Albert Brewer has been an exceptional leader in the State of Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1952, and returned to his hometown of Decatur, Ala., and established a successful law practice. After initially being reluctant to run for public office, Albert was persuaded to run for a vacant seat as State Representative, where he eventually served three terms in the Alabama Legislature. He was elected Speaker of the House during his third term. Albert won the 1966 Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor without a runoff. He took the state’s second highest offer in January, 1967. Upon the death of Governor Lurleen Wallace on May 7, 1968, Albert became Governor.
As governor, Albert worked quietly to achieve a number of much-needed reforms and instituted some new and very good programs. During his administration, appropriations for public schools received the largest increase in state history. He created the Alabama Development Office and introduced several measures to make the operation of state government more efficient and increased productivity. The Court of Appeals was divided into the Court of Civil Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals, and the state Supreme Court was expanded by adding two additional justices during Albert’s time as governor. Also, the first Ethics Commission to promote honesty and integrity in state government was created. Albert set extremely high standards for others in state government to follow. He was noted for being totally honest and a man of great integrity.
The Brewer Administration was marked by a progressive agenda that emphasized education, economic development, highway construction and ethics in government. As a progressive New South Governor, Albert Brewer was simply ahead of the times. Had this man served another term as Governor, we in Alabama would all be much better off today. I can think of no person who was better prepared to be governor. His dedication to really being governor and his total honesty and integrity made Albert the best governor, even for a relative short time, that Alabama has had in my lifetime.
In 1970, Albert made a run for the Governor’s office, and finished far ahead of his challenger, George Wallace, the man who had said he would never run against Albert, in the Democratic primary. However, since there were other candidates in the race, including Charles Woods, that forced a runoff. Albert lost the runoff in what has been dubbed as one of the dirtiest political campaigns in the state’s history, or perhaps ever. Despite all of the dirty campaign tactics used against him, Albert never said anything in a negative light about the race or about the man who won the race.
Albert joined the faculty at Cumberland in 1987, where he now holds the position of Distinguished Professor of Law and Government & Professor Emeritus. He and his wife, Martha, established a scholarship fund to provide need-based aid to deserving students. In 2008, Cumberland School of Law dedicated the “Brewer Plaza” on its campus in his honor. My daughter Julie says that Albert was her favorite professor at Cumberland and since her graduation they have remained good friends.
In 2011, Albert was honored by the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation (ACJF) for his career of service to the people of Alabama. The ACJF selects an honoree every other year and Albert was “roasted” in Birmingham by his many friends who turned out to pay tribute to him.
Also in 2011, Albert was selected by Gov. Robert Bentley, top-ranking legislators and other Commission members to head up the Constitutional Revision Commission as its chairman. The 16-member Commission was created by the Legislature with a goal of rewriting Alabama’s constitution article-by-article over a three-year term. Its work concluded in 2014. There is no person who would be more qualified to head this worthy cause.
Albert Brewer has dedicated his life to public service and has touched the lives of thousands of folks over the years, always in a positive manner. His years of service in the Alabama Legislature as both a member and as Speaker, then as Lieutenant Governor and finally as Governor were very good years for Alabama. Albert Brewer will go down in history as one of Alabama’s most admired and respected citizens. I would put him in the same group with Sen. Jim Allen and Sen. Richard Shelby. I consider Albert Brewer to be a true statesman and a good friend. We need more “politicians” like him.
Sources: AL.com, samford.edu, Jere Beasley Report