The Wire

  • Effort underway to have Alabama inmates vote this election cycle

    Excerpt:

    As reported first by the Troy Messenger, an effort is underway by the Pike County NAACP to have eligible inmates vote in Alabama’s upcoming November 6 general election.

    Only inmates convicted of “crimes of moral turpitude” are disqualified from voting, however being in prison obviously bars inmates from heading to the polls on Election Day. This is where absentee voting comes in; yet, incarceration is not currently available as an option on the state’s absentee ballot request forms.

    “There’s nowhere on the absentee ballot application that lists being incarcerated as a reason you can vote absentee,” Jamie Scarbrough, Pike County absentee election manager, explained. “You have to be out of the county, have a physical impairment, a work conflict, a member of the armed forces or a student in another county.”

  • Governor Ivey criticizes ‘Lying Liberal Walt Maddox’

    Excerpt:

    After Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox on Thursday held a press conference to spread unsubstantiated allegations about Governor Kay Ivey’s health and accuse her of a coverup 19 days before Election Day, the governor’s campaign responded by giving the Democrat a new moniker – “Lying Liberal Walt Maddox.”

    “Apparently Walt Maddox isn’t just a liberal. He’s a lying liberal,” Ivey’s campaign said in a statement. “The people of Alabama will see this for what it is – a desperate false attack from a shameless politician who will say or do anything to get elected.”

    Ivey has repeatedly denied the allegations about her health since last year, and her doctor even refuted them this week, providing a detailed letter to back up the conclusion that Ivey is in good health.

    Besides the allegations regarding the governor’s health, the Maddox camp is alleging that then-Lieutenant Governor Ivey had a member of her protective detail demoted and transferred over her 2015 hospitalization in Colorado.

    Ivey’s campaign said, “As it relates to the officer, that’s another Maddox whopper. News outlets reported last year that the officer actually received a promotion and raise in late 2015.”

  • Byrne: Odds better than 50/50 GOP keeps House — ‘There is truly a Kavanaugh effect going on here’

    Excerpt:

    FAIRHOPE – What a difference a month can make for Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

    Heading into the summer, most political watchers anticipated that the GOP was set to lose at least the House of Representatives in the upcoming midterms. By mid-August, some Republicans thought losing the Senate was even a possibility.

    However, the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court associate justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh appeared to have been a game-changer for Republicans, and according to Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), the public’s reaction to the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings could be enough for Republicans to hold on to both the House and the Senate.

20 mins ago

Alabama sets new record for number of jobs, number of people employed

(YHN/Pixabay)

Alabama has once again broken employment and job records during Governor Kay Ivey’s tenure.

According to data released on Friday, wage and salary employment in September reached a new record high, as did the number of people counted as working, for the fifth month in a row.

“Not only are we experiencing record high employment, this month we’ve also broken another record – our economy is currently supporting the most number of jobs in history!” Ivey said in a statement. “September’s job count of 2,048,000 bypasses the previous record of 2,045,800, which was set in December 2007.”

Alabama Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington stressed that the state’s booming economy has been over-performing experts’ expectations.

178

“In January, economists predicted that Alabama would see job growth of 27,000 in 2018. I’m pleased to say that, year-to-date, we’ve already seen job growth of 47,000, surpassing that prediction by 20,000 jobs, and we still have three months left to grow,” Washington said.

Wage and salary employment increased in September by 9,100, and, over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 26,800.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate is 4.1 percent. This rate represents 2,117,027 people working, which is also a record high. In August, 2,112,099 people were counted as employed, and 2,082,085 were counted as employed in September of last year.

“This is the fifth month in a row that we’ve announced that more people are working in Alabama than ever before. Alabama’s businesses are hiring, Alabamians are working, and wages are rising,” Ivey added.

Average weekly earnings increased over the year by $53.82. Manufacturing weekly earnings increased by $27.18 over the year, and construction weekly earnings were up $55.08 over the year.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Public Policy Foundation: ‘Amendment 4 would save Alabama taxpayers millions’

(YHN, Flaticon)

The Alabama Public Policy Foundation (APPF) issued a press release on Thursday in an effort to educate voters about the virtues of voting “yes” on Amendment 4 on the November 6 general election ballot.

Rosemary Elebash, an APPF board member and state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), explained that the amendment would save Alabama taxpayers millions of dollars by eliminating costly special elections when a regularly scheduled election is already imminent.

“Under current law, the governor must call a special election to fill legislative seats vacated due to death or resignation, even if there are only a few months remaining in the term,” Elebash outlined. “Each legislative special election costs from $90,000 to $900,000 per county, based on the number of voters and polling locations. These sometimes occur when candidates already have qualified for the next general election or when the Legislature is not scheduled to meet again before the end of the term.”

APPF noted that money spent on late-term special elections could be used for other services important to Alabama taxpayers. In addition to the wasteful cost, Elebash said back-to-back balloting can create fatigue and confusion for voters.

141

“In recent years, we’ve seen candidates win special elections and immediately begin campaigning for a regular primary election a month or two later,” she said.

Amendment 4 would allow Alabama Senate and House of Representatives seats to remain open if vacated on or after Oct. 1 of the third year of a four-year term. The longest a seat would remain vacant would be 14 months. The amendment only applies to these state legislative seats, and the governor would still be required to schedule special elections for vacancies occurring earlier in a term.

You can read the objective Fair Ballot Commission’s explanation of Amendment 4 here.

