The Wire

  • Walt Maddox accepts contribution from California billionaire leading Trump impeachment movement

    Excerpt:

    As revealed by a mandatory financial disclosure filed on Monday, Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox recently accepted a direct contribution from the San Francisco billionaire leading the national “Need to Impeach” movement against President Donald Trump.

    Tom Steyer gave Maddox $5,000 on Wednesday of last week, while his wife gave Maddox an additional $5,000 on the same day. Combined, the couple’s donations were Maddox’s second largest contribution of the reporting period, only behind an Alabama gaming facility.

    Steyer has been touring the country rallying people to sign onto his massive impeachment movement against Trump. The effort’s homepage states, “We the people must impeach this president.” Steyer is also spending part of his personal fortune on the movement, with some speculating he himself wants to run for president in 2020.

  • Vote or Die’s racially charged, ‘incendiary garbage’ flier circulating from Alabama Democratic groups

    Excerpt:

    While most political observers in Alabama have been focused on attempted smears regarding Governor Kay Ivey’s health, a flier that is circulating in predominantly black parts of the state has raised eyebrows with its racially charged rhetoric and “incendiary” images aimed to increase Democratic turnout.

    The flier, which can be viewed below, says “Governor Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Republican Legislators are strong supporters of Trump’s plan to ‘Make America White Again.’”

    The images featured on the flier include President Donald Trump, members of the Ku Klux Klan and children displaying swastikas while performing the Nazi salute.

  • Twinkle Cavanaugh: President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule is a win for Alabama

    Excerpt:

    Protecting ratepayers and ensuring that we have a reliable, secure and affordable supply of electricity in Alabama is the lens through which I view energy policy. It was through this lens that I saw the Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) as a significant threat to our state and that I now see President Trump’s replacement plan, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, as a welcome step in the right direction.

    The Trump administration’s ACE rule provides a path forward for us to achieve environmental progress but still provide a balanced, affordable electricity mix that doesn’t impose crushing costs on consumers. The CPP, while never fully implemented thanks to a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, aimed to transform the nation’s energy grid with an enormous price tag.

    When the CPP was proposed, I worried about the impact of rising electricity prices on Alabamians and what it would mean for Washington to dictate to us the right way to meet our energy needs. At its core, the CPP was a plan designed to punish the American coal industry and drive the nation’s fleet of coal plants into early retirement. Those plants – which play such a critical role in so many states, including ours – have long been a foundation for secure, reliable and affordable power.

2 hours ago

Controversial Democratic nominee deemed ineligible in Jefferson County judicial race

(Elect Linda Hall Circuit Court Judge Place 16/Facebook)

A Democratic nominee plagued by wild allegations regarding her fitness to hold office is, in fact, ineligible, according to a Monday ruling by Judge Samuel Junkin.

Linda Hall is currently the Democratic nominee for Circuit Judge, Place 16 on the 10th Circuit in Jefferson County. While the ballots have already been printed, her votes will not be counted on November 6 because she does not meet the residency requirements for the office.

While this ruling certainly bodes well for incumbent Republican Judge Teresa Pulliam’s reelection bid, Peter Davis, who came in second to Hall in the Democratic primary, is now attempting to mount a write-in campaign for himself, with election day only two weeks away.

In a statement to WBRC, Hall claimed this was now a civil rights issue.

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“I am saddened but not deterred by Judge Samuel Judkins [sic] ruling today. This is a voting right [sic] issue and just as I pledge to fight for Justice as a Judge I remain committed to ensuring the 28,733 voters who voted for me in the Democratic Primary have their votes counted. We will swiftly appeal this flawed ruling to the appropriate court,” Hall said.

This statement comes after she admitted in court on Friday, “I would not have ran if I knew that I lived in Shelby County.”

Hall has been deemed “unqualified” by a plurality of voting members of the Birmingham Bar Association, and has faced shocking allegations, including that she has practiced witchcraft for years.

You can read Yellowhammer News’ original article on this unique situation here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Passion and purpose: How an Alabama based software company is helping the United Cajun Navy organize Hurricane Michael relief efforts

(United Cajun Navy/Facebook)

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle and parts of the Carolinas last week, Alabama native Hammond Cobb didn’t waste any time helping those tragically devastated by the storm.

Cobb called the United Cajun Navy, a well-known Louisiana volunteer group and immediately got to work mobilizing their team’s volunteer efforts with the help of his software company, Serquest.com

Cobb says Serquest is a “software system that is designed to put people into action faster.”

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Essentially a LinkedIn for nonprofits, Serquest gives organizations the ability to create an online ‘resume’ for their organization where they can list current volunteer opportunities and donation needs.

The United Cajun Navy has their urgent needs listed on Serquest.com. Groups of volunteers, individuals or corporations who want to assist Florida residents affected by Hurricane Michael can sign up or donate here.

Cobb says the United Cajun Navy a “democratic and lean volunteer network of people who save lives first, ask questions later and don’t ask for compensation for doing the right thing.”

He said government agencies can often be slow when it comes to helping people get what they need and by partnering with the Cajun Navy, he knew people would get the assistance they needed, and quickly.

“We help people now and do paper work later,” Cobb said.

In addition to hosting volunteer needs on his organization’s website, Cobb created inspirational video ads and public service announcements to encourage people to volunteer.

At the end of the day, Cobb said his mission for Serquest revolves around, “connecting people to people.” A nonprofit for nonprofits, he sees Serquest as a personal network centered approach to helping volunteer organizations.

You can learn more about Serquest here.

3 hours ago

Byrne introduces bill to bypass Democratic obstruction, fund the border wall

(Rep. Bradley Byrne)

Republican Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) officially introduced legislation to bypass Democratic obstruction and fund President Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the southern border of the United States.

Byrne’s bill, known as the “50 Votes for the Wall Act” (H.R. 7073), would use the budget reconciliation process to overcome a would-be filibuster by Senate Democrats. The legislation would also fully fund the border wall, eliminating the possibility that Democrats could bottle up funding in future appropriations bills, and direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to finalize construction of the wall before the beginning of Trump’s second term.

“Border security is national security, and we cannot allow Democrats to continue to block our efforts to build a wall along our southern border,” Byrne said in a release on Monday.

The bill has earned the support of FAIR, a leading immigration reform organization, and Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-3) and Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) have signed on in a group of early House cosponsors.

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FAIR government relations director RJ Hauman said, “Even though President Trump and Congressional Republicans have a clear mandate from the American people, Democrat obstructionists have repeatedly blocked border wall funding and are once again threatening to do so in December. This is why it is important to pursue other avenues to ensure that the border wall is funded once and for all. One such avenue is Congressman Bradley Byrne’s Fifty Votes for the Wall Act – which provides a unique and filibuster-proof funding mechanism for the border wall. FAIR applauds Congressman Byrne for introducing this legislation, and recognizing that Democrat obstruction poses a significant national security risk.”

Read more about the bill here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

Planned Parenthood set to spend over $1 million in advertising against Alabama pro-life amendment

(YHN)

Planned Parenthood Southeast’s Alabama PAC is set to spend over $1 million in advertising over the next 14 days in opposition to a pro-life constitutional amendment on the state’s November 6 general election ballot.

A financial disclosure filed on Monday revealed that the PAC, Alabama for Healthy Families, had surpassed the $1 million mark with its war-chest and that $931,000 of that money had recently been sent to two media firms in the D.C. area that do a large amount of Planned Parenthood’s national advertising. The PAC still has another $91,000 on hand to spend.

While the financial disclosure indicated that the nearly million-dollar expenditure was indeed for “advertising,” FCC disclosures by Alabama television stations confirm that the money is being poured into on-screen efforts. As of Tuesday morning at 5:00 a.m., local network affiliates in the Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile media markets had reported large advertising buys from Alabama for Healthy Families, with ads set to begin running on Wednesday.

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Out-of-state, pro-abortion money has poured into this PAC over the last few weeks, with the end game now being at hand. Besides Planned Parenthood, Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the ACLU and URGE are opposing the pro-life amendment – Amendment Two.

The PAC’s significant spending could be bolstered by additional funding by liberal billionaire George Soros, who funneled $200,000 to Maddox’s biggest contributor last week. Soros has heavily funded pro-abortion causes across the nation and could be motivated to support Maddox because of his opposition to Amendment Two.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

Richard Shelby, Doug Jones take stand for Alabama catfish farmers

(Sen. Richard Shelby/Facebook)

Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Doug Jones (D-AL) joined a group of six other U.S. senators on Monday in calling on Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to implement American antidumping laws strongly and impartially to ensure domestic catfish producers are able to compete on a level playing field.

