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.

20 hours ago

Aderholt bashes partisan impeachment charges, reaffirms support for USMCA

(Robert Aderholt/Facebook)

On Tuesday, U.S. House Democrats announced two impeachment charges will be filed against President Donald Trump and then later in the day declared that they have a reached a deal to support the Trump-negotiated United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Republican Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) reacted to both developments, first tweeting his continued opposition to impeaching the president.

No Republicans are expected to vote for the impeachment charges, as the real question is how many Democrats will break ranks by either abstaining from voting on or opposing the charges.

Speaking about his Democratic colleagues, Aderholt concluded, “These impeachment charges are so political, not even all their members will be able to stomach voting for them.”

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Aderholt on Tuesday later issued a statement regarding the latest news about the USMCA, which is the trade deal negotiated by the Trump administration that would replace NAFTA.

“Since coming to Congress, my focus has been on growing our local economy and bringing the best jobs to this area. This USMCA agreement will allow our region to continue building on our already strong economy,” he advised. “This agreement is a win for Americans across the country and in the State of Alabama.”

The dean of Alabama’s House delegation commended the president for his leadership on the USMCA.

“I congratulate President Trump for negotiating this agreement, and I look forward to working with him to continue building on our historic economic expansion,” Aderholt said. “By persuading Canada and Mexico to revise the outdated NAFTA agreement, and then negotiating on labor issues with Democrat leadership, President Trump has secured a trade deal which will establish a level playing field that keeps America competitive.”

Aderholt pointed to specific sectors of Alabama’s and his district’s economies expected to benefit from the USMCA.

“The automobile and agriculture industries are two of the biggest drivers of economic development in the Fourth Congressional District of Alabama. In 2017 alone, Alabama had more than $7 billion in exports to Mexico and Canada,” he outlined. “The USMCA agreement expands access for U.S. exports of chickens and eggs. As the representative of one of the largest poultry producing districts in the nation, I can say there is no doubt USMCA is a win for Alabama’s farmers.”

“According to an April 2019 report by the U.S. International Trade Commission, USMCA is estimated to increase U.S. production of automotive parts and employment in the sector. I have repeatedly called on House leadership to bring this deal to the House floor and look forward to supporting it,” Aderholt concluded.

A vote on the USMCA has been scheduled in the House for next week, however the impeachment process driven by House Democrats might actually stall ratification in the Senate after that.

Assuming the two charges get enough Democratic votes to pass the House and Trump is impeached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said he will not take up the USMCA until the impeachment trial has concluded in the upper chamber.

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

1 day ago

U.S. House Dems throw their support behind historic Trump USMCA trade deal supported by Alabama job creators, officials

(President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi/Facebook, YHN)

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday announced that her caucus will support the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the replacement to NAFTA negotiated by President Donald Trump’s administration.

The ratification process, which needs to be complete by all three countries, will now move forward in Congress.

Pelosi’s announcement came the day after four Republican members of the Alabama legislature sent a letter urging Pelosi and her fellow congressional leaders to ratify the new trade agreement.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), along with State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) and State Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy), joined other state legislative leaders from across the country in sending the letter on Monday.

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During its 2019 regular session, the Alabama legislature passed SJR 11 sponsored by Sen. Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), formally urging Congress to ratify the USMCA. The resolution was carried by Rep. Allen in the House and was co-sponsored by Marsh.

In a Tuesday statement, Marsh said, “Trade is an issue which is vital to our state and our nation, and my colleagues in Alabama and from around the country recognize that the USMCA is a good deal for everyone involved.”

“I am glad that Members from both sides of the aisle were able to come together and agree that this is the best deal to ensure that the strongest economy in our lifetime continues to grow,” he added.

The USMCA is supported by the Alabama Farmers Federation, Manufacture Alabama and other major industries in the state. You can view a fact sheet on the USMCA pertaining to the Yellowhammer State here — and specifically its manufacturing sector here.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News on Tuesday, Business Council of Alabama (BCA) president and CEO Katie Boyd Britt said, “The Business Council of Alabama is encouraged by the news of a bipartisan agreement on USMCA.”

“Farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses all stand to benefit from an updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that has modern provisions for digital trade, financial services, and agriculture trade. We will continue to review this issue with input from our members as more details emerge,” she concluded.

Political candidates and elected officials across Alabama have also expressed their support for the USMCA over the last year. This includes Governor Kay Ivey.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News on Tuesday, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) called the latest development “great news,” adding, “Barring any surprises in the final language, I look forward to supporting this agreement.”

“I have consistently supported the idea of a new strategic trade agreement with Mexico and Canada – especially an agreement that would bring stability to the businesses and markets that are desperately seeking reassurance right now,” Jones advised.

“Although I haven’t seen the text of the final agreement yet, the fact that the White House and the House of Representatives were able to work out a bipartisan agreement is great news,” he outlined. “Barring any surprises in the final language, I look forward to supporting this agreement. I hope once it passes, we can build on this success by working with other allies around the globe and removing the threat of punitive tariffs on our farmers and automakers once and for all.”

Jones has previously spoken out against the president’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexico if the country did not stem the flow of illegal aliens into the United States. Jones has also been vocal against Trump imposing tariffs on China and the president’s trade policy in general.

The latest on the USMCA comes as the House Judiciary Committee is set to draw up two articles of impeachment against the president, which are expected to pass the House with only Democrats voting for them.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday said he will not take up ratification of the USMCA until the Senate has finished with what appears to be an imminent impeachment trial.

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

1 day ago

Merrill meets with Facebook, Twitter representatives in battle against disinformation

(Pixabay, J. Merrill/Facebook, YHN)

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill on Tuesday met with representatives from Facebook and Twitter to ensure the Yellowhammer State is prepared for the 2020 election cycle in the evolving war to stop the spread of misinformation online.

This comes after Alabama’s 2017 special election cycle saw partisan disinformation attempts to mislead voters on various social media platforms, including Project Birmingham orchestrated by Democratic operatives.

Merrill since that cycle has worked with leaders from both Facebook and Twitter to prevent similar occurrences.

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The secretary of state urged voters to get election-related information directly from his office, which can be done as easily as by accessing the “Vote for Alabama” mobile app.

“It is of paramount importance that the 4.8 million people who make up our state are informed with up-to-date, complete, and accurate information,” Merrill said in a statement. “All election-related information should come directly from our website or from your local election official. We are your trusted source for information related to the elections process.”

