11 months ago

Ivey, Pate encourage support of ‘Made in Alabama’ products

MONTGOMERY — Enjoying a picturesque day on the State Capitol lawn, Governor Kay Ivey and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate joined the Alabama Grocers Association (AGA) in highlighting the “Buy Alabama’s Best” campaign.

The campaign, which was formed in a partnership between the AGA and the Department of Agriculture and Industries in 2006, showcases food and beverage products from companies that produce, manufacture and/or make their products or are headquartered in the Yellowhammer State. Buy Alabama’s Best has grown to include 50 such companies.

Before introducing Ivey, AGA President Ellie Smotherman Taylor advised those in attendance that the state’s food retail industry supports more than 70,000 jobs, with state grocers paying over $2.2 billion in annual wages and $1.2 billion in annual taxes. The total economic impact of the industry in Alabama is over $12 billion.

Additionally, between them, the food service and production industries support one-in-four jobs in the state.

“Alabama is experiencing tremendous growth, and it’s largely in part of the leadership of Governor Kay Ivey,” Taylor said. “Since day one, Governor Ivey has made it her mission to create opportunities for all Alabamians. That means putting a greater emphasis on improving our state’s education system, fostering economic development and providing more jobs for the men and women of Alabama.”

She continued, “The governor, since taking office, has proudly supported the efforts of the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association and the Alabama Grocers Association and their Buy Alabama’s Best campaign, and for that, we are so incredibly thankful.”

Ivey, fresh off what she called a “historic day” in signing the Rebuild Alabama Act into law Tuesday afternoon, first thanked Taylor for her leadership in such an important industry for the state.

The governor then said, “Folks, we all know that the best products are those that carry the ‘Made in Alabama’ brand. We are proud of that.”

She listed some of her favorite Buy Alabama’s Best companies, including Milo’s Tea, R.L. Zeigler meats, “those tiny but sweet” Bud’s Best Cookies and “certainly” Conecuh Sausage.

“As Alabamians, we not only need to remember to ourselves buy Made in Alabama products, but also to share these products with people from all over the world,” Ivey emphasized. “And when you buy Made in Alabama products, we’re really supporting the economy, we’re supporting Alabama jobs.”

Up next to speak was Pate, who reinforced Ivey’s call for people to buy and promote Made in Alabama products.

“This is what I feel like I’m about,” he outlined. “I traveled this state [during the 2018 campaign cycle] and heard it over and over again from Alabamians. I want to know where my food is from, and I want it as local as I can.”

“I just ask all Alabamians to make a little extra effort – I tell you, it’s really a win-win-win when you’re eating fresher food yourself, you’re helping somebody locally and it’s helping our local community,” Pate added.

Not only does the Buy Alabama’s Best campaign boost Yellowhammer State job creators, but a portion of product sale proceeds also directly supports Children’s of Alabama.

“We hope that people will look for the Buy Alabama’s Best logo when they are shopping at their local grocery store,” Taylor explained. “Purchasing Alabama-made products supports both our local economy and Children’s of Alabama.”

To date, the campaign has raised $777,672 to fight pediatric cancer.

“Children’s of Alabama is thankful for the community partners and the difference made through the Buy Alabama’s Best Campaign,” Emily Hornak, Children’s of Alabama community development and cause marketing manager, said in a statement. “By supporting the local economy and purchasing products made in our state, Alabamians can feel good about supporting both local businesses and helping families with children facing cancer.”

Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), even with the legislature out until Tuesday, also spoke briefly, thanking Taylor, the AGA and industry members for what they do for the state. He highlighted the passage of the Rebuild Alabama Act and how it will help the food industry and others in the state ship their products easier – and more cost effectively – by both freight and the Port of Mobile.

“Thank you for taking care of the people of Alabama,” McCutcheon added. “We’re partners, we’re partners moving forward. Never forget that.”

Secretary of State John Merrill and State Auditor Jim Zeigler were in attendance as well, greeting members of the public and sampling some of the “Alabama’s Best” products.

The event concluded with a special announcement.

Wright’s Market in Opelika, an AGA member, is piloting the “Wright2U Freshmobile” delivery van thanks to a $60,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ (ADECA) Healthy Food Financing program.

The van is a possible breakthrough in AGA’s “outside the box” efforts to better reach with fresh, healthy food options the 1.8 million Alabamians, including over 500,000 children, who live in underserved parts of the state.

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

34 mins ago

February event promises answers to VA health care concerns

The Veterans Affairs departments of the state and federal government are teaming up to put on the Montgomery Veterans Experience Action Center (VEAC).

VEAC will be on February 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Campton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery.

The agencies promise it will be a time “for veterans to get answers—and sometimes resolutions—regarding their benefits and healthcare.”

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Veterans Service Officers will be in attendance, as will workers trained to handle claims both new and existing.

The groups welcome both veterans and family members, saying the event will provide the opportunity to “receive one-on-one service to address any and all issues” with the VA.

The Alabama Department of Veterans affairs reminds those attending that “for assistance with VA claims and services, veterans should bring proper documentation about their case: DD 214, all medical records about any military and civilian disability, and dependency documents.”

Other services available at the event will be the American Red Cross, Still Serving Veterans, and job opportunities from the Alabama Department of Labor.

Anyone seeking additional information can call (334) 625-3480.

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

54 mins ago

Alabama lawmakers renew push to create lifetime concealed carry permits

Members of the Alabama legislature introduced bills this week that would create a standard, statewide process for any individual that wants a concealed carry permit for a firearm. Under the proposed system, permits would be issued for terms of one year, five years or the remaining lifetime of the permit holder.

State Representative Proncey Robertson (R-Trinity) is sponsoring the effort in the House, and State Senator Randy Price (R-Opelika) is carrying the Senate version. Robertson spent over 25 years as a police officer in North Alabama.

The cost of a lifetime permit would be $200, with a reduced fee for senior citizens. Robertson wrote on Facebook that active and retired military service members would pay nothing. Currently, Alabamians can purchase a permit from their county sheriff’s office for up to five years. The price of a permit varies by county.

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Sheriff’s offices often benefit from the revenues brought in by pistol permits. Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran once told AL.com that his department depends on the income from the permits “for a number of things.”

Various efforts by Republican lawmakers to alter Alabama’s gun laws have run out of steam before becoming law in recent years.

As part of the new permitting system proposed this week, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) would have a new role in streamlining the permit process and administering background checks.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has come out in favor of the effort, telling members they should contact their state legislators “to secure passage of this critical legislation.”

“The NRA strongly supports this streamlined permitting process,” NRA Alabama State Director Art Thomm told the Alabama Political Reporter.

“Not only would it bring much-needed 21st century technology to Alabama’s antiquated system, but it would be the first time law-abiding Alabamians were given the option for a lifetime concealed carry permit,” he added.

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

1 hour ago

Doug Jones: Schiff speech, impeachment evidence presented by House Dems ‘compelling’

In a video tweeted out by his office on Friday, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) opined that evidence is “continuing to mount” against President Donald Trump as the impeachment trial unfolds in the Senate.

The video, lasting just over five minutes and 30 seconds, started with Jones praising the Thursday speech given by Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), one of the lead House impeachment managers.

Jones used Schiff’s line of, “In America, right matters,” as a theme for the video and even turned it into a hashtag when sharing the video on his personal Twitter account.

Alabama’s junior senator opened the video by reciting the line twice, placing heavy emphasis on it. He would also later close the video with the line.

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“That was the most compelling statement to me yesterday,” Jones remarked about the line.

Senator Jones’ newfound usage of #rightmatters may very well remind Alabama voters of what he tweeted when announcing his “nay” vote on confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh: #RightSideofHistory.

Jones in his Friday video went on to say about the case presented by House Democrats, “Yesterday’s evidence was pretty compelling. It continues to get compelling.”

“Remember we have talked significantly about direct evidence,” he continued. “We have heard a lot of direct evidence on the president’s abuse of power. We’ve heard it from witnesses who talked to the president. We’ve seen press conferences. We’ve seen text messages. We’ve seen emails. Not all of those emails were provided by the administration; they were done pursuant to a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request and a lawsuit. But we have them nonetheless.”

“And the circumstantial evidence begins to mount,” Jones added.

He then recited the definition of circumstantial evidence as, “Proof of a chain of facts and circumstances that tend to prove or disprove a fact.”

“That is continuing to mount,” Jones asserted.

The senator commented that he is “anxious to see” what the president’s legal team will “say and do” when given the chance to present their case.

Later in the video, Jones renewed his call for Democrats to be able to call witnesses during the trial. However, he mocked the idea of “reciprocity,” the concept that Republicans would be able to call witnesses if Democrats are allowed to, as “silly.”

Jones specifically said that Hunter Biden should not be allowed to be called as a witness. Jones has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential bid, saying that he would ultimately back whomever the Democrats nominate against Trump, no matter how radical that individual is.

Watch the full video:

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

2 hours ago

Alabama State Port Authority signs concession agreement for automobile RO/RO terminal

The Alabama State Port Authority and AutoMOBILE International Terminal (AIT) this week signed a concession agreement for the $60 million automobile roll on/roll off (RO/RO) terminal currently under construction.

AIT will operate the facility when completed in early 2021.

The agreement was signed at the Port of Mobile. AIT is a joint venture between Terminal Zarate, S.A., a Grupo Murchison company headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Neltume Ports, headquartered in Santiago, Chile.

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“We’re extremely pleased to see these world class services companies invest in both our region and our port. AIT’s investment will create a new U.S. gateway for shipping finished automobiles for both U.S. and global manufacturing and consumer markets,” James K. Lyons, director and CEO of the Alabama State Port Authority, said in a statement.

The under-construction 57-acre (23.06 hectares) terminal is located on the ASPA’s main port multimodal complex, and when completed, will have an annual throughput of 150,000 units. The facility is located on Mobile Harbor and is serviced by five Class I railroads and a rail ferry service with connections throughout North America and immediate, unencumbered access to major U.S. interstate and highway systems.

The Port Authority and AIT over two years ago signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the automobile RO/RO terminal.

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

2 hours ago

Doug Jones: Jeff Sessions’ recusal ‘about the only thing I think he did right as attorney general’

As the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for Alabama U.S. Senate race has heated up, the topic of then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from any investigation dealing with the 2016 presidential election has become the hot campaign topic.

At a Marshall County campaign stop earlier this month, Sessions defended his decision on the recusal, noting that it was following the Department of Justice rules and procedures. However, since then, both U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, two of Sessions’ opponents in the GOP senatorial nomination contest, have both raised the issue in the context of Sessions’ ability to serve as a U.S. Senator.

Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook), who will be the opponent in the November general election for the eventual Republican nominee, disagreed with Byrne and Tuberville.

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Jones, also a former U.S. attorney during the Clinton administration, categorized Sessions’ recusal as “about the only thing” Sessions did properly during his service as the Trump administration’s top law enforcement official.

“I do,” Jones replied. “It’s about the only thing I think he did right as attorney general. But he absolutely did that correctly. I’ve been a DoJ person myself. I was in the position of U.S. attorney, and I think he had to do that. I think it was the right thing to do. And I said that at the time, by the way. This is not something new. I said that at the time.”

“We’ll see who ends up being the nominee,” he continued. “But there will be plenty to talk about — about Jeff’s record if he ends up being the nominee. But that is one thing he and I will both agree on.”

@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.