Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.
Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.
“The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.
Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.
Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.
Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
(Robert Aderholt, President Joe Biden/Facebook, YHN)
Fifty days ago, President Joe Biden declared in his inaugural address, “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation.” Most Americans, myself included, listened to these first words of the new administration with hopeful ears. But as we have come to learn, unity stands in firm contrast to the actions of this White House. Unfortunately, too many of President Biden’s policies have led to a 50-day drive to divide.
Many consider the 100-day mark as a barometer for how quickly and effectively a president can govern. However, when it comes to President Biden, we don’t need 100 days to make that judgment. In just 50 days, it is clear that his administration is paving a path of executive overreach, disunity and partisanship.
On day one, the president implemented a slew of executive orders and actions within hours of his swearing-in ceremony. In the 15 acts he signed – a record he holds over his predecessors by a wide margin – Joe Biden paved the way for us to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, preserve DACA, halt border wall construction, revoke the Keystone XL Pipeline permits and reverse many of President Trump’s policies.
Rather than extending an olive branch to conservatives, this administration has chosen to please the far left. This stands in stark contrast with what President Biden said on January 20, “And I pledge this to you: I will be a President for all Americans. I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.” While we can all appreciate the pledge President Biden took, the actions of his administration have not matched the words he spoke.
Take the strictly partisan $1.9 trillion COVID “relief” package for example. This spending bill was created behind closed doors without any Republican input, and it is full of liberal policies that have nothing to do with the coronavirus. And when conservatives offered common sense amendments to this bill, they were shot down on a party-line vote. There is nothing close to bipartisan about that legislation or the process in which it was written.
In order to fight for the 74 million Americans who did not vote for the president, Joe Biden must be willing to step into the middle ground. This will not be easy I realize. However, advocating for a $15 minimum wage, working to liberalize immigration and nominating pro-abortion cabinet and administration officials are antithetical to cooperation.
In fact, all of those items are inconsistent with President Biden’s pledge. But he can choose to change that, and the first step towards fulfilling that promise is walking away from his current path and trekking over to the road of bipartisanship. There are areas where we can work together. Take rural broadband, for instance, a critical need that has widespread bipartisan support. Or backing NASA in the push to return to the moon by 2024. Also, both sides agree that we need to end human trafficking once and for all, and we can work together to achieve it.
The next 50 days can be a time of bipartisanship and true unity, but that can only happen if President Biden chooses it. Again, I understand it won’t be easy. But the effort to unify takes more than just words, it takes action. And President Biden’s actions in his 50-day drive to divide must change, lest his words from January 20, 2021, come to define his presidency: “For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.”
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) is a Republican from Haleyville.
Aderholt: 400 years later, the Pilgrim story is more relevant than ever
(Wikicommons, Robert Aderholt for Congress/Facebook, YHN)
This Thanksgiving will be different from any other we have had in our lifetimes. This past year has been a struggle, as every single one of us has had their normal lives disrupted. Many of us have also lost friends and family as the coronavirus has swept through our communities. To say 2020 has been a trying time would be an understatement.
This year has not been unlike that first year the Pilgrims spent after landing at Plymouth Rock; their crossing of the Atlantic, their year of loss and struggle and their ultimate triumph.
Four hundred years ago, a group of 102 passengers set sail from England on a ship known as the Mayflower. They left their homeland with eyes set on the New World, where hopes of religious freedom and entrepreneurial opportunities awaited. Today, four centuries later, the New World that these pilgrims found is now the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.
As we look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving in a few days with our loved ones, (as best we can under the current situation) I think that giving thanks for the land that we call home is especially important this year. With the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing, we can look back and admire those brave men and women who embarked on a dangerous journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the passengers aboard that ship sought religious freedom that would only be possible here in the New World. That religious freedom they risked their lives for remains a value we treasure and must continue to defend today. Sadly, it’s a freedom we too often take for granted each and every day.
