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.

4 hours ago

Mo Brooks: Trump is trying to put an end to endless war

(M. Brooks/Facebook, WH/Flickr

U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has a clear approach to the evolving situation in Syria: Leave it alone.

Brooks’ premise is that both Turkey and the Kurds are American allies, so getting involved on either side puts us in conflict with the other.

During a Monday interview on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” Brooks explained that this situation was seemingly inevitable, saying, “I wish that the Turks and the Kurds would get along peacefully, but they have got ill-will harboring and simmering for at least a hundred years.

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He added, “To me, it was inevitable that whenever America reduced its presence in the Middle East, as we should, because we cannot afford to be the police cop on every corner, that violence would break out.”

The congressman acknowledged the role that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy played in the current situation, especially in the creation of ISIS. This is the same argument Trump used in 2016 and the then-candidate promised to end our “endless wars.”

Brooks went on to say that America does not need to involve itself in these issues any longer.

“I support any kind of decision to reduce our presence in these countries that do not appreciate our loss of life, our financial expenditures, in their countries,” he explained.

Brooks acknowledged this could be a situation the United States has to revisit in the future, but warned of a “war caucus that wants to be more aggressive int he Turk/Kurd fight.

“We’ve got a ‘war caucus,’ for lack of a better term, that does believe that the United States of America should be the cop on every corner of the planet, no matter the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, no matter that every penny we spend on these efforts is borrowed money, money we can’t afford to pay back,” he advised.

My takeaway:

Again, Trump made this clear and Brooks appears to agree: We can’t afford to keep doing this forever. Even the most adamant war hawks from the post-9/11 period think we have been at this long enough. Many seem to see little more to gain from new and prolonged conflicts.

The president made it a campaign promise to end these foreign wars, and he is following through on that promise.

Like in everything else, he will be opposed by both sides of the political aisle. No matter what the president does, it has to be wrong — even if nobody else has any better solutions to offer.

But that does not make him wrong.

Do any of the Democratic presidential candidates advocate re-entering Syria if they win? How about sending more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan?

Only time will tell how this decision affects American interests. But unless something drastically changes in the region, we are better off by letting those with regional interests handle the issues in the Middle East.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

11 hours ago

Byrne moves for official investigations into Hunter, Joe Biden

(Bradley Byrne/Twitter)

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) on Monday appeared live on the set of “Fox & Friends,” announcing that he will tomorrow file a resolution directing three U.S. House committees to begin investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings during his father’s tenure as vice president.

Byrne’s resolution calls for the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Government Reform and Financial Services to begin investigations of foreign business dealings of Hunter Biden during the period in which Joe Biden served as VP, whether those business dealings resulted in improper conflicts of interests and whether Hunter Biden’s work affected United States foreign policy or a foreign government or foreign entity’s response.

“While Democrats intensify their partisan scheme to impeach President Trump, they continue to turn a blind eye to the Biden scandal,” Byrne said in a statement.

“If the same facts in the Biden case occurred with one of President Trump’s children, Democrats would have already launched a full-scale investigation,” he continued.

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“We must draw attention to the Democrats’ hypocrisy and demand a full investigation into the Bidens and their sketchy business dealings with China and Ukraine. Instead of wasting time with the witch hunt against President Trump, Congress should demand answers from Joe and Hunter Biden and get to the bottom of all this nonsense,” the Republican Alabama congressman concluded.

On “Fox & Friends,” Byrne noted that he has previously called for an investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings involving China, pointing to an official visit to that country he participated in while his father was vice president.

More recently, we found out about “this Ukrainian thing,” as Byrne put it.

“I’m not asking for a foreign government to investigate him, I want the United States Congress to investigate,” he emphasized. “If the name on here was not Hunter Biden — if it were Donald Trump, Jr. — these investigations would have already started. I want the United States Congress to get to the bottom of this.”

Byrne’s resolution would need to pass the chamber to take effect. He was asked if the Democrats’ majority in the House will allow the investigations into the Bidens.

“Well, I don’t know — but they’d be hypocritical if they didn’t,” Byrne stressed. “There are real, serious concerns here. The American people deserve to know the facts. All I want are the facts.”

The resolution can be viewed here.

RELATED: Byrne: ‘Democrats should brace for a fight, because the American people will not stand for this attack’

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

4 days ago

Lathan: Zeigler’s claim Ivey qualified to run against him for delegate spot ‘absolutely false’

(Fox 10 WALA/YouTube, File Photos)

Drama can come when you least expect it in Alabama politics.

On Tuesday, both Governor Kay Ivey and State Auditor Jim Zeigler qualified to run for the Place 1 delegate spot to the 2020 Republican National Convention in support of President Donald J. Trump’s reelection.

Zeigler on Wednesday then sent out a press release claiming, “After Zeigler qualified to run statewide for GOP Delegate Place 1, Kay Ivey signed up to run against him.”

In the release, he personally stated, “Normally, campaigns for convention delegates do not attract public or media interest. This year promises to be different.”

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Zeigler concluded, “While Gov. Ivey has qualified to run against me, she has not yet challenged me to a debate.”

The state auditor has since played up this narrative on social media that Ivey was personally opposing him.

However, when Yellowhammer News on Thursday reached out to the Alabama Republican Party to verify his claim that Ivey qualified after him, it was revealed Ivey qualified before him. In fact, her name was publicly posted on the ALGOP qualified delegate list online before Zeigler qualified.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan even went on-record to confirm what occurred.

“Governor Ivey qualified first for the Trump delegate State At-Large, Place 1 position,” she said in a statement to Yellowhammer News. “It was posted publicly on our website almost 35 minutes prior to Mr. Zeigler’s qualifying. She filled out both her form and paid the qualifying fee prior to both of Mr. Zeigler’s two transactions.”

“In fact, the Governor qualified first before any other delegate candidate in the state. She challenged no one for a delegate spot. Any other statement or indication that Governor Ivey was challenging him in that delegate position or making this opportunity personal is absolutely false,” Lathan concluded.

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

4 days ago

Trump: Sessions ‘an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama’; Sessions: I’m just trying to enjoy this ‘beautiful Alabama October day’

(WH/YouTube, Wikicommons, YHN)

President Donald Trump has once again blasted former U.S. Senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with the Alabama statesman refusing to respond in-kind.

In an interview published Thursday by the Daily Caller, Trump told Sebastian Gorka that “defeating the Deep State” will be “one of the greatest things” he has done as president if all goes according to plan.

“You look at what’s happened to the absolute scum at the top of the FBI. You look at what’s happening over at the Justice Department, now we have a great attorney general,” Trump outlined.

“Whereas before that, with Jeff Sessions, it was a disaster. Just a total disaster,” the president continued. “He was an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama. And I put him there because he endorsed me, and he wanted it so badly. And I wish he’d never endorsed me.”

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Trump added, “It would have been the greatest non-endorsement I ever had. But it’s too bad. But now we have a great attorney general.”

The Atlantic’s Elaina Plott, a native of Tuscaloosa, reportedly reached Sessions by phone for a reaction on Trump’s latest comments about him.

“I don’t have any comment on that — I just haven’t wanted to get drawn into any of that,” Sessions told Plott.

He noted that he was just enjoying a “beautiful Alabama October day.”

Sessions has consistently refrained from uttering a bad word about Trump, despite the attacks that have been lobbed in the opposite direction.

Most recently, speaking at the Madison County Republican Party’s annual gathering, Sessions praised the president and many of his top agenda items, such as Trump’s effort on trade, immigration and foreign policy.

“That’s why I supported him and why I still do support him,” Sessions said last week. “He is relentlessly and actually honoring the promises he made to the American people.”

Sessions has endorsed Trump’s reelection campaign for 2020.

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

4 days ago

Mooney to run first TV ad in Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate race

(Mooney Campaign/YouTube)

Yellowhammer News on Thursday learned that State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) will be the first of Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate candidates to go up on television with an advertisement.

A source with direct knowledge confirmed to Yellowhammer News that the ad buy will be in the six-figures and begin in the next day. The buy will be statewide and run for a week.

Yellowhammer News has also obtained an online link to the ad, which can be viewed below.

The ad, put together by nationally renowned political media guru Fred Davis, centers on Mooney’s Christian faith.

However, the video might be most memorable for one very specific moment.

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No spoilers — this is an ad you have to see for yourself to get the full effect.

Watch:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News about the ad, Mooney commented, “The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is the most important thing in my life and guides my whole world view.”

“I want Alabama Christians to know I am the candidate in this race who will stand for them, that they can rely on,” he added.

Taking a look at the race

Mooney is serving his second term in the Alabama House of Representatives, representing parts of Shelby County.

He has been endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund and national conservative leaders like U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and media pundit Mark Levin in the GOP Senate primary. Mooney, who also has the support of Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), qualified with the Alabama Republican Party on Tuesday. Qualifying ends on November 8.

Mooney is in a competitive field of declared candidates, led by former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Secretary of State John Merrill.

Due to low name identification, Mooney has been consistently polling within the margin of error of zero in the race.

However, this ad buy signals a strategy to raise his name identification and introduce voters to Mooney as a Christian conservative. With polling at this point in the campaign being driven mainly by name identification, Mooney could move his poll numbers closer to the rest of the pack if the ad buy works as intended.

Moore is — and has been for almost two decades now — running in the evangelical lane, and Mooney could very well want to give those voters a more electable alternative with less baggage.

However, as a fresh face on the statewide stage, he will also hope to brand himself as more than just a strong evangelical, as absorbing some of Moore’s base will not nearly be enough on its own for Mooney to make a runoff.

If the current ad buy is successful, the next hurdle for Mooney will be eating into another occupied lane — namely, the “America First” one that constitutes the biggest internal GOP battlefield right now.

Beyond Mooney’s own campaign, the ad buy could serve as a marker for other candidates to get more aggressive — whether that means a digital ad buy or something else to capture the attention of a significant number of voters.

Tuberville has carved out his place as leader of the GOP field in the race to unseat Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), and the other campaigns are currently jockeying for the second-place position in a runoff.

There are currently 144 days until the March 3 primary, yet much of that time will be over the holiday season in which fundraising and reaching voters gets significantly harder.

The latest finance reports, covering the third fundraising quarter of 2019, are due on Tuesday.

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

5 days ago

Byrne: ‘Democrats should brace for a fight, because the American people will not stand for this attack’

(D. Jones, B. Byrne/Facebook, WH/Flickr)

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) on Wednesday released a statement emphasizing that he considers the current impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump to be a “farce,” outlining that Democrats have denied Trump his basic constitutional rights and the procedural protections extended to President Clinton and President Nixon.

This comes after the White House on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. House Democratic leadership stating that the Trump administration would not cooperate with the Democrats’ self-proclaimed impeachment inquiry.

The White House’s position is based on the House not having held an official vote to open the inquiry, as well as what the administration views as a partisan, biased process that does not allow Trump his constitutional rights to a fair proceeding.

In his statement, Byrne said, “Democrats should brace for a fight, because the American people will not stand for this attack and neither will I.”

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“With each unprecedented action, it becomes clearer that Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and their cohorts have been scheming since Day 1 to impeach President Trump by lying to the American people, violating the Constitution, and using whatever deceitful and nefarious means they can muster,” he outlined. “By rejecting House rules and precedents to ensure fairness and transparency, Democrats are pulling away the veil from their long-held but long-denied intent to overturn the results of the previous election at all costs.”

Byrne continued to bash the process by which House Democrats have embarked on the impeachment inquiry.

“Democrats’ impeachment push is not about oversight or transparency but is a viciously partisan coup against our very system of free elections,” the coastal Alabama congressman advised.

“Their hypocrisy and neglect for the law reinforces the illegitimacy of this farce impeachment inquiry. Democrats should brace for a fight, because the American people will not stand for this attack and neither will I,” Byrne concluded.

Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) on Wednesday released a statement similarly backing the White House’s position.

RELATED: Jones on Trump: ‘Appears to be evidence of abuse of power’

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

5 days ago

Rogers: ‘Trump is absolutely right to not participate in Nancy Pelosi’s sham impeachment inquiry’

(Congressman Mike Rogers/Facebook, WH/Flickr, Speaker.gov, YHN)

Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) is standing firmly with the president after the White House on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. House Democratic leadership stating that the Trump administration would not cooperate with the Democrats’ self-proclaimed impeachment inquiry.

The White House’s position is based on the House not having held an official vote to open the inquiry, as well as what the administration views as a partisan, biased process that does not allow President Donald Trump his constitutional rights to a fair proceeding.

In a statement on Wednesday, Rogers said, “President Trump is absolutely right to not participate in Nancy Pelosi’s sham impeachment inquiry. The Democrat’s ongoing antics are nothing more than their continued attempt to undo the 2016 election and take down the president that the American people elected fair and square.”

