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."
State Sen. Elliott: ‘No way in the world’ financing for Ivey new prison plan passes the smell test
Within the coming weeks, state officials are expected to announce the details of a prison build-lease plan, part of Alabama’s effort to reform its prison system and get it in compliance with federal standards. According to reports, the state of Alabama would enter into a deal with a company (or two companies) that would build three new prisons, which would be leased by the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Under this plan, savings would be generated by the upgraded facilities that would reduce costs in terms of personnel and upkeep, which would make it possible for Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration to enter into the agreement without input or a vote of the Alabama Legislature.
Critics argue the state could save taxpayers money if the state bonded the construction costs out while interest rates were low and built facilities that would be owned by the state, as opposed to paying a contractor rent on new facilities. However, previous legislatures had been unable to agree on an overall plan, which has seemingly forced the state to seek alternatives as the Department of Justice’s scrutiny increases.
During an interview on Friday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) expressed his willingness to take on the prison issue. At the same time, some of his legislative colleagues are reluctant.
“[I] didn’t run for office to not have to make tough decisions,” he said. “I welcome those tough decisions. That’s why the people of my district elected me. That’s what I’m here to do. I think shying away from that once you’ve been elected is really the wrong answer. But I would say to anybody who is not willing to take this on, you know, we have a responsibility to the taxpayers to make sure we run this government as efficiently as possible.”
Elliott expressed his skepticism about the cost savings from using upgraded facilities as being enough to fund the Ivey administration’s proposal.
“Mark my words — we’re going to run into a situation where the governor’s projections on the annual cost of these leases are going to fast outpace what they say they’re going to be able to fund with and that is the savings on maintenance,” Elliott continued. “This is going to end up costing a whole lot more money. And most of this legislature and this governor are going to be gone by the time those chickens come home to roost. And it’s going to be left to the taxpayers to fund an inefficient and expensive plan.”
“I think there is no way in the world that that passes the smell test, and anybody believes that is going to happen,” he added.
Mobile County Health Department epidemiologist Dr. Rendi Murphree on COVID-19: ‘We’re going to be in this for a long time — for years’
As the public is hoping for the best with the COVID-19 pandemic, getting back to a completely “all-clear” scenario may take some time, according to Dr. Rendi Murphree, an epidemiologist with the Mobile County Health Department.
Murphree’s agency and her counterparts at the Jefferson County Health Department act somewhat independently from the Alabama State Health Department, given they have their own health offices that can issue directives ahead of the state’s agency.
During a wide-ranging interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “Midday Mobile,” Murphree discussed accounting for COVID-related deaths and her prognosis for the pandemic going forward.
Host Sean Sullivan asked Murphree about the determination of a COVID death, including if the cause of death could have been caused by something unrelated to COVID-19 yet is still counted as a COVID-related death.
“Sometimes it does,” she replied. “It depends on what is on the death certificate and what the attending physician posed it as. These physicians are made by attending physicians who know the circumstances of that death. So, yes — sometimes even something like a car accident or a heart attack might be classified as COVID-positive because right now we’re trying to gather as much information as we can about what causes death in people that are COVID-positive because again, our assumption is that it is an acute respiratory distress syndrome. But if we only code COVID deaths based on that narrow definition, then we can’t learn about deaths, maybe from cardiac disease, that were related to the COVID infection, but the science had not recognized that link yet.”
Murphree acknowledged the system was not perfect but said classifying deaths that were perhaps caused by other events while the victim was COVID-positive was the only way to give an accurate comparison among all of the states in the United States.
She went on to say that she anticipated coronavirus being around for some time to come in the future.
“I think we’re going to be in this for a long time — for years,” she said. “Then I hope that we can put it behind us, put SARS-CoV-2 in the bucket with all those other coronaviruses, all those influenzas that we start to see every year. That’s what I think will happen, but it is going to take some time to get where we can put it behind us because this is a highly infectious virus. It has severe complications and deaths in vulnerable groups, and almost no one is immune.”
State Sen. Sessions: Getting COVID-19 numbers down the goal — No ‘magic thing’ until there’s a vaccination
Among the many unknowns of COVID-19 is what success looks like in combatting the threat, which could perhaps give Alabamians an all-clear to return to a sense of normalcy.
However, that may not come until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus, according to State Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay).
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Sessions stressed the severity of the deadly virus and reminded listeners that his Alabama Senate colleague State Sen. Randy Price (R-Opelika) was facing the challenges of the coronavirus.
“Fortunately, with this particular virus, it seems like the young and the healthy do pretty well,” he said. “You’ll have an occasional instance where they don’t, but mostly it is attacking the elderly, and it is really giving some people some hard time. I have had some friends that have had a pretty rough time, and actually, senate colleague who is basically fighting for his life on a ventilator right now over in Lee County — State Senator Randy Price. We want to make sure we remember him and keep him and his family in our prayers.”
“I think if we get these numbers way down to where you’re getting very few infections — of course, we’re going to have to follow CDC and those folks,” Sessions continued. “They’ll come up with a plan. I don’t know if it’ll be the correct plan, but we’re going to have to look for them to guide us. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be a magic thing out there until they come up with a vaccination or something that will work that will stop it in its tracks. We may be in for a long process — God Lord willing, our scientist and our doctors come up with something that works and is safe for people. Hopefully, that is getting close.”
The Mobile County state lawmaker urged listeners to maintain a level of caution for the time being.
“Until we get to where we are with the other strains of flu, we’re going to have to be cautious,” Sessions said. “A lot of this stuff we’re doing now is probably things we should have been doing for a long time — wash our hands more often, use some hand sanitizer if you have sniffles or coughs maybe wear a mask to protect people because there’s a lot of germs floating around in the air. At the same time, you kind of have to have immunity to some of these things. I’m no doctor. That answer is beyond me.”
