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Career End for a Political Boss

Not just peanuts boiled: Alabama Farmers Federation-sponsored Family Farm and Family Business Day on the south lawn of the Capitol in Montgomery.

Not just peanuts boiled: Alabama Farmers Federation-sponsored Family Farm and Family Business Day on the south lawn of the Capitol in Montgomery.

AP Photo/Dave Martin

Goodwin Myrick, one of the most powerful figures in Alabama politics, announced he was stepping down from his 20-year reign as head of the Alabama Farmers Federation, reported Business Alabama’s November 1998 issue.

Myrick’s decision came reluctantly, announced just three weeks before the Nov. 3 general election that saw a win for former Gov. Don Siegelman over AFF-backed incumbent Gov. Fob James.

Even after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery in late 1997, the 73-year-old Myrick said he was running again for the dual role of AFF presidency and head of AFF-affiliate Alfa Insurance. But he changed his mind just before the general election and two months before it became clear his AFF presidency was to be seriously challenged. Jerry Newby won the AFF and Alfa posts and has held them since. Myrick died in 2003.

“Myrick and retiring AFF Executive Director John Dorrill appeared to be lightening rods, reveling in negative attention that AFF/Alfa attracted in holding the line on property taxes for years, as well as the political influence the group exercised,” noted Bessie Ford in her Business Alabama column “Business & Politics.”

“Myrick carried such a big stick that political figures who stood a chance of winning AFF’s endorsement beat a path to his front door at the Alfa complex on the south side of Montgomery. ‘They came to him,’” according to plaintiff trial lawyer Jere Beasley. “They would go out and kiss his ring, and those who didn’t, he tried to run over them. He is tough as nails.”

With a lower profile, AFF/Alfa and its PACs continue to be a strong force in state politics, contributing more than $3.9 million in campaign contributions in state races between 2003 and 2012, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

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