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“House Democrats refuse to vote on the impeachment inquiry on the House Floor and will not share information with Republicans,” he outlined. “Even more, Chairman Adam Schiff sat before his committee recently and made up his own version of the telephone conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.”

Rogers serves as ranking member on the House Committee on Homeland Security and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“House Democrats have no respect for the rule of law, fairness or House procedure,” he decried. “Most of all, House Democrats have no respect for the American people for threatening to put our Nation through this bogus impeachment stunt.”

“I will continue to proudly stand with President Trump against these politically motivated attacks from the radical left,” Rogers concluded.

RELATED: Jones on Trump: ‘Appears to be evidence of abuse of power’

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

5 days ago

2019 POWER & INFLUENCE: Who’s next?

(YHN)

Yellowhammer News on Wednesday released the 2019 “Power & Influence: Who’s Next?” list.

Our team has spent weeks talking with key operatives and analyzing recent developments in public policy and politics, and today, we’re taking a look at a new group of Alabama leaders poised to be part of the next generation of power and influencers.

This follows last week’s publication of the Yellowhammer 15 and the Power & Influence 40 lists. These honorees will be celebrated through the 5th annual Power of Service event, which will take place Thursday, October 17, in Montgomery.

The 2019 Power of Service Award will be presented to Horace Horn.

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Read more about the event here.

Curtis Bowden

A recent engineering graduate of the University of Alabama, Curtis Bowden already seems destined for power and influence in the state. Currently working in the regulatory affairs division of Alabama Power, Bowden is perfectly placed for success in a company known for churning out top-notch governmental affairs professionals. He was a natural presence in the statehouse this past session and is set to steadily rise in responsibility and stature in the coming years.

Bradley Cox

Fundraising might just be the nichiest niche in politics. Luckily for candidates and elected officials in Alabama, EBW Development, led by owner and principal Elizabeth Bloom Williams, is the best of the best. Bradley Cox is a relative newcomer to the fundraising world, but he has hit the ground sprinting since joining EBW Development following the 2018 cycle. He is learning from a master of the craft, and coupled with his impressive background in political consulting and campaign work, Cox is poised to become a household name within the #alpolitics world.

Dalton Dismukes

There are very few people in state politics who manage to keep a strong foothold in both political consulting and governmental affairs work. Dalton Dismukes, even at a young age, is one of those few. This past session, he lobbied for the Jones Group and was an omnipresent figure in the House gallery. However, he is also a go-to campaign professional, including being a trusted advisor to the House Republican Caucus’ political operation this past cycle. Dismukes currently has his hand in at least one federal race and is one of Leverage’s top operators. He’ll be an influencer in state politics for decades.

Will Fuller

You’ll be hard pressed to find a governmental affairs operation with more knowledge or integrity than Alabama’s Capitol Resources office, led by Toby Roth and John Hagood. Adding Will Fuller to their team this session only reinforced this reputation. Fuller, also a razor-sharp campaign consultant, is extremely well connected in the state’s judicial circles — which sets him apart from his peers in a major way. However, observers in Montgomery were blown away this spring at how Fuller navigated the statehouse circus. Poise. Honesty. Work ethic. No will out work — or out prepare — him and his ability to handle complex policy issues would make someone thrice his age jealous. Fuller could become one of the best lobbyists in Alabama before long.

Nick Lawkis

In Alabama’s ultra-competitive higher education world, normally the University of Alabama System and Auburn take all the air out of the room when it comes to lobbying. Yet, Nick Lawkis in recent years has been building relationships right and left, steadily giving the University of South Alabama a real seat at the table in Montgomery. His hard work was recognized this year when South promoted him to executive director of governmental relations, however his star is just beginning to rise. South will do well to keep Lawkis long term.

Grace Newcombe

Speaking of the University of South Alabama, this recent grad and former student government association president is already making waves just months after starting work at the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office. Promoted from assistant to the chief of staff to press secretary recently, Grace Newcombe has the kind of naturally inquisitive personality needed to thrive in the realm of governmental affairs and public policy. She is expected to also handle legislative affairs duties in the statehouse for the office during the 2020 session, and her charisma, intelligence and resolve will be readily apparent from the very first drop of the gavel. Newcombe has the kind of presence that can’t be taught — and could one day easily make the leap to become a candidate herself. Either way, she will be at the very top of the ones to watch in her generation.

Jess Skaggs

Jess Skaggs should be on the short list for any statewide officeholder in Montgomery looking to build an elite staff. Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth recognized this, making Skaggs a seemingly immediate hire from the Department of Agriculture and Industries after he won in 2018. Skaggs handles a broad array of important duties for the lieutenant governor’s office, including communications. This puts him on the front lines when it comes to public visibility. With Ainsworth’s ceiling seemingly limitless in politics, this puts Skaggs in prime position to continue his ascent. He seems born to be a power player in Alabama and could soon be a fixture on the Power & Influence 40.

Adam Thompson

With the resume of someone twice his age, Adam Thompson has seemingly already done it all. Now serving as deputy commissioner of the Alabama Department of Senior Services, Thompson has served as Governor Ivey’s appointments director and deputy chief of staff for policy, as well as the regional advocacy director for the education non-profit founded by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. If that’s not enough, Thompson was Beth Chapman’s right hand when she served as state auditor and later as secretary of state, giving Thompson an experience and knowledge base in state government unsurpassed in his age group. Thompson has run for public office before, too, and whether his future is behind-the-scenes or not, he is undoubtedly one of his generation’s preeminent public servants.

6 days ago

Jones on Trump: ‘Appears to be evidence of abuse of power’ — Enough to impeach

(G. Skidmore/Flickr, D. Jones/Facebook)

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Tuesday lashed out at the Alabama Republican Party after ALGOP Chairman Terry Lathan called on him to represent the majority of his constituents in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

In a statement responding to Lathan’s remarks, Jones stressed his “obligation to weigh all the facts fairly before making a decision.”

“[W]e don’t have all the facts yet,” he added.

However, immediately after cautioning against a rush to judgement, Jones may have tipped his hand on which way he is leaning on impeaching Trump.

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“What I have seen so far raises legitimate concern for our national security and there appears to be evidence of abuse of power [by the president],” Jones stated.

Jones’ full statement, per CBS 42, as follows:

This is not a time for partisan rhetoric or political stunts. If this matter was not so serious, the characterization made by the Alabama Republican Party leadership would be a laughable attempt to pack as many hyper-partisan cliches as possible into a sound bite. They clearly do not want a Senator who will follow his or her oath to defend the Constitution. As a U.S. Senator, it is my obligation to weigh all the facts fairly before making a decision, and we don’t have all the facts yet. What I have seen so far raises legitimate concern for our national security and there appears to be evidence of abuse of power. I hope for the sake of our country that we can find the truth together.

This comes days after Jones told The Daily Mountain Eagle that “abuse of power” could be grounds enough for impeachment.

“I don’t think you necessarily have to break a law,” Alabama’s junior senator said of the threshold for impeaching the president. “We have such a different set of laws, whether it is federal jurisdiction, whether it is a state law or a state crime. I think it is the broader interpretation of abuse of power, whether the president has put the national security interests in jeopardy, whether he is doing something for personal gain.”

“Could that be a potential legal violation? Sure,” he continued. “But I don’t think it absolutely has to be in this case. Now, that is my interpretation. We’ll see how this goes… But ultimately, I think it will come down to an abuse of power, placing the national security at risk. Those kinds of things are very serious allegations.”

RELATED: Jones invokes ‘the name of God’ in calling for Trump impeachment inquiry

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

6 days ago

Steven Reed wins Montgomery mayoral race

(S. Reed for Mayor/Contributed)

Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed will be the next mayor of Alabama’s capital city.

Reed on Tuesday overwhelmingly defeated WCOV Fox 20 owner David Woods in the Montgomery mayoral runoff election.

With all but one precinct reporting, Reed had 67% of the vote. Reed garnered 32,918 votes compared to Woods’ 16,010.

Reed will be sworn into office November 12 and become the first black mayor in Montgomery’s history.

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The city will have been incorporated 200 years ago on December 3.

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

6 days ago

ALGOP chair calls on Doug Jones to represent his constituents on impeachment — ‘Alabamians love President Trump’

(T. Lathan, D. Jones/ Facebook)

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan on Tuesday hosted a press conference with the Republican National Committee (RNC) to mark the start of qualifying for the state’s 2020 Republican primary, calling on U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) to side with his constituents on the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump.

In her remarks, Lathan slammed Democrats for their actions, saying the impeachment efforts are “a despicable display reminiscent of a third-world political coup – not at all what the founding fathers envisioned for our great nation, as the ballot box is the decision maker.”

Trump won over 62% of Alabama’s vote in the 2016 general election.

With this level of support in mind for the president, Lathan wants to know where Jones stands on impeachment, considering his history of opposing Trump on major pieces of legislation and confirmations. This includes Jones voting against Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh and in favor of late-term abortions.

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“Time and again, Senator Jones has sided with the radical Democrats in his party, whether it’s obstructing President Trump’s policies or voting against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation,” Lathan outlined.

“He is a member of the party that had a floor fight over removing the word ‘God’ from their platform,” she continued. “He embraces the party that just two months ago passed a resolution championing ‘religiously unaffiliated’ voters. He knee jerk reacted to the Brett Kavanaugh debacle and voted NO when the majority of Alabamians wanted him to cast a YES vote. He voted NO on the wall funding. Alabamians wanted a YES vote. He voted NO on ending taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood. Our state wanted a YES vote. Senator Jones’ is not voting for the majority of Alabamians, and they will not forget his deafness to their wishes next year.”

Lathan emphasized, “Alabamians love President Trump and they love a fighter! In fact, the Yellowhammer State’s support for the President is tops in the nation again and again, and for good reasons.”

The ALGOP chair encouraged Alabamians to ask Jones to unambiguously state where he stands on the “impeachment charade.”

“We are all watching and will hold him accountable if he joins his party trying to upend our constitution. Losing an election is not a reason for impeachment – a ballot box is the place to make these decisions, not in a kangaroo court of hysterics and anger,” Lathan advised.

She asked whether “Senator Jones [is] with Alabamians… or on another exhausting and wasteful chapter looking to destroying our president.”

“He certainly wasn’t with [Alabamians on] Justice Kavanaugh. Or will he stay with his group – the Squad, the Mob and his teammates of Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden? These are the folks he embraces along with their left of left platform policies… and in one of the reddest states in the nation, their platform is not Alabama,” Lathan stressed.

You can watch Lathan’s full remarks here.

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

6 days ago

Montgomery voters to elect new mayor

(S. Reed, D. Woods/Facebook, YHN)

Voters in Montgomery, Alabama, are about to elect a new mayor.

Probate Judge Steven Reed and businessman David Woods face each other in the Tuesday runoff.

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The two were the top finishers in the first round of voting in August.

Reed is the probate judge of Montgomery County. Woods is a businessman and owns WCOV-TV.

The winner of the runoff will replace current Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange.

Strange did not seek reelection.

If Reed is elected, he will be the city’s first African-American mayor.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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1 week ago

Jones bashes ‘alarming’ Trump decision to withdraw from northern Syria — ‘Exact wrong message’

(D. Jones/Twitter, White House/Flickr)

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has now weighed in on President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all American troops from northern Syria, saying the move “leaves a vacuum for a resurgence of [the Islamic State] in the region.”

The Trump administration is allowing Turkey to move forward with an operation against Kurdish forces in the region who have been allies in the fight against ISIS.

In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Jones remarked, “Kurdish fighters have been invaluable partners in our mission to defeat the Islamic State.”

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“To abandon them in this moment leaves a vacuum for a resurgence of IS in the region,” Alabama’s junior senator continued.

Jones concluded, “This is an alarming move that sends the exact wrong message to our allies.”

Jones is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.

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

1 week ago

Byrne campaign announces 67-county leadership team

(B. Bryne/Facebook)

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01) has announced the launch of his U.S. Senate campaign’s grassroots leadership team, which covers all 67 counties and includes “200 key community leaders,” according to a Monday press release.

“It is an honor to have so many people from every corner of the state joining us in the fight to bring our Alabama values to the U.S. Senate,” Byrne said in a statement. “We are going to win this primary and defeat Doug Jones thanks to this team of homegrown supporters.”

“Bradley was the first candidate to announce financial contributions from all 67 counties and is now the first candidate to announce a full 67 county leadership team. The people of Alabama are ready for a Christian, conservative fighter, and they know Bradley is the man for the job,” added Byrne’s campaign manager, Seth Morrow.

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Morrow further noted, “We are committed to an Alabama grassroots campaign that is built to last, and the Grassroots Leadership Team marks yet another milestone for our campaign.”