State Rep. Brown: Alabama shrimpers ‘need a lot of help’ with deregulation, protections from Chinese imports
As local Alabama economies continue to grapple with COVID-19, one hit particularly hard has been Alabama’s seafood industry as restaurants have scaled back operations and limited demand.
One part of Alabama’s seafood industry that faces a dual-threat from China, not only as a result of a coronavirus that originated from Asian superpower but because of its business practices as well, are Alabama’s shrimpers.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island) discussed the local economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 slowdown and the threat shrimpers in his House District 105 face from China.
“On the tourism side, right now, Dauphin Island is really doing well,” he said. “You know, people pent up not being able to travel for so long that the rental market is doing well. Restaurants are open. You know, they had some staffing issues there for a while. Of course, all restaurants are having those problems across the country. But the economy down there is rocking and rolling. The seafood industry, of course, took some hits. But all of that is starting to balance back. They need a lot of help with deregulation and preventing imports from China on the shrimping side. But agriculture is the same way. People have to eat. They were affected by a lot of the restaurants closing, of course. But I would say things are picking up for sure.”
Brown encouraged listeners to do their best to purchase seafood from Alabama producers when possible.
“[A] lot of your shrimp imports are from Vietnam, China, South America — that sort of thing,” Brown said. “When you buy local, when you buy Alabama seafood, you know what you’re getting. You’re getting shrimp from the Gulf. It’s the same shrimp that you would buy from the guy that has the pick-up truck parked on the side of the road selling it out of a cooler. You’re helping the local economy. You’re helping those people that are reliant on the seafood industry for their livelihood that spans generations going back. I think it’s important. I always encourage restaurants to buy local, to buy their seafood from Alabama seafood producers. Look for that when you go into a market — look for American-packaged, produced shrimp or seafood — fish, as well.”
Orange Beach Mayor Kennon rejects criticisms his city isn’t taking COVID-19 seriously — ‘I don’t give a darn what the national media think’
Earlier this year, national media outlets targeted Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to highlight how the public was handling the COVID-19 pandemic as the businesses were coming out of shutdown mode.
One report from CNN featured the network’s Gary Tuchmann showing crowded spots in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores and highlighted individuals that were not wearing masks at the beach. That drew the ire of Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, who said it gave him “pause to think about” what might be coming his city’s way.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Monday, Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon maintained the media coverage was a “game,” and he dismissed what media pundits and Reed had said about his community.
“I’ll be quite honest with you — I don’t give a darn what the national media think,” he said. “I don’t care what the mayor of Montgomery thinks. It’s all a game for them. You know, the 24-hour news cycle is devastating this country. It’s all a game for them because everything is news now, and nothing is news. For them to come down here and act like that when they don’t know us, they don’t know what precautions — a guy walks on the beach, does an interview, walks off the beach and takes his mask off shows what a farce, what a fraud it all is.”
Kennon argued those visiting the beaches were exercising personal responsibility and urged listeners to reject the media by turning it off.
“We’re doing the best we can,” Kennon continued. “If you’re on the beach, if you’re in the sun, if you have a breeze, you’re with your group — we, for the most part, are doing a good job of keeping people separate. And we don’t have to keep them separate. For the most part, people are doing a good job of following the rules. There are exceptions, and when we see the exceptions, we take actions. But that report was a fake. It was a fraud. It really bothers me that we’ve let ourselves get sucked into letting the news media do that to us — not just Orange Beach, but do that to us as a country. We need to just turn it off — we really do just need to turn it off.”
Doug Jones: Tuberville ‘doesn’t have a clue how to handle’ coronavirus; Vows response to Club for Growth attack ads
With less than 100 days separating now and Election Day, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) says he feels “very good” about his prospects in a head-to-head match-up against GOP U.S. Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville.
In an interview with Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Jones argued his opponent did not “have a clue” how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
He pointed to responding to the rise in coronavirus casualties as a focus of his campaign.
“We feel very good about where we are in this,” Jones said. “We know what I’ve been doing is trying to save lives and save livelihoods. You know, I’m out here every day trying to work for the people of Alabama. I’m trying to make sure we do the things necessary in these next packages. We’re still in trouble in Alabama. I’ve got an opponent who has indicated he doesn’t have a clue how to handle it. He was on your show with another guest back in May basically saying we don’t need any more stimulus. We need to get back to work. Well, we really needed it then and we need it now. And by the way, we’ve tripled the number of cases in Alabama since that time. We’ve tripled the number of deaths. In America, we hit over the 4.4 million mark today with 150,000 deaths. We’re not out of the woods with this and we need leadership, and that’s what I think this is going to boil down to — leadership, leadership in a crisis and leadership for the people of Alabama on the issues, the kitchen table issues that folks are concerned about every day of the week.”
Jones has been the target of campaign attack ads and urged listeners to visit his website to see his response to those attacks.
“We’re going to be updating that a lot in the near future,” he added, “to try to give people, to tell people the truth about some of these crazy TV ads that are running that have no basis in truth with Club for Growth and this One Nation — just the craziest stuff I’ve seen.”
Sen. Larry Stutts: ‘I think schools ought to open up, period’
While many school systems around the state are opting for online schooling-only for the first nine weeks, the debate as to whether or not schools should open in Alabama remains unsettled given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During an interview with Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Cherokee) argued for the opening of schools.
According to Stutts, there would be consequences that go beyond the academics of schools remaining closed, which may result in societal damages in the long-term.
“I think schools ought to open up, period,” he said. “The mortality rate among young people is extremely low — way, way lower than the general population. The problem is there are implications to not having school besides the possibility of a viral illness. When you look at the percentage of children that get two meals a day at school, when you at children that may be in a less-than-ideal home situation, and you take school away from them, that’s a problem.”
