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'American Idol' Ruben Studdard announces free concerts backing Alabama tax hike


By Wade Paulsen, 08/25/2003 

Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't the only Rebublican wrestling with state tax hike issues. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley is in the same situation -- but the Associated Press reports that Riley's Sept. 9 "Believe in Alabama" referendum to raise Alabama's tax rates has received backing from another well-known entertainer: American Idol winner Ruben Studdard.

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Ruben announced that he and his band, Just a Few Cats, would play two free concerts in Alabama -- Sept. 2 in Mobile, before 8,800, and Sept. 5 in Birmingham, before 10,000 -- intended to motivate potential voters to come to the polls and support the tax hike. Tickets for the shows were given away beginning at 10 AM on Saturday, August 23. Ruben's popularity within his home state is illustrated by the fact that all tickets for the Mobile show were gone within 30 minutes, and tickets for the Birmingham show lasted merely 17 minutes.

A press release for the concerts, carried by Huntsville, AL's WAFF.com, notes that Ruben's mother, Emily, is an Alabama teacher. Since part of the funds from the tax hike are intended for education use, Ruben's willingness to help sell the tax hike to Alabama voters may have a personal dimension. More interesting to us is the fact that Ruben himself has not said whether he supports the tax hike, although he is performing in these "get out the vote" concerts in favor of it. Could it be that Ruben has his own future political aspirations and doesn't want to pass through a Schwarzenegger-sized firestorm?












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