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Governor Bob Riley Surrenders To Confederates over Confederate Holiday

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MONTGOMERY (CHF) - Alabama Governor Bob Riley's anti-Confederate Holiday Bill was soundly defeated during the 2004 Alabama Legislative Session.

In response to a united effort led by Confederate Heritage Fund, the State's foremost Confederate political action committee, Senate Bill 301, which would have abolished the observance of the Confederate Memorial Day Holiday on the 4th Monday in April, has been withdrawn by its sponsor, State Senator Hank Erwin (R) and its originator, Governor Bob Riley (R).

This surrender by Riley to confederates was a major victory for Southern heritage groups that has increased their political clout, as was recently seen in Riley’s Confederate Memorial Day remarks, in which he openly
praised Confederate Veterans and encouraged more such celebrations.

The Business Council of Alabama, considered to be the left wing of the Republican Party, had recommended that Governor Riley eliminate two Confederate Holidays to supposedly save Alabama money.

Confederates pointed out that Governor Riley, at his sole discretion, gave State employees 2 extra taxpayer-paid days off at Christmas and Thanksgiving, in addition to the 2 regular paid days off for these holidays.

"Had Bob Riley been sincere about reducing holiday time off to save Alabama money, he would not have granted these extra 2 days off for State employees," commented Roger Broxton, President of Confederate Heritage Fund.

"We find the Governor's reasoning hypocritical."

In spite of a strong public outcry objecting to the BCA's plan, Governor Riley asked Republican Senators Hank Erwin, Jabo Waggoner and Hap Myers to introduce Senate Bill 301 that would combine Confederate
Memorial Day with Jefferson Davis’ Birthday, thus eliminating the one Holiday especially set aside to honor Alabama's Confederate Veterans.

Confederate Memorial Day was established to remember the 122,000 Alabama Confederate Veterans who fought and the 30,000 who died for the right to govern themselves.

In response to the introducing of SB 301, Confederate Heritage Fund developed a strategy to defeat the Bill: from a public hearing on the Bill in the Senate Finance Committee, to phone calls, e-mails, letters, etc… to radio advertising in the sponsors' Senate Districts.

President of the Fund, Roger Broxton, called the Alabama State House for a public hearing in the Committee.

At the hearing, a host of pro-Confederate leaders and
citizens from across Alabama spoke out against the Senate Bill. No one spoke for the Bill.

Afterwards, Confederates increased the calling pressure on the Senators in the Finance Committee, as well as, the sponsors of the Bill.

While others were holding the Senators’ feet to the fire, Confederate Heritage Fund produced a radio ad to be aired in the Senate District of the Bill’s sponsor, Senator Hank Erwin.

To hear Confederate Heritage Fund's radio ad, please go to the audio bar at bottom of page and click the "Play" button. It may take several minutes to download, depending on your type of Internet connection and computer.

The radio ad would have exposed Erwin to his voters as being against Alabama's Confederate Veterans, their sacrifice and their history.

Senator Erwin heard about the radio ad and immediately called Roger Broxton, saying he did not want Confederate Heritage Fund's radio ad to run in his Senate District.

Using a typical political ploy, Erwin then claimed that Confederates were divided and offered to combine Jefferson Davis’ Birthday with Confederate Memorial Day, instead of the reverse.

Whereupon, Broxton told Senator Hank Erwin that Confederates were not divided and "that the blood of our Confederate Veterans and ancestors was not for sale at any price, to anyone, at any time, for any reason and that Confederate Heritage Fund would start running the radio ad in the morning".

Seeing this uncompromising unity and the radio ad about to run in his Senate District, Erwin requested that Broxton grant him 24 hours before running the ad, so he could talk to the Governor about withdrawing the Bill.

Senator Erwin then called Governor Riley and met with Republican Senators and they all agreed to withdraw the Bill the next day.

The following day, Erwin and Riley publicly announced that the Bill to eliminate a Confederate Holiday had been withdrawn.

Broxton expressed appreciation for the generous giving from supporters across America that placed Confederate Heritage Fund on the front lines in this fight to save these Confederate Holidays
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