“When you look at the gap between the haves and the have not in the education system — you know, the children that are from a wonderful family with educated parents and have high-speed internet at home and have parents that are disciplined to know they are going to do their schoolwork at home, all those children are going to do fine. But everybody is not in that situation,” Stutts continued. “So if we spend a year with no real school, for a large percentage of children, they’re not going to make any educational progress during that year. They’re not going to develop socialization skills they would have developed in school. And academically, they’re going to fall way, way behind. If we do this for a whole year — we’ve already done it for the last nine weeks of the last school year, and if we do it for the majority of this school year, all of this school year, when the fall of 2021 rolls around, the gap between the children that are prepared academically and those not is going to be much wider than it is right now. There are implications with what you’re going to do with the schools besides prevent the spread of the virus.”
“I’m in favor of opening schools up,” he added. “And I understand the risk of maybe a child taking it home to a grandparent. I understand all that risk, but if you’re in that category, then you need to take those precautions at home. But for everybody else, we need to open up the schools.”
State Rep. Garrett on Dismukes incident: ‘It is not enough to be a non-racist — I need to be anti-racist’
State Representative Danny Garrett
One of the first public figures that spoke out about State Rep. Will Dismukes’ (R-Prattville) participation in a celebration for Nathan Bedford Forrest on Saturday and subsequent post on Facebook was his colleague, State Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville).
Garrett expressed his disapproval on social media, tweeting, “I cannot fathom why anyone in 2020 celebrates the birthday of the 1st KKK Grand Wizard. And while the body of a civil rights icon beaten by the Klan lies at state Capitol being honored by GOP/Dem leaders from all over the state. This mentality does not rep my party or my faith.”
On Tuesday, Garrett elaborated on his sentiment during an interview on Birmingham radio Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” explaining that he wanted to make sure Dismukes’ actions were not a reflection of other House members or the entire body of the Alabama House of Representatives.
Garrett said it was his hope to take a broader look at race issues but said it was undermined by Dismukes.
“The other thing that has been going on is in the last several months, there have been a lot of discussions just among members — not formal discussions but informal discussions — just conversations about what we can do to move relationships between black and white members and our constituents forward. We have a lot of productive learning going on there,” Garrett said. “We have a lot of good ideas going on there. And things like this, that post, undermine that.”
“I also feel like, not to get spiritual here on you — a lot of us have done some spiritual reflection about racism,” he continued. “And you know, I think that me personally have come to realize it is not enough to be a non-racist. I need to be anti-racist. So when I see something that appears to me walk over, to cross over that line, I just feel like it is important to acknowledge that and say, ‘I don’t agree with this. This was the wrong way to do it.'”
“Again, I don’t want to embarrass anyone but it was clear that view and that post and that whole event does not represent anyone that I’ve spoken with in the House of Representatives on the Republican side of the aisle,” he added.
State Rep. Hanes promotes bill to ban Chinese gov’t-affiliated Confucius Institutes on Alabama public colleges
On Monday, State Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-Bryant) unveiled an effort that bars Confucius Institutes from operating on publicly funded college campuses in Alabama.
According to a release, Hanes has teamed up with the College Republican Federation of Alabama. The group passed a resolution urging colleges to reconsider their relationships with Confucius Institutes back in May.
“Confucius Institutes operate as a propagandist arm of the Chinese Communist Party,” Hanes said in a statement. “The Chinese government is attempting to indoctrinate young Americans by infiltrating our very own universities. This must be put to a stop.”
“This bill would prohibit public institutions of higher education from providing support for, funding for, or use of its campus facilities for the operation of cultural institutes, such as Confucius Institutes, that are affiliated with, funded by, or supported by the government of China,” reads draft language of the bill according to a press release.
Hanes alleged the Confucius Institutes were a tool used by the Chinese government to propaganda abroad. He urged public officials to “do everything in their power to halt Chinese government infiltration in
“College campuses are bastions of free speech and academic freedom, principles that communism explicitly seeks to destroy,” Hanes added. “We must make clear that the Chinese government will have no safe harbor to promote the evils of communism in the State of Alabama.”
AL-01 GOP nominee Jerry Carl: Democrat opponent James Averhart ‘formidable’ — ‘We’re going to work hard’
(Screenshot/Jerry Carl for Congress)
Earlier this month, Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl managed to earn a hard-fought four-and-a-half percent, 3,853-vote win over former State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile), to win the Republican nomination for Alabama’s first congressional district election in November.
In his victory, Carl only won two of the six counties in AL-1, Mobile and Washington. However, his strong 5,000-plus vote win in Mobile County, by far the district’s most populous county, was the difference in the contest.
Given that somewhat narrow margin of victory, Carl acknowledged his campaign would continue to work heading into the November 3 match-up against Democratic Party nominee James Averhart during an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Friday.
“As you know in the state of Alabama, everything is pretty much related to Donald Trump in some fashion,” he said. “So many of these people will go out and be energized just to pull a straight ticket. We’re focused on our base. Our base has brought us this far. We certainly want to stay with our base. And we want to focus on some of the committees that we have interest in and start working in that direction to let folks like our ag community understand, which we were supportive of by the Farmers’ Federation — make sure they’re going to have a voice in Washington, and just start touching back with those people that actually got you here. The folks that voted for our opponent, chances are that most of them will still stay with the Republican Party. People support a candidate, obviously, for an array of reasons. Maybe we can slow them up a little bit to look at some of our policies, some of our views, and we can win those back over.”
“We also can’t forget about that voice out there, that there are so many people that the only time we’ve seen them to come out and vote was in Donald Trump elections,” Carl continued. “I mean, you don’t hear from them. You don’t see them but my gracious, they show up at election time. So, we’re doing the same thing we did before. We’re still working our social media page. We’re still trying to keep the chatter going for the next 100 days. And that will be a lot easier than we have. We did it for a year-and-a-half, almost. The next 100 days, we can probably do that one backwards.”
Carl called Averhart a “formidable” opponent and maintained he would continue to work in his effort to win the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently occupied by U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope).
“We do have a very formidable candidate that we’re running against — a 25-year Marine veteran, so we’re just not taking that lightly, and we’re going to work hard.”
