Siegelman has 'no regrets' as term comes to a close

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003

By By TIM REEVES – Special to The Standard
For Don Siegelman, public office has been a way of life for most of his life. From secretary of state and attorney general to lieutenant governor and governor, Siegelman has seen every level of state government and in most cases - been in charge of it.
But he is nearing the end of his public service. On Monday, Jan. 20, Siegelman will see his opponent sworn in as the next governor of Alabama -- a position he longed to hold for four more years.
The conclusion of Siegelman's more recent political season did not end as he had planned. He had hoped to defeat Bob Riley and be the first Alabama governor since George Wallace to serve two consecutive terms.
The race was the closest in Alabama history, coming down to a mere 3,000 votes. But in a style befitting his career, he simply stepped aside rather than contest the election and draw the state through a drawn-out legal battle.
Siegelman did not concede the election on Nov. 5, instead he explored his options and then shocked the state with a concession speech televised live across most news stations.
Soon after his concession, many speculated on Siegelman's political future, a future he admits is not written.
Although he will not hold an elected office, he does admit he will be an avid observer of the Riley administration.
While Siegelman does have advice for the next administration, he hopes they will continue the work of recruiting top industries to Alabama.
As for one bit of advice for the new governor, Siegelman suggests Riley should not delegate.
In looking back on the campaign and the previous year, Siegelman says there were a number of factors that led to his defeat.
As for the future political landscape for Alabama, Siegelman predicts State Rep. Seth Hammett, speaker of the House from Andalusia, now stands as the next Democratic candidate for governor.
Siegelman, contrary to many political experts, does not believe Lucy Baxley's political career will stop at the lieutenant governor's office.
But for now, Don seems set to spend time with his family - a family who has put him and his political career first.