And when rough weather forced the Mayflower to land in Massachusetts rather than Virginia, the seeds of democracy were sewn. It was the Mayflower Compact that gave way to the Pilgrims establishing a colony that created its own laws and abided by them. This incredible feat of getting consensus among a diverse group is what led to the first self-governing document in the New World. The Mayflower Compact established something that had never been done before but was soon to be replicated on a larger scale when the nation’s Founding Fathers put pen to parchment and drafted the Constitution.
It was the brave passengers of the Mayflower who started the tradition of a day of giving thanks in the year 1621. That first year, especially the winter of 1620-21 was harsh and deadly. Of the 102 original passengers, 45 died the first year. Many died from exposure to the cold, from diseases and from malnutrition. Four entire Mayflower families also died that first winter in Massachusetts.
But those who survived persevered. While it wasn’t called Thanksgiving back then, it was a joyous celebration of the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest that they invited nearby Native Americans to join. Some two hundred and forty years later, President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be observed on the final Thursday of each November.
While we are still struggling through the season of COVID, we can look to those 102 brave souls from four centuries ago who also struggled. But they trusted that brighter days and the prospect of freedom were on the horizon. Not only that, but they looked to God for their guidance and thank him for bringing them to the place we are today.
So, on this Thanksgiving, while we still struggle, we can take comfort from those who came before us. We owe so much to the Pilgrims, as God put it in their hearts to travel to the New World. Furthermore, they set before us a spirit of Thanksgiving to the all-knowing God. And that is an example for us today, perhaps even more so than ever.
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) is a Republican from Haleyville.
Aderholt: We need long-term broadband solutions, not band-aids
All across the state, there are schools starting back up for the fall. As we are all eager to get our kids back to school, many parents and school officials are facing difficult decisions about whether to teach kids in person or move to an all-virtual or hybrid model. While this will present challenges for students and teachers alike, there is an entire segment of the population that will struggle to gain access to virtual learning or, in some cases, be completely left out.
Alabamians living in rural parts of the state have been left behind when it comes to broadband, and this digital divide will become well known as some kids are not able to attend virtual class. This is unacceptable. For far too long, rural communities have lacked necessary access to broadband, and the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on why this issue is so important. To be clear, rural broadband is not a new issue, but the prospect of kids not being able to learn due to a weak infrastructure makes this issue one of the most important the state is facing.
Just a few days ago in Lawrence County, a middle school and an elementary school announced they will go completely virtual for the fall semester. While these are just two schools, the fact of the matter is that this is happening across the country and across the state; and it is concerning to think how those young children will be able to learn on a virtual platform. However, my worry that these kids will not even have a chance to learn online is even greater. Kids have always and will always be the future, and we must ensure they have the educational resources they need to grow up and make a difference in Alabama and the rest of the world. So, the simple fact is this, no child should be forced to sacrifice school because they don’t have reliable broadband.
I welcome Governor Ivey’s decision to allocate $100 million of CARES Act funds to bring increased broadband connectivity for students currently eligible for free and reduced-price school meals. The Alabama Broadband Connectivity program will partner with internet providers to secure internet access desperately needed by children confined to learn at home. The cooperation of internet providers, big and small, is vital to the success of this important program. I have been fighting to get connectivity for Alabama’s kids all throughout 2020 and this program will certainly help. I appreciate the leadership taken by Governor Ivey and State Superintendent Mackey to quickly ramp up at home educational resources. I also urge them to make sure the Alabama Broadband Connectivity program covers students right across our state.
The COVID-19 crisis has shone a light on the need to improve Alabama’s broadband infrastructure. Although I welcome programs like Alabama Broadband Connectivity, we cannot keep applying temporary broadband band-aids, we need permanent solutions. Hotspots and cellular buses will help some children this fall but to secure long-term connectivity for families and children we need serious infrastructure investment. That is why I led a bipartisan letter to congressional leadership earlier this month, urging them to make permanent broadband infrastructure an eligible expense for CARES Act funds. This investment would not only meet increased short-term demand of students learning at home but help close the long-term digital divide and end the “homework gap” in Alabama. The money has already been appropriated by Congress. Let’s use it on long-term solutions which more effectively secure broadband access for students learning at home across Alabama.
