An important piece of advice Gov. Riley gave us yesterday was, “you need to talk to Dan Ireland.” Ireland heads up the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP). ALCAP is largely anti-alcohol, but their focus is working to prevent under age drinking and drug abuse. Riley informed us that if we could get Ireland to agree to forego opposition to our cause, we would have smooth sailing getting a bill through the legislature.
More than anyone else, Ireland has the potential to be our Mark Creech (see Pop The Cap’s blog archives for more info), only with more influence. The Governor was kind enough to give us Ireland’s phone number and state that he (Riley) told us to call him (Ireland). Very kind.
So Harry spoke to Ireland today. No firm comittments, but he was reasonable. I respect Mr. Ireland’s convictions and I understand his view of alcohol in general even though we may disagree on some points. I’m also very glad that he was not reactionary when Harry spoke with him and he did not express unconditional opposition without hearing us out. For now he has not expressed any opposition to us. As I said, he made no comittment one way or the other. But now he knows our intentions are honorable; that we are not simply trying to increase the amount of alcohol in this state. He will watch our progress, and unless a legitimate reason to oppose us surfaces, he will remain neutral.
I think it was definitely wise to approach him before we have a bill before the legislature. Now he has heard us out directly, before any misinformation reaches him. He has had a chance to form a valid opinion based on legitimate information, first hand.
Looks like that potential pitfall may have been headed off at the pass.