8 years ago

Power & Influence 40: Names 11 to 20

The Yellow Hammer Power & Influence 40 is a list of the 40 most powerful and influential players in Alabama politics. For a more in-depth explanation of the list and how it was compiled, click here.

For names 31-40 click here. For names 21-30 click here.

Names 10-6 will be released Friday and the top 5 will be announced live on the Matt Murphy show at 7:30 a.m. the morning of Monday, Feb. 27. If you’re not in the Birmingham area, you can listen live by clicking here.

If you have thoughts or comments, please share them with us on Facebook or Twitter or in the comment section below.

Alabama Senator Trip Pittman Yellow Hammer Politics

11. Trip Pittman | State Senator

Pittman is Chairman of the Senate Finance and Education Taxation Committee, more commonly known as the ETF (Education Trust Fund). He’s a solid policy guy who comes from one of the most GOP friendly counties in the state. He has the backbone to go toe-to-toe with the AEA which is one of the reasons leadership has trusted him with the $3+ Billion education budget. “Pittman casts an imposing shadow — literally and figuratively,” said one insider. “That’s exactly what Republicans need in that position.”

Alabama State Senator Jim Barton Yellow Hammer Politics

12. Jim Barton | State Representative

Barton is the House General Fund Chairman. With the state’s finances in dire shape, his position has become one of even more importance and influence. The Speaker trusts him to play a huge role. “He seems to know everyone in Montgomery,” one insider remarked about Barton’s extensive network. It’s also of note that he (along with Sen. Pittman) is one of the few legislators from the Mobile area who’s in a significant leadership position. He has a lot on his plate in this session.

Alabama David Perry Yellow Hammer Politics

13. David Perry | Chief of Staff | Governor Robert Bentley

Perry is incredibly intelligent and brings his experience as Finance Director into his role as Chief of Staff. Former Bentley Chief of Staff and current Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Chuck Malone once told me that being Chief of Staff was like “drinking water from a fire hose.” Perry has jumped right in and taken on the challenge with great success. He runs day-to-day operations for the Administration and all of the Governor’s cabinet members report to him. He protects the Governor’s interests.

Alabama Clay Ryan Yellow Hammer Politics

14. Clay Ryan | Special Counsel | Governor Robert Bentley

The discussion of Ryan’s inclusion in the Power & Influence 40 sparked a lot of great quotes. “He has taken on the role of Consigliere in the Bentley administration,” said one insider. “It seems like that guy must be in every meeting because he knows about every issue going on in the governor’s office — large or small,” said another. The bottom line is, his office is closest to the Governor’s for a reason. He acts as an informal liaison between Bentley and legislative leadership and the Governor values his council on a wide range of issues. He has also been a bridge to the Birmingham business community for Bentley.

Alabama Power Quentin Riggins Yellow Hammer Politics

15. Quentin Riggins | Vice President of Governmental Relations | Alabama Power Company

Riggins has a long history in Alabama politics. He was Governor Fob James’ legislative director in the House, he worked for former Speaker Seth Hammet, then was Governor Riley’s legislative director, then went to the Business Council of Alabama and then jumped out and lobbied on his own for a while. Now he’s in one of the top posts at Alabama Power. It is a rarity for Alabama Power to bring someone in from the outside. They have a history of promoting from within, and the fact that they when out and got Riggins is a testament to how talented he is. Everyone likes him. Everyone respects him. Period. He’s also very close to GOP leadership in the House and Senate.

Fine Geddie Bob Geddie Yellow Hammer Politics

16. Bob Geddie | Lobbyist | Fine Geddie & Associates

Geddie is a little lower on this list than he normally would be because he missed the first legislative session of the quadrinium because of the bingo trial (he was acquitted), but folks around the State House say he hasn’t lost a step. His client list is gigantic. He’s also raised a ton of money for candidates over the years. He is extremely well liked on both sides of the aisle and leadership trusts him. He’s picking back up right where he left off.

Speaker Hubbard Chief of Staff Josh Blades Yellow Hammer Politics

17. Josh Blades | Chief of Staff | Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard

Several legislators and insiders were adamant about Blades’ inclusion in the Power & Influence 40. “He’s probably the youngest guy to ever hold that job,” said one legislator, “but he carries the biggest stick.” The Speaker has given him a good amount of room to operate and he has used it well. He also digs in on policy issues in a way that gives him additional credibility with both legislators and policy folks. Blades is fiercely loyal to the Speaker.

