Locals listed among most influential

Published 12:38 am Friday, August 25, 2017

Yellowhammer hails contributions of Smith, Jones on annual list

Yellowhammer News has released two of three installments in its 2017 list of the most powerful and influential people in Alabama, and so far, it feature two Andalusians..

PowerSouth CEO Gary Smith is included among the most influential business leaders for the second year, and Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, made the list as one of 19 political and government figures.

The conservative online news organization compiles the list each year, and recog-nizes those who make the list at a Birmingham reception in September. It will round out its list on Friday with the most influential lobbyists.

Of Smith, Yellowhammer said, “Gary Smith made his debut on the Power and Influence list last year, and his spot still holds true for one simple reason: Smith has created and maintained a relevant seat at the table in Montgomery. PowerSouth’s expanded footprint across south Alabama has only strengthened their contribution to the political and economic development landscape. In 2017, the cooperative brought lower service costs to its members, while having higher customer service scores. Happy members solidify the presence Smith and his team have created.

“Additionally, PowerSouth has made a commitment to grass roots education concerning the perception of fossil fuel sourced energy, Yellowhammer wrote. “The creation of the Energy Institute of Alabama focuses on strengthening the energy industry in their territory and beyond. Smith’s already notable trajectory in the industry should continue to impress.”

Other business leaders who made the list included Paul Bryant Jr., Rick and Bubba, Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite, University of Alabama system chancellor Ray Hayes, BCBS of Alabama CEO Terry Kellogg, ALFA CEO Jimmy Parnell, and Jimmy Rane, among others.


Of Jones, Yellowhammer wrote, “Mike Jones makes his first appearance on the Power and Influence 50, and a smart wager would be that it will not be his last. The newly-minted House Rules Chairman has already placed a large imprint on the workings of the Alabama State House.

“Rules Chairman has traditionally been a position of great power and influence. As chairman of the committee that determines the order of bills taken up each legislative day, Jones has the ability to set legislative priorities, which in turn provides him substantial leverage in dealing with lobbyists as well as his own colleagues,” Yellowhammer said.

“That, by itself, would earn Jones a place on any list of power brokers,” it said. “In addition, though, Jones has taken on the role of close confidant to Speaker Mac McCutcheon. Much of the recent restructuring in the House has occurred with significant input and guidance from him. Jones’s power and influence only stand to increase from here.”

Other political leaders who made the list includeDavid Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama; Gov. Kay Ivey; Attorney General Steve Marshall; Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh; Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon; and Roy Moore, among others.

Jones, an Andalusia attorney, recently announced his intention to seek a third term in the House in the 2018 elections.