The Wire

  • On Roby’s win: One false media narrative dies, a new one is born

    Excerpt:

    Like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts comic strip fame repeatedly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he lines up to kick it, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) once again has shown you can’t beat her in a Republican primary.

    Similar to when she defeated “Gather Your Armies” Rick Barber in the 2010 GOP primary and “Born Free American Woman” Becky Gerritson in the 2016 GOP primary, Roby defeated former Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright for a second time on Tuesday night, this time by a whopping 36 points.

    Heading into yesterday, many national media reporters were sent into Alabama’s second congressional district looking at the possibility that Roby might have to answer to a revolt for not sticking with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the infamous Billy Bush weekend during the 2016 presidential campaign.

  • Mo Brooks Wins FreedomWorks’ Prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award

    Excerpt from a Rep. Mo Brooks news release:

    Tuesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) was one of only 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives awarded the prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award by FreedomWorks, a leading conservative organization with more than six million members nationwide. Only members of Congress who score better than 90% on the FreedomWorks scorecard receive the FreedomFighter Award. Congressman Brooks’ FreedomWorks score was in the top 4% of all Congressmen in 2017.

    Brooks said, “FreedomWorks is a leading organization in the conservative movement. I thank them for their work keeping members of Congress accountable and scoring key House floor votes which helps the American people better understand the impact of those votes. I was proud to receive the prestigious FreedomWorks 2017 FreedomFighter Award for my voting record in 2017. If America is to maintain its place as the greatest country in world history, more members of Congress must fight for the foundational principles that made America great. I’m fighting in Congress for those principles, and I’m glad to have a partner as effective as FreedomWorks in the fight.”

  • Black Bear Sightings Continue to Increase in Alabama

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    Add Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties to the growing list of black bear sightings in Alabama in 2018. In recent years, bears have also been recorded in Chambers, Elmore, Jefferson, Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties. These recent sightings are more evidence of the state’s expanding black bear population.

    Biologists from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say the increase in sightings may be due to a combination of factors including changes in bear distribution, habitat fragmentation, seasonal movement and the summer mating season. However, most spring and summer bear sightings are of juvenile males being pushed out of their previous ranges by their mothers and other adult males.

    Historically, a small population of black bears have remained rooted in Mobile and Washington counties. Baldwin, Covington and Escambia counties on the Florida border host yet another population of bears. In northeast Alabama, bears migrating from northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population.

    “While seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, it is no cause for alarm,” said Marianne Hudson, Conservation Outreach Specialist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “There has never been a black bear attack on a human in Alabama.”

    Black bears are typically secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. Occasionally, a curious bear will explore a human-populated area in search of food.

    “If you are lucky enough to see a bear, simply leave it alone,” Hudson said.

Conservatives must not leave the culture war battle to ‘summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots’

(YHN/Pixabay)

There are certain fundamental truths in life that neither the liberal elite nor the left-wing media nor the activists federal courts can change no matter how hard they try.

For example, I know that marriage ordained by God can only occur between a man and a woman. I know that individuals should use the rest room correlating to the gender they were born with and not the one they pretend to be. And I know that tearing down all of the historic statues, memorials, and markers in the world will not erase our history – it simply prevents future generations from learning the lessons it offers.

The fact of the matter is that our nation is engaged in a prolonged culture war in which the liberals extremists on the east and west coasts of the United States want to dictate the morals, values, and bedrock beliefs of everyone who lives in-between.

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We must not let them win.

The Declaration of Independence says that our rights are endowed by our Creator and that the freedom for independence is entitled by the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”

I believe the Creator referenced in this revered document is the God to whom we, as Christians, devote our lives and spirits and the same God the founders worshipped when they held regular prayer and church services in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber, a practice that continued until after the Civil War.

If you agree, as the founders did, that God is the basis of our nation, we need only to look at Genesis to see His original plan for marriage – one man represented by Adam, and one woman represented by Eve.