During the 2018 midterm election cycle, the Facebook Elections Operation Center removed more than 45,000 pieces of alleged voter suppression and intimidation content across the nation, and their efforts have reportedly only intensified since then. Facebook’s team is constantly working to detect and take down fake networks and accounts.

“We appreciate the support and cooperation of Facebook and Twitter to ensure users are not being misled by blatantly false statements, but instead, are receiving correct information,” Merrill remarked. “Today’s meetings are another indication of how prepared Alabama is as we move toward the 2020 election cycle.”

“Further, election security and protocol is higher than ever in Alabama. We continue to introduce new ways to improve security every single day,” he concluded.

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

2 days ago

Ainsworth endorses Cam Ward for Supreme Court

(Facebook/Will Ainsworth/Cam Ward/YHN)

In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth endorsed State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) for Supreme Court Place 1. Ainsworth confirmed his tweet constituted an endorsement in a message to Yellowhammer News.

Ward is running to unseat GOP incumbent Justice Greg Shaw. Shaw is seeking reelection to the court for what would be his third six-year term after first being elected in 2008.

“I have worked closely with Senator Ward, and we need conservatives like him on the Alabama Supreme Court. I am supporting his candidacy and encourage my friends to do the same,” Ainsworth told Yellowhammer.

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“I’m honored to have a strong conservative like Lt Governor Ainsworth supporting me. He knows my legislative record and the conservative values I will bring to our Supreme Court,” Ward said in a statement to Yellowhammer on Tuesday.

Ward is respected and influential in the Alabama Senate, and currently chairs the Judiciary Committee. As of the end of November, he has $112,924.06 in his campaign account. He is serving his third term in the Alabama Senate after first being elected in 2010. Previously, he served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Also qualified in the GOP primary for Supreme Court Place 1 is former State Senator Brian Taylor (R-Prattville), but he has yet to announce a decision about whether he will launch a campaign for the seat. Taylor’s wife is running for the open AL-02 congressional seat. The deadline to take a name off the voting ballot is December 17.

The Alabama Republican Primary is March 3.

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

2 days ago

Alabama Farmers Federation poll shows close race between Sessions, Tuberville

(Jeff Sessions/Contributed, Arnold Mooney/Contributed, Tommy Tuberville, Bradley Byrne, I Stand with Roy Moore, Stanley Adair/Facebook, YHN)

Yellowhammer News on Tuesday obtained a poll conducted this month by the Alabama Farmers Federation showing a tight race between former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville in Alabama’s 2020 Republican U.S. Senate primary.

This comes after Yellowhammer News earlier in the day reported on a new Sessions internal poll that showed Sessions with a sizable lead.

The Alabama Farmers Federation’s polling is well respected in Yellowhammer State politics. This latest survey was conducted December 1-3 via live callers and measured 600 likely Alabama GOP voters. The margin of error was +/-4.00%.

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The poll showed Sessions leading just at the margin of error, coming in at 35% compared to Tuberville’s 31% on the ballot test (when voters were asked who they plan to vote for in the primary).

Next came Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) at 12%, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore at 8% and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) and former televangelist Stanley Adair each with 1%.

When it came to favorability, Sessions enjoyed a 3:1 ratio — 63% viewed him favorably, compared to 21% unfavorably. Sessions had 98% name identification, with 13% saying they had no opinion of him. Tuberville had a ratio above 4:1, at 57% favorable and 14% unfavorable while 9.5% of respondents had never heard of Tuberville and 19.5% had no opinion of him.

Both the Sessions internal poll and the federation poll accounted for Secretary of State John Merrill suspending his campaign the evening of December 1. While the federation began polling earlier that day, they scrapped the 10 Merrill ballot test responses they received on December 1 and took his name out of the survey after he announced the campaign suspension.

Tuberville is endorsed by the federation’s grassroots political arm, FarmPAC. Endorsements are recommended by farmer representatives from all 67 counties on behalf of the organization’s 350,000 member families.

In a statement, Alabama Farmers Federation external affairs director Matthew Durdin expressed that the poll shows Tuberville maintains momentum despite Sessions’ late entry into the race.

“Coach Tuberville’s position as a political outsider who’s committed to fighting the entrenched Washington establishment while supporting Christian values, veterans, farmers and working families resonates with voters,” Durdin said. “He seeks to continue President Trump’s policies which have resulted in record low unemployment and economic growth.”

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

2 days ago

Watch: Barry Moore premieres first ad in AL-02 race

(Youtube/Barry Moore for Congress)

Former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) released his first campaign ad of the 2020 election cycle Tuesday. Moore is running to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) in Alabama’s Second Congressional District.

In the ad, Moore touts his 2015 endorsement of Donald Trump at a rally in Mobile which he claims made him the first elected official in the nation to throw his support behind Donald Trump.

Moore has made his early and steadfast support of Trump the centerpiece of his campaign.

The 30-second spot also mentions Moore’s service in the armed forces, and his conservative voting record during his two terms (2010-2018) in the statehouse.

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“Ultimately this race will come down to whether the voters believe what my opponents say they’ll do, as opposed to what I’ve already done.  Alabama voters believe that actions speak louder than words, and I stand by my actions as a conservative and long-time Trump supporter,” Moore announced in a press release.

The ad will be airing on cable TV across the district. It will go up on December 11 or 12 on most cable systems in District 2 and will run until the evening of Dec. 21.

Moore’s campaign also told Yellowhammer that they are going to give the commercial a heavy push on social media and have it converted for use on the radio.

Moore’s opponents for the AL-02 Republican nomination are former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman and Prattville businesswoman Jessica Taylor.

Watch:

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

2 days ago

‘Died as a hero’: Alabama politicians react to the killing of Joshua Kaleb Watson

Several Alabama politicians have spoken up to praise the actions and mourn the death of Navy Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson.

Watson, a native of Enterprise, AL, was one of three American sailors killed by Mohammed Alshamrani, a Second Lt. in Saudi Arabia’s armed forces. Alshamrani had been training with the sailors at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL. The FBI is investigating Alshamrani’s actions as a terrorist attack.

Watson’s family told the Pensacola News Journal (PNJ) that Joshua Kaleb “was a natural leader, a huge Auburn football fan and a person who put others first and strived to bring out the best in them.”

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Benjamin Watson said his son, Joshua Kaleb, was the officer on deck at the time of the shooting. His son was shot at least five times, he told the PNJ on the phone.

“Heavily wounded, he made his way out to flag down first responders and gave an accurate description of the shooter,” Benjamin Watson said. “He died serving his country.”

Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) praised Watson, adding his “heroism” and military service will be recognized in the next session.

