8 years ago

Power & Influence 40: Names 31 to 40

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.

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!

Seth Hammett Yellow Hammer Politics PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

31. Seth Hammett | Vice President of Business Development | PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

Hammet was at the top of the mountain a couple of years ago as Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. He was Governor Bentley’s first ADO director and continues to play a role in economic development in his new post at PowerSouth. He is on fairly good terms with GOP legislative leadership and his relationship with the governor keeps him well positioned to continue being a player.

Mac McArthur Alabama State Employees Association Yellow Hammer Politics

32. Mac McArthur | Executive Director | Alabama State Employees Association

McArthur has always supported Democrats and his goals are in conflict with GOP leadership’s mission to increase government efficiency. A couple of scandals at the state employees union have further hurt his ability to wield influence. 5 years ago he may have made the top 10. McArthur is the first of several members of the Power and Influence 40 who is struggling to adapt to the political landscape that has emerged with the rise of the GOP.

Gary Palmer Yellow Hammer Politics Alabama Policy Institute

33. Gary Palmer | President | Alabama Policy Institute

Palmer has for years been at the forefront of conservative policy in Alabama. Unfortunately, his reform ideas fell on deaf ears under decades of Democrat control. Palmer’s influence has grown significantly with the rise of the GOP. Insiders say that numerous GOP policy initiatives have been born during Palmer’s private meetings with GOP leadership. There was some debate on whether or not Palmer was a fit for a “power and influence” list, but few people are in a position to understand just how influential he is.

Anita Archie Business Council of Alabama Yellow Hammer Politics

34. Anita Archie | Senior Vice President for Intergovernmental Affairs | Business Council of Alabama

Archie has a tremendous amount of experience in many aspects of state government. She now overseas the state’s top government affairs operation at the BCA. She is well respected on both sides of the aisle and is enjoying a whole new level of influence based on the BCA’s close ties to GOP leadership.

Joe Perkins Yellow Hammer Politics

35. Joe Perkins | Democrat Political Consultant

Joe Perkins is a legend in Alabama politics but his influence has slowly eroded over the decade since Don Siegelman left the governor’s office. The GOP’s rise has accelerated Perkins’ fall but he still has a solid client list and his resiliency shouldn’t be underestimated. His opposition research exploits have made him a feared figure behind-the-scenes for years. One insider said to never count Perkins out, “He’s shrewd enough to get himself back in the mix very soon.”

John McMahon Yellow Hammer Politics Ligon Industries

36. John McMahon, Jr. | Chairman | Ligon Industries
Board of Trustees | University of Alabama

McMahon sparked some of the most interesting conversations during the building of this list. One insider called McMahon “the invisible force behind the GOP takeover of the Supreme Court.” Opponents have called him “the dark overlord” of Alabama judicial races. In truth, only a handful of people truly know how influential he has been. Alabama’s courts went from being trial lawyer driven to business friendly — you can thank McMahon for that.

37. Chuck Malone | Chief Justice | Alabama Supreme Court

The case for Chief Justice Malone’s inclusion on this list is one of the most interesting. Paradoxically, If he loses his Chief Justice seat in March, his influence may actually increase — that’s how close he is to the Governor. He has basically had his choice of jobs during the Bentley administration. It’s hard to consider being Chief Justice as a constraint, but in that role Malone is just 1 of 9 votes. Outside of that, he has the Governor’s ear like no one else. “If someone hired Chuck Malone as a lobbyist right now,” one insider quipped, “they’d be in the cat-bird’s seat for any issues in the Governor’s office.”

Marquita Davis Finance Director Rober Bentley Yellow Hammer Politics

38. Marquita Davis | Finance Director | Office of Governor Robert Bentley

Finance Director is always a powerful position. Even though she’s new, Davis is quickly gaining influence and respect. Her background is in education policy, rather than finance, but she’s smart and already has a few years of state government experience under her belt. Look for her to rise in future versions of this list.

Mark Kennedy Alabama Democratic Party Yellow Hammer Politics

39. Mark Kennedy | Chairman | Alabama Democratic Party

In a 1996 Reader’s Digest article, The Center for Judicial Accountability named Kennedy one of “America’s Worst Judges.” Now he’s overseeing a Party in shambles after the 2010 GOP wave. Kennedy is tough as nails though and the state media has a sympathetic ear for Democrats because of the GOP’s strength. His place at the table is secure. Still, decisions like partnering with far left-wing talk show host Bill Maher for an upcoming event have left some Democrats questioning whether or not Kennedy is the man to lead the Party in one of the nation’s most conservative states.

Jere Beasley Trial Lawyer Yellow Hammer Politics

40. Jere Beasley | Attorney | Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.

Beasley is one of the leading trial lawyers in the country. The trial lawyers are losing the battle for the Alabama appellate courts and their influence has deteriorated significantly with the GOP takeover of the legislature. However, Beasley remains in the mix. One insider summed it up by saying, “The trial lawyers still have a lot of money and Jere and his firm remain the leaders in that movement.”

10 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.