APPF is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization “created to promote educational, social, financial and economic policies to enhance the well-being of Alabama citizens.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Sessions conducting ‘most aggressive campaign against leaks’ in DOJ history

(DOJ/Facebook)

After 39-year-old former FBI Special Agent Terry J. Albury was sentenced on Thursday to 48 months in the District of Minnesota in connection with his unauthorized disclosure and retention of classified national defense information, Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed the DOJ is in the process of “conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history.”

“We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history,” Sessions said in a release. “Crimes like the one committed by the defendant in this case will not be tolerated—they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and punished … Today’s sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price.”

171

According to court documents, Albury worked as a Special Agent in the FBI’s Minneapolis field office at the time of the disclosures, held a Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance and his daily duties provided him access to sensitive and classified FBI and other U.S. government information.

The court documents also say that, beginning in 2016 and continuing through August 2017, Albury knowingly and willfully disclosed national defense information, classified at the Secret level, to a reporter. Albury employed methods to avoid detection, including printing documents that he created by cutting and pasting portions of an original document into a new document so as to avoid leaving a record of having printed the original, classified document. Albury also accessed documents on a classified computer and took pictures of the computer screen in order to photograph certain classified documents. Those additional classified documents were recovered on an electronic storage device found during a search of his home.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Ivey campaign criticizes ‘Lying Liberal Walt Maddox’

(Kay Ivey/Flickr | Will Boyd/Twitter)

After Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox on Thursday held a press conference to spread unsubstantiated allegations about Governor Kay Ivey’s health and accuse her of a coverup 19 days before Election Day, the governor’s campaign responded by giving the Democrat a new moniker – “Lying Liberal Walt Maddox.”

“Apparently Walt Maddox isn’t just a liberal. He’s a lying liberal,” Ivey’s campaign said in a statement. “The people of Alabama will see this for what it is – a desperate false attack from a shameless politician who will say or do anything to get elected.”

Ivey has repeatedly denied the allegations about her health since last year, and her doctor even refuted them this week, providing a detailed letter to back up the conclusion that Ivey is in good health.

Besides the allegations regarding the governor’s health, the Maddox camp is alleging that then-Lieutenant Governor Ivey had a member of her protective detail demoted and transferred over her 2015 hospitalization in Colorado.

Ivey’s campaign said, “As it relates to the officer, that’s another Maddox whopper. News outlets reported last year that the officer actually received a promotion and raise in late 2015.”

417

Polling has shown Maddox losing by 20 – 25 points, and now Planned Parenthood and other out-of-state liberal pro-abortion groups have funneled in approximately $1 million to Alabama in an effort to drive Democratic turnout up and defeat a pro-life constitutional amendment that Maddox also opposes. Additionally, billionaire funder of liberal causes George Soros this week put $200,000 into a group of Tuscaloosa PACs that is Maddox’s biggest contributor, accounting for approximately 30 percent of his total funds raised over the course of the campaign.

“Walt Maddox is pushing these last second lies because his half baked liberal ideas have him losing in a landslide. With less than three weeks to go, not even $200,000 from George Soros can save him,” Ivey’s campaign commented.

In a separate press release later on Thursday, the Ivey campaign pointed to another of Maddox’s “lies,” this time saying his own words even prove his deceit.

“It appears that Walt Maddox has gotten tangled up in his own twisted web of lies,” the statement began.

The campaign then detailed a three-day timeline that seemingly reveals a glaring contradiction.

“It all started on Tuesday when Spencer Collier told Al.com ‘he has not been contacted by the campaign of Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox,'” Ivey’s campaign outlined. “On Wednesday, Maddox followed up with a statement to the AP that he was ‘shocked to learn’ about these allegations.”

The governor’s campaign continued, “But today, Walt Maddox accidentally admitted that both he and Collier lied. When asked by Al.com during a press conference today whether he had contact with Collier, Walt Maddox provided a detailed account of a meeting he held with Spencer Collier several weeks back. Maddox admitted, ‘Spencer contacted me a few weeks ago and wanted to meet… He told me what he was going to do.'”

As reported by John Sharp, Maddox campaign spokesman Chip Hill confirmed Thursday afternoon that Collier and Maddox had not initially told the truth about having contact before the allegations were made on Tuesday.

Hill said Maddox and Collier have known each other for 25 years, when they both played football at UAB.

“They talk often,” Hill admitted. “Spencer contacted Walt and told him what he wanted to say.”

This revelation has led many observers to question why Collier waited until three weeks before the election to come forward, if the allegations are not politically motivated as he claimed.

“Another day. Another lie. Another broken promise from Walt Maddox,” Ivey’s campaign concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Effort underway to have Alabama inmates vote this election cycle

(YHN, Gov. Bentley/Flickr)

As reported first by the Troy Messenger, an effort is underway by the Pike County NAACP to have eligible inmates vote in Alabama’s upcoming November 6 general election.

Only inmates convicted of “crimes of moral turpitude” are disqualified from voting, however being in prison obviously bars inmates from heading to the polls on Election Day. This is where absentee voting comes in; yet, incarceration is not currently available as an option on the state’s absentee ballot request forms.

“There’s nowhere on the absentee ballot application that lists being incarcerated as a reason you can vote absentee,” Jamie Scarbrough, Pike County absentee election manager, explained. “You have to be out of the county, have a physical impairment, a work conflict, a member of the armed forces or a student in another county.”

407

Request form aside, Secretary of State John Merrill advised that inmates who have not been disqualified can still vote absentee from prison.

“Anybody that is incarcerated that has not been convicted of a disqualifying felony is still eligible to vote,” Merrill outlined. “They obviously cannot vote in person, so they would have to vote absentee. As long as they are not convicted of a disqualifying felony, they have a right to cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice.”