Chief of Staff Philip Bryan Yellow Hammer Politics

18. Philip Bryan | Chief of Staff | President Pro Tem of the Senate Del Marsh

As Del Marsh’s Chief of Staff, Bryan has positioned himself as the hub of all activity in the Senate. He is a high-energy guy who’s on-the-go non-stop. He has significant input on how the Rules Committee proceeds when setting the calendar. The President Pro Tem can’t be everywhere at once and Bryan often speaks and meets on his behalf. His reach also extends beyond the 7th floor of the State House. He was Communications Director at Alabama Republican Party during Speaker Hubbard’s tenure as Chairman so he maintains a great relationship with the Speaker and his staff.

The unprecedented level of cooperation between the House and Senate chambers are a result of Blades and Bryan making sure leadership is on the same page and actively communicating. The way they work together further increases their ability to influence.

Johnny Johns Protective Life Yellow Hammer Politics

19. Johnny Johns | CEO | Protective Life Corporation
Chairman | Birmingham Business Alliance

Johns has been active in Alabama politics for years and is on every prominent politician’s call list. His network of business leaders around the state is second to none. He’s also a past Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama and maintains great relationships with GOP leadership. The current makeup of the Alabama Supreme Court is in large part a result of Johns’ efforts on behalf of the business community.

Henry Mabry AEA Yellow Hammer Politics

20. Henry Mabry | Executive Secretary | Alabama Education Association

Any AEA Chief would have been a cinch for the top 5 on this list prior to the GOP takeover. Paul Hubbert would have been #1 on this list for years — even trumping governors. Now, Mabry’s inclusion on this list is more-less a placeholder for the AEA. Their massive membership will always give them a voice, but it’s up to Mabry whether he sinks or rises. He’s off to a rocky start.

42 mins ago

Former Bama star Jalen Hurts befriends bullied boy — ‘It meant the world to me’

Former University of Alabama star quarterback Jalen Hurts continues to be an exemplary role model.

This past weekend, Hurts’ current team — the University of Oklahoma Sooners — hosted 12-year-old Rayden Overbay as their special guest.

Overbay, who has autism, Type 2 diabetes and is deaf in one ear, went viral recently — but not for a good reason. The boy made national headlines after being assaulted by bullies in two separate incidents, each recorded on video.


Hurts heard about Overbay’s story, and the Heisman contender spent time with him after the Sooners’ game against Iowa State on Saturday in the locker room.

In a video posted by ESPN, Hurts can be seen signing a football for the boy before telling him that he and his teammates are behind him.

Hurts also told OU Daily how important the experience was to him.

The quarterback said Overbay inspires him.

“I mean honestly, Rayden is an inspiration to me,” Hurts said. “I told him he was a soldier for just how he handled himself. It meant the world to me honestly to meet him. That whole meeting was great for me, and he has a friend in me.”

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

2 hours ago

Siegelman: Expect a Roy Moore-Doug Jones rematch in 2020

Now that former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is officially a candidate for U.S. Senate, many political prognosticators say he is a lock to regain the Senate seat he held for two decades, which is currently occupied by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).

Not so fast, says former Democrat Gov. Don Siegelman.

During an appearance on WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Siegelman predicted Sessions would fade and argued the race would be won by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. If that came to be, Moore would face Jones in a rematch of the 2017 special election.


“There are multiple reasons,” Siegelman, author of the forthcoming book “A Theft of Power: Stealing Our Democracy,” said. “Frankly, I think Jeff is in trouble. He is being branded and has been branded by some Trump supporters as a traitor to Trump, someone who turned his back on Trump. Whether that’s just in Trump’s mind or in all of those voters’ minds, it doesn’t matter. I think it has hurt him. And as I mentioned on MSNBC, I have a book coming out this spring where I detail my crossroads – where Jeff Sessions and I have met over time when I was secretary of state, attorney general, and on. Those are not particularly flattering compliments – when he opposed the lawsuit against Big Tobacco. Whether that impacts a Republican primary or not, I don’t know.”

“I do know this: Most of Donald Trump’s voters were evangelical,” he continued. “And I do know the constitutional amendment that passed in 2018 requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in every public place received over a million votes in Alabama. And I do know that Roy Moore is branded as the Ten Commandments judge. I think Roy Moore has a silent Christian vote that is huge. And I think they’re going to come out and vote for him. This is a guy that gave up his seat on the Supreme Court because of his belief in the Ten Commandments. And you know, say what you want about Roy Moore – I think he has got a strong base.”

Siegelman indicated that Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill could be a sleeper in the race but pointed to constitutional amendments that passed in 2018 on the general election ballot as a strong indicator for Moore.

“John and Coach Tuberville I think have a statewide name recognition,” Siegelman added. “I think John Merrill has an advantage over all of the candidates except for Sessions and Moore, in that he has a city-by-city, county-by-county political base, which Tuberville does not have. If Merrill finds a way to gain traction, he could move ahead of Tuberville and be ready to enter a Republican runoff should Sessions fail. Those are the kinds of political maneuvers that we will see happening over the next several months. I think right now, the way I see it, and because of the silent Christian majority in Alabama, and say silent – let me explain why: Because there are 399,000 additional Republican votes that came out and came out and largely to vote for the two constitutional amendments, against abortion and for the Ten Commandments. That is a sizeable chunk of voters, and I think those voters will largely go to Judge Moore. So I think he has a place in the runoff.”

@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.

2 hours ago

Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 12: Interview with Chris and Sophie Corder

Many marriages go through difficult situations and end in disaster. Addiction, infidelity, anger and deception are just a few of the things that Chris and Sophie Corder walked through in theirs. However, through the grace of God, and His miraculous life-changing power, their marriage has been restored and strengthened. Now, they want to encourage other people through their triumph. They have turned pain into purpose and want to show how God can do anything if we will get out of the way and let Him.

15 hours ago

Veteran helped by Alabama deputies could reconnect with son

JASPER, ALA. (AP) — A social media post about a veteran wearing an oxygen mask while walking down a road may help connect the man to his estranged son.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that the Gulf War veteran attempted to walk about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Walker County to Huntsville for an appointment Wednesday because his car wasn’t working.


A Walker County deputy worked with other deputies to transport him to and from his appointment at the VA. News reports identify him as Gerald Baldwin.

The post has more than 150,000 shares. Baldwin’s son Lance in Pennsylvania saw the story and recognized his father. He told news outlets Sunday that the two hadn’t spoken in about five years. He now plans to reach out to his father.

(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

Sign-up now for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.

Editor’s note — The aforementioned Facebook post is as follows:

15 hours ago

Auburn’s famed golden eagle Nova possibly in early stages of heart failure

Auburn University’s widely known golden eagle Nova, War Eagle VII, could potentially be in the early stages of heart failure, according to university veterinarians and a press release issued last week.

“The 20-year-old male eagle received a biannual checkup in early October at the College of Veterinary Medicine followed by another echocardiogram Oct. 31.,” the statement stated. “In 2017 he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart, and was sidelined from flying at football games to reduce stress.”


“Nova’s condition has been medically managed and he has remained stable during the past two years, however, during his October exam, we observed decreased systolic function and enlarged vessels in his liver,” said Dr. Seth Oster, faculty avian veterinarian for the college’s Southeastern Raptor Center. “This could be an indication of the early stages of heart failure.”

Veterinarians also said they increased Nova’s dosage in a new round of treatments and that they will monitor how he responds.

“We will know more after we see how Nova responds to his latest rounds of treatment,” Oster said.

According to Andrew Hopkins, the assistant director of raptor training and education, Nova’s appearance at the Southeastern Raptor Center’s educational programs will be limited as veterans continue to monitor his progress.

The statement released on Nova’s health also provided background information on Nova.

It read, “Nova was hatched in 1999 at the Montgomery Zoo and was non-releasable due to human imprinting. He came to Auburn in 2000, made his first pre-game flight in 2004 and was designated War Eagle VII in 2006. He has helped promote wildlife conservation and awareness at almost 2,000 educational programs at the raptor center and at schools and conservation events around the Southeast. Raptor center staff conduct almost 300 presentations annually.”

Aurea, a 5-year-old female golden eagle, and Spirit, a 23-year-old female bald eagle, have both made pregame flights this season in Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.