|Preceded by Sonny Callahan|
Name Ann Bedsole
Succeeded by Hap Myers
|Preceded by Sonny Callahan|
Succeeded by Ken Kvalheim
Political party Republican Party
|Born January 7, 1930 (age 85)
Selma, Dallas County
Alabama, USA (1930-01-07) |
Spouse(s) Massey Palmer Bedsole, Jr. (married 1958-2006, his death)
Children Margaret Loraine "Raine" Bedsole Mary Martin Riser John Henry Martin
Parents Sybil Huey Smith, Malcolm White Smith
Education University of Alabama, University of Denver
Ann Bedsole | Campaign Ad | 1994 | Alabama Governor
Ann Smith Bedsole (born January 7, 1930), is a businesswoman, philanthropist, and a Republican politician from Mobile, Alabama. She is the first Republican woman to have been elected to the Alabama House of Representatives, in which she served from 1979 to 1983, and the first female ever elected to the Alabama State Senate, in which her tenure extended from 1983 to 1995.
Bedsole is a daughter of the late Malcolm White Smith and the former Sybil Huey. Born in Selma in Dallas County in south central Alabama, Bedsole was reared partly in Jackson in Clarke County in southwestern Alabama. She studied at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado.
She was married to the businessman-philanthropist Massey Palmer Bedsole, Jr. (1928-2006), a graduate of Virginia Military Institute. He was awarded the 2004 "Outstanding Citizen Award of Mobile" because of his work with the Centre for the Living Arts, which operates Space 301, an art gallery in the former Mobile Press-Register building, and the Saenger Theatre in the Lower Dauphin Street Historic District in downtown Mobile. He died of a heart attack at the age of seventy-seven at the Bedsole Farms in Monroe County north of Mobile.
Bedsole is a member of the United Methodist denomination. She has three children and seven grandchildren.
Bedsole owns and operates Bedsole Farms, located in Perdue Hill in Monroe County. She is the president and board chairman of the White Smith Land Company in Mobile. She chairs the distribution committee of the Sybil H. Smith Charitable Trust. She has been a trustee of both Spring Hill College in Mobile and Huntingdon College, a liberal arts institution in the capital city of Montgomery. She was involved in the establishment of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science in Mobile, which named its reception building in her honor. She is the founding former president of the Alabama Forest Resources Center and Mobile Historic Homes Tours. She headed the celebration Mobile Tricentennial, Inc. She is a member of the Junior League.
Bedsole was an alternate delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention, which met in San Francisco to nominate the Goldwater-Miller ticket. In 1966, she became a member of Alabama Republican State Executive Committee. She was a delegate to the 1972 Republican National Convention, which met in Miami Beach, Florida, to re-nominate the Nixon-Agnew slate. She was a Nixon elector in 1972.
When Bedsole was elected to the state House in 1978, she was joined by another Republican, W. J. Cabaniss, Jr., of Jefferson County. Four years later, she moved up to the state Senate, as did Cabaniss. As a senator, Bedsole chaired the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. In 1994, rather than seeking a fourth term in the Senate, Bedsole, considered a Moderate Republican, ran for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. In a runoff election, she was handily defeated by former Governor Fob James, a Republican-turned-Democrat-returned Republican. James, considered a conservative, defeated Bedsole, 130,233 (62.4 percent) to 79,338 (37.6 percent). Eliminated the first round of balloting was Winton Blount, III, son of the former Postmaster General of the United States Winton M. Blount, Jr., the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in 1972 against John Sparkman. Bedsole refused to endorse James in the general election, but he narrowly prevailed over the Democratic Governor James Folsom, Jr., who had succeeded to the governorship after the forced exodus of Republican Governor H. Guy Hunt of Cullman. Oddly, James as the Democratic nominee in 1978 had handily defeated Guy Hunt, as Bedsole was elected to the state House of Representatives.
On August 23, 2005, Bedsole ran for mayor of Mobile on a pledge to continue the policies of the departing Mike Dow, who had served for four terms. She finished with less than 14 percent of the vote.
In 1972, Bedsole was elected the "First Lady of Mobile". In 1993, she was named "Mobilian of the Year". In 1998, she was designated "Philanthropist of the Year".