The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    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 workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    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.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

3 weeks ago

Letter from Jeff Sessions to the people of Alabama on recusal

(Jeff Sessions/Contributed)

I was the first to endorse President Trump, even when many thought I was nuts to do so. I helped Trump win and traveled the country with him, embedded in his campaign. I am one of the architects of his agenda, and I was pushing his agenda even before he ran for office.

I have remained faithful to the President and his agenda. I have always stood up for him, and I never backed down, not even for one moment. My convictions are immovable, built on rock, not sand.

As the world knows, the President disagreed with me on recusal, but I did what the law required me to do. I was a central figure in the campaign and was also a subject of and witness in the investigation and could obviously not legally be involved in investigating myself. If I had ignored and broken the law, the Democrats would have used that to severely damage the President.

Some have asked, why take the job as Attorney General if I knew I would have to recuse myself from the investigation? I knew no such thing. I wasn’t informed of Comey’s secret investigation until after I became Attorney General, and the investigation wasn’t publicly confirmed by the FBI until weeks after my recusal.

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Knowing of the President’s disagreement with my decision, I tendered my resignation in writing the morning after Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel. But President Trump chose not to accept it, and he asked me to continue to serve as his Attorney General and to help him “Make America Great Again.”

The investigation was a disruptive and prolonged fiasco for America and especially for President Trump, and a massive waste of money chasing the deep- state myth of Russian collusion. Recently disclosed documents also reveal the extent of former FBI Director James Comey’s underhanded efforts to undermine our President.

One thing you may not know is that I advised from the beginning of the administration that Comey should be removed and the FBI given a fresh start. I concluded that Comey was driven by ego, lacked self-discipline, and lacked the
judgement necessary to lead an agency as critical as the FBI, as was evidenced by the completely improper way he declined to prosecute Hillary Clinton.

The end result of the Mueller investigation is that the President (and I) were fully exonerated, so much so that the subsequent Ukraine impeachment witch hunt did not even mention the phony Russian collusion idea.

My principles, like my faith, are immovable and non-negotiable. I believe it is always right to do the right thing. My opponent, Tommy Tuberville, calls that weakness, which reveals his true lack of integrity.

True strength and courage are found in the determination to do the right thing, even when you know the consequences may be painful. You can always count on me to do my best to do the right thing, for you, for the state of Alabama, and for the United States of America. I will never go wobbly on you.

I believe President Trump is a great President who is steadily making progress for America, despite relentless opposition. My support for his agenda is not about me, or even about him. It’s about doing the right thing for the country I so love. I have given my entire life to the support of our conservative ideals and to stopping the radical left from their attempts to redefine, and thereby destroy, America. I always have, I always will.

I endorsed President Trump because he had the incredible strength of will and the guts to stand up for the right things, for ending illegal immigration, for protecting American workers, and for stopping endless wars. I’m glad I did.

After the President dismissed me as Attorney General, I did not say a cross word about him, as I thought that would be dishonorable.

The great people of Alabama support the President enthusiastically, and we also make our own decisions on who to send to the US Senate.

This just means we are strong, and no one tells us what to do or how to vote. We’re Alabama, it’s just who we are. After all, it’s our vote, not Washington’s.

Mr. Tuberville is an opportunist who isn’t from here. He stopped here for work for a while, and moved on, eventually retiring in Florida. He doesn’t know the first thing about Alabama. He says the President is wrong on China, says we must import foreign workers to take American jobs, and up until a few months ago, he said he favors amnesty for illegal immigrants. If you don’t like his position on an issue, just wait a few weeks and he will change it. His house is built on sand.

Alabamians have long resisted pressure from people in Washington telling them how to vote. In fact, Alabama’s motto is – “We Dare Defend Our Rights.”

The folks in Washington have been wrong about Alabama before, every time. We make our own decisions.

We will vote overwhelmingly to give President Trump a second term, and we will choose who we send to the Senate. The people of Alabama do not have to choose between voting for the President and voting for me, they can do both.

When I return to the Senate, I look forward to helping the President build the wall, protect American workers, and fundamentally reset our relationship with Communist China.