Even though some worry that misrepresenting one’s reason for voting absentee on the request form could lead to civil or even criminal liability, Merrill expressed his doubts that anyone would sue an individual for exercising their lawful right to vote and Pike County District Attorney Tom Anderson said inmates voting absentee would not likely be prosecuted since the law does allow them to vote.

“I’m willing to bet the law would allow it. I think the argument would be that the form didn’t comply with the law. They obviously haven’t updated the form … If I were them, I would write ‘incarcerated’ on the application because you’ve got to do something,” Anderson said.

There have been attempts to change the absentee ballot applications in recent state legislative sessions and Merrill said the issue will be brought forward again in the coming session, which begins in March.

“The questions on the absentee application have long been antiquated and out of date,” Merrill remarked. “If someone is incarcerated, we know where they are and know why they can’t get to the polls. We’ve worked on changing the absentee application the last two sessions to make sure it is usable, workable and meaningful, which it is not currently.”

Until then, groups like the Pike County NAACP are focused on registering eligible inmates to vote and getting them to submit their absentee ballots while incarcerated.

The statewide deadline to register for the November 6 general election is Monday, October 22, with three registration options: in person by the close of business at your county board of registrars’ office (typically 5:00 p.m.), online by 11:59 p.m. that day or postmarked by that day.

Per the Secretary of State’s website, the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Thursday, November 1. The deadline to return an absentee ballot is Monday, November 5.

See the full list of crimes that disqualify inmates from voting here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

17 hours ago

Ainsworth rallies Alabama voters after George Soros’ involvement in upcoming election revealed

(Ainsworth Campaign)

After Yellowhammer News revealed that billionaire George Soros this week directly dumped $200,000 into a group of Tuscaloosa PACs that has been Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox’s biggest contributor, the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor, state Rep. Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville), issued a warning and a rallying call to Alabama voters.

“Billionaire George Soros is flooding Alabama with several hundred thousand dollars in last minute contributions to Walt Maddox and other liberal Democrats on the Nov. 6 ballot,” posted on Facebook.

Ainsworth continued, “Soros wants to replace our conservative principles and Alabama values with his Socialist progressive agenda. We must not let the pro-abortion, anti-gun and tax-raiding liberals become competitive. Please tell your, friends, neighbors, and church members to vote the Straight Republican ticket on Nov. 6!”

Combined with almost $1 million in dark money funneled into the state from Planned Parenthood, political observers in the state expect the Soros money to go towards attempting to boost Democratic turnout on Election Day. Maddox, Planned Parenthood and other out-of-state liberal groups are opposing a pro-life constitutional amendment on the ballot – Amendment Two.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1
22 hours ago

Another $95,000 funneled into Alabama PAC from out-of-state Planned Parenthood group

(YHN)

According to a mandatory financial disclosure filed at approximately noon on Thursday, Planned Parenthood on Tuesday pumped an additional $95,000 into its efforts to influence Alabama’s November 6 general election.

Planned Parenthood, through Planned Parenthood Southeast’s “Alabama for Healthy Families” PAC, is opposing a pro-life constitutional amendment and attempting to drive up Democratic turnout on Election Day. Along with Planned Parenthood, Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, the ACLU, the Feminist Majority Foundation and URGE are opposing the amendment – Amendment Two.

The $95,000 contribution to the Alabama PAC was made from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, located in Vermont. The PAC now reports having $915,000 cash on hand to spend in under three weeks leading up to the election. Previous contributions have come in from multiple entities each in California and New York City.

Combined with a $200,000 cash infusion directly from George Soros, Alabama Democrats will be hoping that more than $1 million in last minute, out-of-state spending will buoy their candidates, especially in down ballot races that could take advantage of Democrats voting the straight ticket option while the average Alabamian checks off individual candidates he or she knows while ignoring the lesser known races.

44

You can expect more out-of-state money to continue pouring in, whether it is contributions from the likes of Soros himself or dark money from groups like Planned Parenthood.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

24 hours ago

Byrne to propose innovative bill to fund building the border wall

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr)

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) will soon introduce the “Fifty Votes for the Wall Act,” which would use the budget reconciliation process to overcome Democratic obstruction and fund the border wall.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Byrne explained the rationale behind his proposal, which he outlined further in an op-ed published by The Hill.

“The American people elected Donald Trump on the promise of building a border wall, and we can’t let Democrats continue to block funding from this critical project,” Byrne said.

He continued, “To be clear, border security is national security. Having a secure border is absolutely necessary if we want to cut down on crime and keep potential terrorists and bad actors out of our country. With this bill, we create a process to overcome the Democrat filibuster in the Senate and provide the money necessary to build the wall and keep the American people safe.”

396

While Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate, the body’s rules allow Democrats to filibuster unless 60 senators vote to invoke what is called “cloture.” Byrne’s legislation would take advantage of Senate procedure so that 50 votes would be all the Republicans need to approve the border wall and its funding.

“The extreme tactics the minority has used to block President Trump’s border wall proposal is reckless and another example of how the left is being driven further and further to the extreme,” Byrne explained in his op-ed.

He outlined that his proposed method, called budget reconciliation, by which the Senate would only need 50 votes has been used before by both parties to pass contentious legislation. Democrats used it to pass Obamacare initially, and this same maneuver got the Republicans within one vote of a “skinny-repeal” of Obamacare last year. It also allowed for the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, better known as Trump’s tax reform package.

“There is no reason the same tactic cannot be used to fully fund the president’s border wall,” Byrne advised.

