2 years ago

Exclusive: Congressman Mo Brooks Declares Candidacy for U.S. Senate

Congressman Mo Brooks, who currently represents Alabama’s 5th Congressional district in the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama told Yellowhammer in an exclusive interview this weekend that he’s declaring his candidacy for the United States Senate. Congressman Brooks officially announced his candidacy earlier this morning on the Dale Jackson Show for the upcoming special election, which kicks off May 17, when qualifying ends.

Governor Ivey set this special election to fill the seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. After Mr. Sessions become Attorney General, former Governor Robert Bentley appointed Senator Luther Strange to the seat, which he presently holds. Governor Ivey scheduled the primary election for August 15, followed by a run-off on September 26, and the general election on December 12.

Following is my conversation with Congressman Brooks in which he declared his candidacy (with my questions in bold and his answers in plain font):

Congressman, can you start by telling Yellowhammer’s readers why you’ve decided to run for the U.S. Senate? Certainly. I’m running for the United States Senate because the Senate has been a major barrier to solving America’s greatest challenges. Senate rules are antiquated, resulting in artificial barriers that thwart the majority will of the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as that of the President. More importantly, these arcane Senate rules thwart the will of the Americans citizens who elected the House, Senate, and President. It makes no sense that a Senate minority can grind the entire United States Senate to a halt, thereby inflicting so much damage on America.

What distinguishes you in this race Congressman Brooks? I offer one thing no one else offers: honest, proven conservative leadership. While other candidates may claim the conservative mantle, I am the only candidate who has a long-term voting record that proves I not only talk the conservative talk, I also walk the conservative walk.

Can you please share with us what issues you think are most important in this election? America faces many major issues the Senate must address:

First, we’re facing a tremendous financial crisis. America is burdened with a $20 trillion national debt and a $600 billion annual deficit (the difference between our government spending and revenue). Washington’s financially irresponsible leadership places America at risk of a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy that threatens to destroy what it took our ancestors more than two centuries to build. In Washington, we must have elected officials who possess the intellect and economic understanding, as well as the backbone, to make the hard choices it will take to minimize America’s risk of suffering from a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy. For those who don’t understand how bad things can be when a central government goes bankrupt, I encourage them to read about the plight of Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Greece. Many in Washington foolishly believe America is somehow exempt from basic economic principles. That belief is both false and extremely dangerous.

Second, a grave threat to America is our lack of proper border security. While I realize the President is taking action that helps, much work remains. In particular, our porous borders jeopardize both our physical security and our economic stability. Specifically, illegal aliens are taking jobs from American workers and suppressing their wages because of the sheer millions of them who’ve entered our labor force. This flood of illegal workers artificially suppresses incomes for hard-working Americans who are fortunate enough to have jobs.

Can you please share what you’ve you done to address this issue as a U.S. Congressman? Sure, Larry, I’m happy to. I have a proven track record in support of border security.  By way of but one example, NumbersUSA and other well-respected border security groups acknowledge that in my six years in Congress, I have a perfect 100% score and record on border security issues and on protecting American workers from the huge surge in the illegal alien labor supply.  Jeff Sessions departure from the Senate left a huge border security void in the Senate.  My border security record as a Congressman establishes that I have the understanding and determination needed to address this problem and protect American jobs for American workers.

Are there any other issues you’d like to address? Yes, there are many, but one additional one that’s a top priority is the continuing battle between free enterprise and liberty, on the one hand, and socialism and higher taxes, on the other hand. My economics education and background have taught me one thing that’s very clear: free enterprise is the path to prosperity, while socialism is the path to decline and poverty. Yet, despite an overwhelming economic history that proves that free enterprise works while socialism fails, we have countless Democrats in Washington who foolishly believe that socialism is a good economic model, despite the fact that it’s never worked in any nation that’s ever tried it, in the history of humanity.  America needs U.S. Senators with the intellect, economic understanding, and backbone who will stop Socialist Bernie Sanders dead in his tracks, before America, too, falls victim to the sweet but false and dangerous siren song of socialism.

Thank you for articulating those issues Congressman Brooks. At the top of the interview, you said you have a record of proven, conservative leadership. Can you please provide some specifics in that regard? Sure, I’d be delighted to. There are several highly reputable national organizations that track every vote a Congressman casts, and then they rank us based on our votes. I’m honored by the recognition these groups have given me that prove my conservative leadership. For example:

  • • During the last session of Congress, Heritage Action (the political wing of the Heritage Foundation) ranked me, as one of the Top Ten Best Congressmen on issues involving the “principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”
  • • Over the past six years, the American Conservative Union ranked my record in the top 20% of all Congressmen, with an overall A-Grade during the last session of Congress, on issues relating to “liberty, personal responsibility, traditional value, and a strong national defense.”
  • • Over the past six years, the National Taxpayer Union has ranked my record at the top of the Alabama Congressional delegation, tied with Congressmen Bradley Byrne and Gary Palmer, on issues relating to “tax relief and reform, lower and less wasteful spending, individual liberty, and free enterprise.”
  • • Over the past six years, Club for Growth has ranked my record in the top 20% of all Congressmen on “economic policies that strengthen our nation’s economy and shrink the size of the federal government.”
  • • Finally, I’m a proud member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of intellectual conservatives who both understand public policy and its cascading effects and have the backbone to defend conservative principles no matter the pressure to do the wrong thing. By way of example, in the recent fight over health care, it was the House Freedom Caucus that refused to fold and vote for a health care bill that, according to evaluations by both the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, would have raised health insurance premiums over the next two to three years by 15-20% over and above expected ObamaCare increases!  Working as a team, the House Freedom Caucus forced changes that are estimated to significantly cut health insurance premiums, not raise them.  In sum, my record establishes that I have the backbone and public policy understanding needed to fight for the foundational principles that have made America the greatest nation in world history.

That’s quite a record of conservative achievement. Thank you for sharing that with us. One last question, many times in major elections like these, there are extensive discussions among voters and pundits about the candidates’ “electability.” Aside from the fact that you’re already a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, can you tell our readers why you think you have a good chance of winning this race? Since I began public service, I’ve been a candidate in nine re-elections: three as a state legislator, three as a county commissioner, and three as a United States Congressman. In each of those races, I’ve won every contested general and primary election by a margin of at least 30 percent or more. That’s probably the best endorsement I have of my job performance as a public servant, and if the voters give me an opportunity to be their U.S. Senator, I think they’ll like the work I do for them.

That’s quite a margin of victory. How can our readers learn more about your campaign? My website is simply MoBrooksforSenate.Com.

Thank you, Congressman Brooks. It was a pleasure to speak with you today and good luck in the race. Thank you, Larry, and thanks as well to your readers at Yellowhammer News!

7 hours ago

Bill to abolish marriage licenses passes Alabama House, heads to Ivey’s desk

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday passed SB 69, State Sen. Greg Albritton’s (R-Atmore) bill that would end marriage licenses in the Yellowhammer State.

The bill previously passed the House on a 67-26 vote. The legislation previously passed the Senate 26-0.

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After Obergefell v. Hodges essentially created a protected legal right to marriage, judges in some Alabama counties decided to stop issuing marriage licenses altogether so they would not have to approve licenses for gay couples.

Instead of the local probate office issuing marriage licenses in each county, the new system proposed by SB 69 would simply provide for affidavits of marriage to be filed with the probate office. So, instead of needing a probate judge’s approval for marriage, spouses would only have to register with the probate judge’s office.

This means judges who have religious objections to gay marriage will no longer have to issue marriage licenses in violation of their religious beliefs. Proponents of the bill said SB 69 will ensure federal law is being followed in the state while taking away the burden of approval or rejection of marriages from individual probate judges.

Opponents of the legislation have said the bill was born out of prejudice.

State Rep. Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham), the only openly gay member in the Alabama House, told reporters the bill itself is not prejudiced but that it originated from “homophobia.”

However, no members of the House debated SB 69 on the floor, making for a surprisingly quick final passage. State Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne) handled the bill in the chamber.

The bill now heads to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

8 hours ago

Byrne, Shelby file bill to ensure terrorists like the ‘American Taliban’ are never again released early

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) on Thursday introduced the No Leniency for Terrorists Act that would prevent convicted terrorists from being released from federal prison early for good behavior.

Yellowhammer News was the first to report on this legislation when it was imminent on Wednesday.

The legislation being filed comes the day John Walker Lindh, known as the “American Taliban,” was released years early on his original 20-year sentence.

“A convicted terrorist walking free before his sentence is completed should never happen again,” Byrne said in a statement.

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After being captured in Afghanistan in 2001, Lindh pled guilty to serving as a soldier of the Taliban. He was held responsible for the death of Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann, a Winfield native and Auburn University alumnus who was the first American known to be killed in “The War on Terror” in Afghanistan after 9/11.

“The Spann family asked me to address this injustice, and I want to make sure no other family has to go through what the they have been through,” Byrne concluded. “The No Leniency for Terrorists Act will prevent terrorists from taking advantage of our laws to avoid paying their debt to society. We must ensure that terrorists will remain behind bars where they belong.”

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Congressman Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) joined Shelby and Byrne in introducing the legislation.

“The early release of convicted terrorists sends the wrong message to those who have fought against terrorism and those who want to cause us harm,” Shelby remarked. “This legislation will help us prioritize the safety and security of our nation above all else. Today’s early release of John Walker Lindh is disheartening and unacceptable, and I am proud we are taking this step to make terrorists ineligible for early release.”

Under existing federal law, any federal prisoner can be released early for “exemplary compliance with institutional disciplinary regulations.”

There are no exceptions to this law, including those who have been convicted of terrorism charges, and there are 108 other terrorist offenders who are scheduled to complete their sentences and be released from U.S. federal prison over the next few years. The No Leniency for Terrorists Act amends federal law to say those currently serving or those convicted of crimes related to terrorism in the future cannot be released early for good time served.

As of a 2017 Foreign Policy article, Lindh still intended to spread terrorist ideology upon his release from prison.

His release came only a day after NBC reported that Lindh, in a letter to a producer from Los Angeles-based affiliate KNBC, wrote in 2015 that ISIS is “doing a spectacular job” and “is clearly very sincere and serious about fulfilling the long-neglected religious obligation to establish a caliphate through armed struggle.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

8 hours ago

Mountain Brook High School band members prepare to perform on the beaches of Normandy

Mountain Brook High School’s marching band is gearing up to participate in the D-Day 75 Normandy Parade, which will commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2019, according to a CBS 42 report.

Expected to leave June 4 and return June 11, the 24 students from Mountain Brook High School taking part in the event will reportedly march on the beaches of Normandy as they are looked upon by cheering crowds.

Band director Jason Smith shared his excitement of the opportunity and said he was “proud” of the kids.

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“I’m so proud, these kids are the hardest working kids at Mountain Brook High School,” Smith said via CBS 42. “The parents have stepped up to support there travels, and their ability to do something like this is unspeakable.”

D-Day occurred on June 6, 1944, and 160,000 forces, including 70,000 Americans landed on 50 miles of Normandy coast. More than 2,000 Americans lost their lives when they stormed the beach to reach high ground. Over 8,000 others also lost their lives in the days after.

Donations can be made to support the Mountain High School Band by calling 205-414-3810 to speak with Jason Smith or by emailing smithj@mtnbrook.k12.al.us.

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

9 hours ago

Montgomery selected by military for major software development project

Alabama’s capital city has been selected by the Air Force for a new software development project that will attract top IT talent to the area, spurring increased new-age economic development in Montgomery.

TechMGM, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s initiative to connect and leverage the city’s unique technology assets, on Wednesday announced a partnership with the Air Force Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate Program Executive Office to host a new military software development project that will offer private sector collaboration called BESPIN.

Marking a shift in the way the Air Force approaches software development and acquisition, BESPIN (Business and Enterprise Systems Product Innovation), pairs in-house developers with private sector developers and uses an agile development methodology in a collaborative and innovative environment to turn projects into new solutions to support the Department of Defense.

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The Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate based at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base has been charged by the secretary of the Air Force for acquisition to stand-up a software factory focusing on Business and Enterprise Systems (BES) applications. BES runs the systems that run the Air Force.

The local chamber partnered with BES to provide an initial off-base space at their facility, where work is already underway to create mobile applications for BES with the first focus being logistics systems used on the flight line, including those at Maxwell Air Force Base and the Alabama Air National Guard.

Through BESPIN, previously slow and costly products can now be met with flexible solutions that allow developers to adapt on the fly – and deliver real results more quickly.

By training and encouraging in-house talent to develop software using agile practices, the Air Force is starting to attract top IT talent. Meanwhile, they are also collaborating with digital services market leaders to transform their process and train their workforce.

In April, BES awarded a contract to Fearless, the company responsible for 1). redesigning the SBA.gov site, 2). modernizing Medicare beneficiary API products for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and 3). building software for other federal, nonprofit, city and healthcare clients.

“Fearless is excited to partner with USAF, TechMGM, and the City of Montgomery at large to support in the growth of the local tech ecosystem. The BESPIN and TechMGM visions align well with our mission to build software with a soul, and to see a world where good software powers things that matter,” Delali Dzirasa, president of Fearless, stated.

BES is also a founding member of the national Digital Services Coalition and is passionate about assisting the government in making its technology work better for all residents.

“We’re essentially replicating a structure that has proven successful in the commercial sector and applying it to the Air Force and building upon the foundation set by our peers at Kessel Run. What previously worked just isn’t cutting it anymore – we’ve got to be faster and more efficient,” Richard Aldridge, BES program executive officer, said in a statement.

He outlined, “Launching BESPIN has reimagined our view on software acquisition and the way we solve problems. We’re confident that the brightest minds in the creation of business software and mobile solutions will be attracted to serving our country by solving some of the most pressing issues that the Air Force faces today.”

Not only will BESPIN have significant implications for the Air Force, the connection with TechMGM and Fearless will strengthen the community in several ways.

“Montgomery prioritizes military missions, so we are honored to host this important project for the Air Force to advance their efforts in creating solutions for our nation,” Willie Durham, chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, advised.

Through partnerships with TechMGM and other key area resources within Montgomery’s unique tech ecosystem, BESPIN will aim to support the city’s infrastructure to eventually lead to lasting change in the region.

“The chamber supports any type of partnership that advances the military because it is not only good for our country, but also for our community,” Durham added. “Initiatives like BESPIN allow our region to attract and retain talent, spark new businesses and create a cycle of economic development that will have lasting effects in Montgomery for years to come.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

9 hours ago

With the lottery dead, what about the illegal gambling in Alabama?

When the session started it almost seemed certain that there would be some form of lottery passed through the Alabama legislature, signed by the governor and voted on by the people in March 2020.

But in Alabama politics the only certain thing is uncertainty and now, by all accounts, the lottery is more dead than Doug Jones’ 2020 reelection.

The questions that doomed this lottery are the same as always, “Who gets the money?” Schools or the general fund? Prisons or college scholarships?

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It is hard to believe it has been 20 years since Alabama narrowly rejected a lottery, a gambit that sent a corrupt former Governor Don Siegelman to the clink.

In those 20 years, it appears we are no closer to forcing Alabama residents who play the lottery to drive across state lines and send their money to other states.

Regardless, this chapter in the saga appears to be over.

But, there was also a bonus question: “Will Alabama grant legal status to illegal electronic bingo in the state?”

The answer was “no.” The answer to that question seemed to be decided early on. There were multiple attempts by legislators to protect various illegal gambling entities. And oddly, in Jefferson County, the sheriff’s brother even tried to start up new gambling entities, however, that was shut down.

So, what now?

A short synopsis would be “The attorney general is coming!” But Steve Marshall himself rejected that premise in an interview on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” Thursday morning.

Marshall explained that he was already working on this form of gambling.

Leaving nothing to chance, when asked if these electronic bingo machines were illegal, he responded, “Absolutely.“

He also believes he and his office are already working on these issues.

“We are going to pursue the remedies that we have right now,” Marshall revealed.

If that course does not produce the desired result, the attorney general is prepared to move.

“We will investigate just like we would the situation in Birmingham, prepare search warrants as they come and then be able to take action from there,” he stated.

So whether Marshall likes the framing or not, he’s is preparing to shut down illegal gambling in this state.

This could take the form of a court action or a new version of the bingo raids we saw during former Governor Bob Riley’s time in office. Either way, the attorney general is coming.

Listen:

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