Respectfully,

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions has served as a U.S. Senator and Attorney General and is a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama

2 months ago

Religious freedom and the promise of Easter

(Jeff Sessions/Contributed)

Easter celebrates the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus the Christ, and his victory over sin and death—which is the confirmation of our victory in Him. Amidst all of the panic and uncertainty in the world right now, we pause to reflect and renew that faith with our families and friends. While the ongoing pandemic has limited our ability to gather in person, it will not diminish our ability to receive blessings and joy on this special day.

Passover and the Easter weekend this year come during a time of unease for many people, as the pandemic upends our lives in strange and unforeseen ways. As Christians, Mary and I are immensely grateful for the promise of Easter—for the reality that God is with us, and that we can endure and triumph over trials.

We are so grateful to live in a country where our Constitution protects our right to worship freely. In fact, our very form of government and society is inextricably linked to our Founding Fathers’ resolute faith in God. As John Adams wrote in 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The Judeo-Christian belief that we live in a created and ordered universe and that there is an objective truth, which is to be sought and obeyed, has been fundamental to our great nation.

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Our first president, George Washington, called for a national day of prayer.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement for civil rights was rooted in his faith. As he described it, “Each individual has certain basic rights that are neither derived from nor conferred by the state…they are gifts from the hands of the Almighty God.”

And every day that the United States Senate is in session, it opens in prayer to God.

Today, there are those who are determined to erase God from our nation, and who wrongfully attack constitutionally-protected public expressions of faith.

Just this week, an extreme anti-religious group based in Wisconsin, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, sent a letter threatening my friend, Governor Kay Ivey, because she cited the book of Isaiah in a news conference, and invited a pastor to offer a prayer for Alabama during these trying times.

It is stunning that anyone would take issue with a leader like Governor Ivey seeking to reassure the people of Alabama during a time when many are anxious, but this group attacked her nonetheless.

This is part of a broader cultural war on Christianity and religious freedom in the United States. Ignoring our constitutional protections, these radical groups have attempted to weaponize the government to harass and persecute Christians in all areas, including the football players at Reeltown High School who were voluntarily baptized at their school’s stadium last year, or even nuns, artists, bakers, and florists who have stood firm in their beliefs when society tried to force them to break.

I understand that you cannot have freedom without protecting faith. In my lifetime of service, I have championed religious freedom. As United States Attorney General, I made sure that our government started protecting the First Amendment again. We reversed the radically secularist positions of the Obama administration, which had sued the Little Sisters of the Poor to force nuns to provide abortion pills. We fought at the Supreme Court for their right to their beliefs, and we won.

The radical left tried to punish Colorado Christian cake baker Jack Phillips for declining to participate in wedding ceremonies that were contrary to his beliefs. We stepped in and argued in Jack’s favor at the Supreme Court. And again, we won.

Under my leadership, the Justice Department also issued instructions to federal agencies that required them under the law to protect religious liberties and stop persecuting Americans for their faith. And to make sure those agencies complied, I established the Religious Liberty Task Force to hold them accountable.

The Constitution guarantees every American, from public officials like Governor Ivey to private citizens like Jack Phillips, the right to freely exercise their faith.

Every day across America and Alabama, people of faith feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, educate our young people, provide care for the sick and needy, and provide comfort and wisdom to millions in times of troubles and joy. The government has no idea this is even happening.

This Easter weekend, I invite you to join Mary and me in giving thanks to God for the joy of the Resurrection and its promise of ultimate victory. And I hope you will join me in giving thanks to God that we live in a country where we can freely worship without fear. It is a right that we cherish, and it is a right that we must resolutely defend.

Jeff Sessions has served as a U.S. Senator and Attorney General and is a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama

3 months ago

Jeff Sessions: Urgent action is needed to tackle the coronavirus outbreak — I have a plan and the experience to see it through

(Jeff Sessions/Facebook)

Time is of the essence in tackling the coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping the world, the United States and now Alabama. There have been over a dozen identified cases of coronavirus in six Alabama counties. Our prayers are with those affected, their families and the healthcare professionals caring for them.

We must act now to prevent the needless loss of life, the devastating impact of the virus on individuals and families and the severe harm to our economy.

America is a resilient and strong nation because Americans are brave and resolute. We can and will come out of this crisis smarter and better prepared for the future.

President Trump’s efforts have been heroic. His unprecedented but necessary steps to arrest the spread of the coronavirus demonstrate the strength of his will and a determined push for speed and results. Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and appointment of Vice President Pence to lead the effort are important steps.