The congressman from southwest Alabama wants to see the House immediately begin this process when its members return to session in November.

When it comes to the details of funding the wall, Byrne wants to see the $25 billion cost of the project offset with cuts. He is open to working with his colleagues in both the House and the Senate to determine the best areas to cut, so that the wall can receive the votes necessary in both chambers.

It is important to remember that when Republican legislators like Byrne mention building “the wall,” we are talking about “physical barriers and associated detection technology, roads, and lighting along the southern border.” So, the wall has become a catch-all phrase for a comprehensive border security package that would also address underground tunnels and other nuances.

Byrne concluded, “Not only would my bill fully fund the wall, but it would take the wall building program out of the appropriations process and prevent Democrats from bottling up funding in future years. Regardless of the outcome of the midterm elections, let’s not miss our chance to crack down on illegal immigration. Let’s use our majorities in both houses to get the wall built and keep the American people safe.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

Nick Saban endorses Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in tight reelection bid (VIDEO)

(ESPN/YouTube)

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has endorsed his “friend” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in the senator’s tightly contested reelection bid, per a new campaign ad released on Wednesday.

Saban, who was born in Fairmont, WV in 1951, was joined in the ad by two other natives and sports legends of the Mountain State – Jerry West and Bob Huggins.

Watch:

89

“Joe and I grew up together in West Virginia, and he never forgets where he came from,” Saban says to open the ad.

Saban later adds, “I don’t have a better friend or know a better person than Joe Manchin.”

Manchin is running against the Republican Attorney General of West Virginia, Patrick Morrisey. Polling released Monday shows Manchin with a four-point lead and  a considerable favorability advantage in the race.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

National Right to Life endorses Kay Ivey for governor

(Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

Governor Kay Ivey’s campaign on Wednesday announced that she has been endorsed by National Right to Life in her gubernatorial race against Democratic nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

National Right to Life is the oldest and largest pro-life group in the United States, with 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters.

This comes after Maddox has come under heavy fire recently over his opposition to the pro-life constitutional amendment on the November 6 general election ballot – Amendment Two.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1
1 day ago

George Soros dumps $200,000 into group of PACs backing Maddox

(George Soros/Wikimedia Commons | Walt Maddox/YouTube)

Infamous billionaire backer of liberal political causes George Soros on Monday directly dumped $200,000 into a group of Tuscaloosa PACs that has been Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox’s biggest contributor.

The Soros contributions were revealed in mandatory financial disclosures that were filed Wednesday night. The treasurer of the PACs receiving the funds also serves as Maddox’s campaign treasurer, per FCC filings.

The conglomerate of PACs, compromised of Cash PAC, CMG PAC II, ET PAC, Leadership PAC, Pride PAC II and T-Town PAC II, has contributed nearly 30 percent of Maddox’s total amount raised over the course of his campaign.

88

The Soros contributions were made from 250 W 55th Street in New York City and in the name of “George Soros.” Soros Fund Management occupies multiple floors at this high-end Manhattan skyscraper.

Only single contributions of $20,000 or more needed to be disclosed on Wednesday, so smaller contributions could have been made to add to the $200,000 figure. This possibility will be answered in the next weekly fundraising reports, which are due on Monday.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Company seeking to fill 850 jobs between two South Alabama locations on Thursday

(Alorica, Pixabay)

According to a press release published by NBC 15, one company is seeking to fill a massive amount of jobs between two of its locations in southwest Alabama on Thursday.

Alorica, “the largest provider of customer experiences to North American consumers,” will attempt to hire 550 employees at its site in Saraland and 300 employees at its Mobile facility.

This comes as a part of the company’s first “National Recruiting Day” spanning more than 80 sites across the United States and Canada on Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

93

The expansive initiative will focus on growing Alorica’s existing global workforce of more than 100,000.

For those who are unable to attend the hiring event this Thursday, prospective employees can still apply for a position online or by using the company’s walk-in hours Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Alorica’s two Mobile-area locations are:

  • 727 US Hwy 43 (Saraland Blvd.), Saraland, AL 36571
  • 5441 HWY 90 W Suite 1, Mobile, AL 36619

Find out more about the company here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Ivey’s doctor confirms the governor is in good health

(YHN, Gov. Kay Ivey/Flickr)

The primary care physician for Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday released a letter confirming the governor is in good health and refuting a report alleging that she had suffered a ministroke in April 2015.

Dr. Brian Elrod of Montgomery, who has been Ivey’s doctor for “many years,” wrote that the governor had indeed been hospitalized at a conference in Colorado that month in 2015, however “extensive” tests conducted at the hospital “were all negative.” Additionally, Elrod himself examined Ivey the day after she was released from the hospital, saying that “I saw no evidence of a transient ischemic attack (ministroke).”

More tests later that year, including an EKG and echocardiogram, were deemed “unremarkable” and “normal.” Then, a cardiologist visit in December 2015 “also showed no new concerns” and “her nuclear imaging study in January of 2016 was likewise unremarkable and suggested ‘a relatively low risk of cardiovascular events.'”

Elrod added that he could not comment “on what condition may have led to her hospitalization in April of 2015,” but that the governor’s health since then “has remained good with no indication of increased cardiovascular risk.”

277

In vintage fashion Tuesday night, Ivey responded to a question on the allegations about her health with gusto while hitting at her Democratic opponent, Walt Maddox, who is trailing in the polls by 20 – 25 percent.

“The letter I released today from my doctor clearly confirms what I’ve been saying all along: I’m in good health,” Ivey said.