The two Alabama senators, along with Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Boozman (R-AR), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and John Kennedy (R-LA), raised serious concerns over recent deferential actions by the International Trade Administration (ITA) toward a Vietnamese catfish exporter, which could affect the critical process to determine whether that country continues to violate U.S. antidumping laws.

“We are troubled by this series of events, as in recent years Commerce has consistently found significant dumping by Vietnamese fish fillet exporters, and has determined repeatedly that many exporters have been uncooperative in responding to the Department’s questionnaires. The decision by Commerce to consent to a Vietnamese Embassy official’s request to allow uncooperative Vietnamese parties to impede your Department’s proceeding with further delays will have a catastrophic effect on the domestic industry. Our catfish farmers rely on strong enforcement of U.S. antidumping laws to ensure they can compete on a level playing field,” the senators wrote in a letter.

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“Vietnamese respondents or any other parties that fail to comply with requests for timely and accurate information, do not deserve more favorable treatment than U.S. catfish producers. We hope your Department will remain committed to strong implementation of U.S. antidumping laws, and that procedural rules will be applied to all parties in an impartial manner,” the letter concludes.

The ITA, a Commerce Department agency, in recent months has deviated from standard practices to grant the Hung Vuong Group (HVG), a leading Vietnamese exporter, extensions to provide evidence of its compliance with U.S. antidumping laws. The agency actions contradicted its own earlier actions to reject incomplete HVG data and to apply standard dumping margins to HGV products.

Since 2003, ITA has found that frozen fish fillets from Vietnam have been sold in the United States at less than fair market value, resulting in economic damage to American catfish producers.

The group of Senators also met with USDA Food Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) Administrator Carmen Rottenberg recently to receive an update on her agency’s catfish inspection program for both domestic and foreign products.

Rottenberg advised that FSIS inspections in FY2017 and FY2018 resulted in more than six million pounds of catfish being rejected for not meeting U.S. food safety standards. As the FSIS has worked to fully implement the inspection program, the number of eligible exporters has dropped from more than 90 in 2017 to 27 in 2018.

The full letter to Ross from the group of senators as follows:

Dear Secretary Ross:

We write to express serious concern over a recent action by the International Trade Administration to reverse an earlier decision in the antidumping proceeding involving frozen fish fillets from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. This reversal will adversely impact catfish farmers and processors in our states, and is inconsistent with this Administration’s commitment to strong enforcement of U.S. trade laws.

In the current administrative review, we understand that a large Vietnamese exporter (Hung Vuong Group or HVG) failed to respond appropriately to the Department’s antidumping questionnaire after having been granted two deadline extensions. As a result, in keeping with its commitment to strong enforcement of U.S. policies against unfair trade, and consistent with long-standing practice, Commerce rejected the late and incomplete HVG submission. In April, the Embassy of Vietnam filed a letter requesting reconsideration of HVG’s untimely data. Again, Commerce refused to reconsider its decision, explaining that it is HVG’s responsibility under current regulations to ensure its responses are complete.

However, we have been informed that an official from the Embassy of Vietnam met with Commerce Department officials on May 15, 2018. The following week, Commerce reversed its decision and allowed HVG to refile its untimely response. Commerce then compounded the negative effect of its decision on American catfish farmers by extending the deadline for its preliminary finding, allowing HVG more time to justify the data in its late filing. As a result, HVG received a preliminary finding of no dumping.

We are troubled by this series of events, as in recent years Commerce has consistently found significant dumping by Vietnamese fish fillet exporters, and has determined repeatedly that many exporters have been uncooperative in responding to the Department’s questionnaires. The decision by Commerce to consent to a Vietnamese Embassy official’s request to allow uncooperative Vietnamese parties to impede your Department’s proceeding with further delays will have a catastrophic effect on the domestic industry. Our catfish farmers rely on strong enforcement of U.S. antidumping laws to ensure they can compete on a level playing field.

As Commerce officials travel to Vietnam in the near future to verify HVG reported data, we respectfully request that you strongly urge them to conduct this verification rigorously, and not tolerate further delays or obstruction from HVG or other Vietnamese officials. Vietnamese respondents or any other parties that fail to comply with requests for timely and accurate information, do not deserve more favorable treatment than U.S. catfish producers. We hope your Department will remain committed to strong implementation of U.S. antidumping laws, and that procedural rules will be applied to all parties in an impartial manner.

Thank you for your attention on this important matter.


Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

7 Things: The caravan from Central America grows as Rep. Byrne wants to build the wall, Maddox campaign somehow gets more desperate, racist fliers are back in Alabama politics and more …

(W. Maddox/Facebook)

7. The fight over transgender bathrooms and other petty silliness is back

— The Trump administration is attempting to define sex as the gender with which one was born with and would not be changed by the desire of the individual to do so.

— #WontBeErased was trending on Twitter as people declared their support for transgender people as the self-declared “Party of Science” declared this another outrage. But in reality, this would just roll back aggressive Obama policies pushed down on schools.

6. The Alabama Democratic Conference is attempting to shake down candidates in the state for $25,000 each

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— Alabama Democratic Conference Chairman Joe Reed sent a letter to “Democratic Candidates Seeking Office on November 6, 2018” seeking up to $25,000 from each one to cover their “fair share” of costs to get the ADC to help them with their elections.

— Reed threatened “grave risk to their campaigns” if the candidates were to be seen as “withholding GOTV money.” The ADC claims the fees will cover the printing of mock ballots and the distribution of said ballots in churches, barber shops, beauty shops and at polling places.

5. Early voting is showing big turnout with some states seeing presidential level turnout

— More than 5 million Americans have already voted and the early numbers show that Democrats are turning out earlier in bigger numbers than Republicans are.

— The early numbers lead most experts to predict that we are heading towards a really big midterm turnout. In competitive states like Indiana, Georgia and Florida, early voting is at or near 2016 levels.

4. The screaming about voter suppression will never stop as long as a lapdog media continues rewarding baseless allegations — The lack of evidence doesn’t matter

— Congressional candidate Mallory Hagan continues her attempts to make herself relevant by pretending she is fighting for all those who have been scrubbed from the voting rolls right before an election.

— There have been zero cases of legally registered voters not being able to cast ballots in Alabama. Not one politician or media outlet can present a single case, but none of that matters.

3. Fliers directed for black people in Alabama are hitting mailboxes declaring the Republican agenda is to “Make America White Again

— Groups called Vote or Die, the S.O.S. Movement for Justice & Democracy and the Alabama New South Coalition are sending racially charged fliers to black voters misinforming them that Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Republican legislators are supporting hate crimes and a racist agenda.

— This is hardly a fringe ploy. Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders is sharing these fliers and messages on social media. The New South Coalition is endorsing Walt Maddox for governor. These are mainstream Alabama Democrat politicians and Maddox’s campaign would not denounce.

2. Something … something … emails

— The Walt Maddox campaign and Alabama Political Reporter have unearthed archived emails from the state archives where they are supposed to be archived and are claiming there is something nefarious afoot with no evidence of any wrongdoing.

— The emails are mostly about the governor’s schedule and appear to be kept in accordance with Alabama law, which was admitted by the Maddox campaign. But that won’t stop people from claiming “it looks bad.”

1. As the caravan from Central America grows, Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne is trying to get the wall built

— As much as the media wants to tell you the group will shrink, or not get to our border, the mob continue to grow and they continue to move. They are now closer and 7,500 strong.

— Byrne has put forth a bill that would use the budget reconciliation process to put up $25 billion for a border wall. The bill is co-sponsored by 15 House Republicans and allows the GOP to pass wall funding with a simple majority vote if both chambers pass a budget and survive other parliamentary measures.

6 hours ago

Walt Maddox accepts contribution from California billionaire leading Trump impeachment movement

(Tom Steyer/Twitter)

As revealed by a mandatory financial disclosure filed on Monday, Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox recently accepted a direct contribution from the San Francisco billionaire leading the national “Need to Impeach” movement against President Donald Trump.

