4 weeks ago

Jeff Sessions endorses Trump re-election

BIRMINGHAM — Former United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions is still a supporter of President Donald Trump, and he is not shying away from it.

Even after his forced resignation as attorney general, the former senator from Alabama has proven himself to be the consummate gentleman. This was again on display at the Alabama Republican Party’s annual state executive committee winter meeting Saturday.

Just like his special surprise appearance at the party’s dinner the night previous, Sessions was greeted by a resounding standing ovation as he got to the stage to address the Republican faithful near the beginning of the meeting.

He began his speech by extolling how much the state party has grown over the course of his career, highlighting its recent electoral success by explaining the now-supermajority Republican legislative caucus used to be able to “meet in a phone booth.”

Sessions then praised the leadership of his friend and fellow Mobilian, ALGOP Chairman Terry Lathan.

“Terry, thank you for your leadership. Being re-elected again without opposition I think shows the strength, the wisdom and judgment of your leadership – and your understanding of the state,” he said. “And I think this party understands this state.”

Sessions continued to laud the party’s victories in the 2018 election cycle, saying he was impressed that Republicans had not become complacent but instead picked up even more important offices.

This set the stage for Sessions’ rallying call later in his address, when he turned his attention to 2020.

“One of the big things that I know you’re not going to lose sight of is the 2020 election,” Sessions told the ALGOP executive committee members. “We need to re-elect President Trump.”

He then began to outline how Trump has kept the promises he made to the American people during the 2016 campaign cycle.

“[Trump] has fulfilled his commitment that he fights every day for the things he believes in and that I think we believe in and what the majority of Americans believe in,” Sessions advised.

The former Trump cabinet member then listed tax reform, reducing overly burdensome regulations, safeguarding freedom of religion and trade policy as areas where the president’s administration has made major inroads.

Sessions gave a shoutout to U.S. Steel’s recent Fairfield announcement as an especially beneficial result of Trump’s work on overhauling American trade dynamics.

“And how about the best series of judicial appointments any president has ever made,” Sessions added, before praising Trump’s work on American energy dominance and support of returning the justice system to a “rule of law” focus.

“GDP is up, higher than people were predicting,” he lauded. “Unemployment is down, lower than we’ve seen maybe in 50 years. And manufacturing is rising.”

“I feel good about what we’re doing, it’s a battle in Washington every day. But I really feel like we’ve gotten this country [heading] in the right direction,” Sessions said. “A good strong leader like President Trump – if he hadn’t been there we wouldn’t have won [the 2016] election. If we hadn’t won this election, we’d have a judiciary that’s – I shudder to think where we might be headed. Another four years of good, solid Trump judges will solidify the rule of law, which is so important for us.”

He concluded by saying there is still “a lot of work to do [and] battles to be fought.”

“Let’s stay at it,” Sessions urged.

ALGOP reflects on 2018, looks ahead to 2020

Sessions was not the only one to applaud the party’s recent success while urging its members to keep up their hard work.

As Lathan delivered her chairman’s report, she highlighted an Alabama Republican Party that is growing in membership and achieving historic electoral gains.

Similar to Sessions’ pivot, Lathan turned the look-back on 2018 into a rallying call for Republicans to fare even better in 2020.

In addition to her ardent support for Trump’s re-election, she especially focused on reclaiming Sessions’ former seat now held by the incumbent from Mountain Brook, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL).

“[W]e have a lot to celebrate today but some things to focus on, as well,” Lathan summarized. “[W]e’re only as strong as our last race, so now we turn our focus to 2020.”

She emphasized, “Doug Jones is ignoring the majority of Alabamians… the majority of the citizens of our state. He’s doing it in his words, he’s doing it in his actions and he’s doing it in his votes.”

Lathan said that Jones “votes like he’s from Vermont” rather than Alabama.

She then played a montage video of Jones’ views in his own words, previewing that the junior senator could be his own worst electoral enemy.

One of the clips shown was Jones telling CNN that representing the majority of his constituents is not “the be all to end all.”

After the video ended, Lathan commented, “[O]n November 3 of 2020, we will speak clearly as the citizens rise up in our state and declare, ‘No more, Doug Jones. No more.'”

“And although we do not know right now who our nominee will be, I can assure the state and the nation of one thing: we will lock arms and do everything in our power to help our nominee and win this seat back,” she added. “So, #OneAndDoneDoug, it’s more than just a bumper sticker or fun hashtag on Twitter. It’s going to become reality. We are building an army right now, and we plan to break even more voting records in 2020. And trust me – then, it will be ‘the be all to end all’ and Alabama voters will end this.”

Later in the meeting, the Alabama Republican Party state executive committee passed a resolution endorsing a “vote of no confidence” in Jones.

