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Public Service Commission: Twinkle Cavanaugh, Terry Dunn join GOP sweep

Published: Tuesday, November 02, 2010, 10:31 PM     Updated: Tuesday, November 02, 2010, 10:31 PM
Jan Cook Twinkle Cavanaugh.jpgView full sizeJan Cook (left) and Twinkle Cavanaugh

Riding a GOP wave, Republicans Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and Terry Dunn broke the Democratic stranglehold on the Alabama Public Service Commission tonight. 

Cavanaugh, on her third try for statewide office, denied Jan Cook a fifth term in PSC Place 1. Dunn ousted one-term member Susan Parker in PSC Place 2. 

"It does look like there’s a major trend, and it looks like we’re going to have a major change at the PSC," Cavanaugh said.

"Within 30 days we will meet with the utilities for them to present a proposal on how they will bring the rates down in this time of financial hardship," said Dunn, who thanked voters for bringing "conservative values" to the commission.

Their election would give Republicans a 2-to-1 majority on the utility regulatory body. Democrat Lucy Baxley, the PSC president, is next up for election in 2012.

Cook, 54, had run on her experience. The Dozier resident had said she was in favor of allowing the commission to regulate cable television rates. Like other candidates, she opposed efforts to cap carbon emissions by power plants, which could have forced Alabama Power Co. to buy allowances to emit carbon dioxide.

Cook raised $150,000 for the race, including $30,000 from political action committees controlled by Birmingham lobbyist Pat Lynch, $20,000 from committees controlled by Montgomery lobbyist Johnny Crawford and $20,000 from a committee controlled by Montgomery lobbyists Dewayne Freeman and Tony Moore.

Cavanaugh, a former top aide to Gov. Bob Riley and a former chair of the state Republican Party, beat Chip Beeker and Stephen Evans in the Republican primary to win the GOP nomination.

The 44-year-old Montgomery resident previously lost races for state treasurer in 2002 and Public Service Commission president in 2008. She and her family loaned her campaign $200,000. She raised almost $79,000, mainly in small contributions from individuals.

Terry Dunn Susan Parker.jpgView full sizeTerry Dunn (left) and Susan Parker

Parker also touted her experience, saying she kept utility rates low and was in line for a leadership position on a national association.

The 55-year-old Rogersville resident raised more than $320,000, including $160,000 from committees controlled by Joe Cottle, a Montgomery lobbyist for the Alabama Education Association.

Terry Dunn, a Southside businessman, beat Chip Brown in the Republican primary to claim the party’s nomination. He is a member of the Republican Party’s state executive committee.

Dunn, 51, who owns construction and rental property companies near Gadsden, had said his experience as a businessman would help him on the commission. He had said he wanted to re-examine the regulatory systems which guarantee relatively high profit margins for Alabama Power Co. and natural gas utilities.

Dunn had said he would lobby Congress, the Legislature or both to give the PSC power to regulate cable television rates.

Dunn loaned himself $150,000 and raised $3,100 from Republican party committees. 

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PBeavr November 02, 2010 at 10:50PM

An impressive election in the state of Alabama.

Well done.

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Steve November 02, 2010 at 10:51PM

"Democratic stranglehold," eh? Nice way of representing your newspaper as a fair and balanced publication!

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catoyounger November 02, 2010 at 11:06PM

Uh, Steve, the Democrats had ALL THREE of the PSC places before this election. That is a stranglehold.

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gonegoose November 03, 2010 at 6:23AM

and had control for as long as there has been a PSC.

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bobbydave35 November 03, 2010 at 5:54AM

I'm glad for the change. I have never understood how a company that is guaranteed a 13%! profit margin and has No competition feels like they have so spend so much money on TV ads to tell us how great they are. Uab Hospital is excited if they get a 1% profit margin and they also provide a critical service against very fierce competition. As far as regulating cable rates that will be a certain way of raising your cable rates. Look at how much cheaper phone service is now. I have phone service and High speed internet for the same price I used to pay for phone service. I hope this new group can avoid being bought with "free" trips and food by the companies they are supposed to "regulate"

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AngryBiker November 03, 2010 at 6:32AM

How can any parent name their child 'Twinkle'???

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mouser2 November 03, 2010 at 7:32PM

Just thank God her last name isn't "Star". :)

I'm happy that Jan Cook lost. Now maybe she can get a real job - one where she actually has to work!

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