Tom Steyer gave Maddox $5,000 on Wednesday of last week, while his wife gave Maddox an additional $5,000 on the same day. Combined, the couple’s donations were Maddox’s second largest contribution of the reporting period, only behind an Alabama gaming facility.

Steyer has been touring the country rallying people to sign onto his massive impeachment movement against Trump. The effort’s homepage states, “We the people must impeach this president.” Steyer is also spending part of his personal fortune on the movement, with some speculating he himself wants to run for president in 2020.

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“Need to Impeach” is currently running television ads in battleground districts across the nation ahead of the November 6 midterm elections. One such ad concludes by saying, “We still have a lot of work to do to get rid of this president, and that starts with your vote.”

The Steyer contributions came the same day that Maddox’s biggest contributor reported receiving $200,000 from another prominent liberal billionaire – George Soros.

Maddox has previously admitted to voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

A proven Republican conservative, Rep. Arnold Mooney serves House District 43

(Mooney Campaign)

Citing his conservative, commonsense, businessman’s approach to government, State Representative Arnold Mooney (R–North Shelby) is seeking a second term as the representative for House District 43, which covers much of North Shelby County.

“As a House member, I have stood up for the conservative beliefs, morals, and values that define Alabamians and the Alabama Republican Party, worked to ensure our state budgets spend within their means, and fought against the passage of tax increases on the citizens of our state,” Mooney said. “We have also successfully implemented several needed reforms that will ensure Alabama does not look back as we continue to move forward building a sound, job growth economy. More work remains to be done and I look forward to doing my part while serving a second term in Montgomery.”

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Since taking office in 2014, Mooney sponsored and co-sponsored 22 bills that passed, several received national attention. National labor unions increased their efforts to organize industrial facilities across the southeast and experienced successes that included, Volkswagen in Tennessee and Golden Dragon in Wilcox County, prompted Mooney to sponsor and pass a constitutional amendment establishing Alabama as a “right-to-work” state. This provides non-union workers with blanket employment protections. Voters concurred and ratified Mooney’s constitutional amendment by a 70 percent to 30 percent margin on the 2016 election ballot. Mooney also sponsored and passed the “Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,” which provides civil and criminal immunity for Alabama health care workers who refuse to perform certain procedures, such as services relating to abortion, human cloning, human embryonic stem cell research, and sterilization, that violate their sincerely-held religious beliefs.

Employed as a commercial realtor, Arnold Mooney and his wife, Kelly, have three grown children and eight grandchildren. They are active members of Meadow Brook Baptist Church

As the House Sponsor for the Closed Primary Run-off Bill, he was successful in securing its passage, thereby ending cross-over voting in Alabama, and ensuring integrity in our elections. By repeatedly sponsoring House legislation to end the practice of charging Lodging Tax on Meeting rooms for conventions, events and social occasions, Mooney is responsible for the Department of Revenue ending its anti-competitive assessment of the tax.

During the 2018 Session Mooney was the House Sponsor for the successful passage of the DUI-Inter Lock Bill that makes our roadways safer from drunk drivers by requiring more use of Interlock devices. He also sponsored the passage of the Freedom of Religious Liberty and Constitutional Display of the Ten Commandments Amendment which will be voted on in November and the Alabama Electronic Security Board of licensure Bill providing protection to Senior Citizens from high-pressure sales tactics and unwanted security installations. Mooney was also the House Sponsor of legislation that has put a spotlight on and begun the favorable discussion of ending Civil Asset Forfeiture problems in Alabama. Learn more about him at www.arnoldmooney.com.

(Paid for by Friends of Arnold Mooney)

20 hours ago

Alabama to vote on Ten Commandments amendment

(A. Orlando/Flickr)

Alabama voters next month will decide a constitutional amendment regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and government buildings.

The proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution says schools and public buildings can display the Ten Commandments as long as it is done in a way that “complies with constitutional requirements” such as being intermingled with historical documents.

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Lawyers for groups who have argued both for and against the legality of such religious displays said the larger impact of the amendment could be encouraging schools and governments to put up the Ten Commandments — something that may or may not draw a legal challenge depending on how it is done.

“On one hand, it really doesn’t do anything. It basically says you can post the Ten Commandments as long as you post them in a constitutional manner — which can be done today,” Randall Marshall of the ACLU of Alabama said of the amendment.

“The other hand though is I think that this is going to lead, more than likely, a school district to think that now if this passes they have the right to post the Ten Commandments. A school district just posting the Ten Commandment as a stand-alone document is going to find themselves getting sued. It’s going to be held to be unconstitutional,” Marshall said.

Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, which has defended Ten Commandments displays in several states, said the language will encourage people to display the Ten Commandments by giving them some guidance.

“It doesn’t change what the U.S. Supreme Court would do on something of this nature other than in that area it would give comfort, I guess, or some guidance to the display of the Ten Commandments,” Staver said.

The measure was approved by the Alabama Legislature this year in a largely party line vote with supporters saying it would send a message about the state’s beliefs and some opponents deriding it as a political trick intended to drive conservative voters to the polls in an election year.

Alabama is revisiting the issue 15 years after former Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office for disobeying a federal judge’s order to remove a 5,280-pound granite Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building.

Dean Young, a Christian activist who supported Moore during that fight, created and funded a political action committee to promote the amendment.

Young said the amendment’s passage will send a message that state wants to “acknowledge God and that’s the Christian God on that this nation was founded on.”

He predicted Alabamians will overwhelmingly approve the amendment on Nov. 6 and the displays will go up across the state.

The amendment vote comes at a time that some evangelicals are hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court will take a more favorable view of such displays.

State Sen. Gerald Dial, a Republican from Lineville pushed the legislation for more than a decade before it was approved last year in his final legislative session.

It finally passed after Dial added the caveat that the displays had to be constitutional and a provision saying state funds could not be used to defend a lawsuit against the amendment.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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“Always bald, sometimes loud’ Ainsworth releases new political ad that shares his views on important issues while poking fun at himself

(W. Ainsworth/YouTube)

Always bald, sometimes loud. With midterms just weeks away and campaigns around the state heating up, Will Ainsworth took a funny, and memorable approach to his latest campaign ad, ‘Shouts.’

Released this week, the ad pokes fun at Ainsworth’s bald head and loud voice while simultaneously highlighting the issues he wants to focus on as Alabama’s Lt. Governor, growing existing Alabama businesses, 21st century jobs and expanding voluntary pre-k programs.

Ainsworth said he and his team wanted to do something light-hearted and creative that also informs voters on where he stands. 

“We know people are tired of all the cookie cutter ads they see during every election cycle, so we took a different approach that lets voters learn a bit about who I am as a person,” Ainsworth said.

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A former youth minister, Ainsworth knows a laugh can go a long way when it comes to effectively communicating a message you want others to hear.
“There are just so many negative ads and last-minute attacks on politics today. I thought it would be fun to remind everyone that campaigning is also about positive messages and personality. It’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes.” Ainsworth said

While the ad is humorous, Will Ainsworth will take his job as Lt. Governor seriously.

A small business owner and recent member of Alabama House of Representatives, Ainsworth has the skills to lead Alabama into a continued era of success. During his time in the state house he strongly advocated for tax cuts and polices that supported small business growth statewide.

Ainsworth truly cares about making a difference and will work to make sure every Alabamian has what they need to achieve success.

Paid for by Friends of Will Ainsworth, 7520 Browns Valley Road, Guntersville, AL 35976

21 hours ago

President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule is a win for Alabama

(T. Cavanaugh Campaign)

Protecting ratepayers and ensuring that we have a reliable, secure and affordable supply of electricity in Alabama is the lens through which I view energy policy. It was through this lens that I saw the Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) as a significant threat to our state and that I now see President Trump’s replacement plan, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, as a welcome step in the right direction.

The Trump administration’s ACE rule provides a path forward for us to achieve environmental progress but still provide a balanced, affordable electricity mix that doesn’t impose crushing costs on consumers. The CPP, while never fully implemented thanks to a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, aimed to transform the nation’s energy grid with an enormous price tag.

When the CPP was proposed, I worried about the impact of rising electricity prices on Alabamians and what it would mean for Washington to dictate to us the right way to meet our energy needs. At its core, the CPP was a plan designed to punish the American coal industry and drive the nation’s fleet of coal plants into early retirement. Those plants – which play such a critical role in so many states, including ours – have long been a foundation for secure, reliable and affordable power.

