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."
Jim Zeigler considering ‘exploratory’ effort for Alabama governor in 2022
After much speculation, Gov. Kay Ivey announced her intentions to seek another term as governor in 2022 earlier this month.
Despite what were perceived to be controversial positions on pushing the Rebuild Alabama Act that raised the gasoline tax, her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in determining what could remain open and closed and a failed Mobile Bay/I-10 toll bridge proposal, Ivey is still riding high in polling with strong approve-disapprove numbers.
However, State Auditor Jim Zeigler, whose term as auditor will be over after 2022 and is ineligible to run again because of term limits, told Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Friday that he was considering a run for governor in 2022.
“I believe it’s very important for Alabama taxpayers, for the state government, for our future to have a viable opponent who has been raising issues and trying to hold the Ivey administration accountable,” he said. “And that is why I am considering myself setting up an exploratory campaign to test the waters for a gubernatorial run. Who else is there — who else took the lead in blocking the toll bridge over Mobile Bay? Who else took the lead in blocking Amendment One that would have taken away your right to vote for school board members and have them all appointed by the Governor? Who else took the lead in blocking this prison rental plan that would have had us paying over $3 billion over 30 years and then owning zero equity in the prisons, a terrible business plan?”
“I don’t know,” Zeigler continued. “If not me, then who?”
If Zeigler runs against Ivey in 2022, it would not be the first time the two of their names appeared on a ballot in a race against one another. In Alabama’s 2020 Republican primary, Zeigler took on Ivey in a race for state delegate for the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Ivey prevailed with 7,182 votes to Zeigler’s 1,729 votes — a margin of 80.6% to 19.4%.
“Our record-breaking streak is continuing in May, and we hope that it continues throughout the rest of the year,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in the statement. “Yet again, we’ve dropped our unemployment rate and each month we are getting closer and closer to our pre-pandemic record low unemployment rate of 2.6%. Our economy is adding jobs, and earlier barriers to joining the workforce have been significantly reduced. In fact, there are more job postings than there are people counted as unemployed! Alabama is, once again, open for business.”
Data showed that wage and salary employment grew last month by 4,700.
“Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+5,000), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+2,500), and the education and health services sector (+1,200), among others. Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 123,000, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+37,100), the professional and business services sector (+23,000), and the manufacturing sector (+22,900), among others,” the release said.
Average weekly earnings for the private sector rose to a new record high of $974.12, up $66.91 over the year, according to the Department of Labor.
“As we continue to see improvement in nearly all sectors of the economy, we’re also seeing record high wages in Alabama,” Washington added. “Once again, our average weekly wages are at new record high, representing an almost $67 per week over-the-year increase. Both the leisure and hospitality and manufacturing sectors are showing record high wages as well, with significant yearly increases. The economy is responding as we expected to labor force fluctuations brought about by the pandemic.”
Broken down by county, Shelby County led the way with a rate of 1.8%, followed by Blount, Marshall, Franklin and DeKalb Counties.
Wilcox County topped the highest in the state with an unemployment rate of 8.8%.
When broken down by municipalities, Alabaster had the lowest rate at 1.7%. Selma had the state’s highest, coming in at 7.0%, followed by Prichard at 6.5% and Bessemer at 5.2%.
ALGOP chair John Wahl: AEA resurgence ‘a concern’; Reminds GOP candidates ‘not a good idea’ accept their campaign contributions
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Alabama Education Association (AEA) seemingly flexed its muscle at the end of the 2021 legislative session by successfully pushing through a two-year delay to the Literacy Act, which mandates children be able to read at a third grade level before proceeding to the fourth grade.
Gov. Kay Ivey vetoed the delay, but it left political watchers wondering if this was just the beginning of the AEA’s return to the forefront of Alabama politics.
During an appearance on FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Thursday, Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl said it was indeed a concern for the party.
“[I]t’s funny you bring that up because at one point in the past, there was actually a resolution passed by the state party, I believe, that was saying Republican candidates should not take money from the AEA because of their influence and the concern they would have over direct policy,” he stated. “So, of course, that’s a concern. That type of influence from anybody pushing to regulate themselves is never — you don’t want a group regulating themselves. That’s not good for policy.”
While there was a resolution in place that pertained to AEA campaign contributions to Republican candidates, Wahl said it was not an outright ban but a “strong recommendation” not to accept their money.
“I need to go back and look at the resolution in-depth,” Wahl said. “But I believe it was a resolution, so it’s not a direct ban. There’s no teeth to it. But it was a very strong recommendation to candidates — that it is not a good idea to take that money.”
“[T]here were jokes about how the AEA controlled the state and had a vast amount of control over policy and what would happen with the Governor’s office, the state legislature,” he explained. “So much of that has gotten better since Republicans have taken control. But you’re right — we’re seeing a resurgence, at least of their involvement. Hopefully not their influence.”
