8 years ago

Power & Influence 40: Names 21 to 30

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.

The Top 5 will be announced live on the Matt Murphy show the morning of Monday, Feb. 27. If you’re not in the Birmingham area, you can listen live by clicking here.

For names 31-40 click here.

If you have thoughts or comments, please share them with us on Facebook or Twitter or in the comment section below. Who did we get right? Who did we get wrong? Who else do you expect to be on the list? Let the debate and speculation begin!

Jerry Newby ALFA Yellow Hammer Politics

21. Jerry Newby | President | Alabama Farmer’s Federation

Newby has seen his influence fade significantly with the rise of the GOP. ALFA supported a lot of Democrats in 2010 so they’ve had to start from scratch with a lot of people. The staff at ALFA was put together with an eye toward Democratic leadership which has hurt them now that the GOP is in charge. Newby has said he is not running for another term as president so insiders are keeping an eye on who will take his place. Stay tuned to see if the next ALFA president can elevate their profile with the new GOP leadership. In the legislature, ALFA’s influence comes through Joe Fine who lobbies on their behalf.

Dave Stewart Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Yellow Hammer Politics

22. Dave Stewart: Partner | Senior Advisor for Government Affairs & Economic Development | Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings

Stewart was Bob Riley’s Chief of Staff during his second term and is a former Senior Advisor to Congressman Jo Bonner. He’s a top-notch policy guy who brings a lot to the table when representing clients in Montgomery and Washington, D.C. He’s smart, works hard, and has a great client list. “You’re not going to find a better pedigree for a lobbyist,” commented one insider. Stewart has great relationships with GOP leadership in the legislature. He’s already established and has a lot of upside. Look for him to make a jump in future versions of the Power & Influence 40.

Steve Windom Yellow Hammer Politics

23. Steve Windom | Alabama Political Maven

No one, and I mean NO ONE, knows the system of state government better than Steve Windom. No lobbyist has more institutional knowledge. Windom has somebody in every agency and knows what buttons to push to get things done for his clients. Insiders provided numerous background stories of Windom’s brilliance playing the game of state politics.

However, Windom fell out of favor with Governor Bentley during the GOP gubernatorial primary so that has limited his influence within the executive branch. But Windom does one thing better than almost anyone else in the state — raise money. He is a prolific fundraiser for candidates and that translates into continued influence in state government.

David Bronner Retirement Systems of Alabama RSA Yellow Hammer Politics

24. David Bronner | CEO | Retirement Systems of Alabama

Dr. Bronner is currently one of the most controversial figures in Alabama politics. 5 years ago he would have made the top 5 on this list but he has faded quickly based on the RSA’s performance and the fact that he has always counted on Democratic leadership to help him subsidize state retirement. “State employees and teachers have bought into the notion that ‘RSA is just fine, leave it alone.’” Noted one insider, “But his power is crumbling.”

GOP leadership is not going to allow Bronner to continue on “business as usual.” However, they have an uphill battle against the media who have not shed enough light on the fact that a billion taxpayer dollars are needed to prop up Bronner’s operation.

Lt. Governor Kay Ivey Yellow Hammer Politics

25. Kay Ivey | Lt. Governor of Alabama

Lt. Governor Ivey is well-liked in the legislature and a favorite in GOP circles across the state. She presides over the Senate and determines which committee each bill is assigned to but in reality, her role in the Senate is minimal. It’s uncharted territory for a Republican Lt. Governor to be working with a Republican majority in the legislature — so to some extent her role is still developing. The bottom line is that she’s one heart beat away from the Governor’s office.

State Representatives Blaine Galliher Yellow Hammer Politics

26. Blaine Galliher | State Representative

Galliher is the Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee which determines the House calendar. Chairing that committee immediately puts him in a position of significant power. His office is right next to the Speaker’s. “He’s a good guy and kind of a quiet guy,” noted one insider, “but he carries a lot of weight around the State House.” Now in his 5th term, he’s a veteran lawmaker enjoying the perks of being in the majority Party for the first time in his career.

David Azbell SAHR Swatek Azbell Howe Ross Yellow Hammer Politics

27. David Azbell | Partner | Swatek, Azebll, Howe, & Ross

Azbell is the most trusted and respected communications specialist in all of Alabama politics. He has been called upon for private council with countless legislators behind-the-scenes. “In a business where communication is vital,” remarked on GOP insider, “David is indispensable for many Republicans.” Azbell recently helped Speaker Hubbard write his upcoming book, “Storming the State House,” and continues to consult for the House GOP caucus and a host of others. He helps shape the debate for Republicans.

State Representative Victor Gaston Speaker Protem Yellow Hammer Politics

28. Victor Gaston | Speaker Pro Tem | Alabama House of Representatives

Dr. Gaston is a mentor to a large group of House members — especially some of the freshman from southern parts of the state. He has always been loyal to Speaker Hubbard and is counted on to provide unfiltered advice. Dr. Gaston deserves a ton of credit for grinding it out for years in the minority. He’s been a member of the House since 1982.

State Representative Mike Hill Yellow Hammer Politics

29. Mike Hill | State Representative

Representative Hill leads a bloc of House Republicans and, as a result, often has a pretty strong voice in decisions made in the State House — more so than meets the eye. Leadership needs to know what Rep. Hill thinks in order to avoid losing his bloc on key votes. He has strong relationships with a diverse group of interesting including the BCA, State Employees Association, the bankers, Forestry Association and more.

Paul Bryant Junior University of Alabama Board of Trustees Yellow Hammer Politics

30. Paul Bryant, Jr. | President Pro Tem | UA Board of Trustees

When Dr. Bentley was just a little known candidate from Bryant’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, Bryant was one of his biggest backers. The decision to support Dr. Bentley has paid off in a major way. Bryant could likely rank higher on this list if he wanted to, but insiders say he hasn’t exerted influence on the governor’s office to the degree that he probably could. Still, if Bryant calls, the Governor listens.

3 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

1 hour 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.

14 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)

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

14 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.