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.

America needs an impartial national media

(Tracy Estes/Facebook, YHN)

While I am blessed to currently serve in the Alabama House of Representatives, there are times I sense the old journalist within rising to the surface. Having spent three decades in the profession, completely abandoning the ink coursing through my veins can prove difficult.

There is currently a critical issue we are witnessing at the national level, yet no one in the media has an interest in drawing attention to the situation. There is an important presidential election upon us and we have yet to seriously discuss the major issues at hand.

Let me begin by saying this. A journalist’s job is to conduct the research and interviews involved in any given story, present the information in an impartial manner and make the data as easily digestible as possible. From this point, the viewer or reader should have the right to determine for himself how to interpret the information presented. But this is no longer what we have in America. We have competing networks in CNN and Fox News who want to present the “news’’ from a political party perspective while the major networks appear to have an agenda to lean as left as possible.

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With this in mind, here is our current dilemma, as I see it. The national media has abandoned its duty to inform and report what it most important as the presidential election nears. Instead of talking about the issues which will have an impact on our daily lives and the direction our nation could take for years to come, the national media is obsessed with attacking the president at every turn.

Need we be reminded every day the president has hosted another massive public event with few in the crowd wearing a facemask? Yes, we know there are still steps we can take to lessen the chance of contracting the virus, but do we need the national media opening each newscast with this reminder?

What I would prefer to see is a news anchor or news executive with the courage to discuss the issues now before us. Press each candidate to lay out his agenda for our nation over the next four years. Whether one likes the current president’s performance or not, at least we have a track record to review to see where the next four years might take us.

When it comes to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, we still know very little regarding his stance on the issues. He has remained non-committal. He is angered the president has moved to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, yet Biden will not bury the notion he would attempt to stack the court with additional liberal justices should he be elected.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Biden has been able to hide behind his mask (literally) and avoid any of the tough questions. The presidential debate was an embarrassment. Regardless of one’s political affiliation or ideology, I believe the American voter is entitled to hear an exchange of ideas between the candidates. Is it asking too much for the candidates to present their case in a professional and respectful manner in order that those heading to the polls can cast an informed vote? Not to me.

Should Biden prove successful in his mission to win the presidency, I think it would be fair to say no other president has had an easier road to the White House. He has been able to use the pandemic to avoid most public appearances. The Democratic Party power structure has burdened him with a candidate who is even more liberal than he, so she has managed to draw attention away from the name at the top of the ticket. These circumstances, coupled with a news media who has chosen to focus more attention on the president’s failure to wear a mask and his regular poor choice of words than what voters would like to know about the candidates, might well allow Biden to slide into the Oval Office with less resistance than any who have come before.

President Trump’s administration is what it is. There are those who adore his leadership style while others find it repulsive. But at least we know who he is and what his second-term agenda might include. With Biden, we know so little. And who do we blame for this lack of information? We can point the finger at Joe Biden for his unwillingness to be forthcoming and a national news media which is hell bent on showing the current president the door.

State Representative Tracy Estes is a Republican representing House District 17, which includes Marion, Lamar and Winston Counties

Playing by the rules: Trump should appoint new Supreme Court justice

(Tracy Estes/Facebook, White House/Flickr, YHN)

For a nation which loves sports as much as our land does, there are still a select few who have yet to grasp the concept – to the victor goes the spoils.

Despite the temptation to provide participation trophies to all who wear a uniform as opposed to simply awarding those who win championships, there are still those of us who believe there are rewards for those who win. And for those who fall short, the incentive should be to try harder in the hopes of claiming those same spoils of victory the next time the scoreboard is lit.

A perfect example of this quandary is the current battle waging in Washington over whether or not President Donald Trump should move quickly to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created with the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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While my heart is moved for her family and friends in the loss of a loved one, I can still recall her constant stand for an assortment of left-wing causes during her tenure on the bench. Why is it we now live in a society where discussion must be all or nothing. I am still of the mind one can mark her passing without mourning the loss of her political views. I do not believe doing so makes me less of a Christian or a hard-hearted individual.

But while Democratic leadership in the nation’s capital is crying foul and claiming the president is playing politics by moving swiftly in this process, I counter by saying the commander-in-chief is simply doing his job.

President Trump was elected by Americans who wish to see the preservation of and a return to more traditional conservative values – those upon which this great land was founded. While I am unashamed to be a Christian, I am not even playing the religious card here. I believe there are still those in this land who may not profess the faith, but remain troubled by the dramatic shift away from law and order in our country. And heaven knows, Christians should be concerned.

While some might wish to differ, the president does not cease being president in an election year. The late justice Ginsburg has been quoted as saying as much in response to one of her own votes on the nation’s highest court. The president is elected to serve a full four-year term.

This president was elected, in large part, due to his promise to appoint conservative judges to the court. In short, he is living up to a campaign promise. This is what his loyal supporters are expecting in this moment.

And while we have all heard from the liberal left saying Republicans felt differently when President Obama was faced with a similar circumstance four years ago, these situations are not the same. Even when Obama was in office, the Republicans still controlled the U.S. Senate. And this is the body charged by the Constitution to confirm presidential nomination’s to the court.

Remember, there is a price for victory and defeat. If the Democrats want to have more say in this process, the party should focus attention on winning control of the senate and the oval office in the same term. This is how our nation’s founders created this game plan. These are the rules as they were written in the Constitution in 1787. Is it not ironic the nation commemorated Constitution Day only a day prior to Ginsburg’s passing?

Too often in today’s society, the liberals want to change the rules when they no longer suit their views. They want the remainder of the citizenry to move further left or simply toss the rules, on in this case, the Constitution, into the mounting debris of history we seem to be creating today.

But this is not what the forefathers envisioned. Those who created this nation needed more than a decade to draft the Constitution following the approval of the Declaration of Independence. There were squabbles over how the branches of government would function and how each would serve as a check and balance over the other. Our system was not designed for easy alteration … and current society is a perfect example as to why.

There is a method for changing current laws. It is called the legislative process. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have it within their powers to enact changes when we see a consistent miscarriage of justice. We have a tried and true method to improve our land – and the calculated process does not need the heavy-handed fist of a dictator, either. We never want to see our system fall under such tyranny.

Those we have elected already have the authority to improve upon an already excellent system. Introduce legislation and rally the support of the majority of congressional members. And in those extremely rare cases when this change elevates to the point of adding an amendment to the Constitution, gain the support needed to have the amendment ratified three-fourths of the state legislatures.

Implementing change to the foundational principles of our government was designed to be difficult. Denying the president those authorities given to him simply because it is an election year is not to be a part of the process.

And those who are not fond of the current process certainly have the right and a process to bring about the changes they may so desire. Remember: the United States of America is a nation of laws and those laws must be maintained and followed in order to preserve order and prevent chaos. Simply crying foul and pointing a finger of accusation toward the sitting president, regardless of party, serves no purpose other than playing to a congressional leader’s voting base back home.

There is a way to have more say in the appointment process … pull back from those extreme liberal views which are contrary to our nation’s foundation, win the presidency and the senate in the same election cycle and follow the rules as drafted in the Constitution. The process has served us well since the document was drafted some 233 years ago. And I am confident it will serve us well moving forward, if we simply remember to play by the rules.

State Representative Tracy Estes is a Republican representing House District 17, which includes Marion, Lamar and Winston Counties