Mo Brooks calls al(dot)com, other media attacks ‘one of the best endorsements’ for a GOP candidate; Says Katie Britt using fifth-grade tactic with ‘Mo’ lies’ claim
(Jeff Poor / Yellowhammer News)
The sparks continue to fly in the very early stages of the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat on next year’s general election ballot.
Although it has been just over a week since former Business Council of Alabama president Katie Britt formally announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate, she and her opponent U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) have already traded remarks publicly.
During an appearance on Wednesday’s broadcast of “Alabama Morning News” on Birmingham’s News Radio 105.5 WERC, Brooks took on his critics, including Alabama’s local political and Britt.
Brooks first sounded off on attacks from specific media outlets in Alabama, AL.com and Alabama Political Reporter. However, he said those attacks were positive for him and his campaign.
“I think that AL.com, the Alabama Reporter, all those groups that want to attack me — that’s one of the best endorsements a Republican candidate can get,” he said, “because that should signify to every Republican voter that this is the person who the fake news media is most concerned about, the kind of person who will actually do what they say they will while they’re campaigning. So, some people get kind of perturbed about all the lies, distortion at AL.com or some of these other smaller website blogs launch against me on a regular basis. But I take them as compliments, and I hope that Republican primary voters will, too.”
Later in the segment, Brooks responded to comments Britt given in a statement responding to the announcement of his Club for Growth PAC endorsement.
In that announcement, Brooks referred to Britt as a “professional lobbyist,” to which Britt said Brooks was engaging in “Mo’ lies.”
Brooks called that response from Britt a “fifth-grade tactic” and suggested her previous association with the BCA called into question her conservative values.
“[I] want to emphasize something,” Brooks said. “Katie Britt, on the one hand, tries to act like she’s all nicey-nicey. But on the other hand, she accuses her opponent of being a liar with zero specifics that can be rebutted and zero supporting evidence. As you noted in my comment, she just calls me a liar, but she does not disagree with any that I said. So, it’s kind of a fifth-grade tactic where you just start throwing names at other people, and when you do that, you’ve already lost the argument. And she’s lost the argument. She is a registered lobbyist. She’s a registered lobbyist for the Business Council of Alabama whose number one agenda item has been to import cheap foreign labor. She’s for these taxes, and we haven’t even gotten into the moral values issues that she, as president of the BCA, has caused the BCA to take positions on that are directly contrary to what most Alabama Christian voters would be able to stomach.”
“Manufacture Alabama is endorsing Governor Ivey for re-election due to her commitment to our state, her deep understanding of industry’s needs and her unwavering support for our manufacturers across Alabama,” he said in a statement. “Governor Ivey has long been a friend to our association and a passionate advocate for the manufacturing industry. She has always been committed to make Alabama an even better place to live and conduct business and leads with a common-sense approach. Her tireless leadership has brought positive outcomes to our manufacturers and we couldn’t be prouder to give her our full endorsement.”
Ivey applauded endorsement and reiterated Alabama’s manufacturing sector was one of her priorities.
“The manufacturing industry is a critical sector of our state’s growing economy, and it is a particularly proud moment for our campaign to have earned the support of its leaders,” Ivey said in a statement. “It has been our mission over these last four years to cultivate a thriving business climate not just by Alabama standards, but to set the bar across all fifty states. We reached that goal – even amidst exceptionally uncertain and trying times – thanks to our working partnership with industry leaders like those at Manufacture Alabama. We know there is more work to be done to ensure that Alabama’s best is still yet to come.”
Arrest warrant issued for Swalwell process server accused of trespassing at Mo Brooks’ home
(Screenshot/Office of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks)
Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) finally served his colleague U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) notice of a lawsuit alleging Brooks was responsible for the January 6 Capitol Hill riot after a back-and-forth played out in the media.
The process server, Christian Seklecki of Georgia, was able to deliver service at Brooks’ home in Huntsville. However, he may have violated the law in doing so.
On Wednesday, Brooks’ office revealed Seklecki was being charged with first-degree criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor in Alabama, for entering Brooks’ home on June 6.
According to a release from Brooks’ congressional office, Seklecki was alleged to have illegally entered Brooks’ home and to have “accosted” his wife, Martha Brooks.
A day later, Brooks released his home surveillance video showing Seklecki interacting with Martha Brooks and entering Brooks’ home without “knowledge or permission.”
“On June 6th a process server illegally entered our home,” Martha Brooks said in a statement. “I have worked with Huntsville City Police and the Madison County District Attorney’s office and sworn out a warrant for his arrest on the charge of 1st Degree Criminal Trespass. Mo and I take our security very seriously, as do all families. My hope is that my actions today will cause the process server to think twice before illegally invading the sanctity of someone else’s home and put those who would threaten our security on notice that we will pursue illegal actions to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mo Brooks, also a candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama, dismissed the lawsuit in the statement and insisted he was available for process service.