“Ensign Watson encompassed the very best that Alabama has to offer, and he represented his state proudly to the nation he sought to serve. All Alabamians are proud to say that Joshua Watson lived his life as a patriot, and he died as a hero,” said McCutcheon. “The Alabama House will formally recognize his heroism and his military service when we convene the regular session in February.”

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook)  tweeted, “Watson gave what President Lincoln called the ‘last full measure of devotion.’ Louise & I are heartbroken but also thankful for his service. Our thoughts are with his family today. He died a hero and we all owe his family a debt of gratitude.”

“Three of our finest, including one of our own from right here in Alabama, have been lost. There is no excuse for this, and it must never happen again. At this time, the Department of Defense should consider suspending the training of all Saudi military personnel, and review the clearly insufficient vetting processes currently in place,” former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate advised.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01) praised Watson’s actions, which he noted “likely saved others.”

“As the investigation continues, we have learned that one of Alabama’s own acted courageously during the tragedy. While he lost his life, his actions likely saved others. We should continue to pray for his and the other victim’s families,” Byrne told Yellowhammer before calling for a re-evaluation of the screening protocols for foreign military programs.

“This American Hero spent part of his early life in Snead in Blount County. My sincere condolences to his family, some of whom are still in Blount County,” stated U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt in a tweet.

Governor Kay Ivey during an event at the capitol Monday morning said Watson “died as a hero.”

“He was the officer on the deck. Shots rang out, and he was hit five times. And despite his mortal wounds, he was able to signal and get to the first responders, to give them the precise location of the perpetrator. Young Kaleb died as a hero.”

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

2 days ago

Marshall leading federal court battle for Trump administration against California-led coalition

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is leading a group of 13 states to defend the Trump administration’s efforts to reform the implementation of the Endangered Species Act against a California-led coalition.

Marshall on Monday announced he has filed a motion in federal court, specifically the Northern District of California, for the State of Alabama to intervene in State of California v. David Bernhardt, U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

This comes after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service recently issued new rules to clarify and reform the way the respective services implement the Endangered Species Act.

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Among those changes, the Fish and Wildlife Service will no longer by default treat a newly listed “threatened” species the same as an “endangered” species. By recognizing a middle tier between “unlisted” and “endangered” species, the rule will encourage the services and stakeholders to develop more collaborative and tailored approaches to protecting threatened species. Similar efforts in the past have reportedly been good for both species and landowners.

The services have also agreed to roll back regulations passed by the Obama administration that made it possible for the federal government to regulate land as “critical habitat” for an endangered species even if the species did not occupy that land and could not survive there. The new regulations also provide states and other landowners greater predictability by providing more detail about what sorts of activities will require regulatory approvals from the services.

In general, the new regulations proposed by President Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior are designed to make the regulatory process more transparent, streamline interagency cooperation and spur innovation by states, environmental groups and industry to protect at-risk species.

In a statement, Marsall said, “While the federal government, states, and landowners all wish to safeguard our environment, over the last decade we have witnessed an expansion of federal regulation that was both unlawful and unnecessary. Agencies claimed powers Congress never gave them and imposed burdens on landowners that did not benefit the environment.”

“This federal overreach triggered a number of successful lawsuits by states and landowners. Alabama has led in several of these legal challenges, and we continue to advocate in court for a transparent and commonsense implementation of the Endangered Species Act through our support of the Trump administration’s reforms,” he concluded.

The State of Alabama was joined by the States of Alaska, Arizona (through its Game and Fish Commission), Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming in filed the motion to intervene on the side of the Trump administration on Monday.

This effort follows November 2016 litigation that Alabama also led, in which 20 states sued the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce, to challenge Obama era rules that oddly would have allowed the federal government to regulate as “critical habitat” land on which an endangered species did not and could not even live. The Trump administration ultimately agreed to withdraw the rules and the states settled that lawsuit in March 2018.

Additionally, Alabama in August of 2017 led 18 states in filing an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a lower court decision allowing the federal government to expand critical habitat designation to areas where the protected species could not survive. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that land is eligible for designation as critical habitat only if it is actually “habitat” for the species.

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

2 days ago

Tuberville: ‘We replaced God with metal detectors’ in American schools

(Alabama Farmers Federation/Twitter)

MONTGOMERY — Speaking during the closing dinner of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 98th annual meeting on Monday evening, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville gave a fiery campaign speech to the crowd of approximately 1,400 farmers, elected officials and friends of the state’s agricultural community.

Tuberville has been endorsed by the federation’s grassroots political arm, FarmPAC. Before he was welcomed to the stage to speak on Monday, a short video made by the Alabama Farmers Federation played about his candidacy.

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Tuberville began his remarks by telling Governor Kay Ivey, who was in attendance and spoke earlier in the program, that she is doing “a great job.”

He then expressed his support for the state’s agricultural community as well as rural Alabama in general before getting into some broader campaign messages.

Tuberville largely reiterated the key talking points from his stump speech, with a few different twists and lines now and again.

The crowd really seemed to get into the speech when the Republican candidate said, “I’m a Donald Trump guy. I do believe today that God sent Donald Trump to us. He’s the only thing standing between socialism and this country. We can’t let that happen. We cannot let it happen.”

The first big applause line landed seconds later, as he began outlining the three main reasons he wants to serve in the U.S. Senate.

“I want to get God back in this country,” Tuberville emphasized. “We gotta get God back in this country.”

“In the 1960s, we kicked God out of schools. No more prayers,” he lamented. “We replaced God with metal detectors. That’s how far we’ve gone (off track).”

“Folks, we’re losing it,” he added. “We’re losing Christianity in this country. We gotta get it back.”

Tuberville continued, “But it starts by teaching it. We should teach all religions in our schools. But we’ve definitely got to get God back in our schools.”

The longtime educator and coach said parental involvement in schools has also fallen off the to the detriment of society.

He pointed to a lack of positive male role models as an issue in many students’ upbringing.

“We’ve got to get family back together,” Tuberville remarked.

Comparing these three concepts to coaching fundaments like blocking and tackling, Tuberville advised that “God, family and education” must be restored in order for the country to get back to winning ways. He said the country was at a breaking point on which way it would go.

“We’re fighting,” he remarked to more applause. “Fighting back. Washington, D.C. has lost their mind. Absolutely lost their mind.”

Tuberville bashed Democrats in the U.S. House for spending their time on the current impeachment inquiry into Trump instead of on bipartisan, national priories such as approving the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), which the Alabama Farmers Federation supports.

