5 years ago

2012 Year in Review

Alabama politics had very few clear winners and losers in 2012. With few exceptions, most of the key players and organizations ended the year with mixed results.

Republicans continued to dominate the political landscape in the lingering wake of their 2010 electoral tidal wave. However, they also experienced some of the growing pains that come along with being the majority Party.

Meanwhile, the last statewide elected Democrat went the way of the Dodo bird. But the Dem’s ever-shrinking legislative minority managed to stop some of the GOP’s priorities in the legislature thanks to some help from their special-interest pals.

With this 2012 “Year in Review” post, we’ve set out to offer a short recap of this year in Alabama politics. Keep in mind, pointing out where a person or group succeeded or failed does not mean we agreed or disagreed with what they did. This post is simply our best attempt to give you a snapshot of what happened in Alabama politics during the past 12 months.

Here’s what we came up with:


1. Governor Robert Bentley:

Governor Bentley’s approval numbers have steadily risen throughout the year. All the polling we’ve seen shows that the overwhelming majority of Alabamians think the Governor is doing a great job.

He put his popularity to use by publicly advocating for two major ballot initiatives in 2012: Amendment 1 on Sept. 18 and Amendment 2 on Nov. 6. He was successful both times. His choice for the Republican Presidential nomination, Rick Santorum, also won the Alabama primary.

The Governor hasn’t yet shown a consistent ability to advance his legislative agenda and that is one area where he clearly sees an opportunity for growth. By bringing Rep. Blaine Galliher into his cabinet as legislative director, Governor Bentley seems to be addressing the challenge head on.

Bottom line: He started the year with some possible 2014 primary contenders lurking in the shadows. He ends 2012 with no clear challenger in his bid for a second term. Governor Bentley is 2012’s biggest winner.

2. Rainy Day Patriots & other conservative grassroots organizations

Despite not having the financial resources of other advocacy groups, Alabama’s grassroots organizations proved once again in 2012 that they are force to be reckoned with.

They played a big role in Rick Santorum winning Alabama’s Presidential primary. They also helped Roy Moore beat a sitting Chief Justice & another Republican primary contender with high name ID without a runoff.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard specifically tailored his Values & Rights Commission to reach out to grassroots conservatives for feedback on the 2013 legislative agenda.

More recently, their behind-the-scenes push against the Obamacare-mandated state Healthcare Exchange undoubtedly influenced key Republican leaders. Governor Bentley ultimately refused to setup the state-based exchange and decided against expanding Medicaid.

The Tea Party consistently polls at over 50% approval statewide. The conservative grassroots movement is alive and well in Alabama.

3. The Nursing Homes Association

The Nursing Homes Association through their high-powered lobbyists managed to engineer a budget impasse that led to the entire Sept. 18 Amendment 1 situation. The Nursing Homes’ needs were met and the state’s general fund budget was adjusted accordingly. Big win for the Nursing Homes. Big loss for Alabama’s fiscal solvency.

4. Twinkle Cavanaugh
Newly elected PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh holds the distinction of being the Republican who took out the last remaining statewide elected Democrat.


1. The Alabama Democrat Party
Democrats now hold zero statewide offices. They have almost no ability to raise money, and frankly, they have no hope for a resurgence any time in the foreseeable future. It’s a tough time to be a Democrat in the state of Alabama and it won’t be getting better any time soon.

2. Trial Lawyers
The group that at one point sent Alabama to “tort hell” was extremely unsuccessful in advancing their agenda in 2012. They lost on a significant liability bill in the legislature and all the Republican appellate court judges went virtually unchallenged.

3. Alabama’s coal industry
Obama’s re-election and the subsequent ambush of the PSC by radical environmentalists has made Alabama’s coal industry a prime target for liberal attacks in Alabama. 5,000 Alabama families count on coal jobs to put food on their table. Every Alabamian with an energy bill is rooting for the coal industry which has found itself under siege this year.

2012’s Biggest Disappointment

The Alabama Education Association is still a force. They used lies and deception to kill school choice legislation and to preserve racist language in the Alabama Constitution. They also killed a major component of the GOP’s jobs package during the 2012 legislative session. With Democrats continuing to lose strength, the AEA still found some success in 2012 by dividing Republicans any way they could. That will continue to be their strategy moving forward.

