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.

19 hours ago

Carl: Honoring South Alabama’s hometown heroes

(Brian Copes/Facebook, University of South Alabama, Fairhope UMC, Chickasaw United Methodist Church/Facebook, YHN)

Last week, I had the honor of recognizing several hometown heroes in South Alabama who have made an impact in their community over the past year. This past year has been tough on millions of Americans as we battle the COVID pandemic and endure countless hardships, but I’m proud of so many folks in South Alabama who make our community a better place.

Brian Copes, a manufacturing instructor for the City of Chickasaw school system is leading an effort to develop inexpensive prosthetic limbs that will change the lives of many amputees throughout Latin America. Students from all disciplines have been working together to create a real non-profit business, and eventually, these students will travel to Latin America to not only fit amputees but also to aid the amputees in rehabilitation as they learn to walk with their new prosthetics.

Natalie Fox, assistant administrator and chief nursing officer for USA Physicians Group and USA Health, has been the lead coordinator of the University of South Alabama’s Health system community testing and vaccination site for the Mobile region. To date, she has overseen the successful implementation of over 26,000 COVID-19 vaccinations administered since December 15 and over 50,000 COVID tests performed since the pandemic began. Natalie has worked tirelessly to meet the high demands on the health care system for the past year, and we are incredibly thankful for her hard work and dedication to the people of South Alabama.

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Jennifer Myrick of Fairhope has been a critical figure in recovery efforts after Hurricanes Sally and Zeta. Jennifer worked through the Fairhope United Methodist Church to set up an independent point of distribution to hand out crucial supplies to the public. She also headed up a feeding program with those supplies and is an active member of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster through Baldwin County Emergency Management where she helped fulfill many needs throughout the county. Jennifer also worked with the Fairhope Police Department to keep officers, dispatchers and corrections officers fed during a long stretch following the hurricanes.

Kathy Couey, the recreation superintendent for the City of Chickasaw goes above and beyond the day-to-day responsibilities to make the city a better and healthier place for families to live. Her creativity is limitless and she has a true servant’s heart. With so many people working and learning from home over the past year, staying active and getting outdoors has been critical to people’s physical and mental health. Kathy’s hard work has made Chickasaw a better place to live and raise a family.

Virtually no person across our country has not been impacted in some way by the pandemic, natural disasters and the countless other challenges that have come our way over the course of the past year or so. Although we are living in difficult times, I couldn’t be prouder to be an American, and I couldn’t be more thankful for so many incredible people all over my district and all over the nation who work hard each day, not for fame, recognition, or money, but for the betterment of their friends and neighbors. This is what makes America strong, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to recognize just a few of these unsung heroes who have made an impact on their community during this past year.

If you know of a hometown hero who has made a difference in your community and would like to nominate them to be recognized, please send their name, location, description and a photo to honorahero.carl@gmail.com by March 12 so they can be recognized.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

Carl: Alabama schools serve as a model for safe in-person learning

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook)

Late last year, Governor Ivey urged school districts in Alabama to reopen schools and allow students the option to return to the classroom, while many school districts across the country continued with virtual learning. Alabama was ahead of the curve on what recent CDC guidance made clear – with reasonable health precautions like distancing and wearing masks, students and teachers could safely return to the classroom and resume in-person learning. In Alabama, most of our students have been back in the classroom since late last year, and time has proven classrooms are safe and the transmission and infection rates in schools are incredibly low. School districts across the country should look to Alabama as a model for how to safely get students back in the classroom.

Although it will likely be years before we know the full impact remote learning has on our students, we are already seeing negative impacts on students across the nation. Multiple studies have shown students are falling significantly behind academically, with younger and lower-income students disproportionately suffering. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Virginia’s largest school system just outside of D.C., compared data from 2019 and 2020, and what they found was shocking. The percentage of Fs earned by middle and high schoolers nearly doubled and students with disabilities saw a massive spike in Fs. It will be nearly impossible for students to make up for this lost time, putting them at a severe disadvantage as they enter the workforce in the future.

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The impact on students’ grades is just one small part of the picture, though. What is even more concerning is the toll virtual learning and isolation have taken on the mental health of students everywhere. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports mental health emergency room visits for children aged 5-17 increased by 25-30% between March and October of 2020, which is an alarming statistic. Experts at the Medical University of South Carolina report the number of children attempting or completing suicide has skyrocketed in recent months, and one of the primary causes of this is the isolation resulting from virtual learning.

Schools are more than just a place for academic instruction – in fact, schools perform many different functions critical to the development of young people. For 50% of our state’s public-school students, school is the primary source for nutritious free meals and healthcare. For most, schools are the primary source of socialization and character development. The science is clear that students belong in the classroom, and Alabama has proven this over the past six months. The rest of the nation should follow Alabama’s example and allow our students back in the classroom where they belong.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

2 weeks ago

Carl: The problem with Biden’s proposed $15 federal minimum wage

(Pixabay, Joe Biden/Facebook, YHN)

President Biden has said one of his top priorities is creating new jobs and “growing the economy for all Americans.” One way he seeks to do this is by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour between now and 2025. The unfortunate reality is such a move would result in significant increases in unemployment for younger and less-educated workers who typically work entry-level minimum wage jobs, even though President Biden claims it would increase employment and increase wages for these workers.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, despite lifting 900,000 people out of poverty, would cause 1.4 million people to lose their job due to layoffs, outsourcing and automation. Simply put, implementing such a significant wage increase on many small businesses would force business owners to cut their workforce and increase prices for their goods and services. The CBO also found that raising the federal minimum wage would add another $54 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years.