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Bureaucratic rules and agency infighting delay necessary actions by important private sector firms that need to be performed swiftly and effectively.

We need a plan of action, and we need it now, to prevent the spread of this virus and its crippling effects. I have one.

On an emergency basis, the government and private industry must manufacture, distribute and analyze millions of test kits. These tests give us the vital information needed to treat and understand the spread of the virus.

Our government must transparently communicate the true nature of the threat and what measures officials have taken and will be taking. This will ease panic and anxiety, and garner greater cooperation from the American people.

All levels of government – local, state, and federal agencies – must work together. Total cooperation among the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS), and other agencies is essential. A full partnership with local and state agencies is vital to ensuring an effective response.

This is no time for Congress to engage in partisan bickering. It is time to put aside politics and serve the American people. Congress must act quickly to assess the danger and stand steadfastly with the President to protect the American people. Indeed, Congress may need to pass legislation and appropriate necessary funds. Fair and informative public hearings with true experts should be conducted regularly so the American people are fully informed.

I urge Congress and the president to take seven concrete steps immediately to halt the outbreak.

  • We must establish emergency coronavirus testing sites that are open 24 hours, including mobile or drive-through locations, to give every citizen the chance to be tested and seek treatment, as South Korea has done.
  • The CDC must immediately disclose the origins of travel-contact related cases.
  • All hospitals should postpone elective procedures and prepare to accommodate those affected, especially the elderly.
  • All states must immediately designate containment zones in outbreak areas.
  • We should institute a temporary shut-down of all U.S. borders to foreign tourism.
  • We should close government buildings to all visitors and non-essential personnel. Only critical staff and vital functions should be allowed.
  • We must identify and prepare quarantine centers including hospitals, hotels, and other accommodations. A surge in patients overwhelming the system is a very real danger.

These strategies may not seem difficult to some, but I have seen firsthand just how maddeningly slow the government’s response can be. Critical planning and early action are crucial.

I served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10 years and drilled for disasters. While serving on President Trump’s National Security Council, we planned for possible crises including terrorism and public health threats. I know that well-considered and swift action saves lives and livelihoods. I worked long and hard to reduce the devastating impacts of September 11, Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. I have spent many hours in our emergency command centers.

This emergency is a challenge, but I have no doubt we will successfully overcome it. No challenge is beyond our capacity. The American spirit has overcome before and we will again.

Jeff Sessions has served as a U.S. Senator and Attorney General and is a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama

4 months ago

Jeff Sessions: Why I’m running for the U.S. Senate

(Screenshot/YouTube)

We live in very dangerous and serious times. There is a multi-front battle raging for the soul and the future of our country. We have before us great opportunity, and also great peril.

The stakes are very high, and I am uniquely qualified and prepared to represent and defend Alabama and American values in this battle.

The radical left has captured the Democrat Party and the threat is real and dire. The wolf is at the door. This is their agenda, and they are very open about it:

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– Socialism
– Medicare for All (which kills health insurance for 50% of Americans)
– Open borders
– Free healthcare for illegals
– The Green New Deal (which would bankrupt and destroy our economy)
– Confiscation of firearms
– Curtailing freedom of speech and religion.

Alabama must send someone to Washington who has the courage, the knowledge, and the backbone to stand up against this madness, and to actually stop it. I can and I will.

When conservative voters were flocking to support Donald Trump in the primary in 2016, but Republican Senators were hiding under their desks, only one U.S. Senator had the courage to stand up on stage and endorse President Trump. I stood up for Alabama values.

In 2013 when Republican leaders in Washington were on the verge of capitulating to the Democrats and accepting illegal immigration and amnesty as the law of the land, I stopped them. I stood up for Alabama values.

When Republicans in Washington were allowing the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal to go through, a deal which may have been good for Wall Street, but would have been disastrous for American workers, I stopped them. I stood up for Alabama values.

When I took over the Department of Justice, I reversed Obama Administration policies that unfairly targeted Christian and conservative organizations, and I made it the policy of the U.S. Government to defend people of faith in every court in our nation. The liberal press attacked me, but I didn’t care — I stood up for Alabama values. I defended our men and women of law enforcement, and I promised them that the U.S. Department of Justice would support their efforts to keep Americans safe.