“Congressman Eric Swalwell lied in his politically motivated, meritless lawsuit against President Donald Trump and me when he falsely claimed I incited the January 6th Capitol violence,” Mo Brooks said. “Swalwell’s attorneys lied again when they strutted in front of the news media like peacocks in heat and falsely accused me of avoiding Swalwell’s lawsuit service when the fact is they could have served me roughly a hundred times before, during or after both Swalwell and I voted together on the House floor, or served me by U.S. Mail to my home address. In fact, when they finally got serious about serving me with the lawsuit, they served me not once, not twice, but three times, all within one week! So much for avoiding service or being difficult to find!”
Brooks also criticized the media for “maliciously accepting Swalwell’s narrative.”
“CNN and the Fake News Media compounded the Swalwell team lies by maliciously accepting Swalwell’s narrative without explaining that the law that puts the burden on the plaintiff to serve lawsuit papers (not the other way around), and without giving my printed rebuttals fair and balanced air time and article space. Swalwell’s team lied again then they denied their teammate illegally trespassed into my home. Well, the home security video, the Huntsville Police Department, the Madison County District Attorney’s office, a warrant magistrate and an arrest warrant all say differently.”
“I ask Eric Swalwell to do the honorable thing and turn his teammate into Alabama authorities so that justice may be served and he can face the consequences of his criminal actions,” he continued.
Brooks added, “My wife, Martha, was scared to death when she discovered a stranger in our home hovering over her like a hawk! Fortunately, the fright soon turned into anger and Martha chased Swalwell’s teammate out of our house like a stray, scalded dog. You don’t mess with Martha! I am proud as can be to have her as my wife!”
Alabama AG Steve Marshall: New prison facilities ‘definitely important’ in pending case against Justice Department
Last December, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated long-threatened legal action against Alabama for its prison conditions, alleging they were in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
Policymakers insist part of the solution to countering the suit is new prison construction, although some on the Democrat side of the aisle in the Alabama Legislature dispute that notion.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said new facilities were a necessary part of the case. During an appearance on Tuesday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Marshall explained how a plan could satisfy a federal judge presiding over the lawsuit.
“I think it is definitely important in the pending case that we have against the Department of Justice,” he said. “If we’re able to present to the judge that there is a plan in place to be able to deal with facility construction — it really is for two separate reasons. One of which is that we can share with the judge relating to the challenge about our ability to provide constitutionally grounded mental health care to the inmate population, that we have the facilities and the infrastructure in place to be able to do that. And then secondly, one of the allegations in the complaint has to do with concerns about inmate-on-inmate violence.”
Marshall continued, “If you look at the current facilities that we have in place, I think the argument can be made that we have a disproportionate amount of dormitory-style housing that would facilitate the opportunity for inmate — and remember we have a prison population that is 80% violent, that 42% of those that are there for murder, capital murder, rape, robbery — so we have a clear violent population in our prisons. But if we had the ability structurally to be able to segregate individuals in a more appropriate way, then we do additional measures for us to be able to push back against an argument that our facilities are not appropriate to keep individuals safe. So, I think it’s an important part of our strategy to be able to talk about to be able to hire sufficient staff, to be able to do the things we need to do.”
“And then beyond that, we’re able to show the judge factually that the evidence is there that Alabama met its responsibilities under the Constitution with regard to how it is we handle our corrections system,” he added
Blanchard touts being ‘outsider’ versus ’40-year career politician and hand-picked establishment candidate’; Says she is not intimidated by Katie Britt
Former U.S. ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard argues she is the true so-called “outsider” candidate in the race for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat up in 2022.
On Tuesday, Blanchard appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” to discuss the numerous vacancies in the Biden administration’s diplomatic corps around the world, in particular ambassadorships, which she argued posed a threat to U.S. national security.
However, she also weighed in on the 2022 race and took a couple of jabs at her opponents, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and former Business Council of Alabama president Katie Britt.
“Obviously, I’m the only outsider, and I’m not beholden to anyone when I walk into D.C., whereas you have a 40-year career politician and then hand-picked establishment candidate. And that is very distinctive from an outsider that can walk in and not owe any PACs, any friends, anyone in D.C. a thing but only vote how Alabamians want me to vote.”
Co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Blanchard if Britt’s Capitol Hill experience intimidated her, which Blanchard dismissed.
“No,” Blanchard replied. “It does not because what my agenda is focused on the MAGA movement and what President Trump had achieved, and she is with establishment.”
U.S. Senate hopeful Katie Britt: ‘No amnesty, ever’; Says building wall, reinstituting Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy among immigration priorities
(Katie Boyd Britt/Contributed)
It has been nearly a week since former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Britt announced her intentions to seek the Republican nomination for Alabama’s 2022 U.S. Senate election.
While there is a little over 11 months until Alabama Republicans go to cast a ballot, one of the issues sure to weigh on their decision is where candidates stand on immigration.
During an interview that aired on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Britt discussed her views. She proclaimed building the wall to shore up border security was a priority and opposed any so-called amnesty for those here illegally.
“I believe we have to build the wall,” she said. “I think we have to build it, complete it and secure that border. I believe we have to reinstitute the remain in Mexico policy. I think we have to show strength to even deter people from coming to the border. I think we have to cut off any of the participation in any welfare programs. Obviously, that just encourages people to come over. I mean, if you look at a typical day on the border, what you’re hearing is they get about 39, 40 wanted criminals that come through the ports of entry. And they’re getting about 3,600 pounds of drugs every single day at the border.”
Britt added, “If you look at that — and I’m talking to sheriffs and law enforcement officers around this state — they are seeing a spike in crime and a spike in drugs. And it is a direct result of the weakness the Biden administration is showing at the border. We have to continue strength there. Obviously, no amnesty, ever. We are going to have to make sure we fix this because it is changing the fabric of our nation. And we cannot stand for it.”
State Sen. Chambliss: ‘Fairly probable’ design for initial Ivey prison plan would still be used for state-financed construction
Before running into political obstacles preventing a line of financing, Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration had put a lot of prep work into her lease-build prison plan, which now relies on the Alabama Legislature for a funding mechanism. Much of that work had to do with the design of the physical facilities, which would have been built on private land had the plan stayed intact.
However, State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), who operates Prattville-based Chambliss Engineering, a civil engineering firm, said he envisions a scenario where the state of Alabama could salvage those same plans and the properties built on land owned by the state, which could speed up the process.
In an appearance on “The Jeff Poor Show” on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5, Chambliss explained how some site work might not be needed, which would shorten the construction process. In addition to that, he said the state could put out the existing plans to bid even if it meant modifications for a different site than what the structure was initially designed for.
“I think it’s fairly probable, and the reason that I think it is, is several different components to it,” he said. “One of the components that people keep forgetting is if we went to these private properties, you have utility infrastructure that is not there. So you’re talking about a year, 18 months, sometimes longer in some cases, especially when you’re dealing with wastewater to get those up. If you go to the existing state-owned properties, you already have that infrastructure there. So, in fact, you may actually have a shorter timeline in that regard. And to me — my background is in engineering, civil engineering, site engineering, that kind of thing — and I see no reason we can’t take the existing county state GIS information, including aerial photos, topography, overlay the prototype plan the [Alabama Department of Corrections] has and we [Hoar Program Managament] and others to come up with that, and overlay all that. And then, put that out to bid along with the HPM specs we’ve already paid for and have the final design as part of that bid package.”
“In my career, the very first water tank job I did in the mid-1990s — we did it that way, and we still do them that way,” Chambliss added. “So, I see no reason we can’t do that and expedite it. And, in addition, we would do one on the civil site and get that moving very quickly, and then the other on the building infrastructure. There’s no reason to know where every light switch goes for us to start clearing and grading and doing storm work. So, we can get moving pretty fast if we follow that type of process.”
Mo Brooks rolls out Club for Growth endorsement, hits ‘professional lobbyist’ opponent; Katie Britt responds: ‘Bless his heart’
(Mo Brooks/Facebook, BCA/Contributed)
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks’ (R-Huntsville) U.S. Senate campaign unveiled one of the more significant endorsements to date in the race’s early stages for the GOP nomination for Alabama’s 2022 U.S. Senate contest.
The endorsement, while not totally unexpected, came from the Club for Growth, an entity that has been very active in Alabama elections in recent years. However, in announcing the endorsement, Brooks also took a shot at his opponent former Business Council of Alabama president Katie Britt, sparking another early skirmish in this election cycle.
Brooks referred to Britt as a “professional lobbyist” in touting the Club for Growth endorsement.
“In Alabama’s U.S. Senate race, the Establishment, Never Trump, cheap foreign labor, debt junkie, tax and spend wings of the Republican Party are ALL coalescing their big-time money on professional lobbyist Katie Britt. Club for Growth’s endorsement and help is a much-needed counterweight to special interests who see the federal government as nothing more than a trough to feed at.”
“I am honored and thankful for Club for Growth’s endorsement,” he added. “Their endorsement is yet another third-party confirmation that Mo Brooks is THE fearless fighting conservative America needs in the U.S. Senate.”
Brooks held up the endorsement alongside his endorsement from former President Donald Trump given earlier this year.
“The importance of Club for Growth’s endorsement cannot be overstated. Club for Growth’s endorsement is a clarion call to conservatives in Alabama and all across America to support Mo Brooks for Senate. That is HUGE! Let me add one very important note. NO Republican candidate in history has ever lost a Republican primary when BOTH President Trump and the Club for Growth have endorsed. I am confident GOP voters will not break that that streak in Alabama.”
Yellowhammer News reached out to the Britt campaign to comment on the Club for Growth endorsement and response to Brooks’ jab.
“Bless his heart, there he goes again with Mo’ lies,” Britt said in a statement from the campaign. “As a first-time candidate, I’m not surprised that the Washington, D.C. super PACs have decided to back my opponent, who’s been in office since 1982. I have made it clear that I’m going to put Alabama First – and out-of-state special interests have obviously gotten the message. We’re working relentlessly every day to speak directly to the people of our great state about how I’ll be the Senator FOR Alabama, not just a senator from Alabama. We’re excited about the momentum that is building less than a week in, and we look forward to this grassroots movement taking us to victory in 2022.”
“I will proudly support Alabama’s agriculture industry, strengthen our military bases and defense community, and fight tirelessly for good-paying jobs for hard-working Alabamians – and never apologize for it,” she added. “If that means I get attacked by the Swamp, so be it. I’ll continue to focus on bettering the lives of all Alabamians.”
Association of County Commissions head Brasfield: ‘The state has already got a mega-prison — It’s called the county jails’
As the Ivey administration continues to be confronted with obstacles to solving the state’s prison dilemma, law enforcement in all 67 counties is suffering in the meantime.
Inmates that have long since been sentenced to time in state prisons remain in county jails as the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) sorts through problems dealing with COVID-19 and issues tied to the neglect of state facilities that are as a result incapable of accepting new inmates.
Association of County Commissions of Alabama executive Sonny Brasfield told Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5 that the problem has been a constant and suggested that county jails are already shouldering the burden that one of the three mega-prisons Gov. Kay Ivey has proposed would if constructed.
“We used to say there were two things certain in life — death and taxes,” he said. “I think there are three things certain in Alabama — death, taxes and state inmates backed up in county jails. I worked for the counties for 33 years, and that’s an area I have to admit I haven’t done a very productive job. It’s a horrible problem. I think we’ve talked about it on our visits before during the COVID issues. But I don’t see things improving very much. Even now, I think all of us travel around and see things getting back to normal in so many, many ways, but we still have about 3,500 state inmates. There’s a lot of talk about building mega-prisons, and I’ve started saying the state has already got a mega-prison, and it’s called the county jails because we’re holding about as many inmates as the state would plan to put in one of those facilities.”
Brasfield pointed to a law set to take effect early next year that would force the ADOC to accept inmates from county jails sentenced to a state facility.
“[A]t some point, somebody in leadership at the Department of Corrections has to say these are our inmates and taking these inmates is a priority,” he stated. “The legislature passed a bill for us that takes effect January 1. When that new law takes effect, Jeff, the law will say that after the 30th day, the sheriff shall transfer custody to the state of Alabama. About 25 sheriffs had a call this week. They are counting the days down to January 1.”
State Senate Majority Leader Scofield on revamped prison plan: ‘We have to keep bad people in prison,’ ‘We have to keep the public safe’
It has been roughly two weeks since the June 1 funding deadline for a lease-build prison plan has come and gone, which has forced a course change for the Ivey administration on the issue.
Last week, leadership from both the State House and State Senate met with Gov. Kay Ivey to help determine what that course might be given Alabama’s prison situation is under direct threat from the Justice Department and federal courts for alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment.
During an appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” State Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) discussed what those plans might entail. However, he told host Don Dailey the legislature’s priority on new prison construction was to maintain public safety.
“There’s no question — we’re going to need new prisons,” he said. “We have to keep bad people in prison. First and foremost, we have to keep the public safe. That needs to be where we start out with from the very beginning. The number one premise has to be to keep the bad folks incarcerated and keep the good folks safe. With that being said, any other type of reform measures needs to reflect just that. We need to make sure that the bad people are kept behind bars, and the good people are kept safe.”
“I think definitely the Republicans in the State Senate have that mindset and would only support legislation that would reflect that,” Scofield added.
The Marshall County lawmaker also said he thought a special session of the legislature called by Ivey would be an appropriate venue for tackling the issue.
“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea? That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”
“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”
“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”
According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.
Tuberville opposes renaming Fort Rucker — ‘We’re going to fight that’
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a commission to rename the military bases named for those that served in the Confederacy.
Among those under consideration for renaming are 10 U.S. Army installations, including Daleville’s Fort Rucker, named for Confederate Gen. Edmund W. Rucker, who would later become an early Birmingham industrialist.
In an interview with Enterprise newspaper The Southeast Sun’s Michelle Mann, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) said he would oppose efforts to rename Fort Rucker.
“We’re going to fight that,” Tuberville told the Sun. “You can’t destroy history, you can’t change it. We need to learn from history. I believe in our history and how we got here, right or wrong. We build off of history and changing the things that we need to change, but we don’t need to be destroying history. You have to learn from it.”
According to reports, the commission empaneled by Austin will submit recommendations to Congress by October 2022 and the Pentagon must implement the changes by Jan. 1, 2024, according to the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
The base-renaming provision was opposed by then-President Donald Trump, who vetoed the bill. However, Congress later overrode his veto.
Madison County Commission chair Strong hits Colorado for impugning Alabama in Space Command fight — ‘They’ve got a dope dispensary on every corner’
Earlier this year, the Air Force said the preferred location for U.S. Space Command headquarters would be Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal.
Currently, the headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs, which was among several other installations in Colorado and around the country in competition with Redstone Arsenal.
Despite drawing protests from the likes of U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and others, the Air Force appears to remain committed to the Huntsville location.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong, a Republican candidate for the fifth congressional district U.S. House seat up in 2022, punched back at Lamborn and his ilk for suggesting north Alabama wasn’t up for the task of hosting Space Command.
“I’ll tell you this right here: You get down to the facts — Colorado was throwing a lot of darts at Alabama and they actually impugn the integrity of a lot of people in this process to include the Air Force,” he said. “But if you look at the facts on the table — we’ve got the highest concentration of engineers of anywhere in the country. You can look at the education level that’s here. That’s what they’re looking for. You look at Redstone Arsenal with 38,000 acres behind a secure wire, Colorado throwing all these darts. They actually weren’t even second. They were third.”
“Then you look at some of the things that were negative — they don’t have navigatable water,” Strong continued. “They’ve got an elevation issue with altitude sickness. They have a lot of missed business days because of snow. And then, they’ve got a dope dispensary on every corner. And of course, anybody dealing with top security, folks understand that is about the last thing you want — somebody to be tempted to take a hit on a joint. Then they lose their top security clearance. I think if they opened their eyes, they might be able to see some of the things that kept them from getting this. But we’re perfectly positioned, not only for today but for days ahead.”
State Rep. Collins to seek reelection in House District 8
With the Republican primaries less than a year away, members of the Alabama Legislature are rolling out their 2022 plans.
While there will be a few retirements along the way, most incumbents will be running for reelection.
Among those is State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), who represents Morgan County’s House District 8 in the Alabama House of Representatives. Collins made her intentions known on Friday through a press release.
“Since taking office, Alabama has made great strides in education, economic development, and protecting unborn life, but the job is not yet finished, and our mission is not complete,” Collins said in the release. “We must keep working to give every child access to a quality public education regardless of where they live or how much their family earns, create new jobs and opportunities, and preserve our conservative Alabama values.”
Collins chairs the House Education Policy Committee. She was also the sponsor of the Alabama Literacy Act, which puts in place reading standards for third graders before they can be promoted to the fourth grade. The law nearly faced a setback earlier this year as a bill made its way to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk that would have delayed it two years. However, Ivey vetoed the legislation.
The Morgan County lawmaker also sponsored the 2019 abortion ban intended to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that effectively legalized abortion.
Jefferson County GOP chair Paul DeMarco responds to critics of Michael Flynn appearance — ‘Most successful event’ in the history of the JeffCo GOP
(Paul Demarco/Facebook, YHN)
On Friday, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn will be part of a line-up for the Jefferson County Republican Party’s “Saluting Their Service” event honoring Alabama Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin and State Rep. Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills).
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Jefferson County Republican Party chairman Paul DeMarco, formerly a member of the Alabama House of Representatives and a 2014 congressional candidate, said despite efforts to gin up controversy, he was anticipating the event to be the most successful event in the history of the Jefferson County Republican Party.
“We’re looking forward to our event tomorrow night honoring Alabama Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin and Representative Jim Carns,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of great responses. I think this is going to be our most successful event we’ve ever had in the history of the Jefferson County Republican Party. We’re looking forward to hearing General Flynn … really looking forward to hearing him talk about patriotism and public service, his military service, and what we all need to do to move to keep this the greatest nation in the world.”
DeMarco downplayed allegations that Flynn had called for a coup, and therefore, according to detractors, was not fit to appear at the event.
DeMarco suggested Democrats tend to their own affairs and focus on the shortcomings under their leadership in Jefferson County and the city of Birmingham.
“Look, he made it clear that’s not what he wanted, and he said that,” DeMarco said. “He made it clear. I take him for his word. He made it clear on the radio. He made it clear to everyone. Look, the Democrats can talk about this, and generally, I’m surprised — I could care less who they bring to their dinners. Bring whoever they want. We’re looking forward to a great dinner. And I’m also surprised the Democrats aren’t focused on issues like they need to be, which is the violent crime rate we have in the city of Birmingham. It’s all part — they’re focused on stuff that really doesn’t matter. They need to be focused on issues of public safety, which all of our constituents care about, and I know their constituents care about. And yet they seem to be more worried about who we’re going to bring to a dinner than trying to do something about the crime rate in the city of Birmingham and in Jefferson County.”
John Merrill comeback tour? Embattled Secretary of State returns to public appearances — ‘I’ve rededicated my life, I went to a rehab’
Two months have passed since Secretary of State John Merrill ruled out a run in 2022 for any office after revelations and subsequent admission of an extramarital affair. However, in recent days Merrill seems to be slowly getting back to his old routine, making media appearances and speaking to groups around the state.