Barry Moore credits coronavirus ‘service mode’ efforts, push to reopen for 20-point blowout win in AL-02 GOP runoff
Former State Rep. Barry Moore’s (R-Enterprise) margin of victory in the Republican primary runoff for Alabama’s second congressional district caught a lot of political watchers off guard.
Moore, who was outspent by a significant margin in his contest against Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman, won by 20 points and carried 12 of the 15 counties in the district, which includes the southeastern corner of the state, from the Wiregrass to the suburbs north of Montgomery.
During an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Moore talked about his win, and he credited his team for staying focused, even when it looked like the campaign was pulling out ahead.
“We had an amazing grassroots team, and when we heard we might have a lead in the polls, I told them to play like we’re two touchdowns behind, and that’s how we work. We work very hard. Obviously, it was a little discouraging when you jump in a primary with seven people, and one has $2 million. It’s like, wow. But prayerfully, we got in this thing. We stayed the task. We stayed on message. We didn’t sling mud. It just worked out for us. I’m certainly grateful for my voters and the people that got behind us for our team. They just did a remarkable job.”
Moore said he did not anticipate his margin of victory headed into the November 14 contest.
“I didn’t really,” he said. “We felt like we took a lead, something like three or four weeks out. The Lord told us not to go negative. We just kind of stayed on message. They got behind. They went negative. I think people were tired of the negativity. With everything going on in the country, they wanted to hear somebody who was pro-Trump that had a good positive message and a good positive plan to fix the problems and a track record that proved I was going to tell you what I was going to do. It just seemed like to me — you know, we knew we had a little bit of a lead. We got into the debate. We had a great debate performance. I thought that helped us a lot. But I had no idea that it was going to come out a 20-point margin like it did.”
During the economic shutdown and the delay resulting from the postponement of the runoff, Moore said his campaign went into a “service mode” to aid the public during the time of the pandemic, which he said also may have had something to do with his victory.
“I think trying to open Alabama and the way we went to a service mode — as soon as the shutdown, the face-to-face meetings — people were beginning to struggle with the PPP program, the economic injury disaster loans, the unemployment issues because the state was overwhelmed — our campaign staff, I just brought them into my office and said let’s start serving people, let’s start helping the businesses. So we went from a marketing mode to a service mode, which is what you want your congresspeople to do. You need to have a service heart. It was so often about them than about the district. We went into a service mode and trying to help people. That and trying to open Alabama, trying to encourage people to open safely, get businesses to do takeout. We did a lot of live events, streaming on Facebook. There were a number of ways we were able to capitalize off of that — that downtime, whereas most campaigns kind of pulled into a hibernation mode, we went into a service mode.”
AG Marshall: DOJ report highlighting abuses within Alabama prisons an effort to prejudice public opinion, including members of the legislature
During an appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal” on Friday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall criticized the Justice Department for the timing and nature of a report released last week highlighting deficiencies throughout the Alabama Department of Corrections’ prison system.
According to a report released last week, “systemic unconstitutional conditions” exist throughout Alabama’s prison system, and it cited abuses, some of which were very graphic.
Marshall called some of the findings in the report “dated,” and he suggested it could impede the progress that is underway within the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) to resolve those matters.
“A couple of things for me — I was very disappointed in how the report was released and more importantly the heavy-handed nature in which the Department of Justice talked about resolution as well as the progress we’ve made thus far in trying to find an amicable resolution between both parties,” he said. “The information in that report, much of which is dated, also does not include the significant efforts made by the department to be able to remedy some of the issues that’s been identified. We, throughout on behalf of the state, have acknowledged that there are areas we need to improve, that there are parts of the system we want very much want to work through and improve for the conditions of the inmates, as well as the guards. But yet, demanding that we engage in a settlement through a consent decree — almost dictating the terms that would allow a third party out of Washington or in California or New York to control the pocketbook of the state of Alabama — I’m not going to allow that to happen.”
Marshall detailed efforts between the state and federal governments to find a resolution, and pointed to improvements made to the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, which was also once under the scrutiny of the federal government, as proof the state of Alabama was capable.
“I think we are absolutely on a path, and it gives the public a misimpression as to what is being done to remedy these particular issues,” Marshall said. “You know, the other thing is I also thought we were on a path with regard to the resolution of this matter. We’ve had over 50 in-person meetings. We’ve had multiple telephone calls. We’ve had 14 Zoom meetings during the COVID process. We’ve shared 50-plus drafts of proposals back and forth among the parties. And we’ve done that in a less than a year period that we’ve had that discussion because we didn’t get initial settlement proposal from the Department of Justice until almost two-and-a-half months from when we received the initial letter. So, we continue to work hard. We want to remedy this problem. What I wished the Department of Justice would have done is what I’ve proposed back in 2017, and that is there is no need for a lengthy investigation. We could sit down and be able to acknowledge where the areas of deficiencies were and work together to try to resolve it. We did that successfully at Tutwiler, where it is now a model prison. Now, I thought that we could have done that more quickly and more effectively had we taken that approach from the beginning.”
Alabama’s top law enforcement official said one of the results of the Justice Department’s report was that it had prejudiced opinion, including members of the legislature.
“We had no knowledge it was coming out until shortly beforehand,” Marshall added. “Didn’t have an opportunity to even review it before it was given to the public, as well as an opportunity to be able to specifically respond to information that was either dated or what we believe is not accurate. And so what that report has simply done is prejudice many, including those in the legislature, to believe things that are simply not true about our corrections system as well as the efforts we’ve made this far in trying to resolve this amicably with the Department of Justice.”
He maintained the state of Alabama would proceed with efforts but added the ultimate goal was to avoid a consent decree from the Department of Justice.
