2 months ago

Rep. Roby: An Accurate 2020 Census is Vitally Important to Alabama

Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count of every resident in the United States, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of our Constitution. This action is critically important to understanding current facts and figures about our country’s people, places, and economy. It’s hard to believe that a decade has almost passed, and we are just eleven months away from next year’s April 1 Census.

It goes without saying that a lot has changed over the last ten years, especially on the technological front. As times and trends change, it is important that the method by which we conduct the Census also evolves to ensure we are reaching the most people possible. That said, it’s no surprise that in 2020, we will largely depend on an Internet system to count Americans, relying heavily on digital advertising and social media platforms to spread the word.

As the Census Bureau works to modernize its various platforms ahead of the 2020 Census, I was glad to hear about these efforts directly from Dr. Steven Dillingham, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, during a recent Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. During this hearing, I had the opportunity to discuss with Director Dillingham how important it is that all Alabamians be accurately counted in 2020.

Back in 2010, our state did not do a great job accounting for all of our people, especially children below the age of six and those individuals in rural communities. As I told Director Dillingham, we must make sure that is not the case in next year’s count. You see, the Census doesn’t just decide the number of congressional seats Alabama has, it also decides our number of Electoral College votes. We currently have nine Electoral College votes, and if the 2020 Census is not accurate, that number will drop to eight. This is a very big deal, and it is something we Alabamians do not want to see happen.

The Census also determines the amount of federal dollars that come into Alabama, specifically to hospitals, job training centers, schools, infrastructure projects, and other emergency services. Inaccurate Census numbers force our state to do more with less, and that cannot happen again in 2020.

As we all know, Alabama’s Second District and the rest of the Southeastern corner of the state are made up of very rural communities. To achieve the most accurate count possible in next year’s Census, it is critical that we reach the men, women, and children living in the rural areas throughout the country.

During my conversation with Director Dillingham, I asked him how the Census Bureau plans to use its resources to partner with our state and community-based organizations to encourage participation in the Census, especially in hard-to-count, rural communities. I made sure Director Dillingham understands that a large part of our district, and many areas of our state, lack access to reliable broadband and thus may not utilize the Internet and social media enough to encounter online advertising about the upcoming Census. This will certainly be a challenge, but it is one we must address.

I also brought up another challenging reality that we must face: Over the last year, Alabama and other states in the Southeast have been beaten with hurricanes, tornadoes, and other powerful storms. There has been flooding throughout the Midwest and fires ravaging California. These disastrous events have caused thousands of Americans to be displaced from their homes, and we must ensure that they, too, are counted in next year’s Census.

To make sure the 2020 Census is as accurate as it can possibly be, it is important that leaders on all levels of federal, state, and local governments are communicating about ways we can spread the word and reach the most people. I believe the modernization of our Census process will lead to excellent results next year, but it is critical that we make every effort to reach those who have been displaced by severe weather as well as the people in rural communities who may not have reliable access to social media and online advertising.

The future of our state’s representation in Congress and the Electoral College are at stake, and we must ensure that Alabama receives its fair share of federal funding for numerous programs we all depend on. I encourage you to start spreading the word about the April 1, 2020, Census. It will be here before we know it, and Alabama needs an accurate count.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

1 min ago

‘Disgrace’: Six American flags stolen from Brookwood’s veterans memorial park

The sleepy Tuscaloosa County town of Brookwood is “outraged” after the brazen theft of six American flags from its veterans memorial park, according to reports.

Per CBS 42, the flags were stolen over the weekend.

Two suspects were spotted on video surveillance. The individuals are believed to be juveniles and are still at large. While local police encourage the two suspects to turn themselves in, the town is offering an $800 reward for information that helps catch the perpetrators.

The reaction from town residents and officials was swift, with the stolen flags being replaced on Monday.

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“It was immediate outrage from the community as soon as the word started spreading.  People were outraged that somebody would show the lack of respect for our town and for our flags,” park director Bill Squires told CBS 42.

“And this being our Brookwood veterans memorial, you feel like its a slap in the face of the men whose names are on that memorial, too,” he added.

Just days away from Independence Day, July 4, locals who are used to seeing the flags fly proudly at their community park shared their emotional reactions.

Austin Rico, a frequent jogger at the park, remarked, “It absolutely horrible and I wouldn’t expect this from a nice little town like Brookwood. And it hurts me a little bit because it’s the American flag and it’s everything Americans represent.”

Gregory Vaughn, who reportedly passes the monument often when going for walks, told WBRC that the theft made him angry.

“It’s a disgrace. Stealing an American flag. I mean it doesn’t make any sense,” Vaughn decried.

Watch:

Squires, speaking on the possibility of the perpetrators being juveniles, commented, “Maybe kids being kids. But stealing? If it is, we need to teach them … how the flag needs to be respected.”

Anyone with information relating to the crime should contact the Brookwood Police Department.

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

13 hours ago

University of North Alabama adopting new tuition plan

The University of North Alabama is switching to a tuition plan that officials say will result in increased costs for some students but not others.

Officials at the school in Florence say they are reducing the total number of student fees from seven to one, and fees will be included in the overall tuition cost.

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A statement says students taking 15 hours will see a maximum increase in expenses of 4.1%.

But some could pay less, and costs will not change for others.

School officials say a lag in state funding is a continuing problem.

North Alabama’s vice president for business, Evan Thornton, says the school has deferred maintenance and capital needs totaling more than $160 million.

The school has an undergraduate enrollment of about 6,200 students.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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13 hours ago

Nathan Lindsay joining governor’s office from BCA

Another high profile staffer from the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is joining Governor Kay Ivey’s senior level team.

The governor on Monday announced that Nathan Lindsay will join her office as director of appointments effective July 1.

This position is charged with spearheading the meticulous work that goes into Ivey meeting her duty to appoint qualified, representative and appropriate people to positions on the state’s various boards and commissions.

A press release from the governor’s office outlined that Lindsay assumes the role with an extensive background in state government and the private sector, which uniquely qualifies him to advise the governor in this capacity.

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Most recently, through his work in political and governmental affairs at the BCA, Lindsay interacted with members of the business community throughout the Yellowhammer State, which significantly adds to his ability to identify and select candidates for various appointed posts.

Additionally, Lindsay’s early career included time in then-Governor Bob Riley’s office where he served as aide to the governor from 2006 to 2011. Lindsay also worked in the governor’s communications office as deputy press secretary and advised Riley on education policy.

“Nathan brings to our team a wealth of knowledge that I know will serve the state well,” Ivey said in a statement. “In addition to his expertise and insight, Nathan is a man of character. The men and women of my staff must have a strong work ethic, a depth of knowledge and a heart for public service. Nathan certainly embodies all of these characteristics.”

Lindsay earned his bachelor’s degree from Faulkner University. During his time at Faulkner, he served as SGA president and later, in 2018, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“As governor, I have the important responsibility of appointing qualified individuals to serve on the more than 450 boards and commissions in our state. These men and women must not only be highly-qualified, but they should also be a true reflection of our great state,” Ivey added. “I am confident we will continue to find the best people to serve our state, just as I am certain Nathan will serve my Administration exceptionally well in this position. His experience speaks for itself, and he shares my goal of moving Alabama into a better future.”

This comes weeks after Leah Garner departed BCA to become Ivey’s communications director.

Mark Colson also left BCA to become head of the Alabama Trucking Association recently.

Update 5:55 p.m.:

BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt released a statement commending Ivey on the hire of Lindsay.

“Nathan’s background and expertise in political affairs combined with his political acumen uniquely qualify him to serve the governor and the state in this capacity,” Britt said. “I have no doubt Nathan will do an outstanding job, and I commend Governor Kay Ivey on this excellent addition to her staff.”

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

13 hours ago

Alabama listed as one of the top 20 most patriotic states in America

A WalletHub report released Monday revealed Alabama to be on of the top 20 most patriotic states in America.

Ranked 19 overall on the list, with a score of 47.43, Alabama ranked first for the “Civics Education Requirement.”

The report “compared the 50 states across 13 key indicators of patriotism” and “ranges from share of enlisted military population to share of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election to AmeriCorps volunteers per capita.”

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With one as “Most Patriotic” and 25 as “Average,” Alabama received the following rankings:

  • 5th – Average Number of Military Enlistees per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • 30th – Active-Duty Military Personnel per 100,000 Civilian Adults
  • 17th – Veterans per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • 1st – Civics Education Requirement
  • 12th – Share of Civilian Adult Population in Military Reserves
  • 10th – Share of Adults Who Voted in 2016 Primary Elections

Alabama also ranked eight overall for ‘Military Engagement.’

The report, which compared red states to blue states in terms of patriotism, found that red states were more patriotic. Red states received an average rank of 23.67, while blue states received an average rank of 28.25.

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

14 hours ago

Brooks: ‘Really dumb’ for Democrats to elect candidates mainly on ‘skin pigmentation or their chromosomes’

In an interview on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show”on Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) lamented that many Democrats have become more interested in racial and gender identity politics than the welfare of America.

Coming off of her much maligned comments comparing American immigration facilities to “concentration camps,” host Dale Jackson asked the north Alabama congressman if he believes that Democrats in Congress will allow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to continue to serve as their “de facto face and leader.”

“Yes,” Brooks answered succinctly, promoting a follow-up request for his reasoning.

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“Well, she is where she is,” Brooks explained. “She’s got a lot of political power. She’s got a lot of support — surprisingly.”

“There are large, large numbers of American citizens who have bit off on this socialist stuff, who have bit off on this victimization stuff, who have bit off on thinking that the most important criteria in determining whether to elect someone is their skin pigmentation or their chromosomes — which is really dumb, OK,” he continued. “We oughta be electing people based on their character and based on their public policy positions.”

“But, notwithstanding that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the face of the Democratic Party in many different respects, and she does have great influence as evidenced by the presidential candidates on the socialist Democrats’ side who are trying to cultivate her support,” Brooks added. “They want her endorsement.”

Listen, starting at the 8:25 mark:

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