The announcement said members of the grassroots leadership team will “serve as coordinators in their community and help with an assortment of tasks ranging from hosting meet and greets to distributing yard signs.”

Members of the grassroots leadership team as follows:

Senator Greg Albritton – Escambia County
Francis Andrews – Limestone County
Harold Appling – Tuscaloosa County
Greg Atkinson – Talladega County
JoAnn Averett – Chilton County
Loretta Bach – Montgomery County
Richard Baker – Marshall County
Donna Baker – Walker County
Representative Mike Ball – Madison County
Peggy Bamberg – Montgomery County
Mayor Ed Beasley – Crenshaw County
Bradley Bedwell – Houston County
Ann Priester Bennett – Lee County
Curt Bigbee – Franklin County
John Blue – Madison County
Ron Bolton – Tuscaloosa County
Traci Bowden – Marshall County
Billy Bowden – Marshall County
Jen Boyles – Russell County
Will Boyles – Russell County
Mayor David Bradford – Colbert County
Duwayne Bridges – Chambers County
Trey Brinkley – Etowah County
Representative Chip Brown – Mobile County
Dicksie Bush – Calhoun County
Emily Butler – Colbert County
Senator Tom Butler – Madison County
Kirkland Byars – Tuscaloosa County
David Byers – Jefferson County
Tom Cain – Randolph County
Sharon Cain – Randolph County
Jim Cary – Marshall County
Bill Castlen – Houston County
Frances Castlen – Houston County
Kenny Childree – Bullock County
Sheriff Sam Cochran – Mobile County
Bo Colley – Chambers County
Representative Terri Collins – Morgan County
Bruce Cooke – Sumter County
Mayor Jenny Countryman – Monroe County
Dylan Cox – Mobile County
Bill Crain – Madison County
Daniel Craven – Baldwin County
Ashton Crihfield – Lauderdale County
Belinda Crouch – Washington County
Donna Cude – Jefferson County
Rex Davis – Limestone County
John Dawson – Etowah County
Bart Dawson – St. Clair County
Mayor Sheldon Day – Clarke County
Mary Martha Defoor – Montgomery County
Grant DeMuth – Marshall County
Celia Dixon – Elmore County
Charla Doucet – Chilton County
Emily Durden – Montgomery County
Mason Dyess – Tuscaloosa County
Representative Brett Easterbrook- Washington County
Steve Edwards – Colbert County
Tracey Edwards – Elmore County
Gary Edwards – Elmore County
Don Edwards – Lee County
Gayle Edwards – Lee County
Senator Chris Elliott – Baldwin County
Bo Evans – Autauga County
Punkin Evans – Autauga County
Kathy Evans – Autauga County
Bradfield Evans – Lowndes County
Representative David Faulkner – Jefferson County
Representative Joe Faust – Baldwin County
Troy Fillingim – Henry County
Don Fisher – Montgomery County
Karen Fisher – Montgomery County
Katie Foster – Colbert County
Judy Fraser – Shelby County
Joe Fuller – Jefferson County
Vickie Fuller – Jefferson County
Representative Victor Gaston – Mobile County
Greg Gagliano – Shelby County
Kim Gagliano – Shelby County
Darren Garner – Macon County
James Gilliland Sr. – Coosa County
Joe Glass – Calhoun County
Kim Glass – Calhoun County
Logan Glass – Etowah County
Marvin Gregory – Tuscaloosa County
Art Hahn – Tallapoosa County
Commissioner Robert Ham – Lee County
Mayor Johnny Hammock – Tallapoosa County
Charles Hardage – Chambers County
Don Harris – Montgomery County
Howard Harrison – Coffee County
Grady Hartzog – Barbour County
Wesley Helton – Shelby County
Davis Henry – Dallas County
Rod Herring – Lee County
Karen Herring – Lee County
Steve Hicks – Cherokee County
Steve Hicks – Lauderdale County
David Hogan – Jefferson County
Kevin Holland – Escambia County
Leslie Hollingsworth – Shelby County
Webb Holmes – Perry County
Mayor Steve Holt – Lauderdale County
Cheryl Holt – Shelby County
Gene Howard – Calhoun County
Virginia Howard – Dale County
Kent Howard – Jefferson County
Carlton Hunley – Lee County
Will Hurts – Lawrence County
Sheriff Heath Jackson – Escambia County
Senator Andrew Jones – Cherokee County
Lisa Jones – Marshall County
Meador Jones – Hale County
Laura Joseph – Shelby County
Mark Kaiser – Baldwin County
Michael Keller – Winston County
Cody Kruse – Montgomery County
Steve Langley – Marion County
Bubba Lee – Baldwin County
Nick Lee – St. Clair County
Shag LaPrade – Coffee County
Senator Steve Livingston – Jackson County
Chris Live – Houston County
Mark Long – DeKalb County
Barney Lovelace – Morgan County
Jack Lovelady – Jackson County
Nikki Lovelady – Lawrence County
Margarett Lovett – Colbert County
Sheriff Hoss Mack – Baldwin County
Grady Martin – Choctaw County
Kirk Mattei – Mobile County
Ray McCarty – Pickens County
Mary Sue McClurkin – Shelby County
Van McClurkin – Shelby County
Colin McGuire – Butler County
Suzanne McKee – Marengo County
Robert McKee – Marengo County
Representative Steve McMillan – Baldwin County
Tom McMillan – Escambia County
Stephen McNair – Mobile County
Austin Monk – Cullman County
Pam Segars-Morris – Jefferson County
Will Morris – St. Clair County
Mayor Charles Murphy – Baldwin County
Jim Murphy – Blount County
Jason Neff – Tuscaloosa County
Sue Neuwien – Coffee County
Brown Nolen – Lauderdale County
Baylie Norton – Cleburne County
Jeff Overstreet – Etowah County
Summer Overstreet – Etowah County
Mike Parsons – Madison County
Brooks Payne – Tuscaloosa County
Captain Hal Pierce – Mobile County
Renee Powers – Chilton County
Tom Powers – Chilton County
Barbara L. Priester – Lee County
Cathy Quin – Tuscaloosa County
Charlie Ramsey – Monroe County
Rhonda Reynolds – Chilton County
Representative Kerry Rich – Marshall County
Elaine Ridenour – Dale County
Pete Riehm – Mobile County
Glenda Reitzell – Madison County
Colonel John Rietzell – Madison County
John Roberts – Madison County
Salem Saloom – Conecuh County
Daniel Sawyer – Monroe County
Deb Sellers – Jefferson County
John Sellers – Jefferson County
Art Sessions – Mobile County
Senator David Sessions – Mobile County
Greg Shirley – Talladega County
Representative Harry Shriver – Baldwin County
Kara Silvers – Lee County
Representative Matt Simpson – Baldwin County
Sheriff Rick Singleton – Lauderdale County
Stephanie Smith – Jefferson County
Eddie Smith – Lee County
Mike Sparks – Clay County
Alyce Spruell – Tuscaloosa County
Zach Stanton – Tuscaloosa County
David Steele – Mobile County
Jack Steele – Wilcox County
Kermit Marcus Stephens III – Bibb County
Karen Stewart – Elmore County
Sally French Stewart – Jefferson County
Representative Shane Stringer – Mobile County
Sam Stroud – Pike County
Mayor Bernie Sullivan – Crenshaw County
Sam Taylor – Lamar County
Lt. Col. Jim Terrell – Madison County
Jeff Thagard – Dale County
Robin Thagard – Dale County
Charlie Thompson – Lauderdale County
Steven Thornton – Madison County
Don Waldon – Fayette County
James Walker – Lauderdale County
Tim Walker – Marshall County
Jessie Weeks – Geneva County
Mikel Weeks – Geneva County
Honorable Tracie West — Lee County
Hugh Wheeless – Houston County
Chairman Greg White – Covington County
Representative Andy Whitt – Madison County
Representative Margie Wilcox – Mobile County
Senator Jack Williams – Mobile County
John Willis – Franklin County
Mayor Bob Wills – Baldwin County
Joann Wilmore – Autauga County
Don Woods – Greene County
Honorable David Yarber – Colbert County

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

1 week ago

Greg Shaw says he will file for reelection on Tuesday to Alabama Supreme Court

(Wikicommons, YHN)

Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Greg Shaw on Friday released a statement saying that he will file to run for reelection on Tuesday, which is the first day of the Alabama Republican Party’s qualifying period for the March 3 primary.

Shaw was first elected to the Supreme Court in 2008. Immediately prior to that, he had been serving on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals since January of 2001. He has previously been chief judge of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary and served as senior staff attorney for Justice James Gorman Houston, Jr. for 15 years.

Shaw was reelected to a second term on the state’s highest court without opposition in 2014.

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“Serving the people of Alabama on the Supreme Court has been a tremendous honor that comes with even greater responsibility,” Shaw said in a statement.

“I will once again ask the voters to place their trust in me to serve with integrity, impartiality and always place the law over politics,” he concluded.

Born in 1957 and raised in Birmingham, Shaw graduated respectively from Banks High School, Auburn University and Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. He is married to S. Samantha “Sam” Shaw.

Sam, also a Republican, was elected Alabama’s state auditor in 2006 and reelected in 2010.

ALGOP qualifying for the 2020 cycle will run from October 8 — November 8, 2019.

As of Monday, Shaw is expected to face a primary challenge from State Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster).

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

1 week ago

Greg Reed elected chair of Alabama legislature’s Oil and Gas Study Committee

Sen. Greg Reed, Senate Majority Leader

Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) on Thursday was elected chairman of the Alabama legislature’s important Oil and Gas Study Committee.

Created by the legislature in 1983, this committee is responsible for keeping track of trends in the state’s oil and gas industry.

According to a study conducted in 2017 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Alabama’s oil and natural gas industry supports 86,400 jobs and contributes $8.8 billion to the Yellowhammer State’s economy.

House Speaker Pro Tem Victor Gaston (R-Mobile), the immediate past chairman of the committee, nominated Reed to serve as the new chairman.

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“It was my pleasure to recommend Greg Reed as the new chairman. Senator Reed is a serious thinker who understands the vital importance of Alabama’s oil and gas industry, and he has the respect of his peers in the State Legislature, on both sides of the aisle,” Gaston commented in a statement.

Reed, who has served as a member of the committee since 2013, said that he appreciates the years of service that Gaston has contributed as chairman.

“Speaker Pro Tem Gaston has done a tremendous job in leading this committee, and it is a privilege to follow in his footsteps as chairman,” Reed remarked.

“Alabama is abundant in natural resources, and that includes coal, oil, and natural gas. I am committed to working with state agencies and private companies to ensure that we have a fair, transparent regulatory system in Alabama that results in more jobs for workers, increased economic growth for the state, and lower costs for the consumer,” he concluded.

RELATED: Reed: ‘God put’ coal on earth for a reason; Alabama’s miners have strong ‘sense of pride’

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

1 week ago

2019 POWER & INFLUENCE 40

(YHN)

Yellowhammer Multimedia on Saturday introduced the 2019 Power & Influence 40.

Our team has spent weeks talking with key operatives and analyzing recent developments in public policy and politics, and this list is meant to recognize the top individuals in government and politics who leverage their power and influence to better the Yellowhammer State.

The ranked list was released in four segments throughout the week, with 31-40 coming first and 1-10 being published on Friday.

Members of the Yellowhammer 15 and the Power & Influence 40 lists will be celebrated through the 5th annual Power of Service event, which will take place Thursday, October 17, in Montgomery.

The 2019 Power of Service Award will be presented to Horace Horn.

Read more about the event here.

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1. Kay Ivey

Governor Kay Ellen Ivey will go down as one of the most consequential leaders in Alabama history.

And she’s not even close to being finished yet.

From the second she put her hand on the Bible and became the state’s 54th governor, Ivey has been laser focused on governing and nothing else.

She’s steered the ship through all of the noise – the politics, the gossip, the fluff – like a warm knife through butter, staying on course to a better future for our great state.

Ivey quickly became known as Alabama’s education governor through her Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative, adding onto this legacy through her historic push to add 500,000 more skilled workers by 2025.

However, the progress certainly does not end there. From landmark economic development wins to increasing foreign trade opportunities, Alabama is winning big under Ivey’s steady hand.

The Rebuild Alabama Act will go down as a crowning jewel of her administration – not just the merits of the forward-thinking infrastructure package itself, but how she got it done. The legislation passed in stunningly overwhelming fashion because of Ivey’s personal ownership of the issue. She bulldogged the package to passage – certainly with the tremendous help of organizations like BCA, ALFA, the Road Builders, etc., but it would not have happened without the governor.

She faces two more big issues this coming year and through the end of her term: the prison system and rural healthcare/Medicaid.

