1927—“Revenue Board Scored as Solons Battle at Capitol...Hartselle Legislator (Burleson) Tries for Adjournment but Patterson Holds Fight Upon Floor” – F. E. Burleson of Hartselle, fighting for the removal of the Morgan County courthouse from Decatur to Hartselle, conducted a one-man filibuster against the Morgan courthouse commission bill in the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon but was defeated, and the House passed the bill of John Patterson of Decatur, which provides for a commission to construct the Morgan courthouse, a group which would be expected to favor keeping the seat of government in Decatur … Burleson used several tactics to delay a vote on the bill, which showed what a skilled legislator he was, even though just a freshman member.
July 13, 1927—“Commission Bill Is Adopted… Burleson Filibuster Fails as House Favors Patterson… Spectacular Battle Ends as House Votes Adoption by Third Vote Ballot 61-30…”
Rep. Burleson had other subjects in which he was interested, too, especially those that were defense-related:
Aug. 31, 1927—Morgan County Rep. F. E. Burleson blocked a move in the House of Representatives today to reduce the appropriation for the Alabama National Guard. The appropriation was $94,000, but a motion was made by Rep. Simpson of Jefferson to cut the amount to $88,800. Rep. Burleson moved to table the motion, which action was concurred by the House by a vote of 54 to 6.
Sept. 2, 1927—F. E. Burleson of Hartselle, Morgan County representative in the Legislature, will resume his schoolwork this year, again teaching at Moulton Heights, where he conducted the school successfully for several years. Because of his legislative duties, Mr. Burleson was unable to teach last year. (Originally the Legislature met every four years. Under an amendment adopted in 1908, biennial Legislative sessions were approved. Since 1971, the Legislature has met annually.)