Marriage is an institution created and ordained by God. It was not created by man, government, or an activist federal judge.

Every society that has allowed the marriage covenant to be destroyed eventually withered away and vanished. Our society is slipping away, and it is time to take a stand.

We must also hold the line against those who are working to mainstream crossdressers and transvestites by making accommodations that include allowing them to use the public restrooms of their choice. Even worse, some school systems across the nation are allowing minors who claim to be “transgender” to shower in facilities reserved for the opposite sex.

Gender is not a choice. It is a fact that is determined by biology and by God, not by how masculine or feminine you feel when you wake up in the morning. Dressing like a pirate doesn’t make you a pirate, dressing like an astronaut doesn’t make you an astronaut, and dressing like the opposite sex doesn’t make you a man or a woman.

For that same reason, I fully support President Trump’s ban on allowing “transgender” soldiers to serve in the U.S. armed forces. The purpose of the military is to protect our national interests, repel attacks on our country, and preserve peace through strength. Accomplishing these missions becomes infinitely more difficult when military leaders must worry about G.I. Joe demanding to be treated like G.I. Jane.

The culture war has prompted liberals to reach into our nation’s history and demand the removal of any statue, marker, or relic that offends their delicate sensibilities. Colleges have painted over murals of our founding fathers and other groups are vandalizing statues relating to Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Lee, and the Buffalo Soldiers, an African-American military regiment that fought against Native Americans who resisted the settlement of the Great Plains.

Demanding that men and women born more than two centuries ago must strictly conform to the accepted traditions and social structures of today is patently unfair and intellectually dishonest.

Because radical liberal elements are working to tear down monuments to our past and erase entire sections of our shared American history, I was proud to join my fellow lawmakers in passing the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which prevents the removal of any memorial that is at least 40-years-old,.

If conservatives are going to win the culture war, we must elect public officials who are willing to speak the truth, abandon political correctness, and stand toe-to-toe against the liberals who attack us. I think this column proves I am willing to do all of those things.

The consequences of losing the culture war are too dire to leave the battle to what Thomas Paine called “summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots.”

If elected your lieutenant governor, I will shoulder the conservative fight and preserve the Alabama values that make our state such a great place to live, work, and raise our children.

Will Ainsworth is a Republican from Guntersville. 

From morning to midnight, Alabamians are taxed enough already

(Ainsworth Campaign)

Consider the fact that from the moment you open your eyes in the morning until you close them again at night, you are being taxed.

The electricity that powers the light that you turn on as soon as you awaken and the water you use to shower and brush your teeth are taxed.

The over-the-counter medications that you take in the morning for headaches, allergies, or other conditions are taxed.

The car you drive to work and the gas and fluids that make it run are taxed. The coffee you drink and the doughnut you eat for breakfast are taxed.

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The salary you earn at work, the lunch you eat, and the landline that you use to talk to clients or customers are taxed, taxed, and taxed.

The Internet service that you use to send and receive emails is taxed.

The groceries you purchase on your way home are taxed.

The smartphone that sends your texts to friends and family is taxed, and the apps and games you download to it are taxed, as well.

The cable or satellite television that you watch before going to bed is taxed.

In addition to the levies that I named above, there are dozens of additional taxes that you pay each day.

My point is a simple one. Alabamians are taxed enough already.

That is why I have dedicated my term in the Alabama House toward fighting the tax raisers, combating new levies, and killing tax bills that were introduced.

Working alongside a group of deeply conservative freshman and sophomore House members, I helped block roughly $1 billion in taxes over the past four years.

When Robert Bentley proposed $700 million in new taxes in 2015, I was among the first legislators to oppose his plan and highlight his broken re-election campaign promise of “no new taxes.”

Alabama currently collects enough revenue to meet our needs and provide essential services, but our state government lacks the flexibility to shift money to meet emergencies and unexpected challenges.