On the timing of the allegations against her, she added, “It makes me have to assume that Mayor Maddox is desperate because his liberal record is not connecting with Alabamians. Besides, y’all covered this issue a year ago.”

The allegation that Ivey had suffered a ministroke in 2015 was first published last year by the Alabama Political Reporter (APR), with it gaining little to no traction. Now, with Tuesday marking exactly 21 days until the November 6 general election, APR republished the same allegations.

When questioned directly whether she had experienced “stroke-like symptoms,” Ivey responded by saying “altitude illness, they called it.”

The reporter then asked Ivey if she is confident that she is in good health.

“You’re right about that, friend,” Ivey quipped. “No step too high for a high-stepper.”

This comes after Elrod in May released a general letter about the governor, writing that “Governor Ivey has had physicals for the past 15 years, and she is in excellent health.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Mike Pence encourages Alabama farmers affected by Hurricane Michael, pledges continued support

(M. Pence/Twitter)

According to a post by the Alabama Farmers Federation, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged attendees and pledged continued aid for farmers affected by Hurricane Michael during the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia on Tuesday.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we have taken and will continue to take decisive action to address the aftermath of Hurricane Michael,” Pence said. “I know the strength and faith and resilience of the people of agriculture. We will recover from lost crops and rebuild communities.”

During the expo, which was attended by members of the Alabama Farmers Federation, federation president Jimmy Parnell also discussed issues affecting the Yellowhammer State’s farmers hit by the category-four hurricane with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

212

“I’m grateful for the chance to share with Secretary Perdue the struggles our Wiregrass farmers are facing,” Parnell said. “Florida and Georgia took the brunt of the storm, but communities and families in Alabama are hurting as well. We’re working with this administration and elected officials to help farmers recover and receive aid as quickly as possible.”

The vice president advised farmers to visit local Farm Service Agency offices for assistance or to access the disaster assistance recovery tool online here. Pence said the Trump Administration is working to give farmers “the support you need on the timelines you deserve.”

This came after President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted his support of farmers who have been devastated by the hurricane in southeast Alabama.

“[T]hinking about our GREAT Alabama farmers…We are with you!” Trump said.

The Alabama Farmers Federation has established a relief fund to directly benefit affected farmers in the state. Read more here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

Three takeaways from latest statewide campaign fundraising reports

(Campaigns/YHN)

The latest campaign finance reports for statewide candidates running in the November 6 general election were due on Monday, and the numbers revealed some clear storylines with voting to occur in less than three weeks time.

The reports were the first “weekly” disclosures due in the lead up to the election, with the next ones being due on Monday, October 22. Generally, Republican dominance continued in the top contested races, with the exception being the race for Chief Justice.

Here are the top three takeaways:

272

  1. Governor Kay Ivey continues to pummel Walt Maddox in fundraising, even with the Democratic nominee and Tuscaloosa mayor being funneled hundreds of thousands from one group of PACs in his hometown. In the latest reporting period, Ivey raised $269,133 to Maddox’s $102,280. Ivey is ahead by 20 – 25 percent in the polls and is winning the message battle as well.
  2. Despite polling showing an underwhelming, losing performance by Democratic nominee for Chief Justice, Judge Bob Vance, donors continue to pour money into his campaign while Associate Justice Tom Parker seems content to coast to victory without lifting a finger. Parker, the Republican nominee, only raised $1,050 since October 1 while Vance raked in $153,401 – more than his own party’s much-hyped nominee for governor. Vance set himself up to have at least over $700,000 to spend on television advertising the last three weeks of the campaign, so expect a bombardment of his ads.
  3. Democrats’ last-ditch hope is that massive out-of-state, dark money spending opposing constitutional Amendment Two will drive liberals to the polls and serve as a substitute for the lack of an organized, well-funded state Democratic Party. PACs opposing this pro-life amendment are set to spend well over $800,000 in the remaining 20 days before November 6, attempting to raise Democratic turnout and affect down-ballot races that many Alabamians will not even bother to vote in. You can negate this kind of backdoor tactic by getting out to vote and filling out the entire ballot, not just the top of the ticket.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 days ago

New school safety and security legislative advisory committee holds first meeting

(AL House Republican Caucus/YouTube)

The newly formed Legislative Advisory Committee on School Safety and Security held its organizational meeting at the Alabama State House on Tuesday, with the chair, state Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), touting the broad partnerships represented on the committee.

The panel, which was created by Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) and tasked with reviewing and vetting legislation involving school security issues, is comprised of legislators, law enforcement officials, educators and mental health professionals.

McCutcheon, who addressed the meeting, explained that he hopes it will serve as a valuable resource for lawmakers by providing advice, input and counsel on school security measures that are introduced in upcoming sessions of the Alabama Legislature.

Collins, who is considered one of the state’s leading voices on education issues, previously led a similar Emergency Task Force on School Safety and Security that was formed in 2016. This past task force recommended several school security statutes that have since been passed into law and enacted.

333

“Because of the work of the previous task force and now this committee, Alabama is ahead of the curve nationally, and we are leading many other states in the area of school safety and security,” Collins said in a press release. “As a result of the partnerships we’ve formed among the groups represented on this committee, we are all working to ensure our schools, our children, our teachers, and our administrators are safe, secure and prepared to react if the unthinkable ever happens.”

State Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton), who is a retired public school teacher, also serves on the new advisory committee and has previously sponsored and passed key school security measures into law.

“This committee will serve as a great resource to any lawmaker who is considering legislation related to school safety and wants their ideas vetted before being introduced,” Baker outlined. “Everyone involved in school safety from law enforcement to school administrators to mental health to the Legislature is represented on this committee, and I am proud to be a part of its efforts.”