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The ACE rule, in comparison, no longer aims to dismantle the coal fleet and instead allows individual states to craft emissions reduction strategies that work best for their unique needs. Instead of forcing utilities and power plant operators to close plants, the ACE rule provides a path forward for them to improve them. By improving the efficiency of existing power plants, we can generate more power using less fuel. It’s a reasonable approach that provides states the flexibility to keep well-operating, essential power plants running.

The Obama administration’s plan was just one more example of onerous federal overreach. President Trump’s pro-jobs approach applies welcome restraint, and that restraint is going to pay dividends for ratepayers. The Trump administration expects the ACE rule’s compliance cost to be $400 million per year less in comparison to the CPP, and that estimate may well be conservative.

Before the Supreme Court halted Obama’s rule, one analysis projected that the CPP could cost consumers an additional $214 billion for electricity between 2022 and 2030. According to the same analysis, Alabama would have been one of more than 40 states that faced double-digit increases in the cost of wholesale electricity.

Even marginal increases in the cost of energy can have profound impacts. They can erode the competitiveness of entire states or industries, and rising prices can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for families barely able to pay the bills. The U.S. Department of Energy recently reported that one in three American households is already facing a challenge in meeting its energy needs and that one in five households, or 25 million households, has reduced or foregone necessities such as groceries or medicine to pay an energy bill. These sobering statistics are a critical reminder of the importance of making energy affordability a priority.

The ACE rule provides states the crucial flexibility they need to balance environmental goals with power grid reliability, security and affordability. It is for that reason I’m so supportive of President Trump’s approach. We narrowly escaped a total energy disaster with the Obama CPP. Let’s lend our voices to supporting a far better replacement.

Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh currently serves as president of the Alabama Public Service Commission. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and are not intended to convey the official position of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

21 hours ago

Vote or Die’s racially charged, ‘incendiary garbage’ flier circulating from Alabama Democratic groups

(Sen. Hank Sanders/Twitter)

While most political observers in Alabama have been focused on attempted smears regarding Governor Kay Ivey’s health, a flier that is circulating in predominantly black parts of the state has raised eyebrows with its racially charged rhetoric and “incendiary” images aimed to increase Democratic turnout.

The flier, which can be viewed below, says “Governor Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Republican Legislators are strong supporters of Trump’s plan to ‘Make America White Again.'”

The images featured on the flier include President Donald Trump, members of the Ku Klux Klan and children displaying swastikas while performing the Nazi salute.

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(Sean Ross/YHN)

The flier is sponsored by Vote or Die, the S.O.S. Movement for Justice & Democracy and the Alabama New South Coalition.

These organizations are all tied to outgoing state Sen. Hank Sanders (D-Selma), and this is not the first time this type of controversial flier has emerged right before a general election. Yellowhammer News reported on similar efforts before Alabama’s election in November 2014.

The political arm of the Alabama New South Coalition has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, and Maddox has touted this endorsement on his website.

When asked by Yellowhammer News about the flier on Monday morning, Maddox campaign spokesman Chip Hill noted, “Walt’s name isn’t even mentioned in the piece. Neither our campaign nor anyone in the campaign had anything to do with the creation or dissemination of it.”

Hill added, “This piece of literature had/has nothing to do with New South’s endorsement of Walt Maddox.”

Because the campaign was not involved in the creation or dissemination of the flier, Hill said that the Maddox campaign will not count it as an in-kind contribution. The Alabama New South Alliance is registered as a PAC in the state, yet it has not filed since 2013.

When asked whether Maddox agrees with the sentiments in the flier, Hill initially did not answer this part of Yellowhammer News’ inquiry. When asked again on a follow-up, Hill said, “Since we didn’t have anything to do with the creation of the flyer we don’t have anything to say about it.”

Alabama Republican Party chair Terry Lathan told Yellowhammer News that the fliers contained “blatant lies” that were meant to  fuel “hurtful divisiveness.”

“The only hate on the rise is paying for and condoning blatant lies such as this incendiary garbage,” Lathan said. “Producing this outlandish propaganda is trying to divide and scare people- the opposite of what they claim they don’t want.”

She continued, “I call upon the ‘Vote or Die’ group to apologize for their disrespect and total falsehoods to all Alabamians regardless of their skin color and to stop being a part of hurtful divisiveness.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

22 hours ago

It is time to stop pretending there is some massive voter suppression effort underway

(YHN)

Did you know today is the last day to register to vote in Alabama?

No? Well, turn on your TV, radio, computer, cell phone or open a newspaper if you can find one and you will probably find some disingenuous hack proclaiming how important it is for you to register to vote.

It’s not hard to register to vote. You can do it right here right now.

But, dishonest politicians across Alabama and elsewhere are constantly pushing a dumb narrative that voter suppression is alive and well in Alabama and elsewhere, even though there is little to no evidence it is actually happening.

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Wannabe politicians can’t stop embarrassing themselves. Mallory Hagan is poised to lose her election to Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks) and then fade into obscurity. Hagan made the claim that “more than 55,000 voters in the 3rd Congressional District have been disqualified or labeled inactive since February 2017.”

That’s not the only embarrassing thing Hagan has said lately.

But I digress.

Secretary of State John Merrill has been brutally clear on this issue. No one has been denied the right to vote and no one will be denied the right to vote.

In an interview, Merrill told WVNN that all of this is deception by a Democratic Party that has no winning ideas.

Partial transcript as follows:

Dale, that would be zero. Zero. There is no evidence of anybody in this state that has gone to the polls in the last three years, 10 months and three days that I have had the privilege to be your secretary of state, no evidence of anyone who has gone to the polls, wanted to cast their ballot and was unable to do so. Now, they may have been inconvenienced because they had to do their voter update form. They may have been inconvenienced because they had to cast a provisional ballot because they didn’t take care of some things prior to arriving at the polls and then they had to go back and confirm it so their vote would count, but nobody has been turned away because they didn’t have an ID, and nobody has been turned away because they were told “Hey, you can’t participate”​

The reality of this “purge” of voters is simple: If you have not voted in years, you were sent a postcard from the secretary of state’s office informing you that you would soon be moved into inactive status. If you returned the card as requested, you would remain on the rolls. If you did not, you would be removed.

Again, Merrill has explained that zero people have not been able to cast their ballot at the polls. But the stories continue to be written.

Of course, ignorant people will pretend that this means people will not vote. This is untrue. In fact, the people removed incorrectly will go to the polls, they will fill out a form, they will be marked as active, they cast a ballot and that ballot will be counted.

Congressman Mo Brooks, an odd choice for a Republican voter suppression effort, was removed from the rolls for this very reason. He cast the vote, rectified the issue, and later learned the postman did not deliver the postcard

Either way, he voted and his vote counted. This is not a voter suppression effort.

Alabama’s political media needs to stop repeating the foolish machinations of long-shot candidates who are looking for attention. Doing otherwise is just another in a long line of examples of journalistic malpractice or outright deception by said media.

Listen:

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

23 hours ago

State Rep. Mike Ball explains political motivations behind smears against Kay Ivey

(Aprthev/Youtube, Ball Campaign, Maddox Campaign)

ntn a Monday interview on the “Dale Jackson Show,” state Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) discussed the attempted “October Surprise” that has been orchestrated against Governor Kay Ivey, with Ball explaining the political bias of the individuals making the now-refuted allegations over her health.

Last week, Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox’s longtime friend Spencer Collier kicked things off in an article by the left-leaning Alabama Political Reporter (APR). Collier was Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) in Governor Robert Bentley’s cabinet before being fired.

Now, Collier’s former chief of staff at ALEA, John Thomas “J.T.” Jenkins, is backing up Collier’s allegations, which have already been refuted by Ivey’s doctor and public records.

Ball explained that the reason for Jenkins backing up Collier is simple – Jenkins is Collier’s “crony.”

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When it comes to Collier himself, Ball, who helped lead the impeachment effort against Bentley, also shared that he knows a lot more than the media outlets who view Collier as some kind of “hero.”

“Spencer Collier has been actually a villain throughout this. He gets credit for being a hero because he blew the whistle on Bentley, but he didn’t do that … until he got caught with his hand in a cookie jar … and wound up getting fired,” Ball outlined.

He added, “I will tell you, if Bentley did anything right, and you know I originated the impeachment, I have no use for Bentley’s foolishness, [it was] firing Collier.”

