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6 months ago

Gov. Kay Ivey is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

The most important duty of a lieutenant governor is to be ready to become governor.

Judging by the significant accomplishments in Kay Ivey’s nearly 11 months as Alabama’s 54th governor, she has proven herself ready by successfully steadying what she called “the ship of state” and then steering Alabama into strong economic waters.

Yellowhammer News is proud to announce that Gov. Ivey is a 2018 Woman of Impact because as Alabama’s second female governor, she is a trailblazer who restored our state government’s image when we needed strong, dignified, unifying leadership the most.

Gov. Ivey has presided over accomplishments that should make all Alabamians proud, including:

— Record low unemployment (3.5 percent in December).
— Record exports of Alabama goods and services in 2017.
— More than $6 billion in new direct investments committed in the state that will create 13,000 jobs.
— A conservative, fiscally responsible state budget.
— Launch of the “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative that prioritizes early childhood education, computer science in middle and high school, and workforce preparedness.
— Attraction of major businesses to Alabama, including the coming Toyota-Mazda plant in Huntsville that will provide an estimated 4,000 jobs.
Ivey enjoys the 3rd highest approval rating of governors nationwide, according to a recent Morning Consult poll, and her political history includes several interesting firsts:

First female student government vice president at Auburn University.
First Alabama Girls State alumna elected to a statewide office.
First Republican to be elected state treasurer since Reconstruction.
First Republican woman to hold the office of lieutenant governor.
First Republican lieutenant governor re-elected to the office.
First Republican female governor.
Gov. Ivey grew up an only child in small-town Camden, Alabama, in Wilcox County and worked on the family farm where the Iveys raised horses, grew timber and farmed cattle. Her father served in World War II as an army major in the field artillery and her mother’s work included time as vice president at Camden Bank.

Gov. Ivey has worked as a high school teacher and a banker and has long advocated for women in government through her work with Alabama Girls State — beginning her own career in public service when then-Governor Fob James appointed her to the state cabinet in 1979.

War Eagle, Madam Governor, and thank you for rising to an unexpected challenge … and for knocking it out of the park.

Join Governor Ivey and special guests from across the state for a Birmingham awards event March 29 honoring the 20 Yellowhammer Women of Impact whose powerful contributions advance Alabama. Details and registration may be found here.

(Image: Governor’s Office, Hal Yeager)

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

34 mins ago

Birmingham police: Stun gun used on boy, 13, with handgun

Alabama authorities say a police officer used a stun gun on a 13-year-old boy who reached into a pocket containing a handgun.

News outlets report charges are pending against the 13-year-old, who was walking with a 15-year-old boy near a middle school when he was stopped Wednesday.

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Birmingham Police Sgt. Johnny Williams says officers responding to a report of an armed person spotted the 13-year-old matching the provided description.
Williams says officers asked the youth to put his hands in the air.

He says an officer then fired the stun gun when the teen reached in his pocket instead.

Police say a .38 caliber handgun was found in the boy’s pocket.

News outlets say the boy was taken to a hospital to be checked out.

An internal investigation into the stun gun’s use is ongoing.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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55 mins ago

Alabama leaders react after Democratic NY governor says America ‘was never that great’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) on Wednesday, writing the latest chapter in a long line of national Democrats shooting themselves in the foot going into November’s midterm elections, claimed that America “was never that great.”

Alabama Republican leaders reacted swiftly to condemn the liberal leader’s remarks and applaud the values that the nation cherishes.

The shocking statement came as a seemingly offhand remark in his rebuke of President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan during a bill-signing in his state.

“We’re not going to make America great again,” Cuomo exclaimed. “It was never that great.”

Ironically, in his 2010 announcement video for governor, Cuomo proclaimed “Together, we can make New York great again.” He is rumored to be strongly considering a 2020 challenge to President Trump now.

Alabama Republican leaders reacted quickly, forcefully denouncing Cuomo’s remarks and standing up for American greatness.

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“New York City is full of folks who will never have the same sort of conservative values that are so precious to us across East Alabama,” Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-3) told Yellowhammer News.

He added, “I think I can speak for most Alabamians when I say we think America is a great country and we are proud to live here.”

Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-4) echoed the sentiments of Rogers and applauded President Trump’s leadership.

“There is not a country on earth that has done more good for more people than America,” Aderholt stated. “This country most definitely has been great, and thanks to President Trump, we are going to be great again.”

Rep. Martha Roby (AL-2) spoke to America’s greatness and the people who have fought for the nation since its inception.

“We live in the greatest country in the world,” she emphasized. “Many brave men and women have served and sacrificed for the very freedoms we enjoy as Americans.”

“For more than 200 years, our country has been a land of optimism and opportunity, and over the last year and a half, we’ve worked to foster this outlook once again. I look forward to seeing this nation continue to prosper and grow,” Roby concluded.

Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-1) pointed out that Cuomo’s statement is reflective of the state of the Democratic Party.

“Governor Cuomo’s statement shows just how out-of-touch Democrats are with the rest of the country,” Byrne explained. “For example, he should tell those who survived the Depression and fought in World War II, like my dad, that America was never a great country.”

Byrne continued, “Frankly, he should apologize for such an outrageous comment.”

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

15 hours ago

Aubie and Big Al team up for a special cause

Patients at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham got a special surprise on Tuesday when the University of Alabama and Auburn University mascots paid a visit.

The visit by Big Al and Aubie, who were also joined by cheerleaders from the University of Alabama, coincides with the annual kickoff of Wells Fargo’s “Picks for Kids” program.

Going into its seventh consecutive year, “Picks for Kids” has raised over $216,000 for helping ill and injured children at the Alabama hospital.

Find out more about the program here.

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

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16 hours ago

How might Sen. Jones vote on Kavanaugh? Record on lower-court judges offers clues

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) is keeping mum on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but he has spoken — through his votes — on other judicial confirmations.

A dozen appellate court judges have been confirmed since Jones took office in January after winning a special election to finish the term of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Jones voted “yes” on six of those nominations, opposed five and did not vote on the 12th.

The senator has not made public statements about any of those votes, and his office did not respond to inquiries. Until he makes a declaration about Kavanaugh, the senator’s voting record offers the best guide to his thinking. He voted with a majority of his Democratic colleagues on all but two nominations.

Here is a closer look at those votes:

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The “yes” votes

Jones voted to confirm Mark Bennett to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Joel Carson III to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Michael Scudder and Amy Eve to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court; Kurt Engelhardt to the 5th U.S. Circuit; and David Stras to the 8th U.S. Circuit.

Bennett was an unusual case. Every Democrat, and Democratic-leaning independents Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, voted for him, while 27 Republicans voted “no.” Republicans who opposed Bennett objected to his record on the Second Amendment.

Scudder and Eve had near-unanimous support. Carson’s nomination split the Democratic caucus. Jones joined 26 other Democrats in supporting him, while 21 opposed him.

Jones was one of 13 Democrats who voted to confirm Engelhardt in May. Opponents raised concerns about rulings he has made in sexual harassment lawsuits.

Jones lined up with Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) in voting to confirm Stras. Like Jones, Donnelly, Manchin and Heitkamp are feeling heat as Democrats representing red states. Most Democrats voted “no.”

The “no” votes

Jones voted against Britt Grant to serve on the 11th Circuit; Andy Oldham for the 5th Circuit; John Nalbandian for the 6th Circuit; Michael Brennan for the 7th Circuit and Kyle Duncan for the 5th Circuit.

No Democrats voted for Oldham or Brennan. Only Heitkamp and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) voted for Grant, and only Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin voted for Nalbandian. And Manchin was the only Democrat to vote for Duncan.

The non-vote

Jones was not present for the Feb. 27 vote to confirm Elizabeth Branch to the 11th Circuit. Her nomination split Democrats, with 25 vote “yea” and 23 voting “nay.”

The record would suggest that if Kavanaugh draws just a few Democratic votes, as many experts predict, it is unlikely Jones would be one of them. He bucked his party only twice on appeals court votes.

Unlike Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelly, he has declined to meet with the nominee ahead of hearings scheduled to begin Sept. 4.

Then again, experts said, the Supreme Court is different.

“I really don’t think it offers a clue. … Court of Appeals nominations just aren’t as important as a Supreme Court nomination,” said John Carroll, a former federal magistrate judge who now serves as a professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham.

Jones has come under intense and competing pressures. On the one hand, polls suggest a majority of his constituents favor confirmation. And although he is not up for re-election this November, he will be on the ballot in two years. The Judicial Crisis Network and other conservative groups are spending millions of dollars targeting Jones and other red state Democrats with pro-Kavanaugh advertising.

On the other hand, activist progressives have declared war on the nomination, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has leaned on moderates in his caucus to at least hold off on announcing support for Kavanaugh until he sews up commitments from every Republican.

A woman at the senator’s town hall meeting in Birmingham this week tossed a pair of stuffed lips toward him and declared, “You can kiss my ass if you vote ‘yes.’”

Eric Ostermeier, a political science researcher at the University of Minnesota, said senators often can escape scrutiny of their votes on lower-court judges in a way they cannot with the Supreme Court

“He can’t hide when it comes to vote for a Supreme Court position,” said Ostermeier, who runs a website called Smart Politics. “That will be covered everywhere … and that will be a salient issue for his opponent if he votes against it.”

Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, said she does not know what the senator’s votes on appellate nominations predict about Kavanaugh.

“We’ll see,” he said. “Unfortunately, Sen. Jones on many things has decided he wants to align himself with Chuck Schumer and the liberal wing over his own constituents.”

Severino added that Alabama voters are not likely to forget how Jones votes on Kavanaugh.

“This is a very significant opportunity,” she said. “Is he someone who wants to be independent, or knee-jerk Schumer?”

Carroll, the Cumberland School of Law professor, said the politics surrounding court nominations are a far cry for the congenial atmosphere that prevailed when he started practicing law in 1975.

“Back then, it was, is this person qualified?” he said.

@BrendanKKirby is a senior political reporter at LifeZette and author of “Wicked Mobile.”

 

16 hours ago

Gov. Ivey awards nearly $2 million worth of grants for transportation safety

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs announced on Monday that it will administer a series of grants to 35 different Alabama counties to be used for improving traffic safety in coming months.

One series of grants, totaling $791,838, will go toward increasing patrols and other highway safety measures in 17 north Alabama counties during the Labor Day weekend and other major traveling holidays during the next year.

That money will cover overtime salaries and special expenses incurred during law enforcement’s “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns, and during other busy travel periods.

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Counties to receive grant allocations, made available to the state by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Walker and Winston.

Another $1,189,899 has been awarded to 18 eastern and central Alabama counties for similar purposes, funding law enforcement participation in “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns, along with other localized enforcement initiatives based on “hot spots” where crashes often occur.

“These grants help put more officers on patrol during busy travel periods to keep people safe by removing dangerous drivers from Alabama roadways and enforcing traffic laws,” Ivey said in a news release. “I am pleased to support our law enforcement agencies as they protect and serve their communities.”

The second group of grants were also made available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.