2012 Insider Awards

Top association – Business Council of Alabama

No category shows the mixed results of 2012 better than Top Association.

BCA won on “card check” and heavily supported the successful Amendment 1 and Amendment 2 campaigns. They won a tough floor fight when a guns-to-work bill they strongly opposed died on the Senate floor. The BCA-endorsed slate of judicial candidates also went undefeated in 2012.

But 2012 also handed BCA some major loses. Their most notable defeats came on school choice and HB 159/160 which offered incentives to companies locating in Alabama or expanding their Alabama operations.

Some Montgomery insiders would say that the AEA had the best year. But this category is for associations, not unions.

The Business Council didn’t have a grand slam year in 2012, but you’ll still be hard-pressed the name an association who carries more weight in Montgomery.

Top Lobbying Firm – Fine Geddie & Associates

The Fine Geddie crew once again did yeoman’s work at the Alabama State House. They notched their usual legislative victories, including killing an extremely contentious coastal insurance bill for one of their clients.

Their client list still so far outclasses the competition that the contract lobbying crown will remain theirs for the foreseeable future. And in a real rarity in Alabama politics, they pull it all off while remaining well-liked and respected by friends and foes alike.

Top Mover & Shaker – Angi Smith

In a matter of a couple of years, Angi Smith has gone from a Republican grassroots organizer to arguably the most trusted political voice in the governor’s inner circle.

She stuck with Bentley through his failed state senate bid, his time in the House of Representatives and the tough 2010 gubernatorial elections. After paying a lot of dues, she now has his ear like few others.

Smith may rub some folks the wrong way with her hard-nosed approach, but no one can deny her position in the governor’s sphere of influence.


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8 mins ago

Volunteers needed for cleanup of Alabama Civil War sites

An organization that preserves Civil War battlefields is looking for volunteers to clean up historical sites in Alabama including Fort Morgan on the coast.

The Civil War Trust says volunteers will be working at more than 160 sites nationwide during its annual cleanup day April 7.


In Alabama, Fort Morgan is on the list of places slated for work. The red-brick fort located at the tip of the Fort Morgan Peninsula played a key role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

The preservation group says Fort Morgan now needs work including fence repair and construction; painting; landscaping and trash removal.

Other sites slated for cleanup in Alabama include Belle Mont Mansion in Tuscumbia; Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park in Bibb County; and Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island.

(Image: Fort Morgan State Historic Site/Facebook)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

No, Joy Behar, it’s not a ‘mental illness’ when the Lord speaks to us through his Word

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:


TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, in the ABC News Department, they’ve got a program that, many may be surprised to know, it’s a part of their news department, “The View”. One of their panelists on this show, Joy Behar, recently made a comment concerning Mike Pence and his Christian faith. She said she understood how Christians prayed to God, but she went on to say, “When God starts talking to those people, don’t they call that mental illness?”

This bruhaha recently came to the ABC shareholders’ meeting in which Bob Iger, who is the president of ABC News, said he was happy to report that Joy Behar made a personal phone call to Mike Pence and apologized for her comments. However, while the White House is saying while he appreciates the apology, Joy Behar needs to apologize to the millions of Christians she insulted over the program.

DR. REEDER: Now are there some Christians that believe God is directly speaking to them with special revelation? Yes. Has God done that? Yes, that’s how we got the Bible — 40+ human authors through which God spoke. When they write, they don’t write, “Thus says Paul about God,” but they write, “Thus says the Lord,” so God has engaged in revelation, that is, He through divine inspiration, has given us His Word, praise the Lord.



But, now, most orthodox Christian theology believes that God has, quote, Book of Hebrews, “finally spoken in His Son.” this revelation has ceased, but God’s illumination continues, that God, through teachers, through your Bible reading, through your prayer life, through your reflection, through your meditation can “speak” to His people.

Now, what is meant there is not a direct revelation of God’s Word that goes beyond the Scripture, but an understanding of God’s Word to our heart to give us wisdom as to how we are to live.