Ball then detailed how Collier was barely even going into work as the head of ALEA, yet he was filling out compensation forms like he went to work five full days a week. The state representative from the Huntsville area added that Collier had committed “multiple firing offenses” during his tenure that went unpunished, with Ball suggesting grand jury actions could have been taken against him, too.

The one who was picking up the slack for Collier in his practical and literal absence was Jenkins. Now, Ball thinks that Collier’s former chief of staff is back once again trying to clean up Collier’s mess.

“He was tight with Spencer Collier, he’s a – I guess we can use the term – crony. But he was close friends and associates with Spencer Collier, and while Spencer Collier was laying at home doing nothing, he was for all intents and purposes … running the show… he was covering for Collier,” Ball advised.

He added, “When the whole story comes out…[T]here’s layers and layers of evidence that Collier is in the middle of political manipulations.”

Ball then said he did not know if Maddox is pushing the allegations because he does not know any better or whether he knows the truth about Collier and just does not care.

“I don’t know how much of the rest of this crap Mayor Maddox and his campaign know about, the rest of this stuff,” Ball said. “If they did know all of this, they would probably realize the potential for this to blow up in their face.”

Ball added that Collier could be angling for a position in Maddox’s administration, and if Collier gets a job, Jenkins very well could have a government job again in his own right.

Another motive that has been speculated about by many political observers, including Ball, is that Collier is angry that the state of Alabama, under Ivey’s administration, is paying for legal bills to defend against a termination suit by Collier.

In APR’s article on Monday, Collier seemed to admit this “vindictive” motive publicly.

“[Ivey] instructed law enforcement to lie and then covered the issue up… sounds just like Bentley,” Collier claimed. “Bentley was briefed [about Colorado] and knows everything——sounds like a good reason to pay his legal bills.”


Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

24 hours ago

‘Redneck Housewives of Alabama’ set to premiere

(Redneck Housewives of Alabama/YouTube)

TV viewers longing for a reality show featuring housewives who shoot guns and love the outdoors are in luck.

“Redneck Housewives of Alabama” is set to make its premiere next month in Huntsville.

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The show features eight truck-driving, gun-toting, beer-swilling, family-raising women, Al.com reported.

A trailer for the pilot made its debut in August on YouTube, showing cast members doing everything from working on a farm to mudbogging to getting a tattoo.

Its pilot episode will be shown during a free public screening Nov. 10 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.

The screening is part of an event that will also include appearances by the cast.

The 30-minute episode offers a sneak peek at the show created by a Huntsville company, Helen Evans LLC, and directed by Kevin Wayne of Kevin Wayne Films.

Wayne, a Birmingham filmmaker, also serves as executive producer of the series, which started recruiting cast members in May 2017 and began filming later that year.

“From mud bogs to overcoming addiction and divorces, these ladies are just the beginning of what life in Sweet Home Alabama is like,” the series website states, touting a “new Southern drama filled with Southern charm.”

It’s unclear if the series has hooked a network deal or not, but updates on the show are posted on the official website and Facebook page, Al.com reported.

Cast members made an appearance on Sept. 29 at the Smith Lake Country Music Festival, for example, and Seawright, a singer-songwriter from Fort Payne, performed there with her band.

When “Redneck Housewives” announced its casting call last year, a representative for the show said the ideal candidates would be outgoing, outdoorsy women who are adventurous and colorful.

At the time, the show’s website said the creators also were looking for drama, via women who are “battling with serious and realistic issues such as suicide, divorce, broken relationships, bankruptcy, infidelity, family feuding, alcoholism, deadbeat dads and foreclosures.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Former congressman Artur Davis running for Montgomery mayor, calls on Steven Reed to recuse himself

Former congressman and candidate for Montgomery Mayor Artur Davis. (Photo: YouTube)

Former congressman Artur Davis (D-AL) is running to be Montgomery’s next mayor.

While the election will not occur until August 27 of next year, Davis believes the race, which is expected to feature Montgomery Probate Judge Steven Reed, could present a similar problem as the current gubernatorial race in Georgia, where Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp is running against former state Rep. Stacey Abrams.

A national controversy has erupted in that race, with Democrats accusing Kemp, who oversees the elections process in his current role, of purging likely Democratic voters from the rolls. Davis is worried that the same type of opportunity for “impropriety,” or at least “the appearance of impropriety,” will exist in the 2019 Montgomery mayoral race, as Reed will oversee the election as probate judge in which he is also expected to be a candidate.

In an exclusive interview with Yellowhammer News, Davis confirmed his own campaign for mayor and called on Reed to recuse himself from overseeing the upcoming election, turning over that responsibility to Secretary of State John Merrill’s office.

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Basic tenets of a fair elections process

For Davis, this all comes down to core principles of American representative democracy – that elections should be fair and free, with citizens having trust in the integrity of the process. He also boiled it down to an analogy that should hit home for Alabamians of all stripes.

“As great as Nick Saban is, he doesn’t get to referee the games he plays in,” Davis outlined. “And that’s really what this comes down to here. If Nick Saban doesn’t get to referee games he plays in, then why should a candidate, in effect, get to referee the game he’s playing in?”

Davis also pointed to the situation as an example of potential hypocrisy by Democrats, saying “my guess is some of the same folks assailing Kemp won’t have much to say about Reed trying to referee a game he is playing in.”

What goes into overseeing an election in Montgomery County?

Davis then explained what overseeing an election looks like in reality, specifically when it comes to a county’s probate judge.

“The probate judge runs the election process. And it’s not a passive role. I’ve known Judge Reed for many years, I’ve been to many forums with Judge Reed, and every time I’ve heard Judge Reed describe his role, he stands up and says, ‘I run the elections in Montgomery County.’ That’s accurate – that’s a fact,” Davis said.

He continued, “And what does it mean to run elections in Montgomery County? Not only does it mean that you handle the administrative tasks of having poll workers, manning precincts, making sure the machinery runs properly, not only do you handle the administrative tasks but processing candidate applications and candidates’ qualifying checks, those things frankly don’t tend to involve a lot of subjective judgement. But there’s an element of the process that’s enormously subjective that I don’t think a lot of voters appreciate in Montgomery.”

That under-appreciated, “enormously subjective” duty of the probate judge is verifying the necessary amount of signatures that candidates must get to even be on the ballot.

“A lot of voters are not aware that to get on the ballot in Montgomery, to run for mayor or city council, you have to turn in signatures,” Davis advised. “And for mayor, those signatures have to be a certain percentage of the folks that voted in the last election.”

While that bar was not high in the 2015 mayoral race because of low turnout in 2011, a high turnout in 2015 means a relatively large amount of signatures to get in 2019.

Yet, it is not really the number of signatures, time-consuming as they are, that has Davis worried; it is the fact that Reed’s probate office can subjectively reject any signatures that they want to. In Davis’ experience (he ran for mayor in 2015), this is more than a theoretical problem.

“Guess who is in charge of deciding whether or not signatures are valid? It’s Judge Reed’s staff,” Davis commented. “And I don’t mind telling you, in the last election process, several of us candidates kept getting calls to the probate judge’s office that they had disqualified our signatures. And we had to keep coming back and keep coming back. Well, what if Judge Reed were a candidate and his staff is sitting there evaluating whether or not his opponents are turning in valid signatures? And whether he’s turning in valid signatures? Because he’s not exempt from that process.”

In addition to the probate judge’s office holding the key to ballot access in Montgomery, Davis explained that the office also “has a very important role” that can be subjective when it comes to absentee ballots.

“The probate judge’s office is in charge of making sure absentee ballots are properly filed. Well, guess what? That’s not just an administrative process in Montgomery today. Because of new laws in Alabama, new requirements around voter I.D. and absentee ballots, there’s a subjective process that goes on. As there should be,” Davis said.

He continued, “What this comes down to for me and, I think, a lot of voters and people in this community, can you trust a player in the game to be the referee?”

Reed’s history only compounds the more inherent issues

Davis believes that for many in the Montgomery area, this natural distrust is fueled by the probate office’s behavior under Reed’s leadership. The former congressman opined that things have gone downhill since former Probate Judge Reese McKinney left office.

Specifically, vote totals are now taking conspicuously longer to be reported to the secretary of state’s office on election night since Reed took office, Davis said.

“A lot of us wonder, why did it take two hours for returns in races to come in in Montgomery County? Why does it take longer to count the votes in Montgomery County than it takes to count the votes statewide? Why is it that you have the AP in a position to call statewide races and multiple other contests but you only have eight percent of the vote reporting in Montgomery for two hours? And then all of a sudden, the number magically jumps to 90 percent? That’s something a lot of us wonder about,” Davis outlined.

The problems cannot be chalked down to a lack of resources, Davis advised.

“It’s not like this is some rural backwater,” Davis remarked. “We’re the second largest county in the state. Why is it that Montgomery is the only large county that has not implemented many of Secretary Merrill’s reforms? Why is it that Montgomery continues to have human beings involved in processes that are handled digitally in other big counties?”

These perceived red flags exacerbate the general fairness issues surrounding Reed potentially overseeing an election in which he is also a candidate.

“If we had a smoothly flowing election process in Montgomery, it might be a different story,” Davis added. “You might have more confidence. You might feel, ‘Well, Montgomery’s process is so smooth, mechanical and transparent that it will essentially run itself.’ I certainly don’t have that confidence as a voter.”

More issues that Davis has witnessed with Reed’s probate office include not having nearly enough poll workers for major elections (especially the Jones/Moore U.S. Senate Special Election last December) and registered Democrats – who are not loyalists of the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) – facing challenges and even changes to their party registration and eligibility to vote in certain races. Then, there is the very clear example of state Rep. John Knight (D-Montgomery) being told he could not vote in the Democratic Party primary runoff for a state Senate seat this year. While the problem was seemingly resolved after public outcry, Knight was running against the “Reed Machine” in that race, adding to the perception of “impropriety” in the probate office.

Steven Reed’s father is Joe Reed, the infamous, longtime head of the ADC, otherwise known as the “Black Political Caucus of Alabama.” This organization is widely known to wield a stranglehold on Montgomery and statewide Democratic politics, with the ADC most recently flexing its muscles against a failed takeover attempt of the state party by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).

“You have the probate office calling people in the days after the primary runoff election this July, asking them what primary they voted in. [The probate office] ought to be able to tell you that. I think that’s kind of their job, not the other way around,” Davis said.

He continued, “All of these problems with long lines because we don’t have enough poll workers, these problems with returns, these problems with candidates in races being told they voted in the other primary – look, let’s just say I was born at night but it wasn’t last night.”

Davis believes Reed should announce his office’s recusal from overseeing the mayoral race

If Reed runs for mayor, as he is expected to, Davis stopped short of calling for his resignation as probate judge. However, Davis said that he and his office should be entirely removed from the electoral process for that race.

“He should pick up the phone and call someone who I think he respects and I know I respect – that’s John Merrill,” Davis advised. “And I think he should ask John Merrill to run the election process [in the Montgomery mayoral contest]. There’s a precedent for this – if a district attorney has a conflict in a case, he calls the attorney general to prosecute the case… if there’s a case involving a local judge, all the other judges in the circuit recuse themselves and someone from another area comes in. Not necessarily because the judges would be biased, but because they know that the appearance of impropriety would be there for some people in the community.”

This is another key point that Davis wanted to make. While no one can truly know if impropriety by Reed or his office would exist ahead of the election, the appearance of impropriety would undoubtedly exist. That in and of itself is reason for Reed to recuse himself.

On this, Davis added, “Steven should do the right thing. I like Steven, he’s a nice guy and I’ve known him and his family for a very long time. Seems like a fair-minded person. The fair-minded thing would be to call John Merrill and to ask John Merrill’s office to run the election process and to staff up the election process – to handle the certification of candidates to be on the ballot, to handle the processing of absentee ballots and to handle the vote count on election night.”

Davis is not afraid of the “Reed Machine”

Speaking of the Reed family, Davis has experience running against Joe Reed’s strong-arming organization. And he is looking forward to doing so again.

“I’ve beaten the Reed Machine the last two I’ve run in Montgomery. Governor’s race in 2010, we didn’t have a good night in 2010 but we still beat Joe Reed in Montgomery; Mayor’s race in 2015, the Reed Machine worked very hard for a candidate who came in third… we beat [the Reed candidate] in every single box in Montgomery, beat him in all the black boxes where ADC has influence. Won 11 of the 13 African American boxes in this community despite ADC putting out smear sheets against me and working hard against me and campaigning against me and calling me everything but ‘a child of God.’ I’ve beaten the Reed Machine in two elections in a row,” Davis explained.

The mayoral race should be about substance, not process

Davis said that the next mayor of Montgomery will be elected based on their qualifications and vision for dealing with the city’s very real problems. Davis’ top two platform items center on public education and economic development.

“Our school system has become a disgrace for our children,” Davis emphasized. “Economic development is not where it needs to be in this community… Crime is higher in this community than it needs to be for a city of our size.”

The issue of education is very personal to Davis because his experience growing up in Montgomery’s public education system laid the foundation for his lengthy resume of accomplishments.

“I went to Cloverdale and Jeff Davis and that was good enough for me to be a National Merit Finalist, to make perfect scores on AP exams, to go to Harvard and to be an award-winning student. To be a congressman by the time I was 35 years old – I got the foundation for that from Montgomery public schools,” Davis outlined.

He added, “The reality is, the election next year oughta be a conversation about where Montgomery goes in the future. And that conversation shouldn’t be diverted by questions about whether the process is fair.”

Davis was a Democratic member of Congress from 2003 – 2011. A Montgomery native and graduate of Harvard for undergraduate studies and law school, Davis notably switched his party affiliation to Republican in 2012 and spoke in support of presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention that year. This came after he was the first congressman outside of Illinois to endorse then-Senator Barack Obama for president in 2007, with Davis giving one of his nomination speeches and serving as one of his national campaign co-chairs that cycle. He later became the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against Obamacare.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

John Merrill: Mallory Hagan ‘attempting to make a play off of what Stacey Abrams is trying to do’ — ‘You’re not living in New York anymore’

(Screenshots)

In a Monday appearance on Birmingham Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill elaborated on his Twitter back-and-forth with Alabama third congressional district Democratic nominee Mallory Hagan over voter participation that went down on Saturday.

Last week, according to the Associated Press, Hagan alleged that “more than 55,000 voters in the 3rd Congressional District have been disqualified or labeled inactive since February 2017.” She went on to announce at a press conference in Tuskegee she was forming a “Voter Protection Committee” as a response.

However, Merrill said Hagan’s effort was nothing more than an effort to replicate the controversy generated by Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.

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“Now, I can tell you exactly what she’s attempting to do,” Merrill said. “She’s attempting to make a play off of what Stacey Abrams is trying to do over in Georgia as she is trying to say that Georgia is keeping people off the voter rolls.”

Hagan is thought to be a long-shot to unseat her opponent incumbent Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) given she has taken liberal positions on many key issues. Merrill suggested that would likely be reflected in the results on Election Day once they are tallied.

“One of the things I shared with her was, ‘You can bring your liberal ideas to Alabama. You can share your liberal thoughts with Alabamians. But you’re not living in New York anymore. On November 6, you’re going to realize that.'”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 day ago

University of Alabama football player charged with DUI

(Tuscaloosa Police)

A University of Alabama football player has been charged with driving under the influence.

News outlets report reserve offensive lineman Hunter Ray Brannon was arrested Sunday morning.

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The 20-year-old redshirt freshman has not played any games for the team since joining last year.

Tuscaloosa police spokeswoman Lt. Teena Richardson says a 19-year-old male driver told police Brannon was in a vehicle “doing doughnuts” in a roadway and crashed into his car.

She says the man told authorities Brannon asked him to not contact police and then left the scene.

Police were given Brannon’s tag number and later pulled him over.

Alabama coach Nick Saban says in a statement that “we will evaluate what we need to do in terms of appropriate discipline.”

It’s unclear if Brannon has a lawyer.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Alabama voter registration deadline is Monday

(Wikicommons)

Monday is the final day to register to vote in next month’s election.

People can register online to vote until 11:59 p.m. Monday.

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People can register in person at their local county board of registrars’ office until the close of business, which is typically 5 p.m.

Registration forms sent through the mail must be postmarked by Monday.

Voters will go to the polls on Nov. 6 to elect a governor, attorney general, congressional and legislative representatives and other office.

People can register online to vote at the Alabama secretary of state’s web site.

People can also check their registration status, districts and polling place location at a site maintained by the office.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 day ago

Questions abound over Jefferson County judicial candidate’s legal and practical qualifications

(Elect Linda Hall Circuit Court Judge Place 16/Facebook)

While top-of-the-ticket races like the gubernatorial and attorney general contests grab the headlines, one dramatic electoral battle in Jefferson County is flying under the radar with just 15 days left until the November 6 general election.

Incumbent Judge Teresa Pulliam faces a challenge from Birmingham-area attorney Linda Hall for Circuit Judge Place 16 on the 10th Circuit. Pulliam is the only countywide Republican remaining in office besides Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale.

While that would normally be an intriguing storyline in itself, the race has exploded with allegations surrounding Hall that not even Hollywood could make up.

However, the biggest issue is seemingly cut and dry: Hall does not even live in Jefferson County and thus would be ineligible to run for or hold the important judgeship. This matter will be ruled upon by Monday afternoon by Judge Samuel Junkin of Fayette County, after all Jefferson County judges recused themselves from a legal challenge to Hall’s candidacy by a concerned voter.

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The pending lawsuit alleges that Hall lives in Shelby County and has not recently lived in Jefferson County for the legally required period of 12 months.

“I would not have ran if I knew that I lived in Shelby County,” Hall admitted during testimony Friday.

While she has resorted to claiming her office in Jefferson County is actually her residence, court proceedings revealed a shocking state of residency for the Democratic judicial candidate. Over the past 18 months, Hall has lived in five different apartment complexes in the Birmingham metro area, plus several extended stay hotels. She even lived in St. Louis, Missouri, from August – December 2017, again bouncing around from hotel to hotel.

While this information would almost certainly prove that Hall does not meet the consecutive 12-month requirement, her qualification paperwork to run for office outed her as not being a Jefferson County resident, too.

She incorrectly listed a Jefferson County zip code associated with a P.O. box on her submissions to the Alabama Ethics Commission and Alabama Democratic Party, but the physical address Hall listed turns out to be in Shelby County. Hall claims she listed the P.O box zip code in Homewood because she did not know the correct zip code to the listed apartment she was residing in at that time.

Not only was the apartment on her qualification paperwork located in Shelby County, but so were two of the three subsequent apartments she lived in. In fact, Hall only just moved to a Jefferson County address earlier this month after the lawsuit had already been filed.

The voter suing Hall has said that since ballots for the upcoming election have already been printed and absentee ballots already mailed, the correct remedy for the situation is for Hall to be disqualified, with her votes not being counted. On the other hand, Hall’s attorneys claim she has met the residency qualifications.

While the residency issue alone should determine Hall’s ability to have her votes counted or not, many in Jefferson County have pointed out that her qualifications, in a more practical sense, also need strict scrutiny. When it comes to her legal background, a survey by the objective Birmingham Bar Association revealed that a clear plurality of the voting lawyers view Hall as “unqualified” to be a circuit judge, compared to 90 percent who rank Pulliam as “highly qualified” and an additional six percent who see the Republican as “qualified.” Zero percent ranked Pulliam as “unqualified,” with four percent indicating they did not know enough about her.

Then, when it comes to Hall’s overall background and her own well-documented history of run-ins with civil and criminal litigation, truth is often stranger than fiction.

An ongoing appeal from one of Hall’s former clients details allegations of her being mentally ill, including that Hall once told people she had “supernatural powers” and frequently tried to ward off evil, per Alabama Media Group. Even prominent liberal columnist John Archibald has written about Hall’s alleged exploits, from claiming she could conjure the dead and filling bathtubs up to ward off evil spirits to putting talismans around her home, constructing an alter with candles for the supernatural and pouring salt around her house to keep demons away.

In response to these allegations by her former client, Hall’s own attorney claimed it was a politically motivated attack and that the allegations “are unsubstantiated and, and many instances, irrelevant to the [former client’s appeal].”

Additionally, with an individual who has admitted to bouncing from rundown residence to residence and is in seemingly dire financial straits, some people have privately worried that Hall could be a prime target to be compromised by bribery or other illicit means.

While all of these allegations should be vetted by voters individually if Hall is somehow not disqualified on Monday, it is important to remember how important judges are on the success of local communities. For a city facing massive violent crime problems, Birmingham cannot afford to have a judge that is not up for the job. The ramifications will be felt on communities and businesses if Hall is elected and cannot, in fact, uphold the duties of this important office.

Yellowhammer News’ inquiry to Alabama Democratic Party chair Nancy Worley regarding Hall’s candidacy has gone unreturned.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Alabama Retail Association announces its ‘Retailers of the Year’

(W.Miller/YHN)

Last week, the Alabama Retail Association recognized 15 retail businesses with operations in 78 cities in the state as “Alabama Retailers of the Year” or “Centennial Retailers.”

Together, these businesses employ 2,278 people at 97 locations in the Yellowhammer State. Almost 100 nominations were submitted for this year’s awards. The presentations were made in Birmingham during the association’s 2018 Retail Day luncheon. Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors, Slappey Communications and the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business were the luncheon sponsors.

This marked the 19th consecutive presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards and the 14th Alabama Centennial Retailer awards presented since 2002.

The following Alabama businesses were named as winners:

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2018 Alabama Centennial Retailers

Alabama retailers of the year

A panel of judges chose the 2018 Alabama Retailer of the Year winners in four categories based on annual sales volume. Bronze, silver and gold awards were presented. The winners have been in business for at least five years and an average of 30 years. The judges also selected an Emerging Retailer of the Year, who has been in business for less than five years. A Facebook contest determined the Customers’ Choice Award.

Annual sales less than $1 million

  • Gold award: Lisette Normann, owner of The Fairhope Store; nominated by the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce.
  • Silver award: Theo and Costas “Gus” Katechis, owner and manager, respectively, of Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs in Montgomery; nominated by customer Travis Rutherford.
  • Bronze award: Annette Harris, owner and president of Rumors Deli Inc. in Cullman; nominated by customer and former employee Cindy Barton, and recommended by the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce.

Annual sales $1 million to $5 million

  • Gold award: George R. Wilder, owner and chief executive officer of The Locker Room in Montgomery and Auburn; nominated by John Lee, Hamilton Smith, Matthew Sease, Josh Davis and Tom Moore, employees of The Locker Room; and Laura Hicks, account manager, STAMP.
  • Silver award: Dustin and Shannon Beaty, owners of Lavish Boutique and Coffee Bar in Jasper, and Lavish Boutique in Cullman; nominated by Jasper Main Street. The Beatys and Lavish also won the Customers’ Choice Award, earning 3,112 of 23,609 votes cast.
  • Bronze award: Steven and Jessica Brindley, owners of Brindley’s Family Pharmacy in Albertville; nominated by the Albertville Chamber of Commerce.

Annual sales $5 million to $20 million

  • Gold award: Ashley Gill, owner/operator of Chick-fil-A Northport; nominated by The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.
  • Silver award (Two-Way Tie):
    Charlene Haber, owner/president of Wolf Bay Restaurant, Bar & Boutique in Foley and Orange Beach; nominated by the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce.
  • Brian and Jodi Harsany, owners of Cobalt The Restaurant in Orange Beach; nominated by the Alabama Small Business Development Center – University of Alabama; and the city of Orange Beach.

Annual sales more than $20 million

  • Gold award: The team at Renfroe’s Market in Montgomery (2) and Dadeville. Robert Renfroe, owner, and Rob Renfroe, vice president. Nominated by Michelle Locke, wife of Renfroe’s operations manager David Locke.
  • Silver award: Jay Welborn, partner with B&W Foods Inc., dba Piggly Wiggly, in Northport and three Tuscaloosa locations; nominated by The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.
  • Bronze award: Jeff Rosenthal, president and chief executive officer of Birmingham-based Hibbett Sports with stores in 74 Alabama cities plus 34 other states and online; nominated by Birmingham Business Alliance.

Gee Emerging Retailer of the Year Award

  • Zebbie Carney, owner of Eugene’s Hot Chicken in Birmingham; nominated by the Birmingham Business Alliance.

“It is an honor to be able to recognize such an outstanding group of retailers. Each retailer honored is a credit to their community and the retail industry,” Rick Brown, president of the Alabama Retail Association, said.

This year, Alabama Retail Comp also recognized Thames Batré Insurance in Mobile and Gulf Shores as a Centennial Insurance Agency, an awards program that began in 2008.

Having been founded in 1943, the Alabama Retail Association is celebrating 75 years of “promoting and protecting retailers” and their employees across the state.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Prominent former Democratic gubernatorial candidate campaigning against Walt Maddox

(Fields Campaign)

Former state Rep. James Fields, who finished third in the Democratic gubernatorial primary this spring, is actively campaigning against Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox ahead of the November 6 general election.

Fields has been speaking at rallies for independent, left-leaning candidate Chad “Chig” Martin, while taking swipes at Maddox, the Democratic nominee.

In one video posted on Facebook, Fields can be seen calling Maddox a “swamp digger” intent on “digging into your income, digging into your household.” In Fields’ view, Maddox holds liberal beliefs but is part of a culture of corruption.

While Maddox has constantly complained that Governor Kay Ivey will not debate him, Fields called out Maddox for refusing to debate Martin. Fields further advised that Maddox is “hiding something.”

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Martin himself has alleged that “the Democrat with his high paid advisors are now copying our campaign ideas.”


Fields was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014, losing that general election to Ivey. He spent a career working for the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, where he served for over 28 years until 2008, assisting the public in locating jobs, and worked himself up to a supervisory rank with the North Alabama Unemployment Fraud Division investigators. Fields is currently a pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in Irondale.

Fields’ opposition to Maddox comes in striking contrast to the unity shown in the Republican ranks, with Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh last week even holding a fundraiser for her former opponent, state Rep. Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville), in his bid to become the state’s next lieutenant governor.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

7 Things: Trump’s approval rating spikes, caravan of future illegal aliens keeps coming, Maddox doesn’t know what he is doing as he runs for governor and more …

(WH/Flickr)

7. $1.6 billion jackpot

— After no one won the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot on Friday, the jackpot for the drawing on Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET is now a world record for any lottery.

— Alabama’s cut for this lottery is zero. The only thing Alabama will see from this is news stories about cars in surrounding states with Alabama plates buying lottery tickets.

6. Governor Kay Ivey explained why liberal billionaire George Soros is pumping money into her opponent’s campaign

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— Last week, Yellowhammer News reported Soros had put $200,000 into PACs that have given her Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Walt Maddox, over $600,000.

— The Ivey campaign provided multiple examples of Maddox’s abortion positions as reason Soros and other liberals support him, including responding to a radio caller asking if he was pro-life or pro-choice by saying it is very “complicated,” even though he later would run a commercial saying he is “pro-life.”

5. The Saudis finally sort of tell the truth — it is absurd and everyone is being dishonest

— The Saudi Arabian government has finally admitted that a journalist was killed in their consulate in Turkey, although they claim it was a fistfight, in spite of the fact that the Saudi Arabian team arrived with a bone saw and dismembered him.

— The entire situation, which a foreign minister calls a mistake, has led to calls for a re-evaluation of our relationship with the kingdom that has long been known as a violator of human rights but also a key U.S. ally on security and economic issues.

4. Secretary of State John Merrill destroys Democratic candidate for Congress, Mallory Hagan, over her evidence-free claims of voter suppression

— Hagan claims “more than 55,000” people have been disqualified from the roles in the 3rd Congressional district, implying there is something nefarious about the number when in reality the opposite is true.

— Merrill responded to Hagan’s claims by reminding her that Alabama’s voter registration is at an all-time high, saying, “We have registered more voters than any other time in the history of the state with 1,109,095 registered voters since I became Secretary of State. We now have 3,442,170 registered voters. An all-time high in state history. 93% of our eligible citizens are registered to vote.”

3. Walt Maddox is demanding that Governor Ivey release a bunch of things so he can prove that his baseless attacks aren’t baseless

— First, Maddox tells the media he needs to clear up the debate he and his allies started about her health, stating, “She has the texts, the emails, the communications, the medical records. That’s all at the governor’s disposal. This afternoon she could end this whole debate and we could hopefully move on to talk about other issues facing Alabama.”

— Maddox then undercuts his campaign’s one remaining argument by saying, “This has nothing to do with the Governor’s health. I take her at her word. This is about her covering up a situation that happened in 2015.”

2. A mob of future illegal aliens has rushed the border into Mexico and continues its trek to the United States

— This weekend, President Donald Trump said this election will be about “Kavanaugh, Caravans, law and order, and common sense” as a 4,000+ person caravan is still moving towards the United States border with the full support of the liberal American establishment.

Crashing gates, fighting police and burning American flags with swastikas on them keep making the president’s argument that these people are up to no good.

1. President Trump’s approval rating spikes ahead of the midterms

— President Trump‘s approval rating is now at its highest point, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. It is also higher than Obama was at in 2010 when Democrats lost 63 seats in the House.

— Regardless, trouble looms for Republicans as Democrats hold a nine-point lead in the generic ballot with 50 percent of those polled preferring Democrats take control of the House of Representatives. Democrats are also slightly more excited about the elections.

1 day ago

ADC’s Joe Reed demands ‘fair share’ payment of $25k from Dem candidates — Calls not paying ‘political folly,’ warns ‘grave risk’

Former AEA leader and Alabama Democratic Party leader Joe Reed

Some might call it a shakedown of Democratic candidates three weeks out of an election — many of which were long-shots at best and at a massive financial disadvantage against their Republican opponents.

Alabama Democratic Conference chairman Joe Reed calls it “your fair share.”

In a letter obtained by Yellowhammer News dated October 17 to “Democratic Candidates Seeking Office on November 6, 2018,” Reed makes a request for $25,000 for a get out the vote effort, in which he wrote entails printing and distributing ballots, passing them out and also distributing them in, “Churches and other public places such as barber and beauty shops.”

“Your fair share for the position you seek is $25,000,” he wrote. “Make your check payable to the Democracy Advancement Fund Incorporated, 424 South Decatur Street, Montgomery, AL 36104.”

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Reed warns candidates against “withholding GOTV money,” calling it “political folly,” and suggesting doing so poses a “grave risk to their campaign.”

Excerpt from the letter as follows:

It has come to my attention that some candidates have discussed withholding GOTV money black community through the ADC and other organizations in the November 6 General Election. Whether this rumor is true or false, I do not know, but I wish to warn those counsel and those who embrace this political folly do so at grave risk to their campaign and perilous danger to their election. However, I hasten to add every candidate reserves the right to run and fund his or her campaign as they choose. However, I wish to impress upon each candidate in no small way, the ADC and I personally support all democrats, but the ADC cannot be expected to fund all democrats we support. I am a volunteer. I do not get one dime for working to turn out the vote. No one is doing me a favor by contributing to ADC for his or her own campaign. If no money is available, I will tell the county leaders so they can plan accordingly. Just remember he or she who comes in second “never takes the oath.”

Alabama Democratic Conference letter, 10/17/2018

Reed’s solicitation in this letter is similar to the one detailed in Ruth Graham’s October 17 New York Times Magazine profile of Alabama second congressional Democratic nominee Tabitha Isner. According to Isner, Reed sought $15,000 “to help distribute voter guides printed with the group’s endorsements.”

According to Graham’s piece, there were legal questions about writing a check to Reed’s organization.

“We joke about the Democratic Party in Alabama being like a vampire, sucking you of all of your resources,” Isner campaign manager Megan Skipper said to the Times Magazine regarding Reed’s request. “That’s very frustrating, but it’s the way the system has worked so far.”

Another Democratic candidate is also declining to pay Reed. According to a since-deleted Facebook post by State Senate District 11 candidate Carl Carter, he is also apparently refusing to send a solicitation of $2,500 to the ADC.

“I will note that standing outside polling places and handing out sample ballots is NOT getting out the vote,” Carter wrote. “By definition, the people getting those are already “out” and voting. I will not be sending any money to the ADC.”

(Facebook/Screenshot)

Yellowhammer News reached out to Carter for comment about Reed’s solicitation but has not heard back.

Back in August, there was an effort led in part by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) to reduce Reed’s role in Alabama Democratic politics by replacing Reed-backed Nancy Worley with Jones-backed Peck Fox as chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party.

However, Jones’ effort failed, and Worley was reelected to another term as chairwoman.

Yellowhammer News also reached out to the Alabama Democratic Conference about its get-out-the-vote effort but did not get a response.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.