This issue is not partisan and it never should be, because caring for our future generation is something both sides of the aisle can agree on. Just because a young child lives in a rural community does not mean they must sacrifice their education, especially now. High quality and reliable rural broadband is long overdue, and time is of the essence. I will continue to fight for permanent broadband infrastructure until we get it done.
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) is a Republican from Haleyville.
Like most places today, the coronavirus is dominating a lot of the talk on Capitol Hill. As it has become clear that China’s efforts to contain the virus have failed, and there have now been deaths in the U.S., concern has grown about a possible outbreak here at home. We’ve seen that concern directly with what has happened on Wall Street with the markets.
With all this news, and the almost non-stop coverage in the media, it would be easy to become panicked. But instead of panic, it’s better to be prepared and informed.
Last week, President Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to head up the federal government’s efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States. I’ve known the vice president for more than a decade now and consider him a close friend. So, I can say without hesitation, I cannot think of a better person to head up this task force. VP Pence at the helm gives me a lot of comfort and it should you as well.
President Trump and the vice president will bring the full resources of the federal government to bear in fighting and containing this potential risk.
On a more local level, I met with Alabama’s State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris. He gave me and my staff an update on efforts within Alabama to prepare for the virus. Currently, if someone were to be suspected of having the virus, a sample would have to be sent to Atlanta for testing. But within the next few weeks, the state health lab in Montgomery will be able to do this testing, speeding up results.
Harris told me that hospitals are preparing, just in case. They have also provided guidance to local doctors’ offices and clinics.
According to the CDC, here are some practical tips to follow in order to reduce risk of infection:
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Vaccinations – Stay up to date on vaccinations, including the influenza vaccine.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Maintain at least six feet of distance from anyone exhibiting obvious symptoms.
Stay home when you are sick.
It’s best to be prepared rather than to get panicked or worked up over things you read on social media. Things like Facebook and Twitter can certainly be useful, but in situations like this, they seem to spread more misinformation than anything helpful. Also, it helps to put things in perspective. Each year, up to 61,000 people die in the U.S. alone from the seasonal flu. The current worldwide death toll from the Coronavirus is around 3,000.
The bottom-line: The coronavirus is something to take seriously, but no more so than the seasonal flu. So, take the same precautions you would with the flu.
Be prepared. And leave the panic behind.
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt is a Republican from Haleyville.
Aderholt: Alabama’s economic boom should be heard and felt across the state
(Robert Aderholt/Facebook, YHN)
When I was growing up in Haleyville, I can remember people in July and August saying, “it’s hotter’n blue blazes outside.” Well, you could certainly describe America and Alabama’s current economic boom as being “hotter’n blue blazes.” Alabama’s economy is scorching hot, with the lowest unemployment numbers in our state’s history. One county economic development director told me that “if you want a job, you can find one right now.”
I don’t doubt that’s true, but unfortunately, it also depends on what part of the state you live in. If you are willing and able to drive a couple of hours to and from work, then you certainly have many more options. Our Defense and Space industries are experiencing tremendous growth. Agriculture is booming. Alabama is the nation’s second-largest producer of poultry – and that’s a good thing.
But we can do even better. A lot of people can’t commute long distances every day to reach good jobs, so we’ve got to bring the jobs to them. I believe we can bring high paying, quality jobs to every corner of the 4th District and Alabama and rural America as a whole. We need to rebuild our essential manufacturing base – and that’s something that President Trump has focused on.
And to build upon that, we must prioritize building up our infrastructure. We must expand high-speed internet to every square mile of the 4th District and North Alabama. We must protect rural hospitals and clinics to make sure people everywhere have access to high-quality healthcare. And we must ensure we have a highly trained workforce with the skills employers are looking for.