To Ms. Behar, I would only mention to you the Book of James, for instance, tells me that, “If you lack wisdom, pray for it and God generously gives wisdom.” Now, how does He give wisdom? He gives wisdom by His Spirit, the same Spirit of God who gave the ability to bring forth the Word of God to the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament. Now that same Spirit is within us and He who reveals God’s Word through the word now illuminates God’s Word when we go to God’s Word. In the preaching of the Word, God speaks to the hearts of his people.

Here’s what the Bible says, “Whoever should call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How should they call upon Him in whom they have not believe? How should they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear them without a preacher?” Faith comes by hearing the Word, the Spirit-born Word of Christ.

Part of our theology is that God speaks to us from His Word by His Spirit. We speak to God in prayer. God’s wisdom, when we pray, can actually lead us to some good public theology in life and that what we need to do is to listen to the Lord through His Word and by His Spirit.

She has decided that that’s a mental illness; we have decided that’s wisdom. In fact, we believe that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and, in the fear of the Lord, you seek the wisdom of the Lord. “God, would you speak to my heart from Your Word and by Your Spirit so I can have wisdom as to how to lead my life?”

I am so thankful that God has spoken to me in His Word. I was in South Florida and I did a series of talks there in a conference. Tom, I was sitting there listening to a talk from the Scriptures by Dr. Peter Lillback and it was amazing all of the insights that came, that God began to speak to my heart showing me my sin, showing me the way of obedience, showing me what needed to be removed, showing me what I needed to accomplish. God was speaking and showing it — that’s what we call Christian Doctrine of Illumination and that’s how God works in our heart.


Let’s go back to her broadside against Mike Pence. Well, it was tacky, it was ill-mannered, but I love the way Mike Pence said, “It didn’t offend me” — but he was right to say this — “I’m glad to receive your private apology.” He said, “What I think you really need to do, if you really believe in that apology, is that, by coming after me, there are millions of Christians who believe the same thing I do. I speak to God in prayer; God speaks to my heart through His Word in my prayer life and in the preaching of the Word and in my reading of the Word.”

Let me go to another issue here. This is a wonderful time for us to learn something about the Doctrine of Repentance. The Bible says that, when we are saved, we are saved by faith and repentance. Repentance is turning from sin to Christ and it’s making a 180-degree turn and, when there is true repentance, a couple of things happen.

One thing that happens is confession: we confess our sins. We actually say, “I did this. This is a sin. I confess it. I agree with God that this is sin so I confess it.” Then the Bible says that we do deeds appropriate to repentance. Now, this is not penance that we do to get right with God.

Tom, if I say something against you publicly, then I’m not only called to come to you and say to you, privately, “Tom, would you forgive me?” I’m also required to go to that same public arena and tell all those other people, “I was wrong.” That would be deed-appropriate to repentance. If I steal something, I want to pay it back. If I have broken someone’s relationship with someone else through my sin, I want to restore it. Restoration, reconciliation, restitution — those are deeds appropriate to repentance.


Therefore, Ms. Behar, it’s fine that you called Mike Pence, but I would remind you, you did not privately criticize him — you publicly criticized him. You don’t need to give him a private apology; you need to give him a public apology. That would be appropriate. Let your repentance match your sin.

And then, secondly, by attaching Mike Pence because of the Biblical doctrine of guidance — of how God guides His people when they’re making decisions in life — you attacked millions of Christians at the same time so, if you really think what you said was wrong when you called the Christian Doctrine of Divine Guidance mental illness, then you need to respond to all of them. You did it on a public venue, so you need to repent and ask for forgiveness in a public venue.

Why is it important to learn repentance? Let me give you two reasons and we’ll close with this, Tom. Reason No. 1 is you can’t be saved without repentance. The Bible says faith is believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Repentance is the Siamese twin of faith. If you have come to Christ for forgiveness of sins because He lived the life you couldn’t live and died the death for you that you couldn’t die in making atonement for your sins, if you come to Him by faith, then you need to turn from your sins and that’s what repentance is.