“I think we’re going to continue to push forward with negotiations and do it in good faith,” Marshall said. “But again, to the extent that a consent decree, which would allow for monitors and a federal judge to have control over our Department of Corrections for what may be a period after I’m on this earth is not something that I’m going to allow. And we saw the very clear policy the Department of Justice when [U.S. Attorney General Jeff] Sessions was there is consent decrees are not something except in exceptional circumstances. We think that we have the ability as we have proven through Tutwiler to correct issues that we’ve identified and to be able to do it correctly and believe that we can reach a resolution that is not in the form of a consent decree but is acceptable to both parties.”
Marshall also explained the report’s findings, some of which he reiterated were not “new news,” had resulted in actions taken by the ADOC, adding that in some cases included criminal charges.
“They’re not new news,” he replied. “And, in fact, proactively the Department of Corrections has taken actions against individuals including charging guards with crimes. They’ve done their job to make sure they remedy what is a clear violation, not only of policy but of law. But to some extent, my concern is the graphic nature to which that is described was an effort by the Department of Justice to prejudice public opinion in a way to put pressure on us to do something that we shouldn’t do for the best interests for the state of Alabama. I don’t litigate that way, and I’m not going to litigate that way. At the same time, I’m going to be strong for the people of Alabama to make sure that we don’t allow the federal bureaucrats to try to take over our corrections system.”
State Rep. Simpson calls for ADOC head Jeff Dunn’s departure — ‘No way’ you can read DOJ report and not think ‘lack of institutional control’
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a scathing report condemning conditions and conduct of personnel at Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) facilities throughout the state. According to the document issued jointly by all three of Alabama’s U.S. Attorneys, Alabama’s prison system was in violation of the Eighth Amendment, citing numerous examples of misconduct by prison staff.
During an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Thursday, State Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne) likened what was deemed a “lack of institutional control” to his alma mater University of Alabama football team’s late 1990s and early 2000s “lack of institutional control” allegations from the NCAA.
Simpson argued based on the circumstances, it was time for new leadership at the ADOC, and that included the agency’s head, ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn.
“One of the phrases that sticks out to me is lack of institutional control,” he said. “There is no way you can read this report and not think there is a lack of institutional control, and I think that starts at the top. There is nobody more pro-law enforcement than me.”
“The prison system in Alabama is unacceptable,” Simpson added. “The way that this is currently being run is unacceptable. We cannot just continue to say, ‘Well, we’ll try to do this,’ or, ‘We’ll look at this.’ The fact is Jeff Dunn was appointed as commissioner of the prisons on April 1, 2015. Here we are in July 2020, and to have these problems go on under his watch — somebody has to be held accountable, and it has to start from the top.”
The Baldwin County Republican lawmaker expressed his concern about ADOC leadership having been aware of increased Justice Department scrutiny and not having made progress in the elimination of these problems, as well as an apparent unwillingness to be transparent about the measures it has undertaken to resolve those matters.
“I think we need new leadership who actually willing to address these problems and make the changes that are necessary to fix these problems,” Simpson added. “The fact that we have drug our feet in the sand for five years and not done anything to address this — we need leadership in the Department of Corrections who is willing to work with the legislature and not do things behind the scenes and behind closed doors. Let’s let everybody know what’s going on in our prison system. Let’s come to a solution to try to solve this rather than just say, ‘We’re going to tell you what we’re going to do, and you don’t get to have a say-so about it.’ Then you have these reports that come out that are an embarrassment to Alabama. The reports specifically talk about the legislature and the steps the legislature has taken in the past few years to help. But it is falling on deaf ears. The Department of Corrections is not being run to a manner that the people of Alabama should accept.”
Simpson went on to explain that some of the facilities within the Alabama Department of Corrections systems were built to 1930s and 1940s recommendations. If new facilities were built to modern specifications, it would make it possible for technologies to be implemented that would rectify some of the shortcomings pointed out by the Justice Department.
Tuberville turns focus on opponent Doug Jones — ‘Believes in’ late-term abortions, ‘wants to take your guns’
With a little over 100 days to go until Alabamians go to vote in this year’s general election, they will have an opportunity to reelect incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) or the Republican nominee former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville to represent them in the U.S. Senate for the next six years.
Coming off his 20-point win over former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week, Tuberville appeared on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Thursday to discuss his victory and set his sights on Jones.
Tuberville made mention of differences between him and the incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator on abortion, gun rights, judicial appointments and the effort to impeach President Donald Trump.
“People, don’t look at Republican, Democrat,” he said. “Look at the differences of what we believe in. He believes in Planned Parenthood and abortion and late-term abortion. I don’t. I’m pro-life. And he wants to take your guns. The whole Democratic Party wants to take our guns, and you can’t fight back against these groups, what they’re doing on the streets of Northwest [U.S.] cities. The other is conservative judges. He wants these radical judges on the Supreme Court, and we cannot allow that to happen. That’s the number one thing for a Senator — is to get good conservative judges on the Supreme Court. And, of course, they spent every day, and he spent every day in the Senate concocting ways to impeach the best president we’ve had in my lifetime, Donald J. Trump, and then voted to impeach him. The people in Alabama did not want that. Even a lot of Democrats did not want that. And he still votes to impeach.”
Tuberville went on to accuse Jones of casting votes for his campaign contributors and not Alabamians.
“Doug Jones votes with people that give him money from the Northwest and the Northeast,” Tuberville added. “He does not speak for the people of Alabama. That’s the reason I ran. I am going to speak for the people of Alabama, and that’s the reason we’re going to win this race.”
Alabama AG Commissioner Pate: Cattle, retail beef prices disconnect still plagues marketplace
Questions remain about the dissonance between the market price for cattle and beef prices on the shelves at retailers, as cattle prices remain low and consumer beef prices are at highs.
Earlier this year, businesses were forced to shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That sent market demand into a tailspin, including the demand for cattle. However, beef prices remained high and increased in some cases. It led to the industry groups aligned with the cattlemen, including those in Alabama, to question those market dynamics.
During an interview with Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate explained the cattlemen were still dealing with these issues.