How will Ivey continue to utilize her position as one of the most powerful and influential governors ever?

2. Del Marsh

It was 87 years ago this week when Babe Ruth called his shot during the third game of the World Series. In the top of the 5th inning, with two strikes on him, Ruth pointed to the centerfield wall then promptly hit the next pitch over the fence.

Del Marsh called his shot twice this year – and hit home runs each time.

In the months leading up to the 2019 legislative session, Marsh told anyone who would listen that he intended to pass a huge infrastructure package and a historic education reform proposal. Insiders viewed Marsh’s plans with skepticism, while many supportive stakeholders even continued to express pessimism.

If conventional wisdom was supposed to dictate action, someone forgot to tell Marsh.

The president pro tem of the Alabama Senate immediately powered through the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure legislation during a special session. In doing so, he left no doubt about his clout in what may prove to be a generational, game-changing boost to the Yellowhammer State’s roads, bridges and waterways.

During a conversation with Yellowhammer News following the passage of Rebuild Alabama, we asked Marsh if the collective temperament of the legislature would allow for any other major pieces of legislation. He reacted as if we were speaking in tongues.

Marsh was not finished. He next set out to pass legislation enabling a constitutional amendment reforming the state school board and abolishing Common Core. Once considered an issue no one would even attempt to take on, Marsh whipped the bills through the legislature and onto the next statewide ballot.

Two for two out of the park.

Like so many others on this list, Marsh never stops. So while his next power move may not be readily apparent, do not expect him to slow down. He is a reformer and a wildly successful businessman who has a genuine interest in seeing his state improve.

In the meantime, Del Marsh remains one of the most powerful and influential people within his generation of public servants.

3. Zeke Smith

Zeke Smith has worked to establish the largest and most comprehensive external affairs effort in the state. Everything from lobbying to public relations to regulatory affairs to charitable giving falls under his purview as executive vice president of external affairs for Alabama Power Company.

An array of responsibilities that affect 1.4 million customers and 7,000 employees in Alabama require that Smith have an abundance of exceptional traits.

One of the most impressive and useful traits that Smith displays is an unmatched capacity. His knowledge of Alabama Power’s massive operation extends to every corner of its business. Layered on top of that is a continual awareness of Alabama’s political climate, its power players and what makes each tick.

As with most high-performing individuals, a function of his success has been his ability to extend beyond the discipline in which he trained. An Auburn University graduate with a degree in engineering, Smith has had a distinguished career and was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame earlier this year. Now, at this point in his career, he finds himself in a position where a mastery of politics and a firm grasp of people’s motivation are essential to the job.

Assembling a top-notch team to carry out the external affairs mission has been a key component to his success. To work for him means you have been vetted, and it has been verified that you can deliver. Smith carries with him a calm urgency to his actions, and he expects results.

All of this has contributed to the end result, which is that he, perhaps more than anyone else in Alabama, receives the first phone call from aspiring office-seekers. Nothing speaks more to power and influence than when people operate under the premise that they need your support to succeed.

For most of us, the names and numbers on our “Recents” call screen are in black to designate outgoing calls. We imagine Smith has nothing but red on his.

He operates at a level of power and influence where the air is thin.

4. Mac McCutcheon

You will find no kinder a person, no more of a gentleman in elected office than Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon.

McCutcheon has dedicated his life to the people of Alabama. From protecting and serving as a career law enforcement officer in Huntsville to leading the rambunctious lower chamber of the Alabama legislature, McCutcheon has led with integrity and compassion every step of the way.

Honored with Yellowhammer’s Power of Service Award last year, McCutcheon has continued in 2019 to be an ideal role model for people young and old looking for the best of humanity in their public servants.

How he carries himself only adds to the considerable, inherent power and influence of his office.

The members of the House listen to McCutcheon not just because he has the gavel – but because they like him and respect him. This stems for the personal interest that he takes in all of the members. For McCutcheon, being speaker is a solemn duty – and the House membership is like a family.

McCutcheon will have another tough challenge ahead as the criminal justice and prison issue comes to a head in 2020 (with Medicaid still hovering). But if anyone can handle it, it’s him – with empathy and patience.

5. Jo Bonner

There are very few people who have served Alabama in a more exemplary way this century than Jo Bonner.

Congressman. Vice-chancellor for the University of Alabama System. And now the immensely powerful and influential chief of staff to Governor Kay Ivey.

Bonner has been the epitome of a statesman throughout it all and now runs the day-to-day operations of state government. A third act that would beat the first of most in politics and government.

He not only has the governor’s ear but is, in effect, the governor’s ears and voice on many matters.

Everyone with dealings on Goat Hill knows that Bonner is the gatekeeper to Ivey, and he has put together a top-notch staff that runs the governor’s office like a well-oiled machine with him leading the charge.

Bonner’s contributions to the state’s current historic success might be behind the scenes, but they are well recognized by those in the know. Bonner is by far the most impactful non-elected official in state government right now and will continue to be as long as he serves.

6. Katie Boyd Britt

Talk about a baptism by fire.

Katie Boyd Britt and her newly assembled BCA governmental affairs team were thrown into a legislative battle for the ages to kick this year off.

Working together seamlessly – and tirelessly – the Britt-led BCA helped guide Rebuild Alabama to passage. The work was not easy. In fact, it was the stuff of lobbying lore, an accomplishment to be bragged about for decades to come. But they did it with a smile on, a gleam in their eye. The only acceptable result was going to be success, and the end result was the final vote exceeding all expectations.

It all starts with Britt. From the very first day on the job, this ex-chief of staff for Senator Richard Shelby effortlessly looked like the power and influence he wields rubbed right off on her.

Britt has brought an energy, an excitement and an optimism back to BCA through her buoyant leadership. Through vision, determination and an undefinable charisma, she is setting the organization and its member companies up for unparalleled successes.

However, her personal star also shines brightly.

People are mentioning Britt at the very top of the list of contenders to succeed Shelby, whenever the venerable senator does decide to call it quits.

Whether she is interested or not remains to be seen, but regardless she is going to be one of Alabama’s most powerful and influential people quite possibly for the next half-century.

And the people of our state will be better off because of it.

7. Bill Poole

Bill Poole might just be the most powerful non-Speaker member of the Alabama House of Representatives. Ever.

Talk about a guy who could do whatever his heart desired – Poole’s blend of intelligence, charisma, work ethic and integrity have led him to be a rising star in Alabama politics since his freshman year in the House.

Every year, that star has gotten brighter, and this past session just exacerbated that trend.

Poole’s stalwart leadership as sponsor of the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure package was one of the most impressive feats in recent legislative history.

However, his performance really came as little surprise to those who had observed the statehouse this decade.

Everyone in the chamber likes Bill Poole – and they respect him without exception.

His reputation inside and outside the membership has been well earned. He treats people right, leads by example and delivers results time after time.

His excellent chairmanship of the education budget committee in the House wields him power and influence already, but Poole exponentially has increased his stock over recent years well beyond a normal leader in the House.

What’s next for Poole? Well, the sky is the limit.

Could we soon have another statesman-like U.S. senator from Tuscaloosa?

Whatever he chooses to do, Poole will excel – and Alabamians will continue to reap the rewards.

8. Joe Perkins

Joe Perkins is unspeakably powerful and influential. So much so – and in such a way – that we probably should not even be speaking about it.

Perkins founded the robust, yet mysterious, Matrix firm. He and his firm occupy a unique space in the world of Alabama politics. The variety of clients he serves is remarkable. From some of the state’s biggest companies to some that could be construed as ‘mom and pop shops’ if not for their success. His work is not limited to industry, and he has a hand in the activities of trade and business associations from small, specialized groups to the very biggest.

And what he does is different.

He’s not a lobbyist. He’s not engaged in a governmental affairs practice. He consults on strategy and direction for different organizations. He provides public relations expertise carefully calculated to position his client in just the right space.

And it all goes back to the people, companies and campaigns at which he is directing his focus. He is the invisible guiding hand behind major initiatives, campaigns and state institutions of higher education. He is quiet counsel to high-ranking officials and regional decision-makers.

Trying to explain Perkins’ power and influence is far more difficult than his ability to exert it.

9. Quentin Riggins

The work Quentin Riggins does outside of politics would probably land him on any list of influential Alabamians. He is a pillar of the community and has involved himself in a myriad of different causes aimed at improving his home state.

His service on the powerful Auburn University Board of Trustees is plenty for one person. However, Riggins also serves on the boards of Grandview Medical Center, the Business Council of Alabama’s ProgressPAC, the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Authority, the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham and the Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute. He has previously served on the boards of Leadership Alabama and the Baptist Foundation.

Then there is the work he does as senior vice president of governmental and corporate affairs for Alabama Power Company. He heads up the company’s state and federal government affairs program, which is a vast and yet intricate undertaking. Riggins is able to pull from more than 25 years of service in the arena in representing the interests of one of the state’s largest employers.

Not to be forgotten, though, is his orchestration of one of the purest flexes of political muscle in several years.

Riggins oversaw the forceful changing of the guard at the Business Council of Alabama which set in motion a series of events resulting in the implementation of two monumental policy initiatives enacted to move Alabama forward: Rebuild Alabama and rural broadband expansion. Riggins’ plan for new leadership at BCA allowed the organization to establish the type of clout and cohesion necessary for success.

Riggins’ ability to look out over the horizon is a scarce commodity and produces uncommon power and influence.

10. Arthur Orr

Is there a single penny spent in the state of Alabama on education that Arthur Orr does not know about? Short answer: no.

Orr is the chairman of the Senate Education Budget Committee. This means he is the point man for his chamber on the $7 billion pot of money which funds Alabama’s education system. The size of the budget brings with it a hefty responsibility – and tremendous power and influence.

Almost halfway through his second decade as a member of the State Senate, Orr has now also clocked enough time as budget chair that he knows every corner of education funding and every mechanism available for appropriation. He has established near-total control of his chamber’s spending and priorities.

If someone wanted to make a movie about the story of the deliberative upper chamber, Orr might be the best choice to go on the poster. He has an incredible tolerance for details and is methodical in all of his actions. He is representative of the chamber’s approach to governing.

With the clout of the education budget in his corner, he is also not afraid to take on tough budget reform fights from which others shy away, like ABC privatization and welfare reform.

Brick by brick, Orr has built a fortress of political power and influence.

11. Bob Geddie

It has been said that Joe Fine invented lobbying in Alabama.

That being well established, his longtime business partner Bob Geddie may have just perfected the craft.

Geddie, reverently known as the firm’s House of Representatives specialist, has lobbying down to a science.

Institutional knowledge, skill, charisma and relationships – it sounds like a formula. But Geddie makes it look like an art form.

Some of Alabama’s biggest businesses trust Geddie on policy advocacy issues, and for good reason. However, his power and influence does not stop at being one of the – if not the very — top contract lobbyists in the state.

Aided by Fine Geddie’s network of PACs and Geddie’s own chess master-like strategic vision, he is one of the best minds political candidates and elected officials could hope to have advising them.

Geddie has been a high-ranking fixture on this list since its inception, and his stature only looks to continue rising.

12. Robbie McGhee

Robbie McGhee starts every day with the same mission: represent and protect the interests of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama.

What might seem to be a narrowly-focused approach can actually be an arduous task. McGhee and his tribe sit in a position of great strength in Alabama. They have established a thriving gaming and entertainment business across the state. This success has sprung a healthy corporate citizenship through charitable endeavors, job creation and electioneering.

The challenge for McGhee comes when others set out to siphon off the strength of the tribe. This causes him to be on constant alert for people trying to harm their interests.

During those occurrences, McGhee brings a certain intensity to his representation not prevalent in the everyday machinations of the statehouse. It means something when he walks into the building, and other people know when he is there. That in itself is a sure sign of power and influence.

The experience he brings also counts for something. He worked in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Department of Interior-Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and Troutman Sanders LLP-Indian Law Practice Group.

The wins for McGhee continue to pile up year after year. And so does his power and influence.

13. Steve Windom

Steve Windom might just be the perfect case study for those looking to make it big in the world of governmental affairs and lobbying.

He is a tireless worker, but the real marvel is his deep, ever-growing network of connections on and around Goat Hill. From administrative support staff to lifelong civil servants all the way up the halls of power, Windom knows just about everybody by name – and works his Rolodex non-stop.

Windom is one of the go-to lobbyists if you want a bill passed. In addition to his relationship building, his first-hand knowledge of the process and status as a former legislator and lieutenant governor give him a special edge over many contract firms.

However, his expertise does not stop in the public policy arena.

Windom’s reputation as a fundraising machine continues to grow every election cycle – and for good reason. He can raise statewide candidates hundreds of thousands of dollars before lunch if he wants to, making him a political powerbroker unmatched in power and influence by all but a handful of colleagues.