In years past, whenever a new tax was approved, its proceeds were earmarked for one specific purpose or another. Some of these earmarks are constitutional, which means the voters, in their wisdom, dedicated the taxes to an agency, initiative, or spotlighted need during referendum elections.

Many of Alabama’s statutory earmarks, however, were put in place many years ago through back room bargains between lobbyists and long-retired politicians who no longer roam the State House halls. Removing these earmarks will allow us to avoid new taxes and set priorities based on need, not on decades-old, money-hoarding schemes that lobbyists locked into our budgets.

At 91 percent, we have the highest percentage of earmarked tax dollars in the nation. The national average is just 24 percent, and the next highest state behind Alabama is Michigan with 63 percent. Rhode Island is the lowest in the United States with only 4 percent of its tax revenues being earmarked.

Attempting to raise taxes without first addressing earmarking is like pouring water into a bucket that has a large hole in the bottom of it. No matter how much water you pour, the bucket is never going to fill up. That is why I sponsored legislation that attempted to plug the hole in the bottom of the bucket first and prevent any more trips to the taxpayers’ well.

My bill would have removed the statutory earmarks that exist in our code, which would allow us the freedom to budget like families gathered at the kitchen table – placing our bills on one side, our income on the other, and setting priorities that meet critical needs while living within our means.

Unfortunately, the same special interests that carved out those earmarks and the career politicians that do their bidding united against my legislation. If elected, I plan to use the bully pulpit of the lieutenant governor’s office to make another push for commonsense, conservative unearmarking legislation

By right-sizing state government, attacking waste where it exists, and removing the handcuffs that earmarks present, Alabama can resolve its fiscal problems without forcing its citizens to pay more taxes.

State Rep. Will Ainsworth is a Republican from Guntersville.

Ainsworth: Illegal immigration is an epidemic that demands a cure

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

Imagine for a moment that while you and your family sleep, another family breaks into your home and moves into your basement in the dark of night.

Once you discover them, you call the authorities to have them removed but are told that because they have established residency, it would be wrong for you to force them to leave.

Or, even worse, the authorities openly acknowledge the law has been broken but inform you that your elected officials have ordered them not to cooperate.

Certainly you and your family would feel violated, helpless, and angry at the absurdity of the arguments and the immorality of the situation.

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A similar scenario is happening in the United States thousands of times each week, except instead of breaking into your homes, illegal immigrants are breaking our borders and violating our laws with their very presence.

Illegal immigration is an epidemic that has gone untreated for far too long, and it is one that drains billions of taxpayer dollars as we are forced to provide unearned government services to those who do not pay a dime of taxes back into the system.

Allowing a subculture of an estimated 12.5 million illegal immigrants to live off the grid and under the radar hurts our nation’s economy, drains our jobs, increases our crime rates, and threatens our homeland security.

It also insults those honorable immigrants who have taken the time, effort, and financial commitment to follow our laws and move here legally.

An estimated 65,000 illegal immigrants currently reside in Alabama, which is down from a previous approximation of 80,000 thanks in large part to the toughest-in-the-nation immigration law that the Republican Legislature approved in 2010.

Unfortunately, liberal judges and activist federal courts have neutered and rejected the most effective portions of the state law that protected our sovereign borders, so the number of illegals in Alabama is likely to rise again.

During my one term in the Alabama House, I have strongly supported every measure before the body that seeks to seal our porous borders, enforce the immigration laws on the books, and discourage illegal immigrants from planting their roots in our communities.

Among those measures was a resolution that urges Congress to fund and expedite the construction of a secure wall across the border between the United States and Mexico, which continues to be a cornerstone priority of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Statistics show that nearly 1,000 aliens are caught and captured each day while trying to illegally cross the Mexican border, but it a significant number of aliens successfully avoid detection and capture.

An impenetrable border wall is an absolute necessity, and I am proud that an Alabama-based construction company is among a handful that is under consideration to build the edifice for the Customs and Border Protection Agency.