“That’s still working its way through the system,” Pate said. “We actually Senator [Richard] Shelby and Senator [Doug] Jones and asked them if they would join in with Senator [Chuck] Grassley from [Iowa] and Senator [Mike] Rounds from South Dakota. They were asking the Department of Justice to investigate the meatpackers and just see because a lot of time it is just very non-intuitive — you have increased prices at the grocery store and the prices the cattlemen are getting are really depressed. Actually, that has continued. The President has asked for that investigation. That investigation is not over but it certainly is going on. We asked Attorney General [Steve] Marshall to intervene, too. He seemed somewhat perceptive to that. Hopefully get some answers as to how that can be.”
State Rep. Dismukes questions lack of Ivey mask mandate guidelines — ‘No point’ in mandate if it’s just a signal to the rest of the country
Last week’s decision by state officials to institute a statewide mask mandate continues to be a topic of contention across the state and has drawn the objections of lawmakers, even as the Alabama legislature is out of session for 2020.
The latest is State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville), who questioned the mandate’s implementation given state officials have not explicitly stated the proper use of masks to mitigate the threat of COVID-19.
Monday on Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Dismukes laid out this concern and other concerns he has about the mandate announced last week by Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.
“You know, one of the first points I made was that I’ve just observed and so it’s not like some scientist that just released this information but my own observance — for starters, the majority of people I’ve been counting and watching, it’s not correctly worn,” he stated. “As simple as it may seem to put a mask on, it would help to have some sort of education on just basics of mask-wearing, just the dos and don’ts of it. If you’re going to mandate something, then you need to follow it up with saying, ‘Hey, this is how it needs to be done.'”
Dismukes continued, “And then another thing is what she actually said is acceptable and not acceptable on mask-wearing, like a bandanna, and I call it a turkey-hunting sleeve because I wear one when I go turkey hunting, it’s just camo, to go over your face — they already said that’s not cutting it. That’s not going to do any good. So if you’re going to mandate something, why even have that as an exception. If we’re just going to do something to get by or tell the rest of the country, ‘Hey, we’re doing it,’ to me — there’s no point in that. Lastly, I think there is a due process to handling it, and I think that just shoving executive orders out there and making us go follow them — I really think that could set a precedent, that we don’t need to go down that road, not just for mask-wearing but because of what it could do in the future on a variety of issues.”
“I’m not anti-mask,” he added. “As much as it may seem from my Facebook posts and all that sort of thing, I’m really not anti-mask. If you want to wear one, by all means, wear one. I have put one on at times. I don’t regularly wear one. If it doesn’t stay on the door that they would prefer you to wear, then odds are I’m not going to put one on. I also respect people who want to and are full-out on it. I just think that rather than saying, ‘Here is an executive order,’ we should try to follow a due process and if we’re going to do this, even if it is for two weeks or one month, that we should come and meet on it.”
Dismukes added his concern over conflicting reports about the efficacy of the masks and argued for a more clearly defined mandate if one must be instituted.
State Sen. Elliott on Ivey’s mask mandate: ‘If you know you can’t enforce it, then why issue the order?’
(Contributed/State Sen. Chris Elliott)
The state of Alabama’s move to mandate mask and facial coverings being worn in public places at the direction of Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris continues to be a hot-button topic in political circles across the state.
Last week, Ivey described the mandate as “an effort to inform people and get people to do something they ought to do,” while downplaying the punitive aspects of disobeying the order.
In an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “Midday Mobile” on Monday, State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Daphne), a sometimes outspoken critic of the Ivey administration, questioned the efficacy of the mandate without the enforcement mechanisms.
“Most of the folks I talk to question whether or not the mask is the best thing or not to do,” he said. “There is conflicting science, really, both ways. But I think most people have realized, look – if this might help, I’ll do it. It is inconvenient. I only need to do it when I’m around other folks or can’t socially distance properly. But most folks I see are doing it. I will say that the ones who are thinking about the constitutional implications, etc. are really questioning a mask mandate. I look at mandates like this from the executive and wonder, ‘Look, if you know you can’t enforce it, then why issue the order?'”
“General Stanley McChrystal had a great quote that said never ever issue an order that you know won’t be followed,” Elliott continued. “And that’s exactly what I think has happened here. The governor has stepped out and said, ‘Y’all will do this, and then at the same time in the next sentence said I’m not going to punish you and I’m not encouraging anybody to punish you if you don’t do it. You just have to wonder what the value is in that long term.”
Ainsworth warns Alabama mask mandate ‘a slippery slope’ to mandatory vaccines, vows to fight against potential second economic shutdown
Saturday, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth spoke before the monthly gathering of the Madison County Men’s Republican Club, which met virtually because of the threat of COVID-19. He reiterated his opposition to the statewide mask mandate implemented by Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris last week.
Ainsworth maintained it was not his aim to make news but said he thought mandate decisions should be left up to local officials, which he said worked well with the plan initially in place.
However, he also warned the statewide mask mandate could mean a “slippery slope” circumstance, which may lead to mandatory vaccinations later on down the road.
“I was in the news this week,” he explained. “I wasn’t planning on being in the news, but I spoke Tuesday about the plan we had in place — talking about COVID-19 right now. I want to say this: We had a good plan in place. It was local control, which I am always for. I believe people at the local level know best and can make the best decisions about how to impact their community. We had a system in place that listed each county green, yellow, orange or red, depending on how the cases were doing so local leaders could make decisions about not only our community but the school systems could decide what to do.”
“I was on record before, and I’m not going to support a mandate for masks statewide,” Ainsworth said. “I think it is the wrong policy. I think that when you do that, it is a slippery slope. And the thing I think I want everybody on this call to understand is once we go down this road of mandating masks, the next thing they’re going to try to mandate, and you’re already seeing it, is vaccines.”
The lieutenant governor, however, added that if such a vaccine were available, he and his family would get it.