The committee will hold its next meeting prior to the 2019 regular state legislative session, which begins in March, in order to review state budget recommendations and pre-filed legislation related to school safety and security.

In addition to Collins and Baker, members of the committee include state Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville), state Rep. Rod Scott (D-Fairfield), Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones, Alabama Department of Mental Health Legislative Affairs Director Holley Caraway, School Superintendents Association of Alabama Executive Director Ryan Hollingsworth, Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools Executive Director Vic Wilson, Alabama Homeland Security Director Shirrell Roberts, Alabama Department of Education Administrator Greg DeJarnett, Lee County Deputy Sheriff Pamela Revells, Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear and Elmore County Public Schools Counseling Coordinator Emilie Johnson.

2 days ago

‘You’re like family to me’: Ivey releases new campaign ad

(Ivey Campaign/YouTube)

Governor Kay Ivey released her new campaign ad on Tuesday, which marked exactly three weeks until Alabamians vote in the November 6 general election.

In the ad, Ivey is seated with her dog, “Bear.” She talks about the priorities in her life and what being governor means to her.

Watch:

116

“After God, country and family, there are two things I love: the state of Alabama and my dog, Bear,” Ivey says to open the ad.

She continues, “I go to work every day looking to grow jobs, improve education and make Alabama better anyway I can. Because just like Bear, you’re like family to me.”

The governor then asks, “Right, Bear?”

After the dog barks his response, Ivey laughs and explains, “Bear says yes.”

“I’m Kay Ivey, and I’m proud to be your governor,” she concludes.

Ivey will face Democratic nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox at the ballot box.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

North Alabama dentist office to offer free services to veterans on November 10

(WZDX News/YouTube)

According to a report by WZDX, a dentistry in Huntsville is honoring Alabamians who have served our country.

In a display of patriotism, Flint River Dental will offer free services to veterans on November 10. Veterans will be able to get free cleanings, fillings and extractions on this day.

95

“Our office does help volunteer at the community free clinic in town and I’m always amazed at how many of those patients that come in to get extractions at the free clinic, are also veterans too. So it helped highlight to me that there are people that don’t have access to services,” Dr. Meghan Darby said.

Veterans Dental Day will be “first come, first serve” with registration beginning at 8:30 am on November 10.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Bradley Byrne strikes optimistic tone in Montgomery Chamber of Commerce speech

(YHN/YouTube)

MONTGOMERY – Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) addressed a packed crowd at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs and Issues Breakfast on Tuesday morning, striking a notably optimistic tone about his outlook for the state of Alabama and the nation as a whole.

Byrne began the substantive part of his speech by noting that the mainstream media largely ignores the real issues on both the federal and state levels, instead opting to cover divisive “wedge” issues and pour gas on partisan flames.

“The national news media makes its money off of doing things to get more eyeballs on the screen,” Byrne said. “In order to get more eyeballs on the screen, they like to generate controversy.”

He then gave an example of a roughly ten-minute segment CNN filmed this past spring at the annual reenactment of the Selma-to-Montgomery march of bipartisanship between himself and Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-7). The two talked about working together for the betterment of Alabamians, despite their different political leanings and demographic backgrounds. CNN never ran the footage.

1183

“Because two people working together to make things better for people is not news,” Byrne explained. “Now, if she had called me a name or I had said something bad about her, yeah you would’ve seen that [on CNN]. But it’s sad to say, that America today, we can make great progress on things and you’ll never know it.”

The congressman from southwest Alabama then began listing accomplishments that have flown under the radar.

“The House of Representatives this Congress, the last two years, has passed over 1,000 bills. 80 percent of them – bipartisan. Some of them very strongly bipartisan,” Byrne advised.

Rebuilding the military

Byrne followed this statistic by highlighting the Senate’s historic success in approving President Donald Trump’s conservative judicial nominees, along with the actions taken to rebuild America’s military. For Byrne, both of these marked much-needed changes from the Obama Administration.

“When I got to Congress five years ago, I gotta tell you – I was shocked at the state of our military. Not a result of their lack of leadership, but as a result of [the federal government’s] lack of resourcing them,” he advised.

In the last two years, not only has the military been given the necessary resources and support, but members of the armed forces have been given consecutive pay raises, too.

The renewed support of the military, as Byrne said, is particularly impactful for Alabama, from Mobile to Montgomery and the Wiregrass to Anniston and Huntsville.

“[T]he fact that we have under-resourced them for all these years is a disgrace, and I’m glad we finally turned that around,” Byrne added.

Foreign affairs

His next topic was trade, with Byrne emphasizing that he is a “strong free-trader” and that Alabama relies heavily on foreign trade. However, while standing behind free trade’s important role, he also expressed his support for President Trump’s battle to ensure America is not being taken advantage of by its trading partners.

“Free trade is important, but fair trade is also important,” Byrne advised. “We need to have good deals when we cut these trade deals, and I’m pleased to see the trade deal that the president has cut [with South Korea] and the most recent announcement about the multilateral trade agreement that he’s reached with Canada and Mexico.”

On trade momentum, Byrne added, “We need to keep going.”

He is confident that the president can come to a deal with the European Union but explained that “China is a more difficult issue” because of their malicious behavior when it comes to intellectual property theft.

While he sees China as largely a competitor economically, Byrne said it was great to see the country work with the United States to de-escalate tensions with North Korea.

Tax and regulatory reform

Byrne then moved back to domestic economic issues.