14. Jabo Waggoner

Jabo Waggoner is always the coolest guy in any room. He possesses a magnetism which has served him to near perfection throughout his political career. He’s the gentlemen senator and the smoothest of operators, but mainly people just want to be around him.

Of course, there’s also the fact that he holds the power of legislative process in the palm of his hand. Guess who determines what does and does not get debated on the floor of the Alabama Senate? Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jabo Waggoner. Every. Single. Bill.

In the most deliberative body, the place where it is hardest to pass a bill, that’s a monumental – and immeasurably powerful – responsibility.

Whether visiting the chairman as a constituent, a friend or someone looking to have a bill placed on the calendar, our advice would be to soak it up. Learn something. Allow yourself to get a civics lesson from someone who has served in the Alabama legislature for more than 50 years. Pay attention to how vital personal skills are to effectiveness.

There are a lot of things to learn from Jabo Waggoner. At the very least, know that he is a very powerful man.

15. Steve Marshall

From the first second he stepped to the microphone after being appointed attorney general in 2017, Steve Marshall has dazzled.

Charisma. Intelligence. Compassion. Fortitude. Integrity.

Marshall has passed every test imaginable and made Alabama a safer, better place because of his service.

And for him, that’s the only thought.

This is a public servant who could do whatever he wanted – U.S. senator, governor, you name it and Steve Marshall would win that election in a heartbeat and serve with distinction.

However, Marshall has the only job he ever wanted right now. A career prosecutor with a true passion for serving as attorney general, he is one of the most real elected officials you will ever meet.

From that authenticity comes a level of power and influence that politics cannot manufacture.

An even better man, Marshall will go down as one of the best attorneys general in state history.

16. Greg Reed

When you get into the upper echelon of power players, distinguishing traits become even more important. Greg Reed has exhibited many on his way up the tower of influence and into the position of majority leader for the Alabama Senate.

Reed has a palpable, strong presence evident to anyone who spends more than a minute with him. He is poised under pressure and demonstrates a statesman-like demeanor whether in the company of few or of many. And the best thing about this is that, with Reed, it’s real.

Leading the majority caucus in the state senate can be the most challenging position in the statehouse. By virtue of being in the majority, each caucus member is in a position to influence the body in individual ways. That’s tough to manage. Reed has stepped in and not only helped maintain order but has guided some ambitious agenda items to passage.

One area where he excels and probably does not get enough credit is his grasp of policy. On issues affecting the coal industry, small business, economic development and agriculture, Reed could teach a semester class if he were afforded the time.

Reed’s star is bright and is set to get even brighter.

17. Will Ainsworth

People jest about the lieutenant governor’s office in Alabama having essentially no real power; “light” governor, some quip.

Will Ainsworth has completely changed this narrative, just in his first year on the job.

Political observers and industry titans around the Yellowhammer State have marveled at how Ainsworth has carried himself since winning in 2018 – and how he continues to maneuver every day, increasing his power and influence, growing his network.

Ainsworth has displayed poise and wisdom well beyond his years, and the result is a lieutenant governor who has become a kingmaker rather than an afterthought. His endorsement is coveted in the 2020 U.S. Senate race.

Whether it was stepping in to give the Mobile I-10 Bridge toll project a death blow or his stalwart, forward-thinking leadership on workforce development, small business and veterans issues, Ainsworth has picked his battles – and policy endeavors – perfectly.

His career is still just getting started, and Ainsworth will be elected to whatever job he wants in 2022.

18. Dax Swatek

Dax Swatek is one of the smartest people in Alabama politics. Some people simply have a natural ability to see all the angles, exits and useable space when they enter a room. Swatek is like that when it comes to political issues and public policy initiatives.

He’s an elite strategist whom clients call and say, “Tell me what my plan needs to be to pass this bill.” In the same way Frank Stitt rolls up his sleeves when asked to plan a seven-course meal, Swatek is the guy people come to when they want to know all the ingredients to success and stay six steps ahead the whole time.

With more than two decades now in Montgomery power circles, he has assembled a strong team behind him at his firm Swatek, Vaughn & Bryan and has long-standing relationships with leadership in both chambers and the executive branch. His client list is chock full of blue-chippers, and his alliance with the downtown Birmingham business community is especially strong.

Add it all up and you get a lobbyist who has figured out the recipe for sustained power and influence.

19. Horace Horn

Horace Horn is an unsung hero of Alabama’s current economic boon.

His record of longtime dedicated service could fill up a book, and the brighter future he has helped pave the way for will be celebrated through Yellowhammer’s 2019 Power of Service Award.

However, make no mistake about it: Horn has not just accomplished a lot over time – he is still one of the state’s most powerful and influential people.

As PowerSouth’s vice president for external affairs, Horn continues to be a gladiator for rural Alabama. He played a major role behind the scenes in historic broadband legislation passing this session, and the PowerSouth Playbook continues to help deliver economic development wins – as evidenced by Site Selection’s recent praise of the company.

A legend still at the top of his game, there is no better advocate to have on your side than Horace Horn.

20. Greg Albritton

Greg Albritton is an old-school legislator trapped in a second-termer’s body. He is particularly clever in how he goes about working his issues and navigating the legislative process. And he is dogged in pursuit of passing his legislative priorities. Take for example his bill reforming the marriage license process in Alabama. Albritton ran into roadblocks to the passage of that bill in multiple legislative sessions, but he kept at it and now it is law.

Albritton often finds himself in the middle of some of the more controversial legislative fights while representing the interests of his district. There are at least a few times a session where he will dig in and not move – all with a smile on his face.

Those things make his power and influence notable. However, Albritton also chairs one of the two budget committees in the State Senate.

As the Senate’s lead appropriator for the general fund (the poor cousin to the education trust fund), Albritton is in a position where it is impossible to make everyone happy. Sometimes, though, power and influence rests in the ability to tell people “no.” He’s pretty good at that, and it’s necessary given the fact that requesting general fund appropriations is about like standing in a bread line in a former eastern bloc country.

Albritton is conservative and thoughtful in his budgeting practices and crafty with his deal-making. So it’s no surprise to see him land on this list.

21. Houston Smith

Every organization needs an individual who can maintain a full-view awareness of where it needs to go. In Houston Smith, Alabama Power Company has found that person.

Smith is equipped with a discerning vision for the direction his home state needs to go in order to become the best version of itself. A solver of big problems, he is skillful at utilizing contacts throughout the country to understand best practices that can be brought to Alabama on the major issues such as economic development, infrastructure and quality of life enhancement.

The Alabama legislature has taken on several large-scale initiatives in the past year, and Smith served as a field general for stakeholder involvement. On issues like Rebuild Alabama and rural broadband expansion, Smith managed the totality of the effort including public relations, lobbying and assessing the policy impact.

From his position on Yellowhammer’s Power and Influence 40, Smith can look up and see some of his predecessors. Given his ambition and rare intellect, he would be well-served to prepare for a similarly steep career trajectory.

22. Clay Ryan

The University of Alabama might soon need to make room for another star in its “Where Legends Are Made” lineup.

Clay Ryan, now the UA System’s vice chancellor for governmental affairs and economic/workforce development, has his finger on the pulse of Alabama politics like few others in recent memory, to go along with the exhaustive list of pressing policy issues that he covers.

From healthcare to workforce development to infrastructure, Ryan and the many unique strengths of the System’s three campuses have been integral recently in the major issues facing decision-makers in Montgomery.

Well-known for his relationship building, Ryan is near the very top of the list when candidates begin their fundraising calls.

He’s got the keys to the well-oiled juggernaut that is the System’s political operation, making him one of Alabama’s most sought after contacts. Ryan should be a fixture on this list for years to come.

23. Steve Clouse

This veteran cat wrangler oversees one of state government’s biggest annual headaches – the general fund – for the House.

With all of that thankless responsibility comes overt power and influence.

This coming year, that responsibility will be even heavier – and his sway even greater – with funding of the state’s corrections system and CHIP as two of the biggest hurdles of the session.

Clouse will be in the spotlight – just as he was this spring when carrying Sen. Albritton’s clean lottery proposal.

Having served in the House since 1995, Clouse might need every ounce of his statesmanship to navigate the potential land mines of 2020.

He has been adept at doing so before and shows no sign of letting up.

24. R.B. Walker

R.B. Walker’s ascension on Alabama’s ladder of power and influence has been an impressive watch for political observers – yet entirely predictable.

Walker’s profile could easily have been something drawn up in a lab. He is tenacious in pursuit of results, disciplined in his approach and never distracted by the noise that can often consume the energy of others in the world of state governmental affairs.

Walker does not just have relationships, he knows people well. And that is why he is a reservoir for everyone’s favorite political currency: information. All of which is a testament to his work ethic. It would not take much to convince us that Walker works 24 hours a day. He is seemingly “always-on,” while maintaining a fierce loyalty to his company and its objectives.

It is impossible in the business of politics to accurately measure what someone’s ceiling looks like until they actually hit it. But we’re pretty confident Walker’s ceiling is Sistine Chapel level stuff.

25. Ginger Avery-Buckner

Ginger Avery-Buckner possesses the traits one would expect from someone running one of the state’s largest legal organizations and representing it in front of state policy-makers. Her approach on behalf of the Alabama Association for Justice is highly organized and never strays from the best interest and mission of the group.

She has the strong support of her members which has allowed her to perfect the method of harnessing their grassroots support for the association’s agenda.

And then there are the times when she achieves results for her members through sheer will. Gifted with a friendly, engaging personality, she can flip to all-business mode in a hurry in front of someone whose issue contains the wrong color-code on her legislative spreadsheet.

This has resulted in the frequent practice of other legislators and other lobbyists – who don’t want to end up on the wrong side of her spreadsheet – proactively seeking Avery-Buckner out on issues that they think might affect her members.

That’s evidence of the type of power and influence that has landed Avery-Buckner on this list.

26. Mike Jones

The chairman of the House Rules Committee, Mike Jones carries a big stick in the State House.

His committee determines the order of bills taken up each legislative day, with the well-respected Jones having the ability to set legislative priorities. This enviable negotiating position puts Jones in a prime spot to best serve his constituents’ local priorities in south Alabama.

Firm but fair, Jones unquestionably has a strong hand on the lever of power as the House’s legislative gatekeeper.

If another ethics reform package is to come up in 2020, expect Jones to take a more proactive role this time around in what is sure to be one of the session’s most important debates.

However, there is a rumor going around that Jones could be in line for another gig soon. Right now, Jones clearly remains one of the House’s most influential members.

27. Dave Stewart

In the world of law firms, lobbying has long been thought of as merely a value-add in the service of existing clients. Heavy-lifting, it was thought, should be left to smaller firms dedicated solely to the practice.

Dave Stewart has laid out the blueprint for how a law firm’s lobbying practice can prosper and leverage influence in every corner of state government. In doing so, he has led his firm’s governmental affairs practice to entirely new heights.

Perhaps it is Stewart’s business background and his statewide contacts in the business community that have contributed significantly to the growth of the Bradley firm’s lobbying practice. Those things, combined with a relentless work ethic and his commitment to grow his business, matter.

It could also the product of someone who has a reputation for being trustworthy and possessing an uncanny grasp of the issues. Regardless, Stewart has earned his spot among Alabama’s most powerful and influential.

28. Sommer Vaughn

Author Malcolm Gladwell asserts that the key to being successful at something is 10,000 hours of practice. We don’t know where Sommer Vaughn is on that timeline, but she must be close judging by the success she has enjoyed thus far.

Vaughn has hit her stride as a lobbyist who consistently delivers results for her clients. No issue is too big or too complex for her to handle. For some lobbyists, the House of Representatives can seem like a daunting body in which to work based on the outright numbers and the work it takes dealing with 105 members.

Not Vaughn. Her deep roots in the lower chamber have allowed her to flourish. She also works seamlessly across party lines and in multiple agencies and branches of government.

Vaughn is driven to be great. So the rest of Alabama’s political world is on notice as she continues to hone her craft hour by hour.

29. Paul Pinyan

The Alabama Farmers Federation made the first major move in Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate race by endorsing Tommy Tuberville over a handful of former and current elected officials last week.

Pinyan, as the organization’s executive director, finds himself right back in the thick of another heated statewide race. He was integral in the 2018 election cycle getting an incredible number of FarmPAC endorsed candidates over the finish line – and Tuberville will now hope that Pinyan’s hot streak continues.

With an impressive phone banking and polling operation, along with the best grassroots network in the state, Pinyan has the top tools at his disposal to continue increasing his power and influence.

With a team that includes the likes of rising star Matthew Durdin and former Secretary of State Beth Chapman, Pinyan is one of the most influential behind-the-scenes power players in Alabama.