“If a vaccine comes out, will I get it? Absolutely. Will my kids and wife get it? Absolutely. Some people have different beliefs from that, and what I want us to make sure is we’ve got to protect freedom. We’ve got to protect liberty. And when the government starts mandating stuff, in my opinion, it is a slippery slope and dangerous. And so, that’s why I was against that.”
Ainsworth stated his opposition to another economic shutdown and pledged to oppose such a measure, should Ivey and Harris choose to pursue it.
“I will also fight harder than I have ever fought if Dr. [Scott] Harris or the Governor want to close down any businesses,” he added. “That’s not the right course of action.”
“We had to make sure our hospitals were prepared from a PPE standpoint, from a ventilator standpoint,” Ainsworth continued. “We cannot have policy that shuts down businesses in our state, and that is the way we’re going to combat this virus. The thing I want y’all to realize is this: The virus is going to be here for the next year, year-and-a-half. It’s going to be here. We have to learn to live life. We have to learn to be responsible. We have to take up personal responsibility, common sense. Do I think you should wear a mask when you go inside? I think it makes sense. Do I think you should try to stay six feet away from people and be smart about interacting, not shaking hands? I do, obviously. Practice proper sanitation? I do. Do I think the government needs to mandate these things? I do not. That is a message I’m going to continue to preach. I just want to make sure everybody knows that if we go down this road to roll back regulations on business, I will fight as hard as I’ve ever fought to keep businesses open.”
State Sen. Orr: ‘I think you’ll see the AEA back in force in the 2022 election cycle’
For decades, the single most powerful entity in Alabama politics was the Alabama Education Association (AEA), which represents teachers’ interests across the state.
The organization rose to prominence in the early 1970s under its former head Paul Hubbert. However, the AEA’s influence waned after the 2010 elections, as Republicans took control of the Alabama Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.
However, during an appearance on Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), the chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee, predicted that could soon be changing.
Host Dale Jackson asked Orr about the political threat to Republicans seeking to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic and cited pushback from entities such as the AEA. Orr noted that while the AEA’s influence was not what it used to be, the 2022 elections for state offices may signal a reemergence.
“I think the Republicans, including the President, God bless him, have been on their heels, backpedaling, having to, as you said, getting browbeat and beaten down by the media and the left until they acquiesce,” he said. “You did say one thing that I would take small issue with is that the AEA has been completely neutered. I would make maybe a bit bold prediction — it may be wrong, you sometimes are — but I think you’ll see the AEA back in force in the 2022 election cycle here in the state of Alabama in a big way.”
The Morgan County Republican lawmaker said the union’s ability to influence education policymakers in Montgomery did not necessarily signify the body’s real strength. However, he argued its presence would be different from what it was over the last 10 years.
“I don’t know if that’s where we’re headed, but I wouldn’t make whether schools open or not the litmus test as to the power and authority of the AEA just because their power used to come more from the legislature or even governors. The opening decisions are local school boards and locally appointed school board members. Of course, you do have a state school board, but it is a little bit different when it comes to reopening as far as the politics and the decisionmakers in that realm. But anyway, I think we’ll be seeing them more and more here than we have in the last decade.”
Ivey: ‘We just have to believe’ the CDC on masks — ‘If worse comes to worst, we’ll have to walk back’ reopenings
(Hal Yeager/Governor Kay Ivey's Office)
Friday on Birmingham radio Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie” show, Gov. Kay Ivey explained her reasoning behind instituting a statewide mask ordinance as COVID-19 cases continue to spike around the state.
Ivey insisted the decision made by her office and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris was based on advice from government officials, including Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
When asked about the efficacy of the masks by co-host Andrea Lindenberg, Ivey cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and urged listeners to “believe them” on masks.
“According to CDC, and I quote, ‘It’s the strongest tool we have in our toolbox is to wear a mask,'” she said. “That was underscored yesterday by Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force. When health folks are telling us that wearing masks is the thing to do, I think we just have to believe them.”
Lindenberg also asked if there was input from Alabama’s business community on the mask ordinance, which Ivey confirmed.
“Yes, there was, and we’re grateful to work with our business community,” Ivey replied.
When asked about enforcement, the governor downplayed the punitive aspects and said the ordinance could be used as an “opportunity to inform.”
“We’re trying so hard to do like the police chief in Spanish Fort, Chief [John] Barber, is doing,” she said. “He’s using this as an opportunity to inform his citizens about the need to wear a mask. And if they need a mask, he hands them one. This is an effort to inform people and get people to do something they ought to do. They ought not to have to be told what to do, but people are just not using good common sense when we’re facing such a crisis that we’re in with this virus. So we’re strongly recommending and encouraging with this mandate with this potential penalty — but the purpose is not to make money or to issue citations. The purpose is to get people to put on a mask and stay six feet apart.”
Ivey did say that if the situation with coronavirus continued to deteriorate, there was the possibility of rolling back the so-called safer at home order, which would lead to closures.
“We’ll certainly have to look at that, and that is something I do not want to have to do because if you’re not healthy, you can’t work,” Ivey said. “And everybody needs a livelihood to have a good life. Working and staying healthy go hand and hand, and we’ve just got to be smart about this thing. But yes, if worse comes to worst, we’ll have to walk back and take drastic measures. Wearing the mask is just the first step in that direction.”
Ainsworth: My opposition against a mask mandate ‘is the same one Gov. Ivey held just a week ago’ — ‘Her position changed, not mine’
Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth earlier this week came out against a statewide mask mandate that went into effect on Thursday. It was announced by Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday in the name of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Almost immediately following that announcement, Ainsworth put out a statement expressing his opposition.
During an interview with Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Ainsworth elaborated on his position and noted that his opposition was the same as Ivey’s just a week ago.
Ainsworth argued the best path forward for masks as they pertain to the coronavirus was to leave the decisions up to local governments.