Let’s be very clear — every candidate can get up in front of a crowd and beat their chest and tell folks what they want to hear. That’s easy. And we have some individuals running who give a nice political speech.

But talk is cheap. The question is, who is ready to step into the breach and represent Alabama values in the U.S. Senate immediately? Who is ready, and capable, of fighting for President Trump’s agenda? Who can make it happen? Time is short, this battle is raging right now, and we have to win this fight.

Make no mistake — the Democrats in Washington are seeking to fundamentally redefine America, change our ideals, and divide us from each other.

I am certainly not the favorite of the Washington establishment crowd, but I am the one with the courage, the knowledge, the backbone, and the ability to get the job done for Alabama.

Senator Doug Jones is a radical liberal who voted against Justice Kavanaugh and who would certainly vote for Chuck Schumer to be majority leader in the Senate. We must defeat him. I can, and I will, and the Democrats know this.

These are serious times; Alabama needs to send a warrior to Washington. Let’s go!

Jeff Sessions has served as a U.S. Senator and Attorney General and is a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama

4 months ago

Sessions: Making Alabama’s judiciary great again

(Jeff Sessions/YouTube, YHN)

President Trump has done a tremendous job nominating smart, qualified and tough conservative judges to the federal judiciary. But there are a lot more vacancies to fill, and he needs another term to finish what he started. While Supreme Court justices receive most of the attention, federal appeals court judges are nearly as influential.

Like the justices, they are appointed for life and hear cases touching on religious freedom, free speech, gun rights, abortion, criminal law, immigration and government regulation issues. Because the Supreme Court hears only 0.1% of appeals, these are essentially the most significant federal courts in the country.

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When President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009, only one of these 13  federal appeals courts — the Ninth Circuit — was controlled by activist Democratic appointees. When he left office, nine of 13 circuits were controlled by Democratic appointees. Despite President Trump’s historic gains on the federal courts, if he is not reelected in 2020, the courts would flip back to the left — placing at risk his greatest legacy.

Most federal judges serve for several decades, and so their actions continue to impact the country long after the President who appointed them leaves office. For example, nearly half the federal circuit judges still hearing cases in Chicago were appointed by President Reagan. These numbers are the reason why some say that judicial appointments are President Reagan’s greatest legacy. And he certainly made an impact on the Supreme Court, elevating Justice Rehnquist to Chief Justice, who led the “the Rehnquist Revolution” that began to return power to the states, appointing Justice Scalia, one of the greatest jurists in our nation’s history. He also appointed 83 circuit judges, surpassing each of his four successors. But many of these judges are no longer on the bench and those who continue to serve are nearing retirement.

While President Reagan’s judicial legacy is at its twilight, President Obama’s judicial legacy has just begun to impact the country. And while President Reagan understood that our constitutional system depends on an impartial judiciary that will interpret the law as written, President Obama openly sought activist judges who would promote liberal policy preferences that Congress and the American people would not adopt. His Supreme Court nominees — Justices Sotomayor and Kagan — both of whom I opposed — are two of its younger members and over half of his appellate judges could feasibly sit on the courts for the next 40 years.

During my time as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, I led Republicans in successfully blocking President Obama’s most extreme judicial nominees who exhibited leniency for sex offenders and violent criminals promoted radical left-wing policy agendas like “constitutional welfare rights, rejected originalism and the limited role of the judiciary, and were openly hostile towards the right to bear arms, religious liberty, private property rights (to name just a few). So when President Trump was elected, he had over 100 judicial vacancies to fill and he has delivered, nominating two outstanding Supreme Court justices and over 50 appellate judges.

Indeed, just a few years ago, there were many federal judicial vacancies in Alabama — vacancies that President Obama tried to fill with progressive appointees. Alabama’s federal courts — as we know them — were one election away from a dangerous transformation. But Senator Shelby and I stood together through eight grueling years of the Obama presidency and blocked all but two of his nominees to our federal bench — including one appointee to a powerful appeals court. Fortunately, a lot has changed since President Trump was elected. In less than half the time President Obama was in office, President Trump has appointed five times that many highly qualified lawyers to sit on Alabama federal courts — including the first female judge in Montgomery and the first African-American judge in Mobile. More great Alabama judges are on the way.