I also stood tall for proposed legislation that would withhold state funding from any cities, counties, or public colleges and universities that defy immigration laws and declare themselves “sanctuary” areas that harbor illegal aliens. The bill was a proactive step to protect Alabamians before any city or campus in our state takes action that would help harbor illegal aliens and block the enforcement of immigration laws.

The Legislature adjourned before the measure could be enacted, but I plan to use the bully pulpit of the lieutenant governor’s office to push for its reintroduction and rally the public to insist upon its passage.

If the federal bureaucracy, the liberal Democrat opposition in Congress, and the career politicians who sell their votes to special interests refuse to properly protect our nation’s borders, I believe the responsibility to protect Alabama’s borders must fall upon the shoulders of state leaders.

It is a responsibility that I, for one, am not only willing to shoulder, I am eager to shoulder it.

State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R – Guntersville) is a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Elected to the Legislature in 2014, Ainsworth currently represents Alabama’s House District 27, which includes portions of Marshall, DeKalb, and Blount counties.

Alabama must do more to thank its military veterans

(AL VA/FB)

The Bible verse Isaiah 6:8 reads – Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Those words from the holiest of books have always prompted me to think of the men and women who have so selflessly served in the United States military and defended the greatest of all nations.

Military service is a deep commitment that demands a great deal of sacrifice from the soldiers who serve and the family members who support them. Everyone who wears our country’s uniform deserves our respect, honor, and appreciation, and those warm feelings continue even after that uniform is removed and hung in a closet.

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Since joining the Alabama Legislature in 2014, I have placed a deep focus on serving the needs of Alabama’s military veterans, and that commitment will continue if I am elected lieutenant governor.

Most recently, I worked with State Rep. Dickie Drake (R – Leeds) and members of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee to pass the Parks for Patriots Act, which provides free, year-round admission to all Alabama state parks for active military personnel and veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves.

I also joined with State Rep. Barry Moore (R – Enterprise) to pass legislation that makes it a crime for those who do not qualify to park in spaces specifically reserved for Purple Heart and medal of valor recipients, former prisoners of war, or other military veterans.

More and more businesses are setting aside special parking spaces reserved for military veterans who were wounded, taken prisoner, or presented a medal for valor in defense of our country. It is unconscionable to think that someone who does not fall under these categories would park in a space reserved for our nation’s heroes, but it happens quite often. This new law will ensure that those who display such blatant disrespect will be punished appropriately.

My Republican colleagues and I have also approved the Veterans Employment Act, which provides tax incentives to businesses that hire honorably discharged veterans who are currently unemployed.

The law ensures that the veterans covered by this incentive program would be hired for full-time jobs and earn at least $14 per hour, and because the program is modeled after the “pay as you go” method of awarding economic incentives, it will have no negative fiscal impact on the budgets.

And in order to ensure that the sacrifices and legacies of veterans of the past, present, and future are properly protected, I was proud to support the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, a measure that prevents those with leftist agendas and politically correct notions from tearing down statues, monuments, and makers dedicated to our state’s rich military history.

Some may argue that the work we have accomplished is adequate, but I believe that more should still be done to properly thank our veteran heroes for their service.

That is why I plan to create the Lieutenant Governor’s Task Force on Veterans’ Needs if I am elected to serve the citizens of Alabama over the next four years.

This task force will include a cross section of career military veterans, National Guard veterans, disabled veterans, combat and homefront veterans, business leaders, educators, and other citizens. The task force will be responsible for recommending need laws, programs, and initiatives that will ensure Alabama’s veterans and their families are skilled, educated, employed, and provided the comforts necessary to understand the thanks of a grateful state.

As lieutenant governor, I will take the most worthy recommendations of the task force to the members of the Senate and work to enact them into law. And because the needs of veterans continue to evolve with a changing economy, emerging technologies, and shifting military responsibilities, the task force will continue to meet on an annual basis and provide new input and ideas.