You can watch the entire meeting below:

RELATED: Alabama Republican Party elects officers

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

3 hours ago

Illegal immigrant charged in death of Mobile woman

Domingo Francisco Marcos, a Guatemalan immigrant in the United States illegally, has been charged with vehicular homicide and fleeing the scene of the accident with injuries in the Monday death of Mobile’s Sonya Jones on US 98.

215

According to WKRG, the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office said Marcos, 16, hit Jones’ vehicle head-on and then tried to run away. However, he was injured too badly to do so and collapsed after leaving the immediate scene.

Marcos was then taken to USA Women’s and Children’s Hospital for surgery. Prosecutors plan on asking the judge not to grant him bond.

He reportedly entered the country via Mexico and was apprehended in Arizona by federal law enforcement officials in 2017. Before he could be deported, he claimed asylum and was released awaiting a hearing. Marcos never showed up in court to speak to his claim, so it was denied. However, authorities had no way to locate him so he was never deported.

In a statement, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1), who represents the Mobile area, decried yet another illegal immigrant allegedly responsible for the death of an Alabamian.

“Yet again we have someone who is in our country illegally taking the life of an American citizen,” Byrne said. “How many more Americans have to die before we take action to crack down on illegal immigration, secure the border, and keep the American people safe? Enough is enough!”

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

Will Ainsworth: Common Core is a failed, Obama-era relic that must come to a quick and immediate end

Alabama took a strong step toward independence in its public schools this week when the State Senate approved legislation to repeal the Obama-era curriculum mandates known by most as Common Core.

Everyone agrees that Alabama needs strict academic standards that our children must meet. It is vital to economic development, it is vital to our workforce development and it is vital to our children’s future success.

Where we differ in the Common Core debate is who should set those standards.

405

I believe Alabamians should determine the curriculum and standards for our state’s schoolchildren based upon our available resources, our needs and our first-hand knowledge of what makes Alabama great.

We should not rely upon some out-of-state entity or liberal, Washington, D.C. bureaucrats to determine our standards, and we certainly should not continue embracing this most damaging legacy of the disastrous Obama administration.

When Thomas Jefferson said, “The government closest to the people serves the people best,” he understood that a top-down approach and governing from afar denies the important knowledge and details that those on the local level possess.

Perhaps the most asinine theory behind Common Core mandates is the cookie cutter approach it takes to schools across our nation.

Rather than recognizing and accounting for the differences among the states, their workforce needs, and the public educations they should offer, Common Core demands an across-the-board, one-size-fits-all mandate that is typical of liberal policy pronouncements.

Moreover, the public schools in a politically conservative state like Alabama, where character education and allowing students to acknowledge God are important, are vastly different from the schools in ultra-liberal cities like San Francisco and New York City, where educators consider themselves enlightened and the groupthink doctrine of political correctness dominates.

But, in the end, the most effective argument for repealing Common Core is the fact that it has proven to be an unmitigated failure.

When Alabama first adopted Common Core roughly a decade ago, advocates labeled it as the cure-all for our public education system, but the magic elixir they promised has proven to be just a worthless bottle of snake oil.

Prior to the adoption of Common Core, Alabama’s students ranked at or near the bottom in almost every education metric that was tested, and, a decade later today, our state still ranks 49th in math and 46th in reading.

For these stated reasons and too many others to detail, it is time for Alabama to abandon this liberal social experiment and chart its own, independent path toward success in education – one that is rooted in conservative principles and one that embraces long-proven, fundamental teaching concepts.

Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston), who filed the legislation, and the co-sponsors of his bill should be commended for working to end this unnecessary Obama-era relic. Dropping the gavel when the repeal of Common Core passed the State Senate was one of the happiest and most satisfying moments of my time in public service.

Will Ainsworth is the Republican lieutenant governor of Alabama.

6 hours ago

Bill to repeal Common Core in Alabama passes Senate

MONTGOMERY — Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) bill to eliminate Common Core in the state of Alabama passed the State Senate as amended by a 23-7 vote on Thursday afternoon, despite a passionate filibuster by Democrats in the chamber.

The bill, SB 119, now heads to the House to take up after the legislature’s spring break next week.

360

SB 119 was given a unanimous favorable recommendation on Wednesday by the Education Policy Committee.

State Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) introduced a friendly amendment that was adopted by the Senate before they passed the bill. The amendment would move Alabama away from Common Core standards directly to new standards adopted by the state school board in 2021-2022 (instead of using transition standards next school year and then new standards in 2020-2021).

Gudger’s amendment also addressed concerns that the bill would inadvertently bar Alabama from utilizing things like AP tests and national certifications and exams.

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL), who presides over the Senate, told Yellowhammer News Wednesday that he strongly supports the repeal of Common Core.

Update 4:20 p.m.:

Marsh released the following statement:

In the past I have made it clear that we have an elected school board who should dictate policy when it comes to education in Alabama. However it is clear that we have a dysfunctional school board who is incapable of making decisions that give our students and teachers the best chance at being successful.

We have used the Common Core standards in Alabama for nearly a decade and while we do have some blue-ribbon schools, the vast majority are severely behind. We are still ranked 46thand 49thin reading and math according to National Assessment of Educational Progress. This is unacceptable so it is time to try something new.

I have worked and will continue to work with the education community in developing high standards so that we have the most competitive and rigorous course of study in the country, we cannot accept the status quo and this is a good first step.

I want to thank the Senate for their support and their work as we ended up with a piece of legislation that went through the legislative process to become the best possible bill we could pass and addressed everybody’s concerns. This was a fantastic first step as we move to address sweeping education reform in Alabama.

RELATED: Ivey on Common Core: ‘We should be deliberate in determining a course of study for our state’

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

6 hours ago

Marsh’s bill to help build Trump’s wall passes Senate

MONTGOMERY — Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’ bill (R-Anniston) that would voluntarily allow a taxpayer to divert a portion or all of their own state income tax refund to We Build the Wall, Inc. passed the Senate by a vote of 23-6 on Thursday afternoon, overcoming an organized Democrat filibuster.

The bill, SB 22, now is set for a first reading in the House, which can take up the legislation after the legislature’s spring break next week.

“I thank the Senate for their support on this matter and I look forward to working with the House to give Alabamians a voice and are able to express their desire to support President Trump and stronger border security,” Marsh said in a statement.

192

After Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) started a filibuster Wednesday, Marsh carried the bill over.

On Thursday, the bill was named to the Senate special order calendar and was again filibustered when it came up, this time with multiple Democrat senators joining in the effort. Republicans, seeing the filibuster was set to continue for hours, successfully adopted a cloture petition to end the filibuster so the Democrats would not continue blocking the chamber from conducting business.

“People I talk to across Alabama are sick and tired of politicians in Washington D.C. talking and nothing being done about the crisis on our borders. This bill is about sending a message to Washington that we support President Trump and his mission to secure our southern border,” Marsh advised.

He added, “Alabamians overwhelming favor securing our borders, protecting our citizens and their jobs and supporting President Trump. This bill simply allows citizens, if they choose, to send a message that they want to see our borders secured by sending a portion of their tax refund to donate to build the wall.”

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

BONEFROG, ‘The world’s only Navy SEAL obstacle course race’ heads to Alabama this Saturday

Do you love anything military, obstacle course or NASCAR racing-related? If so, you’ll want to head down to Talladega Superspeedway this Saturday for BONEFROG. With obstacles placed every quarter mile, BONEFROG is sure to test even the most seasoned athletes.

372

Brian Carney, CEO and Founder of BONEFROG, said the race is designed to push racers past their limits and see that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.

“We try to replicate the same type of obstacles we trained on in SEAL training but on a smaller and safer scale,” said Carney. “With BONEFROG you can feel the military authenticity throughout the entire event and especially throughout the course.”

This year, the race will offer several options: the 3-mile Sprint, 6-mile Challenge, 9-mile TIER-1, 8 Hour Endurance and the all-new 18+ mile TRIDENT.

For those with children, BONEFROG will also offer quarter and half-mile courses with scaled down obstacles.

Set up at Alabama’s historic Talladega Speedway, Carney says the Alabama BONEFROG race isn’t one to miss.

“There’s so much history here and we utilize every inch of the speedway to make this race stand out from any other. If you’re coming to BONEFROG to race then Talladega tops them all in that department,” Carney said.

At BONEFROG racers can expect not only to be challenged but inspired. Carney says he will never forget watching Alabama veteran, and former Dancing with the Stars contestant Noah Galloway complete the race’s Black OP’s obstacle.

“For those who don’t know, Noah’s an army vet who lost an arm and a leg in combat. To see him on the monkey bars in front of our massive American Flag taking on one of our toughest obstacles just sent chills through my body,” Carney said.

Carney continued, saying that moment continues to linger in his memory.

“To say it was inspirational would be a massive understatement. It’s stayed with me ever since and pushed me and my entire team to always strive to put on the best events we possibly can because our racers deserve just that.”

With 20,000 to 30,000 racers expected to participate in this year’s BONEFROG races, it’s safe to say popularity is unmatched.

More than just a fun and challenging race, BONEFROG partners with nonprofits, like the Navy SEAL Foundation, to give back. Carney said the company has raised over $200,000 for charity to date.

If you’re ready to test your limits and join the race, there’s still time. To register or to learn more about the company, visit the BONEFROG website at www.bonefrogchallenge.com