“Let’s talk about tax reform,” he said, before criticizing the national news media for their slanted reporting following the passage of last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – better known as the Trump Tax Cuts.

“[H]ere’s the way that I look at it: the average family in my district will see their tax bill will decrease this year by $2,187. Now, some people may call that peanuts, but in southwest Alabama we call that real money,” Byrne commented.

He said he is a supporter of pro-growth conservative economic policies and described how small business owners in his district have talked about giving out bonuses and investing back into their companies because of Republican tax reform.

Byrne also sees the tax bill as a driver of the national economy, which has seen a once struggling GDP growth leap to approximately four percent.

Because of this, Byrne said, Americans are seeing significant wage growth over the last few months. And now, the issue is finding enough qualified workers for the jobs currently available instead of not enough jobs being available.

“[I]t’s extremely important for our country that we continue that great growth and we believe that tax reform had a big part in it, as did regulatory reform,” Byrne added.

Byrne then touched on infrastructure, praising the recent passage of vital water infrastructure legislation that will benefit the Port of Mobile and the state in general. He also stressed the importance of getting a comprehensive infrastructure package passed at the federal level soon, including more money into the highway fund.

Closes with forward-looking optimism

Byrne then transitioned into his closing message, which painted a bright outlook for the future.

“You would think that our country is falling apart by what you see from the national news media – that’s not what I see every day in Washington,” Byrne emphasized.

[“D]espite what I call ‘the noise’ at the national level, our economy is booming, our military is strong again and getting stronger, our communities are indeed safer and the data shows that they are safer, and the American people are better off,” Byrne added.

He continued, “And I believe very strongly the people of Alabama are better off.  My family’s been here since before there was a state of Alabama, you know the bicentennial is coming up next year. And I can tell you … Alabama has never seen a point in time like we’re seeing right now.”

Yet, this current success is only a jumping off point, with exponential growth possible with continued strong leadership.

“Please don’t let ‘the noise’ and the naysayers make you doubt the state of Alabama or our potential. We need to embrace the future of our state and of our country. Despite what some people may believe, we don’t need to try and rewrite the past. The past is the past, we can learn from it, but we don’t have to be the prisoners of it. Instead, let’s use what we’ve learned from the past, from what we’re learning from the present, to chart a future for our state and our country that works well for our children and grandchildren,” Byrne remarked.

“I’m not just saying this because I’m up here on the stage in-front of you, but the best days are ahead for Montgomery, Alabama and this region,” Byrne concluded. “The best days of the state of Alabama are ahead of us, and, ladies and gentlemen, the best days for the United States of America are clearly ahead of us. We won’t get there divided as a country, we get there being united as a country.”

The bottom line

For Byrne, this was an event that previews his likely U.S. Senate run in 2020. The speech was out of his district, with a general focus on the state as a whole rather than just localized topics.

After the address, Byrne also held a media availability, in-which he was asked about the possibility of challenging Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).

Watch the full speech:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Ivey reaffirms her support for pro-life amendment opposed by Maddox

(Maddox/YouTube, Ivey/Flickr)

Governor Kay Ivey on Monday reaffirmed her support for Alabama’s Constitutional Amendment Two, which recognizes and supports the rights of the unborn.

“Now, perhaps more than ever, is the time for Alabama to affirm the sanctity of unborn life,” Ivey said in a press release.

Her Democratic opponent, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, opposes the pro-life amendment, as does Planned Parenthood, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the ACLU and other out-of-state liberal groups.

“It’s unconscionable to me that Walt Maddox would join abortion rights activists from across the country in opposing this measure that simply recognizes the rights of our precious unborn babies,” Ivey emphasized.

103

The governor also rallied voters to support the amendment on Election Day.

Ivey concluded, “I urge Alabamians to join me in this important fight by showing up to the polls on November 6 and voting yes on Constitutional Amendment Two.”

Amendment Two, which was sponsored by state Rep. Matt Fridy (R-Montevallo), “would add language to the state constitution acknowledging the sanctity of unborn life and stipulating that the state constitution provides no right to abortion.”

You can read the objective Fair Ballot Commission’s entire write-up on the amendment here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Ivey breaks ground on multi-million dollar project in rural west Alabama

(CBS 42/YouTube)

For much of rural Alabama, one of the main hindrances to economic development is a pure lack of people stopping in to eat, shop and work.

This has been the case in the Greene County seat of Eutaw for far too long, with the county having an unemployment rate nearly double the state as a whole and the poverty issues to match.

However, after Governor Kay Ivey broke ground on the construction of a $12 million Love’s Travel Stop on Monday, Eutaw has hope.

“They’re going to hire 40, at least 43, more people in this area and that’s great for our families and it’s good for Alabama. I’m proud to be a part of growing jobs and putting our people to work,” Ivey said, according to WTOK.

343

The nearest travel center to either the east or west of Eutaw can take at least 20 minutes, so Love’s is building this new center that will accommodate drivers, plus create much-needed revenue in the community.

“Enthusiasm of the folks here is just really palpable,” Jenny Love-Meyer, Vice President of Communications for Love’s Travel Stop, emphasized.

Love-Meyer believes Eutaw is an ideal location to expand her family’s business.

“And to be able to know in a little bit, we’re going to have a full travel stop and be able to be a part of this community is awesome,” she added.

Representative Terri Sewell was also in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony. As a Black Belt native, Sewell knows that it is often difficult to attract new businesses to low-profit, struggling areas.

“Often rural America, like rural Alabama, are forgotten,” Sewell outlined.

But in this case, Sewell says rural Alabama is not being forgotten.