30. Ben Patterson

He’s “The Professor” in Montgomery.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more knowledgeable governmental affairs professional in Alabama than Ben Patterson. And there’s a good reason for this.

While most know him for his diligent work with his current firm, the powerful Fine Geddie & Associates, Patterson holds a doctorate and quite literally taught classes in state and local government, as well as American politics, at the University of Alabama.

His experience in both the public and private sectors lend to his library of knowledge, too.

Prior to joining Fine Geddie in 2004, he served as the state’s deputy finance director under two governors. Patterson also had a stint as the state’s chief information officer in the 1990s and worked in governmental affairs for both the BCA and the Alabama Bankers Association.

Already powerful and influential, Patterson is poised to soon play an even bigger role in the State House.

31. Ted Hosp

Normally, you don’t want to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the legend. However, Ted Hosp is someone who has never backed down from a challenge.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama named Hosp its new vice president of Governmental Affairs earlier this year. Hosp replaced the retiring Robin Stone, a longtime fixture among Alabama’s political power players.

Hosp had previously worked for a governor and was the lead partner for the Maynard, Cooper & Gale governmental affairs practice. During his time as a lawyer/lobbyist for Maynard, Hosp had a reputation for taking on some of the biggest issues and toughest issues on behalf of his clients looking to affect public policy. Not to mention Hosp has probably written more pieces of legislation that are now Alabama law than anyone in the statehouse would like to admit.

Hosp is now the governmental affairs point person for a company that has 3 million members in Alabama and employs 3,600 people. With the weight of that presence behind him, his power and influence will only increase.

32. Josh Blades

Josh Blades has been ahead of the curve at every point in his life. The Sylacauga native was recognized as the city’s youngest entrepreneur at age 15 after opening a full-service archery shop, and he has never looked back.

One of the most visibly focused lobbyists in the statehouse, Blades is a member of the Bradley firm’s Governmental Affairs and Economic Development practice group. He has worked for a governor, a speaker of the House, a successful statewide campaign and established a thriving lobbying practice at an age before most people accomplish one of those things.

An avid bow hunter, Blades possesses the type of background and personality that relates to almost everyone, which is one of the most overlooked traits to successful lobbying. The depth of his work in the executive and legislative branches of government provides him the institutional knowledge to service his clients, but his influence comes from having the relationships to bring about results.

33. Derek Trotter

Spoiler alert: The president pro tem of the Alabama Senate is a powerful man. And so it’s no surprise that his chief of staff also wields significant power and influence.

Derek Trotter has served as Del Marsh’s chief of staff for nearly a year and maximized his influence quickly.

Trotter brought with him a useful blend of experience. He has served as a communications director for a statewide campaign and for Marsh in an earlier term. His background as a legislative liaison for the executive branch as well as a governmental affairs consultant in the private sector allowed him to hit the ground running as the pro tem’s chief of staff.

More than anything, though, Trotter is an operator in the statehouse on behalf of his boss. He knows Marsh’s priorities, he knows the bills that will be on the calendar and he is tasked with being Marsh’s point person in communicating with other senators.

This activity gives Trotter the two most valuable commodities in the statehouse: relationships and information. The person who knows the secrets – however mundane they may seem – automatically owns influence.

And that is where Trotter finds himself.

34. Nathaniel Ledbetter

Following its conclusion, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter wrote that the 2019 legislative session may go down as “the most important and influential of its time.”

It is fitting then that political observers around the State House are widely taking notice of the integral role Ledbetter had in its success. To put it succinctly, Ledbetter may go down as one of “the most powerful and influential” majority leaders of his time.

His rise to power has been almost meteoric. Elected to the House in 2014, he became the Republican leader in the chamber almost two full years before the end of his first term.

A former mayor of Rainsville, this DeKalb Countian has carved out his role as a staunch conservative and tireless champion for rural Alabama.

With the leadership duo of him and State Rep. Connie Rowe (R-Jasper) at the helm, the House GOP Caucus has real pull in Montgomery.

35. Mark Tuggle

After choosing not to seek reelection to the State House in 2018, Mark Tuggle has found an even better gig in the chamber – chief of staff to Speaker Mac McCutcheon.

Tuggle seems right at home on the dais. Whether it be his ingrained knowledge of the body’s rules and procedures or his built-in working relationships with many of the current members, Tuggle’s status as a former member helped him slide right in to a role of tangible power and influence to kick of this quadrennium.

This Alexander City Republican is now the lead gatekeeper to one of the most powerful people in the state. With contentious issues like criminal justice and prison reform coming up, along with the constant specter of lottery and gambling issues, Tuggle plays a crucial part behind the scenes in the legislative process.

36. Mike Cole

Mike Cole has been omnipresent in the halls of the legislature and the buildings around Montgomery for decades. Cole belongs in the category of powerful and influential people who quietly go about their business with a steady approach to lobbying within a wide swath of state government offices.

Few can match the breadth of subject matter in Cole’s governmental affairs practice. From healthcare to utility regulation to economic development to county and municipal issues, his experience and versatility put him in a position to pull levers inaccessible to others in the industry.

And he’s a big-game hunter when it comes to clients. Cole counts some of the state’s largest employers among his client base. His roots in Huntsville have allowed him to serve as a go-to connection in Montgomery for the many of the state’s tech leaders.

37. Cam Ward

Cam Ward, a perennial member of this annual Power & Influence list, is poised to have his biggest day in the spotlight yet.

When the Alabama legislature takes on a monumental criminal justice and prison reform package in the spring, Ward will be at the forefront – and at his most powerful and influential moment of his career thus far.

Serving in the Alabama Senate since 2010, Ward is known throughout Montgomery as a legislator eager to cross the aisle on issues of importance. Look for him to be one of the driving forces trying to get Republicans and Democrats on the same page in 2020 amidst the presidential election cycle doing quite the opposite.

While Ward as the Senate Judiciary chairman is known for his bipartisanship, his district includes a very red chunk of the areas just south of Birmingham where he remains incredibly popular. As evidenced by his social media posts (and his accessibility across these platforms), much of this is a result of his diligent work back at home.

38. Greg Butrus

Most lawyers are like the highway patrol: You only want to see them when you need them.

Greg Butrus is the exception.

It’s impossible not to learn something during a conversation with Butrus. Once a Senate staffer for legendary Alabama political figure Howell Heflin, Butrus displays the type of personality rare among the silk stocking law firms in downtown Birmingham.

He holds extensive knowledge in the areas of state and federal legislation, public policy, government relations, campaign finance law, state and federal energy policy, regulatory affairs and economic development. By no means is that an exhaustive list of Butrus’ areas of expertise, which leads him into the middle of countless pieces of legislation and agency actions.

Astute business leaders pursue Butrus’ counsel rather than wait until they really need it.

39. David Cole

David Cole must have been born to lobby.

While this was already evident during his time at the Alabama Farmers Federation, Cole has seized the opportunity of working for the better-than-ever Business Council of Alabama with both hands.

Cole is a natural people’s person, someone adept at building genuine relationships and making real connections. In the governmental affairs world, these traits are hard to find.

However, BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt struck gold when she hired both Cole and Molly Cagle to lead the organization’s governmental & political affairs shop.

These two are no longer rising stars. They have made it, and Britt has built a tenacious powerhouse for years to come.

40. Clyde Chambliss

Through thick and thin, State Senator Clyde Chambliss was at the center of seemingly every major legislative battle this spring.

The Autauga County legislator carried the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure package in his chamber, also taking a leading role on the crucial accountability and transparency portions of the legislation.

His session certainly did not end there.

Chambliss’ real 15 minutes came as the Senate point person on HB 314, the abortion ban legislation.

A meticulous, detail-oriented public servant, Chambliss has steadily become one of the most powerful and influential members of the upper chamber to start the quadrennium – including serving as the GOP floor leader.

He is expected to play a major part in the upcoming criminal justice and prison reform debate, so do not anticipate this status changing this upcoming session.

1 week ago

Alabamians can meet Donald Trump, Jr. on Nov. 7 — ‘Some of the most patriotic Americans’

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Donald Trump, Jr. will hold a meet and greet on November 7 in Birmingham for the launch of his book, “Triggered.”

The event is being held from 7:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. at the Books-A-Million located at Brookwood Village. Admission will include a copy of the book, as well as meeting the president’s eldest son: “Don Jr.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Trump said, “Alabamians understood, perhaps earlier than anyone, that the Left was using every dirty trick in the book to smear and silence conservatives, and that it was going to take someone with real guts and courage to stand up to the mob and win.”

“I’m looking forward to coming to Birmingham to spend time with some of the most patriotic Americans in the country, and to talk about my new book, ‘Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,’” he concluded.

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The book is described as follows:

No topic is spared from political correctness in Donald Trump, Jr.’s, Triggered, which will expose all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from online “shadow banning” to fake accusations of “hate speech.”

In Triggered, Donald Trump, Jr. will expose all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from online “shadow banning” to fake accusations of “hate speech.” No topic is spared from political correctness. This is the book that the leftist elites don’t want you to read!

Trump, Jr. will write about the importance of fighting back and standing up for what you believe in. From his childhood summers in Communist Czechoslovakia that began his political thought process, to working on construction sites with his father, to the major achievements of President Trump’s administration, Donald Trump, Jr. spares no details and delivers a book that focuses on success and perseverance, and proves offense is the best defense.

Tickets can be obtained here.

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

1 week ago

2019 POWER & INFLUENCE 40: Numbers 1-10

(YHN)

Yellowhammer Multimedia on Friday released the fourth and final segment of the 2019 Power & Influence 40.

Our team has spent weeks talking with key operatives and analyzing recent developments in public policy and politics, and this list is meant to recognize the top individuals in government and politics who leverage their power and influence to better the Yellowhammer State.

The ranked list has been released in four segments, with 31-40 coming first followed by 21-30 and 11-20.

Members of the Yellowhammer 15 and the Power & Influence 40 lists will be celebrated through the 5th annual Power of Service event, which will take place Thursday, October 17, in Montgomery.

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Read more about the event here.

10. Arthur Orr

Is there a single penny spent in the state of Alabama on education that Arthur Orr does not know about? Short answer: no.

Orr is the chairman of the senate education budget committee. This means he is the point man for his chamber on the $7 billion pot of money which funds Alabama’s education system. The size of the budget brings with it a hefty responsibility – and tremendous power and influence.

Almost halfway through his second decade as a member of the state senate, Orr has now also clocked enough time as budget chair that he knows every corner of education funding and every mechanism available for appropriation. He has established near total control of his chamber’s spending and priorities.

If someone wanted to make a movie about the story of the deliberative upper chamber, Orr might be the best choice to go on the poster. He has an incredible tolerance for details and is methodical in all of his actions. He is representative of the chamber’s approach to governing.

With the clout of the education budget in his corner, he is also not afraid to take on tough budget reform fights from which others shy away, like ABC privatization and welfare reform.

Brick by brick, Orr has built a fortress of political power and influence.

9. Quentin Riggins

The work Quentin Riggins does outside of politics would probably land him on any list of influential Alabamians. He is a pillar of the community and has involved himself in a myriad of different causes aimed at improving his home state.

His service on the powerful Auburn University Board of Trustees is plenty for one person. However, Riggins also serves on the boards of Grandview Medical Center, the Business Council of Alabama’s ProgressPAC, the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Authority, the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham and the Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute. He has previously served on the boards of Leadership Alabama and the Baptist Foundation.

Then there is the work he does as senior vice president of governmental and corporate affairs for Alabama Power Company. He heads up the company’s state and federal government affairs program, which is a vast and yet intricate undertaking. Riggins is able to pull from more than 25 years of service in the arena in representing the interests of one of the state’s largest employers.

Not to be forgotten, though, is his orchestration of one of the purest flexes of political muscle in several years.

Riggins oversaw the forceful changing of the guard at the Business Council of Alabama which set in motion a series of events resulting in the implementation of two monumental policy initiatives enacted to move Alabama forward: Rebuild Alabama and rural broadband expansion. Riggins’ plan for new leadership at BCA allowed the organization to establish the type of clout and cohesion necessary for success.

Riggins’ ability to look out over the horizon is a scarce commodity and produces uncommon power and influence.

8. Joe Perkins

Joe Perkins is unspeakably powerful and influential. So much so – and in such a way – that we probably should not even be speaking about it.

Perkins founded the robust, yet mysterious, Matrix firm. He and his firm occupy a unique space in the world of Alabama politics. The variety of clients he serves is remarkable. From some of the state’s biggest companies to some that could be construed as ‘mom and pop shops’ if not for their success. His work is not limited to industry, and he has a hand in the activities of trade and business associations from small, specialized groups to the very biggest.

And what he does is different.