The first-time candidate also reiterated his pledge not to take a salary if elected to the U.S. Senate. Instead, he will reportedly donate the money to Alabama military veterans.

“Folks, I don’t need this job. I really don’t. I want this job. I don’t need a paycheck. All my money’s going to the veterans of this state, I’m not taking a dime,” Tuberville pledged to warm applause.

“And I’m not going to be politically correct, I’m sick of that,” he added after the applause ended, only to get the crowd clapping loudly once again.

“I love this state and this country so much that I want to go fight for it,” Tuberville summarized. “And it’s time that we fought — not turn our head, not be politically correct.”

After again giving the example of miniature horses now being allowed on airplanes as emotional support animals, Tuberville continued to decry political correctness while advising that a teacher recently told him that she was not able in her elementary school now to say “no” or “don’t.”

“We can’t hurt their feelings,” Tuberville scoffed. “Folks, there’s nothing in the Constitution that says you can’t have your feelings hurt.”

That line drew waves of both laughter and applause.

“I want to be your leader in Washington, D.C. and a voice for you that’s going to speak for you and not the swamp,” he underlined. “I am so sick of the swamp.”

Tuberville concluded by saying, “Merry Christmas and God bless.”

The crowd then gave him a standing ovation.

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

2 days ago

Sessions internal poll: Sessions 44%, Tuberville 21%, Byrne 14%

MONTGOMERY — A survey conducted by a nationally respected pollster on behalf of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ 2020 U.S. Senate campaign shows Sessions with a wider primary lead than previously believed.

Wes Anderson of OnMessage Inc., who won the American Association of Political Consultants’ “Pollster of the Year” award in 2018, conducted the survey December 3-5 via live telephone callers (65% landline/35% cellphone). The poll measures 700 likely Alabama GOP primary voters; the margin of error is +/- 3.70%.

Yellowhammer News on Monday evening obtained the poll memo and corresponding survey deck (slideshow). The poll is the first publicly available since Secretary of State John Merrill suspended his Senate candidacy.

On the ballot-test (when voters were asked who they plan to vote for in the primary), Sessions garnered an eye-popping 44% of respondents. He was followed by former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville at 21%, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) at 14%, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore at 7% and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) at 1% while 12% were undecided.

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The survey also showed impressive favorability ratings for Sessions. 71% of respondents said they had a favorable view of Sessions, compared to 21% viewing him unfavorably. This equaled a 50-point positive net favorability. With 8% responding they had no opinion of Sessions, this meant he had 100% name identification in the survey.

Tuberville also came in second on favorability. He had a 33-point positive net favorability, at 50% favorable and 17% unfavorable. 10% had never heard of Tuberville and 22% had no opinion.

Byrne had a 26-point positive net favorability. 37% viewed him favorably compared to 11% unfavorably. 26% had never heard of Byrne and another 26% had no opinion.

In the polling memo written Monday, Anderson, the pollster, wrote, “Senator Sessions is very well positioned to win the primary and then to take this seat away from the Democrats next November by defeating Senator Doug Jones.”

The memo also advised, “Unlike other candidates, Sessions’ vote and favorability ratings are not regional, rather Sessions is strong in every corner of the state.”

In a statement, Sessions campaign manager Jon Jones added, “Jeff Sessions is a conservative, principled leader who is trusted by the people of Alabama. That’s clear when you talk to voters around the state, and this survey bears that out.”

“Senator Sessions is busy crisscrossing the state talking to voters, and our campaign has incredible momentum — but we aren’t taking a single vote for granted,” he concluded.

This poll may very well come as a surprise to political observers. An election analyst for FiveThirtyEight in early November wrote an article headlined, “Jeff Sessions Might Struggle To Win Back His Old Senate Seat.”

While many had speculated that President Donald Trump would vocally oppose Sessions’ candidacy, that has not — at least yet — occurred. Merrill in suspending his own campaign pointed to Sessions entering the race. Merrill also recently credited Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) as the main reason why Trump has not come out against Sessions in the race. Shelby has endorsed Sessions.

Before Sessions entered the race, a non-internal survey conducted by Montgomery-based Cygnal in October showed Tuberville leading the pack at 32%, followed by Byrne with 18%, Moore with 10.6%, Merrill with 8.6%, Mooney with 2% and former televangelist Stanley Adair with 1%. Of the respondents, 27.9% were undecided.

A poll conducted by WPA Intelligence on behalf of Club for Growth later in October, before Sessions had entered the race, showed Sessions at 36%, Tuberville at 23%, Byrne at 11%, Moore at 11%, Merrill at 6% and Mooney at 2%. Club for Growth urged Sessions to enter the race before he got in.

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

2 days ago

Byrne center-stage at Trump’s White House education roundtable

Congressman Bradley Byrne and President Donald J. Trump pose for a photo in the Oval Office on December 9, 2019. (White House/Contributed)

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) on Monday participated in an education roundtable discussion at the White House with President Donald Trump and the likes of Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Byrne, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, earlier this year introduced an educational choice bill backed by the Trump administration and included in the administration’s budget proposal this past spring. Called the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, H.R. 1434 would give students and parents nationwide the freedom to make educational decisions that are right for them by building upon the Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) model already used successfully in Alabama.

Trump reportedly invited Byrne to feature at Monday’s roundtable based on his sponsorship of this legislation. Cruz is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate.

In a statement, Byrne said, “I thank President Trump for his trust in me to lead his school choice bill in the House. Every student deserves a high quality education, and President Trump is making great progress towards improving our education system by putting American students first.”

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“No student deserves to be locked into a poor education outcome, and expanding education choices and freedom through this new tax credit will go far towards removing roadblocks to quality education. This bill should have bipartisan support, and I pledge to continue working with Secretary Devos and Senator Cruz to get it passed and signed into law by President Trump,” he concluded.

H.R. 1434 currently has 85 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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

3 days ago

Ivey holds wreath laying ceremony honoring fallen veterans

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey took part in the 11th annual Wreaths Across America ceremony at the capitol on Monday. The service is part of a nationwide effort designed to help Americans remember and honor their fallen defenders during the holiday season.

Joining Governor Ivey at the event were Major General Sheryl Gordon, Blue Star Salute Foundation President Tom Long and Sandra Robertson of Gold Star Wives of America.

“Freedom is preserved by those who defend it,” said Ivey. “We must never forget those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice, laying their lives down for their country. We will lay a wreath at the Fallen Heroes Memorial here at the state capitol to remember and honor those Alabamians who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

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Gordon said she was glad “we are remembering the service members who have fallen.”

