2 years ago

Ivey awards $1 million to aid census in Alabama

On Monday, Governor Kay Ivey announced that 34 government agencies and organizations will receive a grant to help make the 2020 Census run smoothly in Alabama. The grants together total $1 million and were provided by the state legislature.

The Ivey administration is making it a priority to promote, educate and encourage participation among Alabamians. The 2020 Census begins in mid-March 2020. Every Alabama household address will receive an invitation to respond to the census.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of what a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census means for Alabama. Those numbers have a direct impact on billions of dollars in funding that affect schools, community programs, health care, job opportunities and just about every other aspect of our state,” Ivey said in a press release.

The 2020 Census has long been a point of focus for Ivey. She has been making public remarks about the census’ importance since at least the fall of 2017 and mentioned it in her inaugural address in January 2019.

Ivey said in August, “If we turn out at the rate we did in 2000, we will lose two congressional seats. If we turn out at the rate we did in 2010, we will lose one.”

ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell addressed the widespread speculation that Alabama will lose a congressional seat, saying the announced funds will “help ensure fair representation for the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

“I thank our legislators for allocating funds for these outreach efforts, and I also commend local leaders and organizations for being proactive in these efforts,” Ivey added in the press release.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will be administering the grants from funding allocated by the legislature in the 2019-2020 Education Trust Fund Budget. ADECA acts as the state’s liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau and the lead state agency for 2020 Census outreach and preparation.

Anyone wanting more information on the census in Alabama can visit www.census.alabama.gov.

The grants listed, as follows:

Alabama Community College System – $80,052 to establish help centers on their campuses and adult education sites and conduct events to promote awareness and provide places to fill out the census.
Alabama Possible – $40,000 to develop a statewide grassroots communication infrastructure to promote census participation.
Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission – $12,616 for awareness activities in the Black Belt region.
Aliceville Elementary School – $35,000 to raise census awareness to parents of students and residents in Pickens County.
ARC of Madison County – $40,000 to focus efforts on reaching disabled residents statewide.
Auburn University – Alabama Cooperative Extension System – $40,000 to conduct a statewide grassroots campaign through the county extension offices.
Baldwin County Commission – $20,000 to work with partners to target hard-to-reach groups including the aging population, people with disabilities, young children and others within the county.
Birmingham Public Library – $10,000 for programs and outreach initiatives to increase awareness and participation in the census.
Black Belt Community Foundation – $40,000 to provide census awareness through training workshops and events in the organization’s 12-county service area.
Blount County Economic Development Council – $35,000 for educational materials and interpreters to promote census to hard-to-reach residents in the county.
Brundidge (city of) – $5,642 to provide advertising, banners, and signage to promote census participation to hard-to-reach populations.
Bullock County Development Authority – $10,015 to conduct census events and promote census outreach via signage and direct mail.
Coosa County Commission – $17,000 to reach hard-to-count populations with little to no internet access and minority populations.
Cullman (city of) – $40,000 for the city to partner with more than 30 entities to promote census participation throughout Cullman County.
Decatur (city of) – $5,500 to host community events that will promote census awareness.
Elmore County Commission – $30,048 for a variety of events designed to increase census participation.
Franklin County Commission – $40,000 for census outreach activities targeting hard-to-reach populations within the county.
Foley (city of) – $10,000 for promotional items and to conduct events to further census awareness and participation.
Greenville-Butler County Library – $32,650 to provide census education and technology assistance for residents to fill out the census.
Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama – $40,000 to partner with other statewide organizations to raise census awareness to Hispanic and other immigrant communities.
Houston County Commission – $3,860 to cover extended hours at area senior centers the week of the April 1st Census Day to help senior citizens fill out the census form.
Ivy Foundation of Montgomery – $40,000 to assist and support the foundation’s partners with a statewide census awareness campaign and activities.
Lowndes County Commission – $40,000 to enhance awareness in minority, low-income and low-education populations, along with those without internet access or transportation difficulties.
Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments – $40,000 to use digital media, advertising and promotions to promote within the organization’s five-county coverage area in northwest Alabama.
Opelika (city of) – $11,931 to promote census participation and implement two workstations to provide a place for residents to complete their census forms.
Perry County Commission – $31,000 for advertising, social media and direct outreach to target messaging to hard-to-count populations.
Saraland (city of) – $17,000 for education workshops and events, along with advertising and social media to increase census participation.
Shelby County Commission – $22,686 to promote census awareness to hard-to-reach populations within the county.
St. Clair County Commission – $10,000 to raise awareness and hold events that allow residents to fill out their census forms on site.
Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments – $40,000 to conduct outreach efforts to the aging population in the organization’s five-county coverage area in northeast Alabama.
Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center – $40,000 for outdoor media promotion and Census Day activities.
United Way of Central Alabama – $40,000 to use community initiatives to increase the census self-response rate in the organization’s coverage area.
VOICES for Alabama’s Children – $40,000 to address a previous undercount of children under five years of age.
YMCA of Tuscaloosa – $40,000 for the Y on Wheels project to increase the self-response rates of hard-to-count communities in and around the city of Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County.