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By imposing the labor costs of urban areas like New York City or Los Angeles on rural areas and rural states with lower costs of living, a drastically increased federal minimum wage would drive countless small business in states like Alabama to significantly increase their prices or lay off employees. These layoffs would disproportionately affect younger and unskilled laborers, who depend on minimum wage jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of minimum wage earners are between 16 and 24 years old. Minimum wage jobs often provide younger workers the opportunity to learn and develop key skills which enable them to move up the economic ladder and earn more money down the road.

While the immediate effects of increasing the minimum wage might temporarily improve the lives of entry-level earners, we must take into account the long-term repercussions of such a decision. If the federal government mandates a wage hike across the board, many young workers will lose out on the opportunity to work entry-level jobs and develop key skills they will need down the road to earn more money. Increasing the threshold of entry into the job market will have devastating impacts on the earning potential for younger workers. Instead of more government mandates, we should be focused on pro-growth policies that enable businesses to grow, while giving workers the opportunity to develop their skills and increase their earnings throughout the entirety of their career journey.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

3 weeks ago

Carl: Democrats’ bad budget deal

(Congressman Jerry Carl/Facebook, YHN)

Last week, House Democrats passed a budget resolution that provides them with a framework to pass a budget without input from a single Republican, even though Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that we are willing to come to the table and work together in a bipartisan fashion for the good of the American people. Congress has yet to hold even a single committee hearing on a budget, and Democrats are bypassing the process in an attempt to advance their radical agenda and ultimately rush through President Biden’s proposed budget.

I voted against this budget resolution because it is nothing more than a vehicle which will allow Democrats to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, Congress has provided more than $4 trillion in aid to individuals, business owners, and local and state governments. More than $1.3 trillion of this aid remains unused and is still available for the federal response to the pandemic, so it is unwise and irresponsible to rush through another emergency COVID spending package.

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With the U.S. debt nearing $28 trillion, we cannot afford to keep spending at such unsustainable levels. The pandemic is a looming problem that certainly must be addressed, but we must avoid making today’s solutions become tomorrow’s unsolvable problems. Biden’s relief bill ignores hardworking Americans who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, while providing billions of dollars in bailout money to governors who used lockdowns and economic shutdowns to harm political opponents. This is unacceptable.

Democrats are using the budget resolution as a blank check to fundamentally change America through a rushed partisan process. This establishes a dangerous precedent that will lead to further increases of the deficit while doing nothing to help Americans who need relief. Instead of giving cash bailouts and increasing spending without due process, we should be working together to provide targeted aid to people who have been directly affected by the pandemic. Getting these folks back on their feet and getting our businesses safely opened back up should be our top priority as we work to overcome the pandemic.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

4 weeks ago

Jerry Carl: President Biden’s war on oil and gas

(U.S. Representative Jerry Carl/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

President Biden enacted a flurry of new executive orders last week, further cementing his decision to bypass working with Congress on any meaningful legislation. After canceling the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline on his second day in office – a decision which will destroy American jobs and drive up the cost of energy – Biden has continued waging war on the American oil and gas industry. He has even gone so far as to publicly admit his administration is targeting “the economies of coal, oil, and gas, and power plant communities.” As a result of the president’s actions, thousands of Americans will lose their jobs and American energy independence will become a thing of the past.

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order placing a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands and water. This action will have catastrophic effects on Alabama’s thriving oil and gas industry, which supports 28,000 jobs in the state, and last year alone provided $50 million in revenue to the state’s coffers. As my colleagues Rep. Scalise and Rep. Herrell said, “When Washington radicals ban drilling on federal lands, Americans lose their jobs, investment flows overseas, and communities across America lose a primary source of revenue for schools, health care and conservation efforts.”

Under President Trump’s leadership, America became energy independent for the first time in decades, and we became the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. Instead of building on this progress and working alongside the private sector to move forward with free-market innovations and clean energy solutions, President Biden chooses to impose top-down government mandates that stifle innovation, eliminate American jobs, and threaten America’s energy independence.

The president’s actions are unacceptable, and I am fighting back every step of the way. Last week, I signed onto a bill that would require lease sales in the western and central Gulf of Mexico to continue under the status quo. I have also co-sponsored legislation that would prevent this administration from enacting any moratorium on federal oil and gas leasing or permitting without Congressional approval. America is a world leader in environmental standards, so it is unconscionable to lock up our lands and force us to rely on oil imported from overseas. President Biden should not have the ability to unilaterally cripple an entire industry with the stroke of a pen, and I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to do their part to stop this war on America’s oil and gas industry.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

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1 month ago

Jerry Carl: Biden’s misplaced priorities

(U.S. Representative Jerry Carl/Facebook)

During his first week in office, President Biden has begun reviving failed Obama-era policies, rather than working in a bipartisan manner to move America forward. Republicans have proven that we are willing to come to the table and negotiate bipartisan compromises that will strengthen our nation and help American families, but the president has chosen to bypass Congress and work through executive orders to accomplish his goals. Delivering targeted relief to American families, ultimately defeating the coronavirus pandemic, and rebuilding our economy in the aftermath of the pandemic should be the president’s highest priorities, but instead, his actions further divide America and weaken our defenses.

President Biden has taken credit for President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed plan by saying the plan never existed before he took office. However, Operation Warp Speed is the reason for an average of nearly 1 million vaccinations a day before President Biden took office. While I support the president’s decision to continue Operation Warp Speed, I am deeply disappointed that his priorities have been directed anywhere but defeating this pandemic.

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Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord eliminates thousands of American jobs and gives China a competitive advantage over America’s energy industry. This agreement comes with a huge price tag – roughly $500 billion, which translates to about $1,500 per family. Canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline project further cripples America’s energy industry by eliminating American energy jobs, moving America further away from energy independence, and denying Americans access to affordable energy. Blocking funding for the border wall and granting mass amnesty for 11 million people creates a disastrous national security threat. Finally, pledging to reverse the Mexico City Policy, which currently prohibits American aid money from funding groups that perform or promote abortion, will drive up the number and rate of abortions around the globe.

President Biden campaigned on the promise of being a president for all Americans, but so far all he has done is eliminate jobs and enact reckless immigration policies. Unfortunately, he has not shown a willingness to work with Congress to get people back to work, get our kids back in school, and deliver vaccines to people who want them. Now is the time for him to work more closely with Congress instead of ruling through executive orders and actions.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

1 month ago

Jerry Carl: Commitment to fighting for life

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

On Friday of this week, our nation will recognize National Sanctity of Life Day. This tradition started when President Reagan issued a proclamation in 1984 designating January 22 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The purpose of this special day is celebrating the gift of life, remembering the lives lost to abortion, and reaffirming our commitment to protecting life from conception to natural death.

Thankfully, we have seen a decrease in the total number and rate of abortions in America. In recent years, abortions have decreased by about 25%. Much credit is due to President Trump, the most pro-life president in history, for many of these positive changes. While this is worth celebrating, there is still more work to be done. Being an advocate for pro-life policies is one of my top priorities in Congress, and I have already begun working with my colleagues on some key pieces of pro-life legislation.

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One of the bills I’m proud to co-sponsor is Rep. Virginia Foxx’s bill, The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which amends the Public Health Service Act to prohibit the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) from providing federal family planning grants to entities that perform abortions or provide funds to entities that perform abortions. This is a critical step to stemming the tide of abortion in our country, and I strongly believe that no taxpayer money should ever be used in support of performing an abortion.

As a nation, we must remain rooted in the fundamental truth that every life is a precious gift from God. We should also recognize and thank the many men and women who advocate for life, whether it’s supporting women dealing with unplanned pregnancies, counseling women who have had an abortion, or supporting the adoption and foster care industries. I hope you will join me this week in reaffirming our nation’s commitment to protecting life at all stages.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

2 months ago

Jerry Carl: My first week in Congress

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook)

Last week, the House of Representatives met for the opening session of the 117th Congress. Our first orders of business were establishing a quorum, being sworn in, voting on a rules package, and electing a new speaker for the 117th Congress. Although my Republican colleagues and I cast our votes for Republican Kevin McCarthy, Nancy Pelosi retained the speakership with a slim majority.

The next order of business was the process of certifying the Electoral College vote on Wednesday. What typically would be a routine event got sidetracked as violent rioters stormed the Capitol and breached the House chambers. However, the brave men and women in law enforcement kept us safe. As soon as the Capitol was secure, we got back to work doing the job we were elected to do.

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In the days preceding the Electoral College certification on January 6, I spent several days reading court documents, lawsuits and affidavits regarding voter fraud and election irregularities in several key states around the country. The evidence I saw was overwhelming in many cases, so I voted to challenge the fraudulent electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania. Although there were other states where significant fraud occurred, Arizona and Pennsylvania were the only two states that were challenged in the House and Senate, thus coming to a vote.

Looking forward, I am optimistic that we will be able to pass some meaningful legislation in the 117th Congress. With Democrats having such a slim majority, there will be opportunities to work across the aisle to pass legislation benefitting all Americans. Our economy needs rebuilding in the wake of the COVID crisis, we need to get folks safely back to work, and South Alabama needs a new bridge over the Mobile River.

An infrastructure package is in the works, and I intend to continue fighting to secure as much federal funding as possible for the I-10 Bridge and Bayway project so it can be completed without any tolls whatsoever. I’m also proud to co-sponsor and support at least eight pro-life bills that will make impactful steps to curbing the abortion industry in our country.

I am honored to represent you in Congress and be a voice for our south Alabama values. If I or my office can be of any help to you, please do not hesitate to contact us in Washington at 202-225-4391, in Mobile at 251-283-6280, or in Summerdale at 251-677-6630.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.