The families, particularly at this time of year, there is an empty place at the table,” she added. “By us commemorating them with wreaths across America, it reinforces the fact that we still remember them.”

Ivey proclaimed December 14, 2019, as “The 11th Annual Wreaths Across America Day.”

Robertson, a gold star wife, told Yellowhammer, “The ceremony was absolutely wonderful. We appreciate so much people remembering our husbands. … Alabama has always stood up for our military, and those of us who’ve had someone pass away, we appreciate that so much.”

“We do this every year,” she added. “It’d be wonderful to have more of our Montgomerians show up.”

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

3 days ago

Byrne: Future USS Mobile will play important role ‘standing against Chinese aggression’

(Austal USA)

MOBILE — Delivering the principal address at Austal USA’s christening of the future USS Mobile (LCS 26) on Saturday, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) gave the thousands of people in attendance a powerful primer on how the ship will eventually play a vital role in defending our nation.

At 419 feet in length, LCS 26 — an Independence-variant littoral combat ship — has a draft of only 14.4 feet and can reach a sprint speed of over 40 knots. As Byrne explained, this means the future USS Mobile will be an ideal companion to the U.S. Navy’s larger warships.

Talking about the Mobile’s prospects after her scheduled 2021 commissioning, Byrne said, “She will join our fleet in the Pacific between her home port in San Diego, and the Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, Japan, Singapore and many other places, because this ship can go where the cruisers and destroyers cannot because of her shallow draft.”

“She will be an ideal partner with smaller navies in the region,” he continued. “She will be more than competent in small surface combatant warfare, anti-mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare. And, now that the LCS can be fitted with over the horizon missiles, she is a threat to all maritime adversaries.”

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Byrne, who has earned a reputation as one of Congress’ foremost hawks when it comes to China, outlined why the Indo-Pacific Command and LCS 26 serving in that region are so important in modern times.

Mobile is going to a part of the world that is vitally important to us,” the coastal Alabama congressman stressed. “The Indo-Pacific Command covers an area comprising 36 nations, 14 time zones and more than half of the world’s population. We have formal alliances there with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and Thailand. In addition, we have special agreements with Singapore and Indonesia. All of these countries are relatively liberal democracies.”

“Did I mention that over half of the world’s trade comes through there? Our port here in Mobile ships and receives a lot to and from this region, especially now that we have the Walmart Megadistribution Center,” Byrne added.

“But, the big issue in that region is China,” he continued. “China wants to supplant the U.S. as the most powerful nation in the Western Pacific and replace the order we created in the aftermath of the Second World War with a new order dominated by them.”

Byrne warned against what a dominant China across the world would look like, considering the country’s record on human rights.

“Want to know what that looks like? Look at what the Chinese are doing to Hong Kong today. Look at their treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang Province. Look at what the Chinese have done to Djibouti and Sri Lanka,” he decried.

Byrne advised, “China challenges us in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, their so called ‘first island chain’ — which includes Japan and the Philippines. You know — our allies.”

“And they also challenge us across their ‘second island chain’ — which means Saipan to Tinian, Guam, Yap and Palau. Do these places sound familiar to you? They should,” he continued. “We liberated them from the Japanese Empire at a dear price during World War II. My dad and hundreds of thousands of Americans fought countless desperate fights there.”

Byrne, speaking on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, emphasized, “Ladies and gentlemen, let’s be clear: we’re not giving up any of these places to the Chinese.”

“We’re not retreating back to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, back to December 7, 1941, 78 years ago today, a day that will live in infamy, when 2,400 Americans were killed and over a thousand wounded — all in a manner of a few hours,” he proclaimed.

“We didn’t realize until that morning that we were so vulnerable. And we will not let ourselves become so vulnerable again,” Byrne remarked.

LCS 26 will be among the fleet ensuring that type of vulnerability never does again exist.

“The Mobile will be part of the fleet standing in the gap, standing against Chinese aggression,” Byrne said proudly.

He added, “I’m going to make a prediction. If we stand in that gap, there will be no war — at least no ‘hot’ war. If ships like this one project power with our allies and friends in the region who strongly share our aversion to a Chinese dominated West Pacific, China will be careful not to pick a fight.”

“And this ship reminds me of Mobile’s own ‘Hammerin’ Hank Aaron,’ the true ‘Home Run King.’ He was quick and agile and hit the ball with deadly accuracy, strength and power. China doesn’t want to feel Mobile’s speed, agility, accuracy, strength or power,” Byrne commented.

He then drew a parallel between his wife, Rebecca, (the ship’s sponsor) and the ship itself in concluding his thoughts on the matter.

“Let me add a note about the sponsor of this ship. She will speak for herself — and I dare not attempt to steal her thunder,” the congressman told the crowd. “We’ve been married for 38 years, and I know her spirit, the spirit that will inhabit this ship. She has attractive, modern and stylish lines. She is equipped with the latest technology. She has grace in her movement and responds to human suffering with great compassion.”

“But don’t be fooled,” he noted. “She is tough as nails, the veritable steel magnolia, and when provoked will fiercely react. If you challenger her, you will not have a good day. I like a Navy ship with that spirit in her.”

RELATED: Alabama-built USS Mobile christened in its namesake city — ‘Best that America has to offer’

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

3 days ago

Alabama Farmers Federation honors Martha Roby with its highest honor

(Alabama Farmers Federation/Twitter)

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Farmers Federation on Sunday evening presented U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) with the organization’s highest honor — the Service to Agriculture Award.

The presentation occurred at the opening dinner of the federation’s 98th annual meeting amidst a festive atmosphere fused with a combination of Christmas and Alabama bicentennial spirit.

Before a standing room only crowd of approximately 1,000 farmers and allies of the state’s agricultural industry (with hundreds more also attending the “young farmers” dinner in an separate ballroom down the hall at the same time), Alabama Farmers Federation president Jimmy Parnell hailed Roby as “truly a friend to Alabama agriculture and southeast Alabama.”

Parnell added that Roby is very much appreciated and will be dearly missed, as she has chosen to retire from Congress following her current term.

Before she took the stage to address the crowd, a tribute video was played highlighting Roby as “an outspoken proponent of conservative Christian values that mirrored those of her constituents in the Second Congressional District.”

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“She admitted up front she didn’t know much about agriculture, but what she did understand was the important role forestry and agriculture play in her district and our entire state,” the video’s narrator says.

After outlining some of her greatest accomplishments in office, the narrator concludes, “Most of all, Martha Roby has been a loyal friend. She may not be a farmer, but she has the same values, morals and beliefs that all good farmers have: hard work, faith and family have been the foundations of her service in Washington.”