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

10 hours ago

Jim Zeigler considering ‘exploratory’ effort for Alabama governor in 2022

After much speculation, Gov. Kay Ivey announced her intentions to seek another term as governor in 2022 earlier this month.

Despite what were perceived to be controversial positions on pushing the Rebuild Alabama Act that raised the gasoline tax, her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in determining what could remain open and closed and a failed Mobile Bay/I-10 toll bridge proposal, Ivey is still riding high in polling with strong approve-disapprove numbers.

However, State Auditor Jim Zeigler, whose term as auditor will be over after 2022 and is ineligible to run again because of term limits, told Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Friday that he was considering a run for governor in 2022.

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“I believe it’s very important for Alabama taxpayers, for the state government, for our future to have a viable opponent who has been raising issues and trying to hold the Ivey administration accountable,” he said. “And that is why I am considering myself setting up an exploratory campaign to test the waters for a gubernatorial run. Who else is there — who else took the lead in blocking the toll bridge over Mobile Bay? Who else took the lead in blocking Amendment One that would have taken away your right to vote for school board members and have them all appointed by the Governor? Who else took the lead in blocking this prison rental plan that would have had us paying over $3 billion over 30 years and then owning zero equity in the prisons, a terrible business plan?”

“I don’t know,” Zeigler continued. “If not me, then who?”

If Zeigler runs against Ivey in 2022, it would not be the first time the two of their names appeared on a ballot in a race against one another. In Alabama’s 2020 Republican primary, Zeigler took on Ivey in a race for state delegate for the 2020 Republican National Convention.

Ivey prevailed with 7,182 votes to Zeigler’s 1,729 votes — a margin of 80.6% to 19.4%.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

13 hours ago

Alabama’s May unemployment rate drops to 3.4% — Post-pandemic rate at lows; Record high wages

Alabama’s post-COVID pandemic economic recovery seems to be humming along based on data released Friday by the Alabama Department of Labor.

According to a press release, Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington revealed Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate is 3.4%, down from April’s rate of 3.6%.

The 3.4% rate tops the May 2020 number of 7.9%.

“May’s rate represents 75,458 unemployed persons, compared to 79,319 in April and 174,680 in May 2020,” the release said. “May’s unemployed count is the lowest in 2021.”

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“Our record-breaking streak is continuing in May, and we hope that it continues throughout the rest of the year,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in the statement. “Yet again, we’ve dropped our unemployment rate and each month we are getting closer and closer to our pre-pandemic record low unemployment rate of 2.6%. Our economy is adding jobs, and earlier barriers to joining the workforce have been significantly reduced. In fact, there are more job postings than there are people counted as unemployed! Alabama is, once again, open for business.”

Data showed that wage and salary employment grew last month by 4,700.

“Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+5,000), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+2,500), and the education and health services sector (+1,200), among others. Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 123,000, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+37,100), the professional and business services sector (+23,000), and the manufacturing sector (+22,900), among others,” the release said.

Average weekly earnings for the private sector rose to a new record high of $974.12, up $66.91 over the year, according to the Department of Labor.

“As we continue to see improvement in nearly all sectors of the economy, we’re also seeing record high wages in Alabama,” Washington added. “Once again, our average weekly wages are at new record high, representing an almost $67 per week over-the-year increase. Both the leisure and hospitality and manufacturing sectors are showing record high wages as well, with significant yearly increases. The economy is responding as we expected to labor force fluctuations brought about by the pandemic.”

Broken down by county, Shelby County led the way with a rate of 1.8%, followed by Blount, Marshall, Franklin and DeKalb Counties.

Wilcox County topped the highest in the state with an unemployment rate of 8.8%.

When broken down by municipalities, Alabaster had the lowest rate at 1.7%. Selma had the state’s highest, coming in at 7.0%, followed by Prichard at 6.5% and Bessemer at 5.2%.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

14 hours ago

Shelby warns Biden on defense cuts — ‘Military investments in China and Russia … outpace U.S. investment’

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) fired his own warning shots over what he views as an inadequate defense budget proposal from President Joe Biden.

During a full Senate Committee on Appropriations review of Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 Department of Defense budget request, Shelby expressed his concern that the administration’s defense spending plan placed the nation at a disadvantage compared to its adversaries.

“The National Defense Strategy provides a road map for what the Department of Defense needs – at a minimum – to meet the challenges posed by a re-emergence of long-term strategic competition with China and Russia,” explained Shelby. “Anything less jeopardizes readiness, the recapitalization of capital assets, and necessary investments in new and emerging technologies.”

Shelby, who currently serves as vice chairman of the powerful Senate committee, believes that not meeting current national defense demands sends a dangerous message to the rest of the world.

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“This year, the budget proposal signals to the world that this administration is not committed to investing in readiness, training, state of the art equipment, and technological overmatch,” Shelby stated. “With military investments in China and Russia continuing to outpace U.S. investments, I find it hard to believe that the requirements outlined by General Dunford just four years ago are no longer instructive.”

This critical assessment from Alabama’s senior senator comes less than a month after the highest-ranking U.S. military officer described the nation’s relations with China and Russia as “fraying.”

In an address to graduates of the United States Air Force Academy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said, “Right now we are in a great power competition with China and Russia. And we need to keep it at competition and avoid great power conflict.”

Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Shelby addressed both officials in his remarks, stating, “The world is a complex and dangerous place and I know that you both understand the magnitude of the challenges we face from our near peer adversaries who seek to undermine the United States’ position as a world leader and dominant military power. China and Russia are formidable adversaries and China, as you have acknowledged Secretary Austin, is proving to be a true pacing threat. China seeks hegemony – militarily, technologically, economically, and geopolitically – and is making unprecedented investments to see that to fruition.”

“Meanwhile, Russia is nearing the end of a massive military modernization program that saw its defense spending increase 30 percent in real dollars over the last 10 years,” he added.

Shelby concluded that he could not support an effective cut in defense spending in 2022.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

15 hours ago

U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl urges Biden to undergo tests for ‘mental impairment’

U.S. Representative Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) joined 13 of his congressional colleagues in urging President Joe Biden to undergo an examination to determine his mental fitness to serve.

The group cited a string of embarrassing verbal gaffes by the president as the basis for their request.

In a letter sent to Biden on Thursday, the Republican members of Congress explained, “We write to you today to express concern with your current cognitive state. We believe that, regardless of gender, age, or political party, all Presidents should follow the precedent set by former President Donald Trump to document and demonstrate sound mental abilities.”

They continued, “Unfortunately, your mental decline and forgetfulness have become more apparent over the past 18 months. In March, you forgot the name of the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, and the Defense Secretary, though you had said ‘Secretary Austin’ just a few minutes prior.”

In addition, the letter cites Biden’s telling of an Amtrak story with an inexplicable timeline, forgetting the first line of the Declaration of Independence and obvious disorientation during a visit to Texas as examples for why they believe Biden is in need of cognitive testing.

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The list of gaffes attributable to his mental acuity seems to be piling up for the 46th president.

During the G7 Summit in England recently, he asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce the South African president.

RELATED: Biden lashes out at media member and Alabama native Kaitlan Collins over Putin — ‘You’re in the wrong business’

Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce has questioned whether Biden’s cognitive state is a national security liability.

Biden has received criticism in the early stages of his administration for calling on only a predetermined list of reporters during press conferences. The most recent instance of this occurred while Biden was in Geneva, Switzerland, for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Carl and the other letter signers pushed for transparency with any medical assessments being made, as well.

“We encourage you to follow the example set by President Trump by undergoing a cognitive test as soon as possible and immediately making the results available for the American people,” they concluded.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

16 hours ago

ALGOP chair John Wahl: AEA resurgence ‘a concern’; Reminds GOP candidates ‘not a good idea’ accept their campaign contributions

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Alabama Education Association (AEA) seemingly flexed its muscle at the end of the 2021 legislative session by successfully pushing through a two-year delay to the Literacy Act, which mandates children be able to read at a third grade level before proceeding to the fourth grade.

Gov. Kay Ivey vetoed the delay, but it left political watchers wondering if this was just the beginning of the AEA’s return to the forefront of Alabama politics.

During an appearance on FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Thursday, Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl said it was indeed a concern for the party.

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“[I]t’s funny you bring that up because at one point in the past, there was actually a resolution passed by the state party, I believe, that was saying Republican candidates should not take money from the AEA because of their influence and the concern they would have over direct policy,” he stated. “So, of course, that’s a concern. That type of influence from anybody pushing to regulate themselves is never — you don’t want a group regulating themselves. That’s not good for policy.”

While there was a resolution in place that pertained to AEA campaign contributions to Republican candidates, Wahl said it was not an outright ban but a “strong recommendation” not to accept their money.

“I need to go back and look at the resolution in-depth,” Wahl said. “But I believe it was a resolution, so it’s not a direct ban. There’s no teeth to it. But it was a very strong recommendation to candidates — that it is not a good idea to take that money.”

“[T]here were jokes about how the AEA controlled the state and had a vast amount of control over policy and what would happen with the Governor’s office, the state legislature,” he explained. “So much of that has gotten better since Republicans have taken control. But you’re right — we’re seeing a resurgence, at least of their involvement. Hopefully not their influence.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.