Repentance is 180-degrees — not turning from sin to do better, but you’re turning from sin to put your trust in Jesus. And, when you turn to put your trust in Jesus, you do the deeds appropriate to repentance. And, for all of those who are listening to us, Tom, let me tell you where you need to start is the same place that God, by His Grace, called you and me to start: turning from our sin and coming to Christ, Who is ready to forgive you and make it right. He has paid for those sins therefore, you’re forgiven and He will give you His Spirit and His Word and begin to speak to your heart so that you can walk away from sin and walk in the glorious truth that Christ is Lord and Savior.


Tom Lamprecht: Harry, on Tuesday’s edition of Today in Perspective, we recently covered the fact that, at Harvard, there was a Christian group that was removed from campus because of a leadership issue. A very similar situation happened at Wayne State University. However, this time, there is both bad news and good news.

DR.REEDER: Let’s take a look at what happened there and maybe some lessons that are inevitably going to have to be learned by Christian organizations in the public square, in general, and in schools, in particular.

(Image: The View/YouTube)

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

1 hour ago

Alabama tourism promoting April walking tours

Alabama’s tourism agency is promoting a series of walking tours that will start next month in cities both large and small.

About 30 communities statewide are offering the free, hour-long strolls beginning April 7.


Community leaders will conduct walking tours in historic areas with starting points that include the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Huntsville’s Constitution Village, the History Museum of Mobile and the Montgomery Area Visitor Center.

Tours will be held in smaller towns including Athens, Bayou La Batre, Eutaw, Eufaula and Monroeville.

The Alabama Tourism Department says more than 35,000 people have participated in the walking tours since the program started 15 years ago.

(Image: Chris Pruitt/Wikicommons)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

VIDEO: Advocate against sex trafficking, porn interviewed on Living Life on Purpose

In this episode of Executive Lion’s Living Life On Purpose, Matt Wilson and Andrew Wells sit down with Melea Stephens, a Christian Counselor at Wellspring Christian Clinic in Vestavia Hills and an advocate against sex trafficking and pornography to discuss the effects these issues have on our society. This gripping episode tackles tough situations that are happening all around us and what we can do to help.


Stephens has been a successful counselor for many years in private practice and through her work with couples, she is working to shed light on root issues that lead to problems in life, marriage, and emotional and physical health. Stephens volunteers to fight against sex trafficking and is active in making people aware of the crimes and hurt that takes place as people view porn.

1) Melea has used her faith and experience to go after root causes of the issues she helps people battle on a daily basis. She is trying to eradicate the evil practices that lead to some behaviors that cripple relationships and cause all sorts of issues.

2) God can shine light on a situation and you can see it as though you have never seen it before, then he can put the cause on your heart and allow you to make a positive difference.

3) Sometimes we have to have tough conversations about uncomfortable topics in order to solve problems. We can’t just sweep certain things under the rug and pretend as though they don’t exist.

Learn more about this critical issue and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation here.

(What do you think of this issue? Start a conversation with your family and friends on social media)

2 hours ago

German auto supplier opens $46.3 million plant in Alabama

MöllerTech, a German auto supplier, has opened a $46.3 million plant in central Alabama.

Company officials said 222 employees will be hired at the new supply plant by the end of 2019, Al.com reported . The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held this week almost 16 months after the company announced it would build the plant in Bibb County.


Steve Jordan, President of MöllerTech’s North American division said the supply plant currently has 50 employees.

The supply plant will be next door to Mercedes-Benz’s new Global Logistics Center at the Scott G. Davis Industrial Park. The auto maker will also have an after-sales North American hub in the park.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International CEO Jason Hoff attended the ribbon cutting to welcome MöllerTech.

“This is a beautiful facility, and as a customer, when you walk in and get a first impression, it’s a very favorable impression,” he said.

MöllerTech’s parent company MöllerGroup has been in business for three centuries. The company has had a business relationship with Mercedes since the 1950s.

MöllerTech develops interior parts for Audi, BMW, Daimler, GM, Honda, Porche, Rolls-Royce and Toyota.

“There’s been a lot of energy among our early hires, which is very encouraging,” Jordan said. “Some have already grown into new positions early on which is very encouraging.”

(Image: Made In Alabama)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)