During a recent visit to a locally owned business in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, I was told they have jobs available, but they can’t find candidates who can pass a drug test. This is why I worked in Congress to allocate more than a billion dollars to fight the opioid epidemic. A highly skilled workforce is essential, but we also need a workforce that isn’t dependent on illegal substances to get through the day. Lack of employment and dependency on drugs is an evil and all-consuming cycle. We can break that cycle.
We also need to make sure our trade policies are based on common sense. We want to increase trade by eliminating unfair foreign trade policies. President Trump did that in the U.S.- Mexico- Canadian (USMCA) trade deal, which opens more markets for American products and helps make America more competitive. That makes a big difference for our farmers, manufacturers, businesses and for consumers. We’ll have more opportunities for common-sense trade deals in the coming years.
It’s also time for us to stop associating social status and class on whether someone has a four-year college degree. Trust me, I know many people who have bachelor’s and master’s degrees that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. And at the same time, I’ve heard of people who have two-year welding degrees from colleges like Wallace State who are making money we normally associate with a doctor.
Two-year associate degrees and high school vocational classes are just as valuable to our economic wellbeing than an economics degree from Harvard. If someone aspires to achieve a four-year degree, that’s great, but they should never be celebrated more than the person who decides to open his own plumbing business. This is why I’m so supportive of our state’s two-year college system and our vocational schools.
Alabama has so much economic potential. I hope you will join me in making sure we see this economic expansion continues in places like Huntsville, but also expands into places like Lamar, DeKalb and Fayette counties. There’s no reason we shouldn’t all be able to take part in how hot the Alabama economy is right now. As we also used to say in Haleyville, it’s 100 degrees in the shade!
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt is a Republican from Haleyville.
Our beliefs, our ideals, and our very way of being are almost entirely rooted in the way we were raised. The values that are instilled in us by our parents as children, are in most cases the values we carry forth with us in our lives as adults. So if someone asks me why I’m Pro-Life, you can look squarely to those lessons I learned early in life.
It was at an early age that I learned about the sanctity of life. From the Sunday School songs that echoed themes like, “we are all precious in his sight,” or “little ones to him belong. They are weak, but he is strong.” Life was the original gift given to all of us by our creator. And it was only God who could take it away.
Let me say that I am not naïve enough to believe that everyone holds my same strong connection between religious belief and the sanctity of life. Yet, no matter what someone believes or doesn’t believe, everyone understands that life is precious and it is a gift.
That’s why it’s hard for me to understand how someone could think that abortion is simply a choice or a matter of privacy. You could argue dozens of points about why abortion should be legal, but they are trumped by one simple, indisputable fact: abortion stops an innocent human heart beat.
It’s estimated that since the Roe vs. Wade decision that approximately 55 million babies have been aborted in the United States. That’s 55,000,000! It’s an astonishing figure that some in our country actually celebrate. How do you celebrate the loss of life, the loss of possibilities, the loss of so much innocence?
Many of us on the Pro-Life side of this issue are painted as backwards, uninformed or sexist for not supporting a woman’s right to choose. But of those 55 million aborted babies, half, 27 million, were girls. Abortion is not an issue that is pro-woman.
Being Pro-Life also comes with responsibilities. It’s not enough to say that you are Pro-Life and then walk away. Women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy need support. They need assistance. And sometimes a loving shoulder to cry on.
This is why I’m a great supporter of centers that are there to help women find alternatives to abortion. An example in my district is First Source for Women in Cullman, Alabama. They provide prenatal care, counseling, baby supplies and even a father mentoring program for those dads who want to be involved in their child’s life. There are many other similar centers across the 4th District.
For those women who don’t feel they can keep their child, there is always adoption. I have been and continue to be a supporter of foster care programs and programs that seek to find forever families for children. Last year, I nominated the Kids to Love foundation in Huntsville, Alabama for the national Angels in Adoption award. They have provided care for thousands of foster children in my district and helped them find loving, caring families.
We are a country that has won two world wars. We have put 12 men on the surface of the moon. We have advanced and improved life for others unlike any other country in the world. How can such a civilized, advanced society support policies that kill the innocent?
I have said a lot to sum up something that is actually very simply. Why am I Pro-Life? I am Pro-Life because it is the right thing to do.
Aderholt: Iran Nuclear Deal just as naïve as the one signed with Nazi Germany
Robert Aderholt (R-AL4)
At the end of this month there will be an anniversary of a very important date in world history. It’s a date that is seldom noted and certainly not celebrated. In fact, it’s a date most would rather forget. On September 30, 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed a deal with Adolph Hitler and proudly proclaimed that it signaled “peace for our time.” We all know the outcome of that deal.
Fast-forward 77 years. It is unfortunate that President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry appear to be taking a page directly from Chamberlain’s playbook. Their Iran Nuclear Deal is just as naïve as the one signed with Nazi Germany all those years ago. There is one difference, however: during the negotiations with Germany, Hitler was not openly declaring death to the countries with whom he was negotiating.
The deal the Administration has made with Iran seems to be more about securing a legacy for the President than about making sure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. This deal simply adds time to the clock, but does nothing to change Iran’s endgame.
The deal falls well short of providing what we were told would be “anywhere, anytime” inspections. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. This deal will allow Iran up to 24 days before it is compelled to allow inspectors into suspected nuclear sites. The Obama Administration wants us to suspend all disbelief and accept that Iran won’t try to hide anything during those 24 days.
Another serious flaw in this deal is that it will allow Iran to self-inspect a key military site where it is believed that Iran has carried out nuclear tests. We are supposed to take at face value that Iran will be completely honest and forthcoming with its own inspections. This provision takes the old adage, “the fox guarding the hen house” to a whole new level.
I think everyone agrees that America has a vested interest in making sure Iran does not have nuclear weapons at its disposal. That’s why it is so mind-boggling that President Obama’s negotiators were completely fine with the fact that no Americans will be allowed on the inspection teams. Let me repeat: no American inspectors will be allowed as part of this deal. This concession begs two questions. One, why would Iran have a problem with Americans being on a multi-national inspection team if it has nothing to hide? Secondly, why would President Obama and Secretary Kerry not have serious concerns with this aspect of the deal?
Also, if the President’s deal is implemented, Iran will suddenly have $100 billion flowing into its treasury from lifted sanctions and unfrozen assets. Does anyone really believe that Iran will use this money to build schools, pave roads and make life better for its citizens? The reality is that Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Such sanction relief will allow the regime to funnel, unhindered, billions into the hands of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. It will also have a treasury overflowing with money to target Israel, an American ally that the regime has previously stated it would like to “wipe off the map.” It is very likely that Iran will buy technology from Russia to improve the Iranian air defenses and to improve the accuracy of Iranians long-range missiles. This coming at the same time Russia is trying to force Ukraine to collapse.
Finally, with this deal’s approval, Iran is also able to pour these newfound dollars in to conventional military programs while they continue to enrich uranium. It will be free to develop and refine its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program, a program whose goal is to have missiles capable of reaching the United States. While Iran builds its military program, its regional rival Saudi Arabia may also feel compelled to do the same. And the Saudis, if they believe Iran is secretly working on a nuclear weapon behind inspectors’ backs, will likely start work on their own program.
I could go on and on about the problems with this deal. Believe me the ones I listed are just the tip of the iceberg of why this deal is so wrong for American interests, our allies’ interests and the world as a whole.
Before negotiations began, the President said that no deal was better than a bad deal. In light of everything that is wrong with the Iran Nuclear Deal, it is hard for me to imagine what the President would have considered a bad deal. Just imagine if Prime Minister Chamberlain had made the decision in 1938 to walk way from his deal with Germany. It might not have avoided conflict with the Nazis, but it would have saved countless lives lost due to a naïve approach to someone the world already knew could not be trusted.
Robert Aderholt represents Alabama’s 4th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives