3 months ago

Alabama candidate qualifying ends with surprise GOP gubernatorial candidate

Sen. Slade Blackwell (R-Mountain Brook) qualified to run for governor.

State Sen. Slade Blackwell (R-Mountain Brook) added drama Friday to the final day to qualify for the 2018 election, switching from a re-election bid to the governor’s race.

Blackwell, who upset an incumbent Republican in the 2010 primary to win his seat, had been on track to run for re-election in District 15 but without fanfare, signed papers for governor instead.

His move pits him against incumbent Kay Ivey and four other challengers — Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle; state Sen. Bill Hightower, of Mobile; evangelist Scott Dawson and Michael McAllister.

Blackwell, whose district includes part of Jefferson, Shelby and Talladega counties, could not be reached for comment.

Overall, more than 700 Republicans qualified to run for statewide offices and seats in the state Legislature, and hundreds more are running for local offices.

“Amazing,” was the one-word assessment of the party’s recruitment efforts offered by Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan.

Democrats across the country have been jazzed for months about early indications that the 2018 election might be a very good year for the party. That includes Alabama, where Democrats scored their most significant victory in years in December when Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in the special election to fill the Senate seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Alabama Democrats not only will field a gubernatorial candidate —they have have two. Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox are running, along with four lesser-known candidates.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley could not be reached for comment but told the Montgomery Advertiser that she was satisfied with the number of young and female candidates “That I think is a good sign, that we have new interest in people wanting to improve government, .in one way or the other,” she said.

The party also will have primaries for attorney general and secretary of state, and will contest offices for lieutenant governor, Supreme Court justice and state auditor.

Democrats also made some progress in recruiting candidates for the Legislature but still trail Republicans badly.

Democrats had at least one Democrat in 64 of the state’s 105 House districts as of Thursday evening. The party had not yet updated the list to include last-day filers, but those 64 districts already exceeded the party’s 2014 total by five seats.

In the Senate, however, Democrats fielded only 20 candidates as of Thursday night. That is down from 23 four year ago.

Lathan said she realizes that Democrats are optimistic after pulling off the upset in the Senate race.

“But the reality is, you look at primaries, we are having a ton of primaries all across the state. … We’re still an incredibly red state,” she said.

Lathan said the GOP is taking nothing for granted, however.

“We always take every race seriously,” she said.

But Lathan expressed confidence that the party would hold on tot he dramatic gains it has made in Alabama.

“Possibly, we actually might pickup some seats,” she said.

Brendan Kirby is senior political reporter at LifeZette.com and a Yellowhammer contributor. He also is the of “Wicked Mobile.” Follow him on Twitter.

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44 mins ago

Hightower runs for Alabama governor on flat tax, term limits

State Sen. Bill Hightower is stressing his background as a businessman as he runs for governor on a sweeping platform of government overhauls that includes term limits for legislators and replacing the state income tax code with a flat tax.

The Mobile Republican says he believes long-serving politicians have become the “enemy of improvement” in Montgomery.

Hightower’s platform includes limiting legislators to three consecutive terms, establishing a flat tax income tax and ending budgetary earmarks. Legislators would have to approve the measures.

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Hightower is challenging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the June 5 Republican primary along with evangelist Scott Dawson and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

A relative newcomer in state politics, Hightower was first elected to the Alabama Senate in a 2013 special election.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Canary responds to YH News

In recent months, there have been ongoing and coordinated efforts to paint the Business Council of Alabama as an ineffective and financially troubled organization. These attacks are maliciously false.

Those attacking our organization for their own political purposes are resorting to extreme lengths to undermine our organization. They continue to sling one baseless attack after another and hope something sticks.

This tactic was seen in Thursday’s Yellowhammer News editorial that looked at the BCA’s 2016 IRS Form 990 and made the determination that the BCA’s financial health “could be in jeopardy.” Once again, this is a claim that is simply not true.

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In describing themselves the Yellowhammer News asserts in its Declaration: Our Philosophy. Our Principles. Our Promises…states: “We will abide by the letter and spirit of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, developing content with both integrity and perspective.” Somehow this article fell short of that pledge by distorting the facts and knowingly asserting a premise that is false.

Information on a Form 990 does not show an organization’s ongoing financial health. The BCA finished 2016 with a balanced operating budget and a surplus. The BCA has zero debt and more than one-year’s operating budget in reserves. Hardly the picture of a crumbling organization.

One must ask the question – is this election year politics at its worst? Over the last several years, the BCA has built one of the largest political war chests in the state. Legislative success happens when the right people are elected, and that’s what our political action is all about – electing pro-job candidates who understand the issues and are not afraid to step up and lead Alabama in the right direction.

As a business advocacy organization, we continue to look to the future to create a climate in Alabama for new and existing businesses to locate or expand. Past success is no guarantee, but it does demonstrate how a united business community can accomplish worthwhile goals.

As BCA Chairman Perry Hand has said, “We will not be intimidated into bad decision making.” We know all too well that when you are relevant, you put yourself in the crosshairs, and that’s exactly where we are today.

From a national platform, the BCA is Alabama’s exclusive representative to the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Here in Alabama, the BCA represents the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies that include businesses of all sizes and virtually every segment of Alabama’s business community-from manufacturing to retail, agriculture to financial services and many, more. Our organization is a deliberative body guided by our by-laws and our legislative agenda that is developed by our active members of all sizes.

The BCA’s legislative agenda is adopted by our board of directors annually in advance of every legislative session and focuses on improving major areas that impact every single business in Alabama: Education/Workforce, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Regulations. Fortunately, we have a governor and legislative leaders who are focused on improving Alabama’s standing in all these areas. Just as in year’s past, we will not be deterred by election year smear tactics.

The BCA’s guiding force is as important today as when first envisioned in 1985 when the BCA was created: We work together to create a vibrant economic climate and an educated workforce. These are the keys to creating and sustaining jobs for employees and their families.

William J. Canary is the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.

2 hours ago

Dawson: Statements about Gov Ivey ‘dangerous move’ that could ‘tank the election’

Scott Dawson, a Republican candidate for the governor of Alabama, criticized Gov. Kay Ivey and a state agency last week, for funding that went to an Alabama based LGBTQ non-profit organization. Since then, it seems as if the gubernatorial race in Alabama has been turned upside down.

In his statement Tuesday, Dawson said, “Let me be clear. The Ivey administration has betrayed Alabama values by giving nearly one million dollars of taxpayer dollars to Free2Be, an activist organization which promotes transgenderism and alternate lifestyles to Alabama’s children.”

ADECA, which administers the state’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was responsible for the allocation of funds to Free2Be.

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According to ADECA, Free2Be has received nearly $1.7 million in grants from ADECA since September 2014.

Ivey responded to Dawson’s statements while at a luncheon in Tuscaloosa saying, “That’s nonsense.”

“I certainly don’t agree with the agenda or the values of that organization. The funding is federal funding. It’s been going on since 2014. There are no Alabama tax dollars involved,” Ivey told reporters.

When a reporter questioned Ivey on whether or not she was upset, Ivey responded, “Do I look upset?”

“Lookie here, he’s all over the board,” Ivey said. “He’s not getting any traction. He’s low in the polls. He’s three weeks away from the election. He’s getting desperate.”

Ivey is correct. When personal attacks are being hurled toward a rival, it signals desperation. And desperation this is. I was honestly shocked that Dawson would come forward with such bold accusations towards Ivey.

When a candidate is this close to the election, statements like these, that aren’t backed with sufficient and thorough investigation, should not be made.

During an appearance on Yellowhammer Radio’s “The Wake Up Call with Baylor and Hannah”, Dawson was questioned on his statements regarding the funding that is awarded to Free2Be.

“When we found it, we were like this just doesn’t look right, doesn’t look like it needs to be there,” Dawson said. “That’s when we started investigating the organization.”

Dawson reminded the audience that his intent in bringing up the funds was to warrant transparency for the state of Alabama.

He said, “This is just a statement about transparency. We need to make sure we know where our money is going, that we know why we are taking money, and how in the world these folks get $800,000 from ADECA.”

While I echo the statements Dawson makes here about transparency and ensuring that Alabamians know where their tax dollars are being spent, I must say that only a miniscule amount of research would have shown that ADECA grants are federally funded and in no way utilize tax payer dollars.