“I want to tell you this before you go,” he said. “I want to thank you for your prayers about what we’ve been going through. I want to thank you for your concern. I want to make sure you understand some things — number one is this — I’ve been a Christian since I was six years old. But for the last several years of my life, I have not lived my faith the way the Lord has required me to do so. And what I want you to know is since we’ve gone through these things, I’ve repented my sins that were well reported in the paper. I’ve rededicated my life. I went to a rehab that was out of our state for a month, really almost five weeks, and made sure I’ve refocused on the things I need to be focused on and the things I needed to do in order to make sure I’m being the husband, the father, the friend, the elected official that I need and expected to be. And I want you to know — people are asking me, ‘How’s it going?’ And a lot of time, people will say, ‘Well, I’m taking it one day at a time,’ because that’s what we say. That’s not true for me. What’s true for me is I’m taking it every 15 minutes at a time because that’s a manageable increment for me where I know I can do what I need to do.”
“Some people have asked me, ‘Do you think this is a political hit job?'” he said. “I do. It’s pretty evident because after a week of it, and I was out of the Senate race, you haven’t seen or heard anything else about it. But don’t miss the bigger point. The bigger point is I made some choices that were poor. I made some mistakes that were introduced to everybody in the state and the nation who wanted to know about it. And, whether or not I was set up or not is not important. I’m the one that made the choice. I’m the one that stumbled. I’m the one that made the mistake. I’m the one that has to pay for it. And so, I’m going to continue to do what I can to be the Christian I’ve been called to be and to be the leader the Lord has allowed me to be. And I want you to know how much it means to me to have y’alls support.”
Katie Britt on ‘Fox & Friends’: ‘Dialogue’ that will occur over 2022 U.S. Senate primary campaign will make GOP stronger
Earlier this week, Enterprise native and former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Britt announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat up in 2022.
Britt has since rolled out her campaign through a series of media interviews throughout the state. However, she took to the national media during an appearance on Thursday’s broadcast of the highly-rated Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.”
Britt batted down criticism from U.S. Senate opponent former U.S. ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard, who insisted she was the only political outsider in the race. However, Britt maintained she was not a “career politician,” either.
“Let me tell you, I am certainly not a career politician, as you can tell,” she said. “Being Senator Shelby’s chief of staff gave me an opportunity to see the challenges and opportunities across our state and also be effective and know how to get things done and advance the conservative agenda in Washington.”
When asked to compare herself to Trump-backed U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), another opponent in the contest, Britt told FNC’s Brian Kilmeade she would still work to win over Alabama’s Trump voters.
“I am going to work every day to advance our Christian conservative values,” Britt added. “We’re going to fight to secure our border. We’re going to fight to make sure we hold China accountable. President Trump did so many great things with his America First agenda. And I’m going to make sure every Alabamian across knows who I am, and I’m going to work hard to earn their vote.”
Britt said she did not think a contentious GOP primary in 2022 would lead to another scenario of a divided Republican Party and open up a lane for a Democrat, similar to former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’ (D-Mountain Brook) success in 2017.
“No,” she replied. “I think the dialogue that will occur will only make our party stronger,” she said. “The Republican Party is going to take back the House. We’re going to take back the Senate, and then we’re going to take back the presidency in 2024.”
House Speaker McCutcheon: Meeting with Ivey on prisons ‘a productive one’
On Wednesday, leadership from both chambers of the Alabama Legislature met with Gov. Kay Ivey to explore options on how to proceed with addressing the conditions of the state’s prisons.
According to reports, in addition to Ivey, Alabama Department of Corrections commissioner Jeff Dunn met Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper), House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), House General Fund chairman Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) and Senate General Fund chairman Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore).
Through a release issued by his office on Thursday, McCutcheon called the meeting productive.
“I believe yesterday’s meeting with Gov. Ivey was a productive one that allowed the executive and legislative branches to coordinate our state’s effort to address serious issues within the prison system,” he said. “All of us understand the importance of bringing the corrections system in compliance with federal court orders, and everyone involved is committed to achieving that goal in a quick and timely manner that provides full accountability to the citizens we seek to serve.”
“Throughout this process, the Alabama House has promoted plans that we believe best serve the interests of taxpayers and utilize their dollars in the most responsible manner,” McCutcheon added. “We will maintain those priorities as a comprehensive solution to our prison issues is developed. As elected officials, we have a responsibility to Alabama taxpayers that must always come first. The meeting with Gov. Ivey is the first of many we will have in the coming days, weeks, and months as we work together to address a problem that has been decades in the making.”
Ivey’s meeting with the legislators comes as political obstacles jeopardized a lease-build proposal for three mega-prisons due to lack of a funding mechanism and the new need for a bond issue from the legislature to make new prison construction possible.
U.S. Rep. Palmer: ‘The world has got to shut China out with sanctions’
More and more signs point to the communist Chinese government’s culpability for the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as evidence mounts showing the virus initially emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
At the outset of the pandemic, lawmakers insisted China should be held accountable for the pandemic. However, those calls have been on the rise given the recent revelations about the Wuhan laboratory.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) insisted it was time for not just the United States to hold China accountable but the entire globe.
“First of all, we think the outbreak occurred much earlier than was reported,” he said. “And there were people that tested positive for the antibodies in the United States pretty early in about 10 or 12 states, actually. When you look, again, I want to get back to the source of this, most people may have forgotten this, but China built a standalone hospital in just an amazingly short amount of time while at the same time, they were saying this virus is not transferrable between humans. So that’s more evidence of China’s culpability and responsibility for the release of this virus.”
“In terms of what the world has got to do — I think the world has got to shut China out with sanctions, and there are a lot of nations, notably Italy, that have bought into this Belt and Road Initiative, and it is one of the reasons why the virus spread so rapidly,” Palmer continued. “In Italy, it killed so many people there. People have got to wake up to the threat of China. Australia has, and that is an almost 180-degree turn for them because right at the of the Obama administration, according to polling in Australia, 40% of the people in Australia saw China as an emerging power and the U.S. as a declining power. And they were literally allowing China to finance elections in Australia. All of that has changed, and Australia has made a major pivot away from China back to a much stronger alliance with the United States, economically and militarily.”
“That’s got to happen all around the world — to hold China accountable,” he added.
Mo Brooks campaign co-chair says process server has been identified, vows to pursue legal avenues against server for violation of trespassing statute
(Screenshot/Office of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks)
Sunday, Martha Brooks, wife of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), was served papers giving notice that Mo Brooks was being sued by his colleague U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) for his alleged role in the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
The process server has received widespread media attention, with Brooks, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama’s 2022 election, claiming the service violated Alabama’s trespassing laws.
During an interview with “The Jeff Poor Show” on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5, the Brooks campaign’s co-chair Stan Mcdonald said legal options would be pursued against the individual, as he recounted the incident.
“Yes, it will be pursued,” Mcdonald said. “But, as your listeners probably know, Mo Brooks is a defendant in an Eric Swalwell lawsuit. Swalwell is the Democrat House member from California who was having an affair with a Communist Chinese spy. And so, he is suing Donald Trump, Sr., Donald Trump, Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Mo Brooks. Those are your defendants. So, a lot of times, you know, you can best be known by who your enemies are. And Swalwell — he has targeted those four people as his top people. And the other defendants received service of process — just waived and made it easy. Mo Brooks has been on record and said, look, if you’re going sue me in such a frivolous, politically charged, nonsensical lawsuit, then I’m not going to do your job for you.”
“So these poor guys have ran around for months making a political show out of it,” Mcdonald continued. “You could have easily served Mo Brooks. You could have easily served many, many times. But Martha Brooks was coming home from church Sunday morning. She pulls into her garage, and the garage is attached to the home. It is part of the home. And you could see on video, even though Swalwell’s lawyers denied it, so they’re now caught in a lie — you can see on video where the guy pulls in behind Martha as she’s getting home from church and runs in the garage and is in there for 14 seconds. He got right up on her window, scared the daylights out of her. She’s a grandmother of 10. [He] drops the paperwork, and she starts screaming at him, telling him, ‘Get out, get out, get out.’ And you saw where she chased him out into the parking lot. It’s on video. She tried to get his tag, but I’m not sure she got that.”
Mcdonald also revealed the campaign was aware of who the individual is, who he identified as being from Georgia.
“We know who he is now,” he added. “I can say it now. We know who he is. We didn’t know it yesterday, I don’t think. … Now we know how to prosecute. So, he’s from Georgia. We know that much.”
Mcdonald told FM Talk 106.5 those behind the Swalwell effort tried to get a process server from Cullman, who called the Brooks team and said she was a big supporter of the congressman. She offered to bring the paperwork and wanted to get a photograph with Brooks while serving the notice, but Brooks turned down the offer.
Early Club for Growth poll shows Brooks big lead, high name ID, strong approval numbers; Blanchard and Britt relative unknowns
(Club for Growth)
In what is perhaps a way-too-early edition of gauging Alabama’s 2022 U.S. Senate, Club for Growth released polling data taken back in April giving an edge to U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in head-to-head match-ups against former BCA head Katie Britt and former U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard.
According to the WPA Intelligence survey conducted on behalf of Club for Growth PAC of 509 likely GOP voters, Brooks leads in a three-way primary match-up with nearly 60% of the vote. Lynda Blanchard trails by 46 points with just 13% of the vote, and Katie Britt earns just 9%, with 19% of GOP primary voters undecided.
Brooks also has a commanding lead on name identification and favorable-unfavorable margins.
The poll shows Brooks with 83% name identification and a favorable-unfavorable spread of 57% favorable and 11% unfavorable. Both Britt and Blanchard have work to do to raise their name ID with tallies of 25% and 23%, respectively.
Polling also indicates there is even more upside for Brooks as three-quarters of respondents were unaware former President Donald Trump had endorsed the AL-5 congressman.