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5 years ago

Power & Influence: Names 31-40

The Yellowhammer 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. To see last year’s list click HERE.

Here’s the schedule of when the names will be released:

Monday, Feb. 18: Names 31-40
Tuesday, Feb. 19: Names 21-30
Wednesday, Feb. 20: “Who’s Next?” a preview of the next generation of power players
Thursday, Feb. 21: Names 11-20
Friday, Feb. 22: Names 6-10
Monday, Feb. 25: Names 1-5



John Ross | Partner | Swatek, Azbell, Howe & Ross

Ross has quickly built a reputation as one of the hardest working lobbyists in the game, but his political work is what sets him apart from most of the other folks walking the halls of the State House. His time as Executive Director of the ALGOP and his subsequent campaign work make him one of the most seasoned political operatives in the state. On top of that, his relationship with House Speaker Mike Hubbard is as close as anyone’s. “In some ways, he’s Hubbard’s closest confidant,” one insider told Yellowhammer. “The Speaker trusts him implicitly.”



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

Bryan is now in his his third year running the Pro Tem’s office. His influence is enhanced by his craftiness and political savvy, skills he honed during his time as communications director at the ALGOP. Information is the grease that keeps the State House wheels turning, and Bryan has positioned himself as a one-stop-shop for intel on issues of politics, policy and Senate operations. He makes sure the trains are running on time on the 7th floor.



Angi Stalnaker | Political Adviser | Governor Robert Bentley

Very few people exercise their power and influence as much as Stalnaker. As the Governor’s political adviser, she’s in the game almost every moment of the day. She’s working the phones constantly, and when she calls people know the weight of the governor is behind her. She has been intensely loyal to Bentley since long before he rose to the Governor’s office. Now she’s the go-to person for his day-to-day political operation. She’s also become the conduit between the administration and grassroots conservatives across the state.



Johnny Johns | CEO | Protective Life Corporation, Chairman | Birmingham Business Alliance

If you’re looking to run for statewide or federal office, or if you’re a prominent elected official launching a major initiative, Johnny Johns is one of the first people you call. The longtime Birmingham area CEO has been a staple in Alabama politics for years. He’s one of a handful of Alabama businessmen who has unfettered access to any politician in the state. His network of business leaders is second to none. He’s also getting more and more involved with the University of Alabama system, something that will likely continue.



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

McMahon has his hands in every major political issue in Alabama. He continues to keep an eye on the courts where he played a major role in years past in the effort to flip them Republicans. Like other business leaders on this list, it’s challenging to quantify his political power and influence — and he probably likes it that way. But we can at least know this for certain: when McMahon calls, people always answer.



Nick Sellers | Vice President of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs | Alabama Power

Sellers is a fast riser inside Alabama Power with a wealth of experience in both politics and public policy. He worked under Joe Perkins at Matrix and was Governor Siegelman’s policy director before becoming the power company’s federal legislative director. He also previously worked for the Alabama Republican Party, making his political background extremely diverse. Those who know him or his work say his Party affiliation is neither D, nor R — it’s A, as in APCo. Because Alabama Power is a regulated utility, his current role overseeing regulatory affairs is one of the most important at the company. He’s developed good relationships with federal and state elected officials along the way, and has a reputation for knowing every nook and cranny of APCO’s business. “He’ll continue to rise,” one insider told Yellowhammer. “Don’t forget, [APCO CEO] McCrary once held this same title.”



Clay Ryan | Head of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs | Maynard Cooper & Gale

Since serving as Governor Bentley’s transition coordinator, Ryan has been a central player in the Bentley Administration. At the time we published last year’s Power & Influence 40, he was Special Counsel to the Governor. Since that time, he has returned to private practice, where he represents a blue chip list of corporate clients. Ryan coordinated the successful Sept. 18 referendum and the Jobs Amendment campaigns on behalf of the Governor. Bentley political world is heavily influenced by a group of Tuscaloosa confidants with whom Ryan interfaces on behalf of the Governor. He also continues to be an important bridge to the Birmingham business community for the Governor and other elected officials. Campaign season may propel Ryan up next year’s list as his role inside the Bentley re-election effort will be significant.