In closing the interview, Dawson said, “Quite honestly, you know, it was a dangerous move because it could just tank the election. I am just being forthright with you, but Alabama needs to know what’s going on in Alabama government.”

I think his comments did cost him the election. While I have great respect for Scott Dawson, I believe his coming forward with these statements was foolish. A lack of knowledge and research can really hurt you on the campaign trail and we are witnessing this right now.

It’s difficult for a GOP gubernatorial candidate to unseat a GOP incumbent who has, for the most part, had a good track record.

I understand the motive behind Dawson’s statements. That organization does not represent what most Alabamians see fit for a way of life. I just wish Dawson had gone about things differently and spent more time looking into the matter.

Dawson, along with everyone else running for office in America, should learn that research and getting the facts straight goes a long way. While it may be too late for Dawson, others should learn of the danger of proposing baseless investigations.

Ivey, who has received endorsement from the NRA, has shied from the public eye over the past few months. When you have a good track record as the head of Alabama, you can do these types of things. Since taking office, Gov. Ivey has not had a largely negative conflict.

Ivey’s objective in this election is to ride out her past successes in hopes of another four years as Alabama’s CEO and it might just work, so long as the unsubstantiated claims continue to be tossed her way.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and host of The Weekend Briefing that airs noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 101.1 WDYE

2 hours ago

Any politician not calling for a special session on school security is committing political malpractice

The most predictable thing in America is that we will have another school shooting soon. We don’t know where it will be, but it is coming.

Every delay in addressing these issues is another day closer to more dead kids, and an eventual mass casualty event in Alabama. We can talk about hardening targets via new construction, and limiting access to guns until we are blue in the face, but these things are either expensive or not happening.

Every politician in a heated race in Alabama should be calling for a special session on school safety. State Representative and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth is right on track with a real solution:

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“Every school shooting that takes place in another state around the country brings us one step closer to an active shooter attacking classrooms here, in Alabama, so the governor would be wise to call a special session this summer,” Ainsworth said.  “Signs reading ‘Gun Free Zone’ are a magnet for those who wish to do harm, so we must provide teachers with the training, knowledge, and ability to defend their students with something more lethal than a ruler and a No. 2 pencil.”

Of course there is an ad as well:

Why this matters: This is good politics and good policy. The people have decided on this. The media can pretend all they want that people are torn on this, but they are not. Americans, and Alabamians especially, understand that there is nothing stopping shooters from walking into their kids’ school today and shooting it up. The idea that allowing teachers to carry makes a child less safe is laughable, the teacher willing to do harm is not stopped by a gun-free zone. Good teachers with guns, however, are following the law and the law is protecting school shooters.

The details:

— 69 percent of Republicans are in favor of allowing teachers to carry.

— 78 percent of parents would feel more safe, or just as safe, with their child’s teacher being armed.

— The media is lying and saying there have been 22 school shootings in 2018. They include accidental discharge of a firearm in their count.

— As of May 8th, Gov. Kay Ivey had not ruled out a special session, but she has not responded to Ainsworth’s call.

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

3 hours ago

‘Party Like It’s 1776’ theme too offensive for school prom

A New Jersey high school principal apologized Friday for a “Party Like It’s 1776” theme at prom.

Dr. Dennis Perry, principal of Cherry Hill High School, posted on his Twitter feed an apology for the theme printed on prom tickets, calling the decision “insensitive and irresponsible,” reported Fox News.

“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” Perry wrote in a statement.

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To make up for what he deemed an indiscretion, the principal said students would not need to bring their prom tickets in order to get into the event — they would instead only need to state their names to be matched up with a list of who bought tickets. Cherry Hill High School would also give every student attendee a “commemorative” ticket displaying a new design at the prom. Perry stated that a “diverse group of people” would review information distributed by the school prior to its dissemination, in the future.

Lloyd Henderson, president of the Camden County NAACP East Chapter, saw the incident indicative of a school culture “where African American students’ needs are not considered along with the rest of the school,” but mentioned that he appreciated Perry’s speedy response.

Cherry Hill High School made headlines in February when it suspended social studies teacher Timothy Locke after Locke told students to remember him if he died defending them during a school shooting.

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