George Washington, our nation’s first president and one of its greatest generals, stressed the importance of treating our veterans well when he said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

Those are wise words spoken by a great man, and I pledge to live by them as your lieutenant governor.

U.S. Rep. Will Ainsworth is a Republican from Guntersville.

Answering Alabama’s infrastructure needs in the 21st century

(Pixabay)

Toyota/Mazda, Polaris, Remington, Hyundai, Honda, Airbus, Boeing…

These are just a few of the dozens upon dozens of new and expanding industries that have chosen to locate in Alabama and provide jobs and opportunity to our citizens in recent years.

It is no secret that Alabama continues to lead not only the southeast but the entire nation in economic development categories across the board, and the state’s Department of Commerce could fill a room with all of the “Silver Shovel” awards and other industrial recruitment honors it has captured over the past few decades.

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But if we are going to continue our forward progress and provide even more jobs, hope, and security to Alabama’s families, our attention must begin to focus upon repairing the state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.

Portions of our interstate are simply uncomfortable to drive upon, various bridges in every portion of the state are too dangerous for use, and, as someone who travels a great deal through rural Alabama, I can attest that the roads often feel like driving on broken piecrust.

A health economy and a thriving state demand a road system that allows for the easy transport of commercial goods and the safe travel of our citizens.

But critical infrastructure needs are not endemic to Alabama.

Most states rely upon gas taxes to fund their transportation needs, and the advent of high mileage vehicles and electric cars have caused those revenues to tumble across the nation. As a result, roadways from coast to coast are in need of repair.

President Donald Trump recognized these needs and campaigned for office on an expansive infrastructure proposal that will address road, bridge, highway, tunnel, railroad, and even airport improvements in each of the 50 states.

As a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, I embrace President Trump’s proposal and recognize that Alabama’s list of priority projects stretches from border to border.

Anyone who has driven I-65 between Huntsville and Mobile has, at some point in their journeys, likely been stuck at a dead-stop standstill for no apparent reason. It is frustrating, it is senseless, and it wastes drivers’ time, fuel, and money.

I believe strongly that we should work toward one day three-laning I-65 from the Tennessee border to the waters of the Gulf Coast.

State Highway 157 in Cullman currently has a completed bridge with no access road leading to it because the project remains unfinished.

U.S. Highway 98 in Mobile County has proven so deadly that it has earned the nickname “Bloody 98,” and while funding from the BP oil spill settlement will be used to jump start the project, additional funding is needed, and more work remains to be done.

Farm-to-market roads across the state have been long neglected, and they deserve attention because of the essential role that agriculture plays in our state’s economy.

Completing these projects and hundreds of others like them will require leaders with the determination to push forward and the vision to do them right.

My transportation plan includes close examination of the steps our sister southeastern states have already taken to resolve their infrastructure issues and mimicking their successes while avoiding their pitfalls.

Reducing regulations, implementing cost-cutting measures, and reexamining overly-cautions environmental mandates could dramatically reduce construction costs and help us put our money into asphalt instead of bureaucracy.

Public/private partnerships, which allow the private sector to carry the majority of construction and maintenance costs, are another area worthy of exploring.

Utilizing groundbreaking technologies in the roadbuilding industry can also cut costs in the long-term and save millions of taxpayer dollars that can be reinvested in roadways.

New high-density mineral bonds in asphalt, for example, can be used to repel the moisture and ultraviolet light rays that are major contributing factors in the cracking, raveling, and deterioration of our streets, highways, and interstates.

By implementing our sister states’ models, innovative approaches, conservative policies, and new technologies, I remain confident we can provide Alabama’s citizens and businesses with the quality transportation system that they deserve.

State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R – Guntersville) is a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Elected to the Legislature in 2014, Ainsworth currently represents Alabama’s House District 27, which includes portions of Marshall, DeKalb, and Blount counties.