Roy Moore | Chief Justice | Alabama Supreme Court

Judge Moore defeated two big names to reclaim his old job as Chief Justice. However, his appearance on the Power & Influence 40 is less about his position as head of the judicial branch, and more about his unique appeal to the conservative base and his national profile. Although he’s had mixed electoral success, he has gained a well deserved following among evangelicals and grassroots conservatives who view him as the foremost authority on religious liberty and other social issues. Judge Moore is one of only a handful of people in Alabama politics who can take their message directly to the people and move the needle. That’s a different type of power than most people on this list carry.



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

Stewart’s time as Governor Bob Riley’s chief of staff gave him the opportunity to establish relationships with people in seemingly every government agency. He’s extremely effective for his clients when dealing with executive branch agencies and in influencing the budget process. Stewart maintains close ties to Republican leadership in the legislature — and their staffs — which keeps him in the mix on both the 5th and 7th floors of the State House.



Anita Archie | Senior Vice President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Advocacy & Legal Advisor | Business Council of Alabama

Archie is the head of governmental affairs at the BCA, which was named Yellowhammer’s top Association in 2012. Her relationships on both sides of the aisle make her one of the most liked and respected people at the State House among both legislators and her fellow lobbyists. Her time at the two year college system, which is one of state government’s most wide-reaching agencies, provided her with a vast network and gave her significant experience on education and workforce development issues. BCA’s Progress PAC continues to be one of the largest contributors in state level politics.

36 mins ago

WATCH: University of Alabama Police Department completes lip sync battle featuring ‘Sweet Home Alabama’

Monday, The University of Alabama posted a video of their campus police department participating in a lip sync battle against Clemson University.

UAPD chose “Sweet Home Alabama” as their song and, afterward, challenged all other SEC schools to join in on the competition.

Watch the full video here.

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

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43 mins ago

Rep. Byrne: Illegal immigrants will not be housed in Baldwin County

Tuesday, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) announced that illegal immigrants would not be housed at Navy airfields in Baldwin County.

Congressman Byrne opposed the housing of 10,000 illegal immigrants at Naval Outlying Field Silverhill and Naval Outlying Field Wolf in south Baldwin County.

Byrne, along with other members of the Alabama and Florida Congressional delegation, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security Nielson expressing their concerns with the proposal.

Byrne released both a statement and a tweet on Tuesday regarding the decision of the proposal.

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“Housing illegal immigrants at ill-equipped airfields along the Gulf Coast was always a terrible idea, so I appreciate the confirmation that this plan is no longer being considered. We had a team effort to push back this flawed idea, and I especially want to thank Baldwin County Commissioners Chris Elliott and Tucker Dorsey and Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack for their advocacy on this issue,” said Byrne in a news release.

He added, “While I am glad this issue is resolved, we must continue working to secure the border and eliminate the need for additional housing for illegal immigrants altogether. I remain 100% committed to working with President Trump to build a border wall, hire additional border patrol officers, and ensure our border security is as strong as possible.”

Click here to read the full letter ICE Deputy Director Ronald Vitiello sent to Rep. Byrne regarding the decision.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and also contributes weekly to The Daily Caller

1 hour ago

Liberal heckler hurls object, expletives at Doug Jones — Jones says ‘there’s just as many people passionate on the other side’

After a liberal heckler hurled an object and expletives at Sen. Doug Jones at a town hall Monday, Alabama’s junior senator compared the incident, which ended with police officers hauling the agitator out, to peaceful conservative efforts to persuade Jones to vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

AL.com’s Howard Koplowitz reported that Jones indicated at the town hall that “conservatives in the state are trying to apply the same pressure on him as the woman at the Birmingham event,” referring to the protester.

Jones said, “There’s just as many people passionate on the other side, so that doesn’t make it real easy.”

While the pressure on Jones from the left has stooped to this kind of antic, conservative efforts have all been peaceful and respectful to this point. They are backed by the fact that a majority of Alabamians polled support Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

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The Judicial Crisis Network’s massive ad buy has been flooding Alabama’s airwaves since July 9, and the NRA started their own ambitious television campaign last week.

Concerned Women for America, a Christian women’s organization, is also focusing grassroots efforts on the state.

Sen. Richard Shelby voiced his strong support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation after meeting with him recently, but Jones remains undecided.

“Senator Doug Jones’ inability to make a decision on casting an Alabama vote for Judge Kavanaugh is disconcerting,” Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan told Yellowhammer News.

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

1 hour ago

Arab High School to dump ‘Dixie’ tradition at football games

A rural Alabama high school is ending its tradition of playing “Dixie” at football games.

John Mullins, superintendent of city schools in Arab, said he made the decision to quit playing the song at Arab (AY-rab) High School, but not because of any “external pressure.”

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Leaders in the educational system and the school board have talked for months about dropping the song, he said, and local news outlets reported in June that the longtime band director was retiring.

“While I fully understand the difficulty of changing a tradition, the song has negative connotations that contradict our school district’s core values of unity, integrity, and relationships,” Mullins said in a statement reported by WHNT-TV.

School bands throughout the South used to play “Dixie,” but the practice ended as the region got further away from legalized racial segregation.

The Arab High School Band has played “Dixie” after touchdowns for decades.

Students and staff at the school will vote on a new fight song after this football season.

In the meantime, the band will play an instrumental soul song that’s popular among marching bands, “The Horse.”

Census statistics show the town of about 8,200 people, located in northeastern Alabama, is more than 96 percent white.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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Rep. Byrne: ‘Great value’ found in traveling around district, speaking with local leaders

Each August, the House of Representatives typically enters a period of recess known as the August District Work Period. This is time set aside for Members of Congress to travel across their home districts visiting with the people they represent.

For me, this is incredibly valuable time that I can spend listening to my constituents and gaining a better understanding of the issues impacting our area. Here is just a quick highlight of my August District Work Period so far.

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As you probably already know, I love to hold town hall meetings throughout the First District to hear directly from the people I represent. This August, I am holding a “Better Off Now” Town Hall Tour with twelve stops in all six counties that make up the First District. So far, we have held town hall meetings in Salipta, Atmore, Brewton, Dauphin Island, Millry, Citronelle and Mobile. Later this month, we will make stops in Grand Bay, Monroeville, Seminole, Loxley and Spanish Fort. You can get all the details about the town halls online at Byrne.House.Gov/BetterOffTour.

Visiting local businesses and talking with employees is another priority for me in August. For example, I have already visited Olin in McIntosh, the Louisiana Pacific facility in Clarke County, Serda Brewing in Mobile, and Metal Shark Boats and Master Marine in Bayou La Batre, just to name a few. The visits help me learn firsthand how federal issues are directly impacting employers and employees in Southwest Alabama.

A really special opportunity was being able to ride along with UPS to help deliver packages on the Eastern Shore. I dressed up in the full UPS uniform, rode in the truck, and personally delivered packages. It really helped to step in the driver’s shoes and see the difficult work they do every day. I am especially grateful to Chris Dorgan for showing me the ropes.

Just last week, I hosted Chris Oliver, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, down on Dauphin Island for a Red Snapper research trip. As one of the leading federal officials responsible for our fisheries, I welcomed the opportunity to show off the health of the Red Snapper stock in the Gulf, as well as the very impressive research being done locally by the University of South Alabama and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Also last week, I traveled to the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi to meet with the director and get an update on services for our veterans. As you may know, the Biloxi VA oversees most of our local VA facilities. It was a productive visit as I work to hold the VA accountable and ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve.

We had the annual Women’s Forum in downtown Mobile, which is organized by the Community Foundation of South Alabama. We had another outstanding crowd as local women had the opportunity to network and hear from speakers and panelists about issues important to them.

I find great value in holding roundtable discussions to hear directly from leaders about specific issues. With this in mind, we held separate roundtables with local school superintendents, economic developers from our area, and community leaders from Chatom. Each of these roundtables were very informative, and we have more scheduled later this month.

As you can probably tell, this August District Work Period has already been a huge success. The good news is that we are just getting started. I look forward to spending more time around Southwest Alabama throughout August to help me be the best Congressman possible.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope.