3 weeks ago

Merrill officially running for Senate — ‘It’s time for us to stand up’

MONTGOMERY — In front of approximately 150 cheering friends, family and supporters on the south steps of the Alabama State Capitol, Secretary of State John Merrill on Tuesday officially declared his Republican candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2020.

The event was certainly the most widely attended campaign announcement of the cycle thus far, and Merrill — well known as a tenacious campaigner and tireless worker — brings authentic energy to an extremely competitive primary field of Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Merrill, 55, came out of the gates playing offense, releasing a video to coincide with his announcement that took small shots at his leading competitors.


At his event, Merrill was joined by many prominent grassroots activists from across the state, along with some well known political faces, including Alabama House Rules Committee Chairman Mike Jones (R-Andalusia), State Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) and former State Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle).

Merrill emphasized that although all of the other GOP candidates in the race have certain positives, he would not be running if he thought any of them could do a better job as Alabama’s next U.S. senator.

He explained that people started coming to him in January asking him to consider a run.

Over the course of this year since then, Merrill has heard from many different people wanting a consensus candidate that can unite the Alabama Republican Party and defeat Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in 2020. According to Merrill, he is running to be that candidate that is a unifying force among conservatives.

He said he met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in February right before the State of the Union and has also visited with Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) regarding the race. Both senior senators, according to Merrill, emphasized that their priority is to see a Republican nominee that can defeat Jones, help advance President Donald Trump’s agenda and keep the Republicans in the Senate majority.

Merrill said he has looked up to Shelby for a long time since he was an intern in the nation’s capital in 1984.

“I will continue to rely on him (Shelby) for guidance and counsel because of his experience and the things he’s done,” Merrill commented on his plans if elected. “But we’re always going to put Alabama first, and we’re always going to do everything we can to make America great.”

He said he has had the general desire to be a U.S. senator for a long time, going back to his college days.

An interesting talking point Merrill stressed was on fixing the immigration and border security “fiasco” in America. He slammed Democrats and Republicans alike for not solving the problem before now, saying that members of both parties just want to keep the situation in crisis to use as political red meat and a campaign “cash cow.”

Merrill said that agriculture is Alabama’s number one industry, and people in the state need a legal immigration system that allows migrant workers to properly enter the country and contribute to the American economy. He said that he wants anyone who wants to immigrate to the United States to be able to but that all immigrants must do so “the right way” — through legal channels.

“We have to have someone go to Washington, D.C. who’s willing to support the president and help the president build the wall to stop the immigration fiasco that’s currently ongoing in our nation,” Merrill remarked.

He also spoke more about how Jones is better suited to represent California, New York or Illinois than Alabama, saying Jones’ values and priorities simply do not match the clear majority of his constituents.

“It’s time for us to stand up … Alabama needs someone who will stand up to socialists AOC, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi, and I’ll do that, just like I did when I defeated the ACLU and liberal special interests,” Merrill said.

“I can tell you this, the people behind me and the people in the 67 counties of this state … do not want a liberal socialist representing them in Washington, D.C.,” he added of Jones.

The secretary of state also reminded people of his work to ensure all eligible Alabamians have their right to vote safeguarded, reiterating his tagline of, “Easy to vote, hard to cheat.”

Merrill, responding to a question from The Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman, ended any speculation that he will resign from his current office to run for the Senate. He explained that the secretary of state office’s job duties do not present a conflict of interest in running for a statewide office at the same time. It should also be noted that the secretary of state is an elected position and no one called for Merrill to resign when he was running for reelection in 2018 while overseeing that election cycle.

He branded himself as a “proven” choice, citing his tenure in the state House from 2010-2014 and as secretary of state as being marked with pro-jobs conservative reforms, including streamlining business filings to become same-day electronic filings now.

Merrill, a former SGA president at the University of Alabama who represented Tuscaloosa in the House, threw in a big, “Roll Tide” during his speech.

He continued, “Now, let me say this in deference to my friends from Lee County, whom I have many: I want you to know I can say, ‘War Eagle.'”

As a native of Wedowee, Merrill said ensuring rural Alabamians are equally represented in the Senate will be a key priority of his.

Watch the entire event:

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

9 hours ago

On this day in Alabama history: Camp McClellan was established in east Alabama

July 18, 1917

Shortly after the United States entered World War I, the War Department established Camp McClellan as a rapid mobilization base and permanent National Guard facility. More than 27,000 men were training at the east Alabama base by the end of 1917. Camp McClellan was originally named in honor of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, and was renamed Fort McClellan in 1929. During World War II, nearly 500,000 military personnel trained there. After being put in custodial status following the war, it was reactivated during the Korean War and Cold War era. The focus shifted to chemical weapons training during and after the Vietnam War. The fort survived one round of military base closings during the 1990s, but it was finally shut down in 1999. The site has shifted to private use as well as for Alabama National Guard training.


Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

10 hours ago

Ainsworth in Huntsville: Alabama is ‘the aerospace capital of the world’

Wednesday, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) presented Dr. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. with the 2019 Thomas R. Hobson Distinguished Aerospace Service Award for a lifetime of exemplary achievement in the aerospace field.

The award presentation came during the Aerospace States Association’s annual dinner, which was held in Huntsville at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Ainsworth is currently chair of the association, which is a national nonpartisan group composed of lieutenant governors, gubernatorial-appointed delegates and associate members from aerospace organizations and academia.

In remarks shared with Yellowhammer News, Ainsworth honored Alabama’s space legacy, recognizing Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary this week.


“Throughout each of the past six decades, Alabama and the Marshall Space Flight Center have created the engines that rocketed man into the heavens,” he said. “It’s here that Dr. Wernher Von Braun and his committed team of scientists and engineers birthed the Saturn V rocket that took men to the Moon and allowed them to place a U.S. flag on the lunar surface.”

“For those reasons, it’s altogether appropriate that we gather in this state and this city for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission,” he continued. “We are fortunate to have Buzz Aldrin, an original moonwalker and living American legend, join us during this conference.”

The conference is set to last through the rest of the week, with attendees working on publicly policy related to the aerospace industry and advocating for their home states.

“The work we do here this week will bring the stars and planets closer to the earth and ensure that future generations are privy to the same dreams and inspirations that the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Shuttle, and Space Station eras provid-ed to generations prior,” Ainsworth told the crowd.

Alabama is set to play a big role in ongoing and future space exploration, as Ainsworth emphasized in an interview with WHNT on Wednesday.

“I was just talking with some industry leaders who are here and they are talking about expanding the existing industry,” he the lieutenant governor said. “I think a lot of new industries are looking here. And the reason why is we are the aerospace capital of the world. I think when you look at our tax environment, with the workforce we are training, Alabama is open for business in aerospace, no doubt.”

Speaking with WZDX, Ainsworth referenced the Artemis program, with companies like United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Alabama set to make history in the very near future.

“Today I had an opportunity to tour ULA where they are building rockets that will literally send our next astronauts to the Moon, and when you look at just the president’s commitment to going back to the Moon, and when you look at potentially the future of going to Mars, it’s an exciting and energetic time in the aerospace industry right now,” Ainsworth advised.

RELATED: Aderholt celebrates Apollo 11, calls for SLS to stay on schedule

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

11 hours ago

Apollo 11 is now problematic?

Right now, Alabama, along with the rest of America, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. A mission that culminated in man walking on the moon and fulfilled the vision put out by President John F. Kennedy that it would be done before the end of the 1970s.

In normal times, this would be a time for celebration and unity. Americans from all sectors and political parties would drop their swords and join together to consume media of trying times and magnificent accomplishments.


Unfortunately, this is Trump’s America and because of that, the overarching theme that must pulse through every aspect of American culture, which is dominated by the media and their Democrats, is the simple undeniable and universal belief that America sucks.

It’s racist, stupid, sexist, stupid, homophobic, stupid, Islamaphobic, stupid and stupid.

Our soccer team believes it. Our celebrities believe it. Our politicians believe it.

And the news media is going to feed it to us non-stop.

For example, Werhner Von Braun was a Nazi, therefore his accomplishments on this matter are unworthy.

Another example: The space program had too many men, therefore it was problematic.

Another argument is Soviet Russia had more firsts (or something), so America should have focused less on accomplishing the mission and more on diversity.

Who is this for? What American wanted this? Who is the consumer for this news?

Inhabitants of American newsrooms and their woke superfans online.

This was not one outlet, one reporter, one editor — it is across the board.

These are major American media outlets and they cannot resist the urge to scold their fellow Americans for, in this case, the perceived sins of the past.

This is why people hate the media as a whole.

They aren’t offended, they aren’t going to write a letter, they aren’t going to demand someone be fired.

Your average American is sick of this nonsense. They roll their eyes and go on about their business.

This is why people don’t trust them. This is why they are called things like the “enemy of the people” and people applaud it.

This is how you got Trump.

President Donald Trump is the embodiment of the people who are sick of this crap.

And every time the people who work in these newsrooms and under these “legendary” banners write these articles try to scold Americans for some clearly arbitrary offense of the day, or the past, they might as well drop a dollar into Trump’s reelection campaign.

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

12 hours ago

Doug Jones’ approval rating continues to fall

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to lose popularity as 2020 draws nearer.

Morning Consult on Thursday released its polling numbers for the second quarter of 2019, showing Jones’ net approval rating 20 points lower than the first quarter of 2018 when he entered the U.S. Senate.


The polling was conducted from April 1 through June 30 and measured registered voters. The results showed 39% of respondents approved of Jones’ job performance, while 37% disapproved and 24% were undecided. The margin of error was 1%.

In contrast, Senator Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) net approval rating is 15 points higher than Jones’, with 46% approving and only 29% disapproving of Alabama’s venerable senior senator.

Jones’ net approval rating has dropped three points since the beginning of the year.

Another poll conducted in April went deeper than Morning Consult’s approval rating surveys, showing that Jones faces nearly insurmountable demographic barriers to reelection.

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

12 hours ago

Alabama couple turns racist graffiti message into opportunity to respond to hate with love

Jeremy and Gina Miller, an interracial husband-and-wife real estate team in the Birmingham metro area, were shocked on Wednesday to discover a racial slur painted on one of their “For Sale” signs at a local property.

ABC 33/40 reported that “NO N***R” was painted on the Local Realty sign in large white letters.

However, the Millers are responding to this hateful incident purely with love, guided by their faith, according to The Trussville Tribune.

“I think that God has been preparing Gina and me for a long time, in ways that we never would have expected, to touch a lot of people,” Jeremy told the newspaper.


The Millers, who live in Clay, will not be pressing charges on the individual responsible for the racist graffiti, whose identity is at this time unknown.

“We would love to know who did it because if we find them, we will show them mercy,” Jeremy advised. “I don’t think anything good comes from pressing charges. That’s not the message here.”

The couple hopes to use the incident to unite their community and lift others up.

“We just got a message on Facebook yesterday about how God spoke to him through my post and our response,” Jeremy told The Trussville Tribune. “It encouraged him to see us responding through love and not through retaliation.”

“When something like this occurs, you can love back instead. We want to unite people,” he added.

Jeremy also wants people to know the racist incident is not representative of their community.

“This is not indicative of the people in this area,” he emphasized. “It happens everywhere and they don’t always say it to your face.”

Perhaps the toughest part of the incident personally for the Millers has been trying to tell their children what happened.

“Having to explain to them what happened with the sign has been a little frustrating,” Gina noted.

The Millers are also using this incident as a learning opportunity.

“We tell [our children] all the time, hurt people, hurt people,” Jeremy explained. “I tell them that even adults do mean things sometimes. When you’re angry, you’re not nice to other people… We want to respond in love when maybe that person hasn’t received such things.”

Jeremy stressed a constant message of love.

“It (racism) is not dead and it probably won’t die for a very, very long time, but we as a culture and society have to keep perpetuating the message of loving one another,” he remarked. “If someone’s hurting and they lash out at you, you don’t have to respond negatively.”

The defaced sign has been replaced with a fresh one that includes both Jeremy and Gina’s headshots.

Read more here.

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