Watch:

Accepting the distinction, Roby remarked, “I am honored to be recognized by an organization that has made such a valuable impact in the lives of my constituents. As you know, agriculture is the largest employer in the Second District; and throughout my time in Congress, I have considered it one of my greatest responsibilities to be a staunch advocate for our farmers and our producers.”

“The success of Alabama’s economy (as a whole) depends on a strong agriculture economy,” she continued. “And I always tried my best to ensure that I do right by our farmers. I have thoroughly enjoyed building a strong relationship, lasting relationships, with my friends in the agriculture industry over the past decade, and I am thankful to share with ALFA a deep care and concern for Alabama’s farmers.”

Roby added, “Although my time in Washington is coming to a close, I look forward to continuing to build relationships with members of Alabama’s agriculture community throughout the state.”

The congresswoman received a warm standing ovation after the conclusion of her remarks.

In a statement released after the presentation, Parnell praised Roby’s role in fighting for fairness in the federal farm bills of 2014 and 2018 and battling budget cuts to farm programs.

“Rep. Roby’s grit and determination ensured farmers weren’t forgotten by other leaders in Washington and earned her the respect of agricultural leaders at home and in Congress,” Parnell said.

Federation national affairs director Mitt Walker also extolled Roby, who currently serves as the chairman of the Congressional Peanut Caucus.

“In working on two farm bills, Congressman Roby was a strong advocate for the peanut program, seed cotton and catfish inspection,” Walker stated. “She was also a staunch supporter of eliminating rules and regulations that hampered farmers and landowners in her district and across the state.

“After her district was ravaged by Hurricane Michael, she insisted that Alabama be treated the same as neighboring states, making sure U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue saw the damage in her district firsthand,” he added. “On a personal note, Rep. Roby is one of the most genuine and compassionate people I have ever had the privilege to work with.”

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

5 days ago

BCA’s ProgressPAC endorses five statewide judicial incumbents

(Wikicommons)

The board of directors for ProgressPAC, the political arm of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), on Friday voted to endorse five statewide 2020 judicial candidates, including in the hotly contested race for place one on the Supreme Court of Alabama.

All five candidates endorsed are incumbents.

Political observers will likely consider the endorsement of Associate Justice Greg Shaw for reelection as the only non-foregone conclusion undertaken by ProgressPAC on Friday.

Shaw faces a tough primary challenge from popular State Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster). Former State Sen. Bryan Taylor (R-Prattville) has also qualified for the place one race, although he has yet to announce a final decision on whether he is actually running or not.

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Additionally, ProgressPAC endorsed Associate Justice Brad Mendheim, Judge Beth Kellum (Court of Criminal Appeals, place two), Presiding Judge Mary Windom (Court of Criminal Appeals, place one) and Judge Bill Thompson (Court of Civil Appeals, place one). All are Republicans.

In a statement, Progress PAC chairman John Mazyck said, “All of these candidates have proven track records of being fair and impartial while serving on the bench.”

“Their commitment to the rule of law and conservative judicial philosophy made the decision to endorse an easy one,” Mazyck, of The Frazer Lanier Company, Inc. in Montgomery, added.

This came the same day that Windom’s campaign announced she raised the most of all judicial candidates last month, per public filings. She ended November with $269,699.89 total in her campaign account.

Windom was first elected to Court of Criminal Appeals in 2008 and has presided over that court since 2012. Prior to her first election, she served as an assistant U.S. attorney, as well as a deputy attorney general for the State of Alabama.

She stated, “When I was elected to serve on the Court of Criminal Appeals, I promised that I would bring justice to victims of crime, protect the constitution and apply the law as it is written, not create new laws or legislate from the bench. I am proud that I have kept those promises and I will continue to do so.”

The Republican primary will be held March 3, 2020.

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

5 days ago

Rogers: Senators seeking the presidency should recuse themselves from impeachment trial

(Congressman Rogers/Facebook)

U.S. Rep Mike Rogers (AL-03) announced Friday that he was co-sponsoring Rep. Jason Smith’s (R-MO) legislation urging the Senate to alter its rules so sitting U.S. Senators would be forced to recuse themselves from the removal trials of impeached presidents.

Currently, four Democratic senators are vying for their party’s presidential nomination: Elizabeth Warren (MA), Cory Booker (NJ), Michael Bennett (CO) and Amy Klobuchar (MN), plus Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

“This is just common-sense and fair. Clearly, none of the Democrats running for president will be impartial during an impeachment trial and they will all use their involvement in the trial to ramp up their campaigns.  As unfair as the House witch hunt has been all along, I am hopeful the upper chamber will be just in their treatment of President Trump,” Rogers said.

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The bill comes in response to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The inquiry will end with the U.S. House voting on the articles of impeachment that are currently being drafted. If a majority of the House, 216 members, vote to impeach, then a removal trial will be held in the U.S. Senate.

At present, there are 233 Democrats in the U.S. House.

Most observers expect the House vote in late December, followed by the Senate trial in January.

Smith’s legislation claims that a “United States Senator actively seeking to unseat the incumbent President of the United States cannot claim impartiality in his or her political opponent’s impeachment trial.”

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

6 days ago

Alabama’s Randy Owen supporting Tuberville in Senate race

(Tommy Tuberville/Twitter, YHN)

Randy Owen, the band Alabama’s famed lead singer, held a campaign event for former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville on Thursday evening in Fort Payne.

In an audio clip of the event obtained by Yellowhammer News, Owen explained to the crowd that he held a similar event for now-Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) back when he first decided to run for office in the 1996 cycle. Aderholt, of course, went on to win that race and has since been reelected 11 times.

Owen, speaking to Tuberville, said, “It’s great to have you here.”

The Musicians Hall of Fame member expressed his hope that Tuberville finds similar initial success as Aderholt and that the 2020 cycle is the first time Tuberville is elected to the U.S. Senate.

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“We thank you, and God bless you,” Owen concluded.

Listen:

Owen, a Fort Payne native, has recently been battling serious health issues, so much so that Alabama postponed the final portion of its 50th anniversary tour. He is a member of several halls of fame, including the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.

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

6 days ago

Bradley Byrne: Jeff Sessions ‘doesn’t own this seat’ — ‘The seat belongs to the people of the state of Alabama’

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Even though former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a U.S. Senate candidate for a month, there appears to still be some hard feelings regarding his entry into the race.