He’s not a lobbyist. He’s not engaged in a governmental affairs practice. He consults on strategy and direction for different organizations. He provides public relations expertise carefully calculated to position his client in just the right space.

And it all goes back to the people, companies and campaigns at which he is directing his focus. He is the invisible guiding hand behind major initiatives, campaigns and state institutions of higher education. He is quiet counsel to high-ranking officials and regional decision-makers.

Trying to explain Perkins’ power and influence is far more difficult than his ability to exert it.

7. Bill Poole

Bill Poole might just be the most powerful non-Speaker member of the Alabama House of Representatives. Ever.

Talk about a guy who could do whatever his heart desired – Poole’s blend of intelligence, charisma, work ethic and integrity have led him to be a rising star in Alabama politics since his freshman year in the House.

Every year, that star has gotten brighter, and this past session just exacerbated that trend.

Poole’s stalwart leadership as sponsor of the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure package was one of the most impressive feats in recent legislative history.

However, his performance really came as little surprise to those who had observed the statehouse this decade.

Everyone in the chamber likes Bill Poole – and they respect him without exception.

His reputation inside and outside the membership has been well earned. He treats people right, leads by example and delivers results time after time.

His excellent chairmanship of the education budget committee in the House wields him power and influence already, but Poole exponentially has increased his stock over recent years well beyond a normal leader in the House.

What’s next for Poole? Well, the sky is the limit.

Could we soon have another statesman-like U.S. senator from Tuscaloosa?

Whatever he chooses to do, Poole will excel – and Alabamians will continue to reap the rewards.

6. Katie Boyd Britt

Talk about a baptism by fire.

Katie Boyd Britt and her newly assembled BCA governmental affairs team were thrown into a legislative battle for the ages to kick this year off.

Working together seamlessly – and tirelessly – the Britt-led BCA helped guide Rebuild Alabama to passage. The work was not easy. In fact, it was the stuff of lobbying lore, an accomplishment to be bragged about for decades to come. But they did it with a smile on, a gleam in their eye. The only acceptable result was going to be success, and the end result was the final vote exceeding all expectations.

It all starts with Britt. From the very first day on the job, this ex-chief of staff for Senator Richard Shelby effortlessly looked like the power and influence he wields rubbed right off on her.

Britt has brought an energy, an excitement and an optimism back to BCA through her buoyant leadership. Through vision, determination and an undefinable charisma, she is setting the organization and its member companies up for unparalleled successes.

However, her personal star also shines brightly.

People are mentioning Britt at the very top of the list of contenders to succeed Shelby, whenever the venerable senator does decide to call it quits.

Whether she is interested or not remains to be seen, but regardless she is going to be one of Alabama’s most powerful and influential people quite possibly for the next half-century.

And the people of our state will be better off because of it.

5. Jo Bonner

There are very few people who have served Alabama in a more exemplary way this century than Jo Bonner.

Congressman. Vice chancellor for the University of Alabama System. And now the immensely powerful and influential chief of staff to Governor Kay Ivey.

Bonner has been the epitome of a statesman throughout it all and now runs the day-to-day operations of state government. A third act that would beat the first of most in politics and government.

He not only has the governor’s ear but is, in effect, the governor’s ears and voice on many matters.

Everyone with dealings on Goat Hill knows that Bonner is the gatekeeper to Ivey, and he has put together a top-notch staff that runs the governor’s office like a well-oiled machine with him leading the charge.

Bonner’s contributions to the state’s current historic success might be behind the scenes, but they are well recognized by those in the know. Bonner is by far the most impactful non-elected official in state government right now and will continue to be as long as he serves.

4. Mac McCutcheon

You will find no kinder a person, no more of a gentleman in elected office than Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon.

McCutcheon has dedicated his life to the people of Alabama. From protecting and serving as a career law enforcement officer in Huntsville to leading the rambunctious lower chamber of the Alabama Legislature, McCutcheon has led with integrity and compassion every step of the way.

Honored with Yellowhammer’s Power of Service Award last year, McCutcheon has continued in 2019 to be an ideal role model for people young and old looking for the best of humanity in their public servants.

How he carries himself only adds to the considerable, inherent power and influence of his office.

The members of the House listen to McCutcheon not just because he has the gavel – but because they like him and respect him. This stems for the personal interest that he takes in all of the members. For McCutcheon, being speaker is a solemn duty – and the House membership is like a family.

McCutcheon will have another tough challenge ahead as the criminal justice and prison issue comes to a head in 2020 (with Medicaid still hovering). But if anyone can handle it, it’s him – with empathy and patience.

3. Zeke Smith

Zeke Smith has worked to establish the largest and most comprehensive external affairs effort in the state. Everything from lobbying to public relations to regulatory affairs to charitable giving falls under his purview as executive vice president of external affairs for Alabama Power Company.

An array of responsibilities that affect 1.4 million customers and 7,000 employees in Alabama require that Smith have an abundance of exceptional traits.

One of the most impressive and useful traits that Smith displays is an unmatched capacity. His knowledge of Alabama Power’s massive operation extends to every corner of its business. Layered on top of that is a continual awareness of Alabama’s political climate, its power players and what makes each tick.

As with most high-performing individuals, a function of his success has been his ability to extend beyond the discipline in which he trained. An Auburn University graduate with a degree in engineering, Smith has had a distinguished career and was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame earlier this year. Now, at this point in his career, he finds himself in a position where a mastery of politics and a firm grasp of people’s motivation are essential to the job.

Assembling a top-notch team to carry out the external affairs mission has been a key component to his success. To work for him means you have been vetted, and it has been verified that you can deliver. Smith carries with him a calm urgency to his actions, and he expects results.

All of this has contributed to the end result, which is that he, perhaps more than anyone else in Alabama, receives the first phone call from aspiring office-seekers. Nothing speaks more to power and influence than when people operate under the premise that they need your support to succeed.

For most of us, the names and numbers on our ‘Recents’ call screen are in black to designate outgoing calls. We imagine Smith has nothing but red on his.

He operates at a level of power and influence where the air is thin.

2. Del Marsh

It was 87 years ago this week when Babe Ruth called his shot during the third game of the World Series. In the top of the 5th inning, with two strikes on him, Ruth pointed to the centerfield wall then promptly hit the next pitch over the fence.

Del Marsh called his shot twice this year – and hit home runs each time.

In the months leading up to the 2019 legislative session, Marsh told anyone who would listen that he intended to pass a huge infrastructure package and a historic education reform proposal. Insiders viewed Marsh’s plans with skepticism, while many supportive stakeholders even continued to express pessimism.

If conventional wisdom was supposed to dictate action, someone forgot to tell Marsh.

The president pro tem of the Alabama Senate immediately powered through the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure legislation during a special session. In doing so, he left no doubt about his clout in what may prove to be a generational, game-changing boost to the Yellowhammer State’s roads, bridges and waterways.

During a conversation with Yellowhammer News following the passage of Rebuild Alabama, we asked Marsh if the collective temperament of the legislature would allow for any other major pieces of legislation. He reacted as if we were speaking in tongues.

Marsh was not finished. He next set out to pass legislation enabling a constitutional amendment reforming the state school board and abolishing Common Core. Once considered an issue no one would even attempt to take on, Marsh whipped the bills through the legislature and onto the next statewide ballot.

Two for two out of the park.

Like so many others on this list, Marsh never stops. So while his next power move may not be readily apparent, do not expect him to slow down. He is a reformer and a wildly successful businessman who has a genuine interest in seeing his state improve.

In the meantime, Del Marsh remains one of the most powerful and influential people within his generation of public servants.

1. Kay Ivey

Governor Kay Ellen Ivey will go down as one of the most consequential leaders in Alabama history.

And she’s not even close to being finished yet.

From the second she put her hand on the Bible and became the state’s 54th governor, Ivey has been laser focused on governing and nothing else.

She’s steered the ship through all of the noise – the politics, the gossip, the fluff – like a warm knife through butter, staying on course to a better future for our great state.

Ivey quickly became known as Alabama’s education governor through her Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative, adding onto this legacy through her historic push to add 500,000 more skilled workers by 2025.

However, the progress certainly does not end there. From landmark economic development wins to increasing foreign trade opportunities, Alabama is winning big under Ivey’s steady hand.

The Rebuild Alabama Act will go down as a crowning jewel of her administration – not just the merits of the forward-thinking infrastructure package itself, but how she got it done. The legislation passed in stunningly overwhelming fashion because of Ivey’s personal ownership of the issue. She bulldogged the package to passage – certainly with the tremendous help of organizations like BCA, ALFA, the Road Builders, etc., but it would not have happened without the governor.

She faces two more big issues this coming year and through the end of her term: the prison system and rural healthcare/Medicaid.

How will Ivey continue to utilize her position as one of the most powerful and influential governors ever?

Check back on Saturday for the entire list published in one article.

1 week ago

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks blows up the impeachment game

(M. Brooks, N. Pelosi/Facebook, White House/Flickr)

The Democrats’ real plan on impeachment is starting to come to light.

Don’t hold a vote; do media interviews; pretend the president deserves to be removed.

Republican Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) is not having it.

Appearing on this weekend’s “Guerrilla Politics,” Brooks argued that Democrats are trying to prevent Republicans from calling witnesses to testify and trying to limit their participation in the investigation.

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When asked why Democrats were doing things the way that they are, Brooks responded, “[T]o prevent the Republicans or President Trump from calling witnesses that may shed a different light on the story.”

Those on the right have long argued that this process is political and has nothing to do with finding the truth, and polling indicates that 55% of the American people also feel the same way.

Yesterday, Axios reported that Trump would send a letter to Nancy Pelosi, effectively daring the Democrats to hold a vote on impeachment and putting many vulnerable Democrats on record with an official vote.

“The White House is planning to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter as soon as Friday arguing that President Trump and his team can ignore lawmakers’ demands until she holds a full House vote formally approving an impeachment inquiry,” two sources familiar with the letter reportedly told Axios.

The president and Brooks are on the same page with this. They both understand the unprecedented nature of what Democrats are trying to do.

“They are using a process that denies us on the defense side the ability to call witnesses. This may be the first time in history it’s ever happened,” said Brooks.

Now, all across the country, Republicans in Congress have joined the White House to start fighting back against the circus that impeachment has already become.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also sent a letter to Pelosi, highlighting the need to follow precedent and calling her actions reckless.

“Unfortunately, you have given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed – including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed,” McCarthy explained in his letter to Pelosi. “In addition, the swiftness and recklessness with which you have proceeded has already resulted in committee chairs attempting to limit minority participation in scheduled interviews, calling into question the integrity of such an inquiry.”

Brooks also made it clear that he believes the president has done nothing wrong.

When asked by Dr. Waymon Burke whether Trump sought a political favor from Ukraine, Brooks quickly responded, “He didn’t.”

Brooks went on to argue that the bar for impeachment has already been historically set and that even if Trump had done what he is being accused of, it does meet that bar.

“If you believe in the 14th Amendment’s equal protection that everybody should be treated equally before the law, then quite clearly what the Democrats are accusing him of is not an impeachable offense because it is much, much much less severe then what the Senate acquitted Bill Clinton of in his impeachment,” Brooks remarked.

It is clear that Brooks and other Republicans will continue to try to expose the truth out of this charade, even with the media and their Democrats seemingly content to continue playing games with this process.

Watch here (full episode airs all over Alabama this weekend):

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

1 week ago

Byrne, Rogers support formal censure of Adam Schiff — ‘We have to fight back’

(B. Byrne, M. Rogers, A. Schiff/Facebook, YHN)

Congressmen Bradley Byrne (AL-01) and Mike Rogers (AL-03) have joined a resolution to officially condemn and censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) for misleading the public during a hearing last week with a false retelling of a conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.

The resolution was filed by Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ).

In a statement, Byrne outlined the background behind the censure effort.

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“Last week, Adam Schiff used his opening statement to pass off as real a completely fabricated retelling of President Trump’s phone conversation with the Ukrainian President,” Byrne explained.

“His imagined conversation is clearly and entirely contradicted by the transcript of the call – the same transcript House Democrats did not wait to receive before launching their phony impeachment efforts,” he continued.

Byrne then said, “Adam Schiff’s scheme to mislead the American people through lies and deception is just a further example of why this whole impeachment charade is a sham. The American people are sick of this political posturing, and the House should do all in its power to protect what integrity remains of this institution by formally condemning his behavior and ending this politically-motivated impeachment inquiry.”

In an exclusive comment to Yellowhammer News, Byrne added, “The Democratic Party is losing any credibility they had left with Adam Schiff as their mouthpiece. The Democrats’ unjustified, politically-motivated impeachment inquiry is just an attempt to hurt President Trump ahead of the 2020 election. We have to fight back against these attacks against our President— censoring Schiff and putting an end to all of the lies is the first step.”