“Having a truck stop like this, to have a major truck stop off the interstate, right here in Eutaw, will be a gateway to many other economic opportunities for the folks here,” Sewell advised.

The excitement for this project bridges the partisan divide, and it all begins with the genuine energy that has been sparked in the community itself.

“Everybody’s proud to be here, the public, individuals, citizens support this project and support Love’s expansion in getting another location. So this is great news,” Ivey remarked.

The truck stop will be located at Exit 40 off of Interstate 20/59, southwest of Tuscaloosa. Construction is expected to take at least a year to complete. Ivey announced last month that funding to make the project possible will come from different levels across the state. A grant for nearly $375,000 will come from the federal Delta Regional Authority. The DRA funds will be combined with a $400,000 community development block grant awarded by Ivey in July to provide sewer services at the location by extending lines from the City of Eutaw.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Twinkle Cavanaugh hosts campaign event for Will Ainsworth at her house

(S. Ross/Twitter)

MONTGOMERY – In today’s supercharged political environment, it is inspiring to see elected officials put past differences aside for the betterment of the state.

It is also especially rare to see true unity come from extremely competitive primaries, but Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and state Rep. Will Ainsworth have proven to be a glowing exception.

After a hard-fought race to be Alabama’s next lieutenant governor, Cavanaugh and her husband welcomed Ainsworth to their home on Monday evening for a meet and greet for Ainsworth’s campaign. And this was no mere symbolic gesture. The place was packed, with the crowd pushing 200 and spilling into both the front and back yards at times.

These two conservatives are truly in lockstep, and their respective speeches reflected high-character and leadership from both.

440

Cavanaugh, in introducing Ainsworth to the overflow assembly from all over the River Region, expressed her utmost confidence in Ainsworth’s vision for the state, saying he was intent on moving “Alabama to its best and brightest days.” The former chair of the Alabama Republican Party talked about how important it was, after primaries, for formerly competing conservatives to come together and unite behind their shared ideals and goals.

She emphasized that she was looking forward to Ainsworth being elected as the state’s next lieutenant governor and urged the crowd to get out the vote for pro-jobs Republican candidates on November 6.

After the glowing introduction, Ainsworth thanked the Cavanaugh family for their hospitality and graciousness, noting that they had gone above and beyond in their support of him after the primary.

The state representative from Guntersville then echoed Cavanaugh’s words on the ultimate focus for leaders being on the greater good, not individual gain. He noted that he and Cavanaugh were both strong proponents of education, specifically Governor Kay Ivey’s “Strong Start, Strong Finish” initiative. Ainsworth also mentioned pro-growth economic policies as a shared goal that he and Cavanaugh would continue working on together, along with “the state’s leadership team,” moving forward.

While Cavanaugh and Ainsworth drew praise immediately for their respective conciliatory public statements on the primary runoff election night, the two have increasingly come together behind-the-scenes in the months since. They took a picture together at a rural broadband meeting held at the Alabama Farmers Federation home office weeks ago, after which Cavanaugh again rallied her supporters behind Ainsworth on social media.

However, this meet and greet event held at the Cavanaugh home is on a different level of party unison. Alabama Republican Party chair Terry Lathan, who attended the event in Montgomery, has praised Cavanaugh previously for helping bring the party together and continue advancing her conservative ideals, even after defeat at the ballot box. Now, people are simply blown away.

This latest step, far more than a gesture, had grassroots activists and politicos alike abuzz – even the most seasoned campaign consultants and elected officials in Montgomery could not remember a time when opponents in an uber-competetive primary had come together in such powerful fashion before the following general election.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 days ago

Trump ‘thinking about our GREAT Alabama farmers,’ praises ‘terrific’ Kay Ivey after Hurricane Michael

(Gov. Kay Ivey/Flickr)

While traveling to Georgia on Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted his support of farmers who have been devastated by Hurricane Michael in southeast Alabama.

“[T]hinking about our GREAT Alabama farmers…We are with you!” Trump said.

This came while the president was en-route to tour affected areas in Florida and Georgia that day.

While in Georgia, Trump also heaped praise on Governor Kay Ivey, whom he spoke to on the phone in the immediate aftermath of the category-four hurricane.

“She’s in there fighting,” Trump said of Ivey, per the Daily Mail. “We have terrific people running these states.”

60

In response to Ivey’s request, Trump on Saturday approved an Emergency Disaster Declaration for the state of Alabama as a result of Michael.

The Alabama Farmers Federation has established a relief fund to directly benefit affected farmers in the state. Read more here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 days ago

Watch: Dog goes crazy after Alabama owner returns from deployment overseas

(J. Williams)

Seeing military service members reunited with loved ones after lengthy periods of time overseas is always emotional, but this time it is man’s best friend stealing the show.

Alabama’s Captain Josh Williams just returned from a ten-month deployment on the Korea peninsula with his brigade, which is part of the 3rd Infantry Division. In a video recorded by his wife Anna, Williams is greeted by one very happy canine companion.

Watch:

184

The dog’s name is Milo, and, as you can tell, he is excited to have Captain Williams back home.

Williams is a Cavalry Troop Commander and earned his commission as an Army Officer through Auburn University’s ROTC program. He is a fourth-generation Army officer, and his grandfather did a tour in Korea 55 years ago this year. When Williams first arrived on the Korean peninsula in January of this year the tensions were at their highest level since his grandfather was there, but diplomatic tensions have eased to the calmest levels in recent years during his deployment.

“Praise God,” Williams’ father, state Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City), told Yellowhammer News, referencing the deescalation of tensions with North Korea and his son’s safe return.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn