Young Boozer, State Treasurer
By Steve Flowers
Young Boozer is state treasurer, again, and deservedly so.
Boozer was first elected as Alabama’s state treasurer in 2010. He did an excellent job during his first four years and was reelected in 2014 without opposition. Thus, serving eight consecutive years as state treasurer. He could have been elected to a third four-year stint. However, constitutionally he was term limited to two successive terms.
John McMillan was elected treasurer in 2018, after serving eight successful years as agriculture commissioner. Boozer was not ready to leave public service, so he agreed to become assistant superintendent of banking with Superintendent Mike Hill.
During last year’s regular legislative session, the legislature passed a medical cannabis bill along with the legislation to allow for medical marijuana. They created an agency to oversee the prescription and regulatory process. The commission asked McMillan to be executive director of the Cannabis Commission. Gov. Kay Ivey subsequently appointed Boozer to McMillan’s remaining 15-month term ending in 2022. Boozer is running for reelection this year. He easily will be elected for another full four-year term through 2026. That will make him the longest serving treasurer in state history. The legendary Agnes Baggett currently holds the record.
Boozer is perfectly scripted to be state treasurer. He grew up in Tuscaloosa and went to college at Stanford University. The elite California college is known for producing national entrepreneurs and bank presidents. Young graduated with honors and then went to Wharton Business School for a master’s in business. He went on to have a successful career as a national and international banker. He came home to be Executive Vice President of Colonial Bank in Montgomery. Young served on the Stanford University Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2008.
Therefore, you would have to say that he is probably the most qualified person to have ever served as Alabama’s State Treasurer because, essentially, the state treasurer is the state’s banker. He is uniquely qualified and is doing the job for the right reasons.
Boozer is one of the best political names I have ever seen. It is a name you remember. However, this Boozer is Young Boozer III. His father, Young Boozer II was a legendary football hero and businessman. The original Young Boozer was in the timber business in Geneva County and was mayor of Samson. He died at age 33 of flu during the Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919. His widow moved the family to Dothan where Boozer II went to high school.
Boozer II was a superstar high school baseball and football player and student. He was brought to play both sports at the University of Alabama. In his class was the great Dixie Howell who was also from the wiregrass and also in that class was a lanky kid from Fordyce, Arkansas, named Paul “Bear” Bryant. This trio of Howell, Bryant and Boozer II went out on a train to Pasadena, California, and beat Stanford in the 1935 Rose Bowl and established the south and especially the University of Alabama as a football power to be reckoned with forever. Boozer II was a hero of that Rose Bowl game. He intercepted a pass in the waning moments of that game and clinched the victory.
Boozer II went on to be an ultra-successful businessman in Tuscaloosa. He was involved with Coach Bryant in several successful business ventures. Boozer II started and built Cotton States Life Insurance Company which he ultimately sold to Alfa Insurance, and it made him very wealthy. He was a gregarious, unassuming man, who was always smiling and joyous.
Our current state treasurer, Boozer III, has a son who is appropriately named Young Boozer IV. What if this Young Boozer has a son and he names him Young Boozer? He will be named Young Boozer the fifth.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.