One of President Trump’s first appeals court nominees was Judge Kevin Newsom of Birmingham. Before his nomination, Judge Newsom was a partner at one of Alabama’s oldest law firms and served as the chief appellate lawyer for the state of Alabama, where he argued in support of the Ten Commandments and against the use of federal law to prosecute abortion protestors. This past November, President Trump nominated Judge Andrew Brasher of Montgomery to the same court. Just 38 years of age, Judge Brasher also served as Alabama’s top appellate lawyer, where he tirelessly defended Alabama laws from lawsuits brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Once confirmed, Judge Brasher could sit on this court for the next 50 years. Judges Newsom and Brasher are — as President Reagan said of one of his judicial appointees — the kind of judges the American people want on the federal courts; judges who believe in the rule of law, who revere the Constitution and whose sense of fairness and justice are above reproach.

While President Trump has done great work filling judicial vacancies, whoever is elected president in 2020 will be responsible for filling even more vacancies. President Obama’s judges have upheld Obamacare, forced transgender bathrooms in public schools, struck down reasonable voter identification requirements, endlessly blocked the enforcement of our immigration laws and taken over schools and police departments. Whoever the Democrat party nominates to run against President Trump will appoint judges who are even more radical and will accelerate the left’s march to eviscerate the Constitution. With a third of the federal appellate judiciary hanging in the balance, the American people must decide whether they want more of President Trump’s originalists or President Obama’s progressives confirmed to the federal bench for life.

I promise you this — if I am so fortunate as to return to the U.S. Senate, I will continue the work I started as a leading voice in support of the President’s historic efforts to make the judiciary great again.

Jeff Sessions served as the 84th Attorney General of the United States, as Senator from Alabama, and as Ranking Member on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

6 months ago

Jeff Sessions: Give thanks and respect to those who protect and serve

(Lowndes County Sheriff's Office/Facebook, Jeff Sessions/Contributed, PIxabay, YHN)

As we gather around the table this year to give thanks for our loved ones and many blessings, we should all pause to give thanks for the men and women of law enforcement. Every time they put on a uniform, neither they, nor their families, know if they will come home.

Every day, our law enforcement officers do the most unnatural thing – they run toward danger. Tragically, Sheriff “Big John” Williams of Lowndes County was shot and killed while carrying out his duties Saturday night.

The selflessness and sacrifices of police often go unsung, as millions of daily acts of compassion and care are just part of the job and out of sight of the TV cameras.

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While the vast majority of Americans support and count on the police, the recent and terrible trend of disrespect and distrust of law enforcement must be reversed. This summer we watched as people cursed at and doused cops in New York City with buckets of water, and bystanders pelted Philadelphia police with objects as they were responding to an armed stand-off. Our nation simply cannot sit idly by as this anti-police agitation grows.

More than one out of 10 law enforcement personnel will be attacked this year. Almost 59,000 officers were violently assaulted on the job in 2018. Over 18,000 officers needed medical attention. That is a 22% increase in total assaults on police since 2014.

When President Trump issued an Executive Order to protect law enforcement from attacks, I directed the Justice Department and its prosecutors to hold accountable those who assault police and to vigorously support law enforcement in their duties.

Elected officials and community leaders who denigrate and diminish the brave men and women of law enforcement have no place in public office. They are eroding the public trust in our justice system, and encouraging violence against the police. It does all of us a disservice to demoralize and demotivate those who run into harm’s way out of a love for their fellow citizens.

In 2018, over 100 police officers were killed in America (of those, 55 were murdered) doing their duty. Over the last decade, more than a thousand have given their lives for our safety and peace of mind.

Six Alabama law enforcement officers, including “Big John,” made that sacrifice this year. They each left behind grieving families and friends and an empty chair at the Thanksgiving table.

Sheriff Williams loved his job and community so much so that a long-time friend and fellow policeman observed, “Big John was one of those you hear about in our profession that would work for free.” And, in truth, we can never fully compensate the men and women like “Big John” for their courage and kindness.

I know that “Big John” Williams’ story is that of so many police heroes whose dedication and professionalism truly embody the motto, “To Protect and Serve.”

So then, let us take a moment before we enjoy our family meal this Thanksgiving to say a prayer for all of our law enforcement officials and their families.

All law enforcement should know: we have your back, you have our thanks.

Jeff Sessions has served as a U.S. Senator and Attorney General and is a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama