2 months ago

BIO Alabama names director as bioscience sector growth is targeted

BIO Alabama said Thursday that experienced healthcare executive Sonia Robinson has joined the statewide bioscience trade association as its first full-time executive director, leading efforts within the sector to grow employment, increase research development and expand international trade.

“The entire life sciences ecosystem is active in Alabama from research to institutional tech transfer; from startups and corporate innovation to global manufacturing,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“With this milestone, BIO Alabama is positioned to foster continued growth and development within the bioscience industry.”

The biosciences industry contributes $7.3 billion in economic impact to Alabama annually, according to an analysis conducted for BIO Alabama in 2018.

Industry segments represented in Alabama include medical devices and materials, drug discovery and development, R&D, information technology, genetics, genomics and personalized medicine.

BIO Alabama’s mission is to cultivate a thriving bioscience ecosystem in Alabama through collaboration and investment, both in industry and research.

“Alabama is home to cutting edge research and innovation; we want to be recognized as such and to help our bioscience industry grow,” said BIO Alabama Board Chair Peggy Sammon, CEO and co-founder of Huntsville’s GeneCapture.

“It’s time to devote full-time resources to this goal, and we’re confident that Sonia Robinson will bring the leadership and strategic thinking to this effort.”

PERSONAL CONNECTION

Robinson’s career in healthcare marketing and public relations and her experience with startups are very relevant to the issues BIO Alabama is addressing. Robinson has held positions in marketing, business development, customer service, human resources and back-office operations.

In 2017, Robinson was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her personal investigation into treatment options gave her deep respect for the efforts of researchers and especially the role of personalized medicine. She is now active as a survivor and advocate.

“As an Alabama native, I am so proud of our rich history in agriculture, automobiles, tech, rockets, and aviation. Bioscience joined the state narrative years ago, but it is time to share that news of those successes and impact more broadly,” Robinson said.

“Communities and companies in Alabama are already experiencing how bioscience is an economic force for our future,” she added.

Birmingham-based BIO Alabama is the state partner of the international life sciences trade organization Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

“We have an active board ready to support our new executive director with strategic initiatives designed to cultivate relationships and expand networks for the many bioscience companies in our state,” said Alabama Power Co.’s Blair King, chair-elect of the BIO Alabama board.

“BIO Alabama enhances state-wide economic development initiatives by supporting new, emerging, and existing bioscience organizations through collaboration, advocacy, and support,” he added.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

30 mins ago

Alabama AG Steve Marshall leads national coalition defending Second Amendment to SCOTUS

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall continues to be a staunch defender of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In his latest stalwart act of advocacy for citizens’ right to keep and bear arms, Marshall on Monday filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the State of Alabama and 20 other states.

The brief calls on the Supreme Court to hear (in Malpasso v. Pallozzi) a challenge to a Maryland law that sharply limits the right of typical, law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun outside of the home.

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In a statement, Marshall commented, “The overwhelming majority of states recognize that the Second Amendment allows law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms outside their homes for self-defense.”

“However, a handful of states have decided that citizens’ rights to possess a handgun outside their residence should apply only to when they meet certain limited criteria,” he outlined. “In this case, a Maryland citizen was denied the fundamental right to self-defense because he failed to convince a bureaucrat that he faced some special danger to his safety.”

Marshall continued, “But the right to bear arms is not reserved for just a select few citizens. And there is no question that the Second Amendment right to ‘bear arms’ extends beyond the home. As Justice Clarence Thomas memorably put it: ‘I find it extremely improbable that the Framers understood the Second Amendment to protect little more than carrying a gun from the bedroom to the kitchen.’”

The States of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia joined on to Alabama’s amicus brief.

“A few states have passed laws similar to Maryland’s that severely limit Second Amendment rights, and those laws are rightfully being challenged in federal court as unconstitutional,” Marshall concluded. “Alabama and 20 other states call on the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of Malpasso v. Pallozzi and decide whether laws that deny law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms infringe on Second Amendment rights.”

Alabama Solicitor General Edmund LaCour and Deputy Solicitor General Barrett Bowdre signed onto Marshall’s amicus brief. LaCour is listed as the counsel of record.

RELATED: Steve Marshall takes issue with multi-state lawsuit to keep 3D-printed gun plans off the internet

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

45 mins ago

Roby: Alabama bicentennial amplified by current ‘extreme economic development and job growth’

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) on Tuesday joined Alabama’s entire U.S. House delegation in honoring the Yellowhammer State’s upcoming bicentennial anniversary on the chamber floor.

In a speech, Roby introduced H. Res. 711, which recognizes the incorporation of Alabama as the 22nd state in the Union on December 14, 1819.

Reps. Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Mike Rogers (AL-03), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Mo Brooks (AL-05), Gary Palmer (AL-06) and Terri Sewell (AL-07) joined Roby in commemorating the historic milestone.

Roby’s remarks not only mentioned the marker of Alabama’s statehood but lauded its current progress.

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“This is a monumental occasion in our state’s history, and we are looking forward to joining Alabamians in a year full of memorable celebration and commemoration of the bicentennial,” she said. “Alabama is currently experiencing extreme economic development and job growth across the state, which makes this special time even more exciting for us all.”

This comes after it was announced on Friday that Alabama’s unemployment rate dipped below 3% for the first time ever. The state has been breaking economic records consistently, with each month seemingly bringing even better news. The main focus now for the state’s economy is workforce development efforts to increase Alabama’s pool of skilled workers.

Roby, who is not seeking reelection to a sixth term, concluded, “I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve the people of Alabama as we celebrate the birthday and history of the beloved state we all call home.”

Watch:

You can learn more about Alabama’s bicentennial here, including special events across the state.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

54 mins ago

Technology services veteran appointed to lead State of Alabama’s IT operations

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced that Marty Redden will serve as the permanent Alabama Office of Information Technology (OIT) secretary effective immediately. Redden has been serving as the acting secretary since July.

In a statement, Ivey said, “Since Marty stepped in to OIT as the acting secretary, he has run the agency effectively and with great prudence, and the state will certainly benefit from his leadership in this position. I am confident Marty will continue refining the agency, to make it run successfully and be accountable to the people of Alabama.”

“His decades of experience in the technology field is already paying off for OIT and our other state agencies, which is why I am proud that he will continue serving in this capacity,” she advised.

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Redden has three decades of experience in the IT field, include 20 years in management.

He began his career in banking and finance technology. In 2007, he transitioned to a career in state service. Redden has since held high-level management positions in the Alabama Department of Corrections, the Alabama Medicaid Agency and the state Finance Department. While working with each of these agencies, Redden originated, led and implemented technology advancements and improvements, per a release from the governor’s office.

Redden remarked, “As secretary of OIT, my overriding mission is to provide Alabama’s state government with the best technology services at the smallest cost to the taxpayers we serve. Every service that the state provides to its citizens involve some form of technology, so if we do our job well, countless Alabamians will get the help they need more quickly, efficiently and effectively.”

“I appreciate the confidence Governor Ivey has placed in me and will work every day to prove it justified,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Tua needs our support — Guess who else does

His five words hit home.

Five words that could have been uttered by a Tua Tagovailoa teammate, one of Tua’s parents, an Alabama football fan and, yes, you.

“I feel bad, I’m hurting.”

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Who doesn’t feel bad for one of the greatest quarterbacks not only in Alabama football history, but in college football history? Barring an unlikely return to the Capstone for his senior season, Tua is done in Tuscaloosa. The good news? While it will be a long road, team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain expects Tagovailoa to make a full recovery from the hip injury suffered only days ago. Yes, Tua’s NFL future is bright.

“I feel bad, I’m hurting.”

Those five words could have been uttered by anyone, but the man who said it? Head coach Nick Saban. Yes, the tough, demanding, intimidating coach who rarely reveals his most inner thoughts is hurting, and he shared his heart in Tuscaloosa at his weekly media gathering.

Over the last few days, Saban has been a punching bag for many critics and some fans — their take? The coach is to be blamed for Tua’s injury. After all, they say, it was Saban who had the final say in whether or not his quarterback, still sore from the LSU game and a player who 27 days earlier had ankle surgery, would start against Mississippi State. It was Saban who left Tua in the game despite a big Bama lead deep into the first half of the game. It was Saban who is ultimately responsible for the injury, they allege.

I say hogwash. I say that Nick Saban didn’t hurt Tua, football did.

