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Mask resigns from District 31 legislative seat

Published 2:52pm Wednesday, September 4, 2013

State Rep. Barry Mask announced Tuesday he is stepping down from his legislative seat effective Sept. 30.
Mask has served House District 31 representing Elmore and Coosa counties since winning a special election in 2006, following the death of his predecessor, Jack Venable. Mask was named chief executive officer of the Alabama Association of Realtors in late May.
“I am grateful to the citizens of District 31 and have enjoyed serving since my special election in 2006,” Mask said. “I have tried to make a difference in the district. I will treasure the friendships forged during this time and I plan to still be active in our community, as I was before I was elected.”
As CEO of the Alabama Realtors, Mask rejoins a group where he worked as governmental affairs director from 1990-1995. The opportunity, he said, was “un-contemplated at the time” and he asked the association’s board of trustees for enough time “to wrap up some projects in the district this summer.”
“To me, the biggest part of being a legislator is spent trying to get things done locally,” he said. “I am especially proud of the work I have done in supporting our young people and schools, pushing for road funding and economic development projects in the district. I have tried to be a positive uniting force in our community. I have tried to help as many people as I could when they had a problem with any of our state agencies and intervene for them.”
During his seven years in office, Mask was named Legislator of the Year by the Economic Development Association of Alabama, the Alabama Wildlife Federation and the Alabama Correctional Officers Association.
He served as chairman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee and chairman of the Legislative Building Authority. He also served on the House’s budget-writing Ways and Means Education Committee. He is certified as an association executive, after previously working for the Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Industry and Manufacturers Association.
“I wish I could have finished my term, but the timing of this prevented that,” Mask said. “Sometimes God opens doors for you in His own way. This was a difficult decision that my wife Jill and I prayed over, but at this point in my life and career we felt like this is where God is leading us.”
Mask noted the “tough decisions” legislators have faced over the last three years as the weak economy reduced funding to the Education Trust Fund and the General Fund.
“But I think the worst is behind us now,” he said.
Mask took a prominent role in the unsuccessful 2010 federal prosecution of VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor, several lobbyists and four state senators for alleged corruption in attempts to pass bills to legalize electronic bingo. Mask wore an electronic recording device for the FBI during conversations with McGregor and lobbyists and testified against them during the first of two trials. All defendants in the prosecution were ultimately acquitted.
A special election will likely be scheduled soon to ensure that District 31 voters are represented in the 2014 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. When Gov. Robert Bentley receives Mask’s official resignation, the governor will establish the qualifying period and special election dates for the seats. It has been a frequent chore in recent months, with the resignations of U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner and state Reps. Jay Love and Jim Barton.
The next regular session convenes on Feb. 4, 2014.
“I sincerely thank the voters of this district who allowed me the privilege of serving them,” Mask said. “It has been an honor for which I will remain deeply ­grateful.”

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