“My position against the statewide mask mandate today is the same one Governor Ivey held just a week ago,” he said. “Her position changed, not mine. A week ago, basically to quote her, ‘Each area of the state is unique and is working with their own set of data specific to their own town or city,’ which is why she said at the time she supports the decision of local governments or businesses to require masks to be worn.”
“And so, what I want you and your listeners to realize is there was a lot of time and effort from the Department of Public Health to put together this new color-coded system by the counties that tied in with this strategy,” Ainsworth continued. “And basically it is to allow each county to be able to make its own decisions and cities to be able to make its own decisions based on the data. And the idea is, we have some counties — for instance, one next to me, Blount County. And there are some next to y’all that are green, which means there is a decrease in disease transmission and that county is doing well if they’re in the green. The county that I live in, in Marshall is yellow, which is the next color code up. There is more risk there, and there is orange then red. But the idea is to do that for the schools as well as the local officials, and I’m a believer in local control and local know best, and not in favor of a one-size-fits-all mandate from the state of Alabama. I do not think it is a good idea.”
The lieutenant governor maintained he was for masks as “the right thing to do,” but was skeptical over their effectiveness.
“I do think wearing a mask is the right thing to do,” Ainsworth added. “I think that it is going to help prevent the spread of the disease. But I am not in favor of mandating it. I would rather make sure we educate people about why it makes sense and try to encourage people.”
“And I would say that if you look at cities that have put mandates in so far, I don’t think they’ve seen the dropoff they thought they were going to see,” he continued. “Now, that not saying anything negative about masks, but I do think it says something about mandates. People are going to, in my opinion, wear them or they’re not. We need to educate people as to why they need to wear them. I don’t know if you’re going to force people into doing something they don’t want to do.”
Rep. Byrne: ‘Not surprised’ by Tuberville win — Sessions ‘never had any chance of winning,’ Waged ‘pretty awful’ campaign in late stages
While the results of Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Republican primary runoff may not have been a surprise, the margin of victory could have been.
Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions by 20 points and took wins in 64 of 67 counties from the candidate who had previously served as Alabama’s U.S. Senator for two decades.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), who had been a candidate in the GOP primary stage of the race, said he was not surprised by the outcome. During an interview with Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Byrne argued polling had not been in Sessions’ favor and that he anticipated the outcome.
“I wasn’t surprised by the results at all based upon all the polling I saw the moment Jeff Sessions got in the race,” he said. “He never had any chance of winning. And to lose 64 counties, and to get beat by 22 points just shows all those polls were right. Jeff just never had any chance of winning that race. What we saw just the other night was just an affirmation of how unpopular he has become. The campaign he waged the last few months was pretty awful. I wasn’t surprised by that result.”
Byrne said he thought Tuberville was in an excellent spot to defeat incumbent U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in the general election this fall, adding he expected the Republican Party to rally around the former football coach.
“I think so — I really do,” he replied. “Doug has a whole lot of money. I get that. But I just don’t see somebody voting for Donald Trump and then going over and voting for a Democrat, whoever it is but particularly Doug with his voting record. I don’t see people doing that. I think Tuberville is in a great position for the fall. And I think the Republican Party will unite for him and everybody else up and down the ticket.”
U.S. Sen. Jones: ‘Looking for a very spirited campaign’ against Tuberville — ‘I am ready to debate any time, any place’
With Tuesday’s runoff election result of former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville defeating former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, incumbent U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) now knows who he will face in November’s general election.
During an interview with Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Jones said he anticipated a “very spirited” election campaign.
However, he said he was hoping for the general election campaign to be more focused on issues than the GOP primary had been.
“I’ve sent out congratulations in every media thing that I’ve done to Tommy Tuberville on his win last night,” he said Wednesday. “We’re looking for a very spirited campaign going into November. I’m actually hoping that as we go forward to November, we will, and I know I’m going to be talking about a lot of the issues that face Alabama, and I hope Tommy Tuberville will as well. The Republican primary has been kind of lacking in real issues that people of the state face, especially during this health care crisis and this economic crisis. We’re looking forward to a really spirited campaign going into November, and it is just now beginning.”
Jones also said he would be open to a debate with Tuberville, but said he was skeptical about the prospects.
“I doubt he will want to do that,” Jones replied. “If he doesn’t want to debate Jeff Sessions, I doubt he is going to want to debate me. But I think debates are a part of our democracy. I think we owe it to the people of Alabama. I’m not going to challenge or throw down a gauntlet, but I am ready to debate any time, any place. I think that is the way we get things done, but we’ll see how it goes. I think the bigger question is, what will Tommy Tuberville do?”
Tommy Tuberville on runoff win: People ‘want outsiders’
Wednesday fresh off his Republican primary runoff victory a night earlier, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville discussed his win over former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions during an appearance on Birmingham radio’s “Alabama’s Morning News” on News Radio 105.5 WERC.
“I think it was a great referendum on President Trump,” Tuberville said. “You know he gets knocked around by people all over the country, and he’s doing a great job. It’s kind of like a quarterback — you’ve got four or five defensive linemen holding on to you. He’s still able to get the ball down the field. He’s making things happen. I’m proud for that aspect.”
“Jeff Sessions ran — man, he ran a hard campaign,” he continued. “He came after me pretty good right there late, and I thought he was closing down, but you know, people are just — they want outsiders. They want people who have actually had jobs … I don’t need this job. I want it. I’ve got more energy now than I’ve had in the last 20 years, and I’m excited about helping the people of Alabama. That’s what this about.”
Tuberville also took a jab at his general election opponent, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).
“Jeff Sessions called me last night — was very humble and said, ‘Coach, I’m all in. My supporters are going to be with you.’ And I appreciate this service, as I told him,” Tuberville said. “We’ve got to become a complete team now because this guy has raised money all over the world. He’s gotten like 8-9% of his money from Alabama. The $10-12 million, they’ve all come from Europe or California and New York, and we know he doesn’t represent Alabama. That’s one of the main reasons I’m running.”