The bottom line here is that Tua Tagovailoa could have suffered an injury getting off the bus. He could have been injured on his first snap, his final snap or anywhere in between. That’s the cruel sport of football, where injuries occur, even when they are not in the least connected to an earlier injury.

As Tua now begins rehab following Monday’s hip surgery, prayers and well wishes continue to come his way. But I’m here to tell you that Tua’s coach could use some support as well. On the exterior, Nick Saban is all business, the man in charge. He spends long hours at work between 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. doing what he does. But you can bet that when the coach makes his long, dark drive home late at night, when he tries to fall asleep and when he rises early in the morning, Tua Tagovailoa is on his mind. Is he second-guessing himself? If he is, he shouldn’t be. Do the critics bother him? Remember, even the toughest man on the block has feelings.

Only Nick Saban, Miss Terry and a handful of close friends know what the coach is feeling. As we see a coach who is all business, a coach who has a tough exterior and a no-nonsense flare, I have a strong feeling that Nick Saban is struggling a bit this week. My message? As we pray for Tua and wish him well, perhaps the Alabama football coach can also use our support.

“I feel bad, I’m hurting.”

With those five words, Nick Saban offered us a rare glimpse into his heart. May the Alabama family be reminded that the head of the family can use a few prayers as well.

Rick Karle is a 24-time Emmy winning broadcaster and a special sports contributor to Yellowhammer News. He is also the host of the Huts and Nuts podcast.

3 hours ago

Doug Jones spends big on Facebook ads deriding Sessions

Over the last three weeks, Sen. Doug Jones’ (D-AL) reelection campaign has invested in ads mentioning former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The majority of the advertisements are fundraising appeals viewed by people outside of Alabama.

According to data from the Facebook Ads library, the Jones campaign has spent $12,844 promoting 183 different ads between October 29 and November 15. All but one of the ads mention Sessions, who held Jones’ Senate seat before serving as attorney general, by name and argue that he is too divisive of a figure for Alabama.

Of the $12,844 spent in total, $4,219, or 33%, was spent advertising to Alabamians.

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Nearly all of the Facebook ads include an appeal to donate to the Jones campaign. It would seem Jones’ team believes that the stir created by Sessions’ entrance to the race will have supporters of Jones opening their wallets.

The Jones team adopted a similar strategy when his 2017 opponent Roy Moore entered the race in June. During the time the Jones campaign ran ads about Moore entering the race, they received 338 contributions for a total of $158,877.03, per FEC data.

The Sessions ads make up around 30% of Jones’ Facebook expenditures this cycle. The Jones campaign has spent $42,735 on Facebook ads since May 2018.

The Jones campaign has a much greater reach on Facebook than any of its competitors.

(Yellowhammer/Henry Thornton) (Followers accurate as of noon 11/19)

Sessions formally announced his candidacy for his old Senate seat on November 7, but the news of an announcement actually leaked out in the preceding days.

The ads align with the central theme on the Jones campaign: That Jones wants to be a unifier, while the Republicans running are too extreme.

The majority of the ads tie Sessions to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of whom polling in 2017 showed was unpopular in Alabama even among conservatives. McConnell’s popularity may have ticked up since then as the native Alabamian has successfully led the historic push to confirm conservative judges appointed by President Donald Trump.

(Courtesy of Facebook Ads Library)

The Jones team has not mentioned by name in their ads Coach Tommy Tuberville, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), Secretary of State John Merrill or State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) — all of whom are also seeking the Republican nomination.

Sessions has won five statewide elections in Alabama, first as attorney general in 1994 and then the U.S. Senate in 1996, followed by reelection in 2002, 2008 and 2014.

Trump nominated Sessions to be his first attorney general. Sessions served in that role from the beginning of the administration in 2017 until the president asked for his resignation in November 2018.

Jones won election to the Senate in a special election in 2017 to fill the open seat created by Sessions’ appointment as America’s top law enforcement officer.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Sessions campaign manager Jon Jones said, “Doug Jones is right to be worried about Jeff Sessions. He knows that Jeff will beat him next fall. Bring it on.”

“Since joining the race, the far-left Democrats and their water carriers in the media have attacked Mr. Sessions everyday. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, MSNBC, CNN, and many others have already voiced their opposition to his election. They are right to be worried,” Jones added.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95