During an appearance on Birmingham radio Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) discussed a phone call he received from Sessions just before Sessions’ entry into the race asking Byrne to withdraw his U.S. Senate candidacy and run for reelection to the seat he currently occupies in Alabama’s first congressional district.

According to Byrne, Sessions told him he thought he was doing a great job as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and that Sessions still had a “couple of gallons” of gas left in his tank to serve in the U.S. Senate. Byrne explained how he declined Sessions’ request to co-hosts Andrea Lindenberg and Matt Murphy and argued against the merits of Sessions returning to the U.S. Senate.

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“Look, Jeff Sessions served this state for 20 years in the United States Senate,” Byrne said. “I honor him for that service. But I don’t want somebody who is my senator that just has a couple of gallons left in the tank. And I don’t want somebody when President Trump needed him walked off the field. I mean, we’re in a fight up here. We’re going to be in a fight even after this impeachment vote. And we’ve got to have somebody with a full tank of gas that’s understanding the fight that we’re in, that’s willing to get up here and willing to fight every day, not just somebody who said, ‘I just had 20 years. I’d kind of like to go back and get my seat.’ That’s not enough for the vast majority of people in this state.”

Byrne emphatically argued Sessions did not “own” the seat and downplayed his chances at winning an election for that seat.

“I hate to say this about my friend Jeff Sessions, but I think he believes he owns this seat,” he said. “And he’s calling everybody — ‘Look, I own this seat. I’m coming to get my seat back.’ Well, he doesn’t own this seat. The seat belongs to the people of the state of Alabama. And I did tell Jeff in the conversation, I said, ‘Look Jeff, this is a race. You’re going to have to get in it. We have a forum in Greenville, Alabama,’ which he did not show up for. He doesn’t own this seat. He’s going to have to go out and fight for it. I’m one of the people he’s going to have to push out of the way to get it.”

“I don’t think he’s going to win,” Byrne added. “Talking to people, as I’ve been talking to people around the state — I get one of two responses about him. One is they’re angry at him. The other is they say, ‘Why is he running?’ I like Jeff. He’s my friend. I’m not going to disavow him as my friend. I’m not going to act like I don’t respect him. I do. You’ve got to know when your time is up and his time is up.”

@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.

6 days ago

Doug Jones on Trump impeachment inquiry: ‘Not a witch hunt … not a hoax, it’s not fake news’

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

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to say he has not made up his mind one way or the other on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, however on Thursday he made it very clear that he believes in the need for the process to play out, pushing back on Republican arguments that this is a political exercise by Democrats.

Per WHNT, Jones in a conference call with reporters on Thursday once again noted his role essentially as a juror in the Senate if the House impeaches the president. Jones has said it would be improper for him or any of his colleagues to have made up their minds on whether they would vote to convict Trump already, as the trial needs to be held, evidence examined and witnesses heard from.

Yet, Alabama’s junior senator did seem to land on one side of the aisle when it comes to his remarks on the ongoing impeachment inquiry in the House, which was launched with no Republicans voting for it and even two Democrats voting against it.

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“Everything that you’re seeing, though, is not a witch hunt. It’s not a hoax, it’s not fake news,” Jones said, according to WHNT.

“This is a serious constitutional matter the founders of this country envisioned a long time ago,” he added. “This is not about an individual. It is not about one person. It is about the conduct of the presidency and how we want future presidents to conduct themselves while in office.”

Republicans across the nation — including many Alabama elected officials — have sharply criticized the impeachment inquiry.

In a statement to WHNT, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) — well respected as one of the country’s preeminent statesmen — shared a divergent view from Jones on the impeachment inquiry.

“This effort to impeach the President is a political circus engineered by the Democrats, distracting us from the important work we need to complete for the American people,” Shelby stated.

“If and when an impeachment resolution comes to the Senate, I will sit as a juror and carefully consider any evidence presented to reach a conclusion based on the facts – as outlined in our Constitution,” Alabama’s senior senator concluded.

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

6 days ago

Tuberville campaign offering plastic straws as stocking stuffers — ‘Can you believe Democrats won’t even say Merry Christmas?’

(Tuberville for Senate/Facebook)

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, currently a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, on Thursday took on Democrats on two issues unique to the times.

First, his online campaign store is now selling plastic straws with “Tuberville 2020” printed on them as stocking stuffers, per a Facebook post. This comes amid the national movement towards paper straws from the left. Plastic straws are even being banned from restaurant usage in Democrat controlled cities like Seattle and Washington, D.C., as well as the state of California.

“While liberals are banning straws, we’re making them the perfect stocking gift for Christmas! Show your support for Coach Tuberville this Christmas season,” his campaign posted.

Additionally, the very premise of saying “Merry Christmas” — or celebrating it at all– is once again making the rounds on social media after Salon in recent days published an article from one of its “reporters” about how President Donald Trump supposedly “ruined” Christmas. In this article, this reporter claims she will now not celebrate the holiday because of Trump and his supporters, asserting that Christmas has become symbolic of “white supremacist America.”

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“Can you believe Democrats won’t even say Merry Christmas?” Tuberville lamented to conclude his Facebook post.

This came on the day of the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse at President’s Park in front of the White House.

Watch:

Trump is also set to hold at least one “Merry Christmas rally” this month.

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

6 days ago

Rogers: ‘Nancy Pelosi has fully surrendered all control of the House to the Socialist horde’

(Congressman Mike Rogers/Facebook, Speaker.gov)

In a Thursday statement, Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) blasted U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) decision to proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and our heart full of love for America, today, I am asking our chairmen (of relevant committees) to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi announced in a brief televised statement from the Capitol earlier in the day.

Rogers tore into the announcement.

“Even after all of Adam Schiff’s disastrous lies to the American people, Speaker Pelosi has decided to proceed with the partisan coup attempt against President Trump,” he stated. “The Democrats in Congress should be ashamed of themselves. They are using impeachment as means to try and nullify the 2016 election and erase the votes of almost 63 million Americans just because of their pathetic hatred of our president.”

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“In her statement, Speaker Pelosi cited our Founding Fathers and declared no one is above the law,” Rogers continued. “I am curious if she ever asked that question about Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden?”

The east Alabama congressman outlined a few of the important priorities Democrats are ignoring to instead conduct this “coup attempt.”

“Instead of working on behalf of the American people by passing a bipartisan Defense Authorization bill, USMCA or a full year spending bill, Nancy Pelosi has fully surrendered all control of the House to the Socialist horde running the Democratic Party,” Rogers concluded. “Their shameful action today casts a stain on our Constitution. The American people will remember their despicable behavior next November. I will continue to stand and defend President Trump.”

Former independent prosecutor Ken Starr, best known for leading the investigation into then-President Bill Clinton that resulted in his impeachment, appeared on Fox News Channel on Thursday and decried Pelosi’s decision as an “abuse of power.”

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

7 days ago

Byrne: ‘Illegal immigration is harming our students, teachers and communities’

(B. Byrne/Facebook)

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) on Wednesday spoke during a House Education and Labor Committee hearing centered on immigration.

While Democrats called the hearing, “Growing Up in Fear: How the Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies Are Harming Children,” Byrne argued that not enforcing immigration laws actually harms children born to legal American residents and citizens.

“It is amazing we are here to talk about ‘How the Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies Are Harming Children’ but we never, never talk about how illegal immigration is harming our students, teachers and communities. People who are here legally are being harmed by this,” Byrne said.

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After asking Democrat witnesses about the costs of illegal immigration to our nation’s schools — and apparently stumping them, Byrne criticized Democrats who attacked President Donald Trump for enforcing immigration laws while they themselves did not even ask about the cost of failing to enforce those laws.

The coastal Alabama congressman’s line of questioning highlighted that these costs are borne by states and local school systems and ultimately come at the detriment of students.

Byrne’s full remarks during the hearing as follows:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In 2016, the Pew Research Center estimated that 3.9 million – or 7.3% – of kindergarten through 12th grade students in the United States were either here illegally or were the children of at least one parent illegally present in the United States.

Can anyone tell me how much we spend on public education for that population of students? It’s around $60 billion.

A significant and increasing percentage of these costs represent remedial English education, required by the federal government for students designated as Limited English Proficiency or LEP. In 2016, it was estimated that 9.6% of all students and 17% of kindergarten students were now designated as LEP. Educating those students is expensive. By some estimations, we are spending $59 billion just on ESL and other programs to help children with English language deficiency.

Can anyone tell me what percentage of teachers in the United States are certified or trained in ESL? It’s about one percent.

How about what percentage of ESL Programs are paid for by the federal government that requires them? Just over 1 percent.

Who pays for the rest? States and local school systems!

So, we require it and we push 99% of the costs on state and local school systems. That costs a lot of money for these state and local school systems. Many of them like my state of Alabama just don’t have it. But because the federal government requires it, they have to put that money in there to the detriment of other programs.

At least 13 states spend over $1 billion per year on limited English proficiency programs in public schools.

Earlier this year, this committee found that there is a $46 billion public school infrastructure shortfall. Accounting for inflation, teacher salaries are down 1.6% since 2000. Classroom sizes are growing. Resources for students are shrinking.

It is amazing we are here to talk about ‘How the Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies Are Harming Children’ but we never, never talk about how illegal immigration is harming our students, teachers and communities. People who are here legally are being harmed by this.

The federal government has mandated that we provide public education to the children of illegal immigrants, but we don’t pay for it! States and local school districts do!

How is that fair? How is that right that we make the requirement here at the federal government and we put up one percent of the cost?

I’m a former state school board member in Alabama. I have sat across from teachers and superintendents and talked to them about this issue. Dollars that our schools have, they are not unlimited. The states don’t print money like we do here in Washington. They have requirements that they balance their budgets. Coming up with the money to fund these K-12 education programs around the country is extremely difficult.

So, I think if we are going to sit here and criticize the president for enforcing the law, we need to also think about the cost of not enforcing the law.

That cost is not being borne by those of us in Washington. It’s being borne by men and women and the states and local school systems around the United States of America. But really the cost is being borne by children who are being denied the programs that they should have. Children who are citizens of the United States, whose parents are citizens of the United States, they’re being denied programs because we’re forcing their state and local school systems to take on an expense that we should be taking on because we’ve failed to enforce our own laws.

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

1 week ago

Brooks applauds Trump administration’s new rule tightening work requirements for food stamp recipients

Congressman Mo Brooks (CSPAN/YouTube)

U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (AL-05) praised the Trump administration on Wednesday for announcing a rule that will tighten work requirements for people receiving food stamps.

Before this new rule, states had been able to get waivers exempting people in regions with unemployment higher than the national average from the work requirements. After the new rule, to get those waivers, the unemployment level in an area will need to be at least 6%.

Brooks said in a statement, “I fully support the Trump Administration’s efforts to bar able-bodied, working age Americans from receiving food stamps, SNAP, or any other food benefits they can and should be paying for with money they earn themselves.”

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The USDA says their new rule “promotes work for able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without dependents and does not apply to children and their parents, those over 50 years old including the elderly, those with a disability, or pregnant women.”

According to the Associated Press, “The Agriculture Department estimates the change would save roughly $5.5 billion over five years and cut benefits for roughly 688,000 SNAP recipients.”

Congressman Brooks added, “America suffered a $984 billion deficit in FY 2019. America’s accumulated debt has blown through the $23 trillion mark. Every financial guru Congress employs warns that our current financial path is unsustainable and that, as a result, America increasingly risks a debilitating national insolvency and bankruptcy.”

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

1 week ago

Sessions hits back at Kamala Harris after her presidential bid ends — ‘She’s 0 for 4’

(Fox News/YouTube)

It does not appear that former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) will be exchanging Christmas cards this year.

After Harris ended her presidential bid on Tuesday, Sessions — currently a Republican candidate in Alabama to reclaim his old Senate seat — appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream.”

Harris recently made headlines when she solicited donations for her presidential campaign and Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) reelection based on her dislike of Sessions.

“I fought Jeff Sessions every step of the way, voting against his nomination as Attorney General and calling for his resignation when it became clear he lied under oath to protect the President,” Harris wrote in an email, accusing him of “decades of systemic racism and bigotry.”

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At the last Democratic presidential debate, she tried to make the case that she was the best candidate to go up against President Donald Trump in 2020 by again invoking Sessions’ name.

“I have taken on Jeff Sessions, I’ve taken on Bill Barr, I have taken on Brett Kavanaugh,” Harris said. “I know I have the ability to do that.”

Sessions turned that line against her in his Tuesday Fox News interview.

Asked by the host about his thoughts on Harris dropping out of the presidential race, Sessions responded, “Well, she said — she claimed — one of her great achievements was to stand up to Jeff Sessions, Brett Kavanaugh, Attorney General Barr and President Trump. Well, she’s 0 for 4. All four of them are still standing — and she’s out.”

Sessions also spoke about the ongoing Democratic impeachment inquiry into Trump during his appearance. Sessions commented on what he views as Democratic overreach, saying, “They’re not objective anymore.”

Watch:

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