Rogers made his thoughts clear on Twitter.

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

1 week ago

Mary Windom seeking reelection to Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

Official photo for the current Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals (Standing, L-R, Hons. Richard Minor and Bill Cole. Seated, L-R, Hons. Beth Kellum, Mary Windom and Chris McCool)

Judge Mary Windom, who presides over the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, on Thursday announced that she will seek reelection for Place 1 on the court in 2020.

Windom has been elected by her fellow judges to serve as the court’s presiding judge since 2012.

First elected in 2008, Windom has served the people of Alabama for 11 years on a platform based upon conservative principles with fairness to every citizen.

“I have been honored to serve the people of Alabama on the Court of Criminal Appeals,” Windom said in a statement. “I will continue to stand by the two promises I made when I first ran for office. I will apply the law as it is written and not make law from the bench. I will look after the rights of all, most importantly the victims of crime.”

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Windom graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Jones School of Law and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Prior to joining the Court of Criminal Appeals, Windom served as an assistant United States attorney and deputy state attorney general. She presently serves on the Alabama Supreme Court’s advisory committee on the rules of criminal procedure. She has also served on the chief justice’s commission on professionalism. Additionally, Windom has served as a special justice for the Alabama Supreme Court.

The Republican primary election will be held on March 3 and the general election will be held on November 3, 2020.

More information about Windom’s campaign can be found online here.

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

2 weeks ago

2019 POWER & INFLUENCE 40: Numbers 11-20

(YHN)

Yellowhammer Multimedia on Thursday released the third segment of the 2019 Power & Influence 40.

Our team has spent weeks talking with key operatives and analyzing recent developments in public policy and politics, and this list is meant to recognize the top individuals in government and politics who leverage their power and influence to better the Yellowhammer State.

The ranked list is being released in four segments, with 31-40 coming first followed by 21-30 on Wednesday.

Members of the Yellowhammer 15 and the Power & Influence 40 lists will be celebrated through the 5th annual Power of Service event, which will take place Thursday, October 17, in Montgomery.

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Read more about the event here.

20. Greg Albritton

Greg Albritton is an old-school legislator trapped in a second-termer’s body. He is particularly clever in how he goes about working his issues and navigating the legislative process. And he is dogged in pursuit of passing his legislative priorities. Take for example his bill reforming the marriage license process in Alabama. Albritton ran into roadblocks to the passage of that bill in multiple legislative sessions, but he kept at it and now it is law.

Albritton often finds himself in the middle of some of the more controversial legislative fights while representing the interests of his district. There are at least a few times a session where he will dig in and not move – all with a smile on his face.

Those things make his power and influence notable. However, Albritton also chairs one of the two budget committees in the State Senate.

As the Senate’s lead appropriator for the general fund (the poor cousin to the education trust fund), Albritton is in a position where it is impossible to make everyone happy. Sometimes, though, power and influence rests in the ability to tell people “no.” He’s pretty good at that, and it’s necessary given the fact that requesting general fund appropriations is about like standing in a bread line in a former eastern bloc country.

Albritton is conservative and thoughtful in his budgeting practices and crafty with his deal-making. So it’s no surprise to see him land on this list.

19. Horace Horn

Horace Horn is an unsung hero of Alabama’s current economic boon.

His record of longtime dedicated service could fill up a book, and the brighter future he has helped pave the way for will be celebrated through Yellowhammer’s 2019 Power of Service Award.

However, make no mistake about it: Horn has not just accomplished a lot over time – he is still one of the state’s most powerful and influential people.

As PowerSouth’s vice president for external affairs, Horn continues to be a gladiator for rural Alabama. He played a major role behind the scenes in historic broadband legislation passing this session, and the PowerSouth Playbook continues to help deliver economic development wins – as evidenced by Site Selection’s recent praise of the company.

A legend still at the top of his game, there is no better advocate to have on your side than Horace Horn.

18. Dax Swatek

Dax Swatek is one of the smartest people in Alabama politics. Some people simply have a natural ability to see all the angles, exits and useable space when they enter a room. Swatek is like that when it comes to political issues and public policy initiatives.

He’s an elite strategist whom clients call and say, “Tell me what my plan needs to be to pass this bill.” In the same way Frank Stitt rolls up his sleeves when asked to plan a seven-course meal, Swatek is the guy people come to when they want to know all the ingredients to success and stay six steps ahead the whole time.

With more than two decades now in Montgomery power circles, he has assembled a strong team behind him at his firm Swatek, Vaughn & Bryan and has long-standing relationships with leadership in both chambers and the executive branch. His client list is chock full of blue-chippers, and his alliance with the downtown Birmingham business community is especially strong.

Add it all up and you get a lobbyist who has figured out the recipe for sustained power and influence.

17. Will Ainsworth

People jest about the lieutenant governor’s office in Alabama having essentially no real power; “light” governor, some quip.

Will Ainsworth has completely changed this narrative, just in his first year on the job.

Political observers and industry titans around the Yellowhammer State have marveled at how Ainsworth has carried himself since winning in 2018 – and how he continues to maneuver every day, increasing his power and influence, growing his network.

Ainsworth has displayed poise and wisdom well beyond his years, and the result is a lieutenant governor who has become a kingmaker rather than an afterthought. His endorsement is coveted in the 2020 U.S. Senate race.

Whether it was stepping in to give the Mobile I-10 Bridge toll project a death blow or his stalwart, forward-thinking leadership on workforce development, small business and veterans issues, Ainsworth has picked his battles – and policy endeavors – perfectly.

His career is still just getting started, and Ainsworth will be elected to whatever job he wants in 2022.

16. Greg Reed

When you get into the upper echelon of power players, distinguishing traits become even more important. Greg Reed has exhibited many on his way up the tower of influence and into the position of majority leader for the Alabama Senate.

Reed has a palpable, strong presence evident to anyone who spends more than a minute with him. He is poised under pressure and demonstrates a statesman-like demeanor whether in the company of few or of many. And the best thing about this is that, with Reed, it’s real.

Leading the majority caucus in the state senate can be the most challenging position in the statehouse. By virtue of being in the majority, each caucus member is in a position to influence the body in individual ways. That’s tough to manage. Reed has stepped in and not only helped maintain order but has guided some ambitious agenda items to passage.

One area where he excels and probably does not get enough credit is his grasp of policy. On issues affecting the coal industry, small business, economic development and agriculture, Reed could teach a semester class if he were afforded the time.

Reed’s star is bright and is set to get even brighter.

15. Steve Marshall

From the first second he stepped to the microphone after being appointed attorney general in 2017, Steve Marshall has dazzled.

Charisma. Intelligence. Compassion. Fortitude. Integrity.

Marshall has passed every test imaginable and made Alabama a safer, better place because of his service.

And for him, that’s the only thought.

This is a public servant who could do whatever he wanted – U.S. senator, governor, you name it and Steve Marshall would win that election in a heartbeat and serve with distinction.

However, Marshall has the only job he ever wanted right now. A career prosecutor with a true passion for serving as attorney general, he is one of the most real elected officials you will ever meet.

From that authenticity comes a level of power and influence that politics cannot manufacture.

An even better man, Marshall will go down as one of the best attorneys general in state history.

14. Jabo Waggoner

Jabo Waggoner is always the coolest guy in any room. He possesses a magnetism which has served him to near perfection throughout his political career. He’s the gentlemen senator and the smoothest of operators, but mainly people just want to be around him.

Of course, there’s also the fact that he holds the power of legislative process in the palm of his hand. Guess who determines what does and does not get debated on the floor of the Alabama Senate? Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jabo Waggoner. Every. Single. Bill.

In the most deliberative body, the place where it is hardest to pass a bill, that’s a monumental – and immeasurably powerful – responsibility.

Whether visiting the chairman as a constituent, a friend or someone looking to have a bill placed on the calendar, our advice would be to soak it up. Learn something. Allow yourself to get a civics lesson from someone who has served in the Alabama legislature for more than 50 years. Pay attention to how vital personal skills are to effectiveness.

There are a lot of things to learn from Jabo Waggoner. At the very least, know that he is a very powerful man.

13. Steve Windom

Steve Windom might just be the perfect case study for those looking to make it big in the world of governmental affairs and lobbying.

He is a tireless worker, but the real marvel is his deep, ever-growing network of connections on and around Goat Hill. From administrative support staff to lifelong civil servants all the way up the halls of power, Windom knows just about everybody by name – and works his Rolodex non-stop.

Windom is one of the go-to lobbyists if you want a bill passed. In addition to his relationship building, his first-hand knowledge of the process and status as a former legislator and lieutenant governor give him a special edge over many contract firms.

However, his expertise does not stop in the public policy arena.

Windom’s reputation as a fundraising machine continues to grow every election cycle – and for good reason. He can raise statewide candidates hundreds of thousands of dollars before lunch if he wants to, making him a political powerbroker unmatched in power and influence by all but a handful of colleagues.

12. Robbie McGhee

Robbie McGhee starts every day with the same mission: represent and protect the interests of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama.

What might seem to be a narrowly-focused approach can actually be an arduous task. McGhee and his tribe sit in a position of great strength in Alabama. They have established a thriving gaming and entertainment business across the state. From this success has sprung a healthy corporate citizenship through charitable endeavors, job creation and electioneering.

The challenge for McGhee comes when others set out to siphon off the strength of the tribe. This causes him to be on constant alert for people trying to harm their interests.

During those occurrences, McGhee brings a certain intensity to his representation not prevalent in the everyday machinations of the statehouse. It means something when he walks into the building, and other people know when he is there. That in itself is a sure sign of power and influence.

The experience he brings also counts for something. He worked in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Department of Interior-Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and Troutman Sanders LLP-Indian Law Practice Group.

The wins for McGhee continue to pile up year after year. And so does his power and influence.

11. Bob Geddie

It has been said that Joe Fine invented lobbying in Alabama.

That being well established, his longtime business partner Bob Geddie may have just perfected the craft.

Geddie, reverently known as the firm’s House of Representatives specialist, has lobbying down to a science.

Institutional knowledge, skill, charisma and relationships – it sounds like a formula. But Geddie makes it look like an artform.

Some of Alabama’s biggest businesses trust Geddie on policy advocacy issues, and for good reason. However, his power and influence does not stop at being one of the – if not the very — top contract lobbyists in the state.

Aided by Fine Geddie’s network of PACs and Geddie’s own chess master-like strategic vision, he is one of the best minds political candidates and elected officials could hope to have advising them.

Geddie has been a high-ranking fixture on this list since its inception, and his stature only looks to continue rising.

Check back on Friday for the final segment: 1-10.

2 weeks ago

State Sen. Tom Whatley endorses Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate

(Screenshot/APTV)

Wednesday, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville’s 2020 U.S. Senate effort got a shot in the arm with its first major endorsement from a prominent elected official.

State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) formally announced his endorsement of Tuberville’s candidacy. Whatley’s announcement is the second of such in recent weeks as the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) gave its endorsement to Tuberville as well.

In a statement provided by the Tuberville campaign, Whatley applauded Tuberville as an “outspoken supporter” of military veterans and cited him as someone that would be strong on immigration issues.

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“I am proud to endorse my friend, Tommy Tuberville, for the United States Senate,” Whatley said. “I have known Coach Tuberville for years and am confident he’s the strong, Christian conservative leader we need to defeat Doug Jones and make Alabama red again. As a Colonel in the Alabama Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserves, I want a Senator who is an outspoken supporter of our military veterans and backs it up with action.”

“In the U.S. Senate, Coach Tuberville will make veterans’ health care a top priority,” he continued. “Coach Tuberville will also stand with President Trump to stop illegal immigration and secure our borders. He knows we need to build the wall, ban sanctuary cities, and crack down on violent gangs.”

The Lee County Republican lawmaker praised Tuberville’s outsider qualities and noted his support from ALFA, which Whatley explained was a sign Tuberville would be a strong advocate for agriculture.

“Just like President Trump, Coach Tuberville is not a politician,” Whatley explained. “He will help drain the swamp in Washington, D.C. and pass a new law that says if Members of Congress don’t pass a balanced budget, then they don’t get paid! In Alabama, we have to balance our budget every year, and there’s no reason Washington shouldn’t have to as well. As Chairman of the State Senate Agriculture Committee, I know first-hand how important farming is in Alabama. Agriculture is still the number one industry in our state. I am proud that the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA), Alabama’s largest and most influential grassroots organization, endorsed Coach Tuberville for the United States Senate.”

“Like ALFA, I recognize that our family farms need a strong advocate in Washington to fight for our farming communities, and that’s exactly what Coach Tuberville will do,” he added. “We need Tommy Tuberville in the United States Senate standing up for Alabama in 2020, and I will do all I can to help ensure his victory.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.