1 month ago

State Sen. Steve Livingston sees opportunity to strengthen Alabama’s aerospace and defense industry

State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) is looking to give Alabama’s aerospace and defense industry a boost.

Livingston is leading the formation of a new legislative group focused on the needs of an industry which generates billions for Alabama’s economy and is vital to national security.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, he outlined that the Aerospace and Defense Caucus will be a bipartisan committee assembled to promote growth for the aerospace and defense industry in Alabama.

The number of jobs and amount of resources at stake make this effort a high priority for legislators from across the state, according to Livingston.

“Aerospace and defense is a more than $16 billion business in Alabama,” he explained. “We have more than $4 billion in exports, as well. That’s a huge industry in Alabama, and it’s going to do nothing but continue to grow.”

He believes the time is right to step up the state’s support given the Trump administration’s interest in space exploration.

“We have an excellent opportunity to play a key role in what will be the Space Command that President Trump stood up for last year and that they are trying to find a home for,” noted Livingston.

Livingston’s North Alabama state senate district includes parts or all of Madison, Jackson and DeKalb Counties, and he has a keen understanding of how much his area has contributed to America’s space program.

“Huntsville and Madison County have always played a key role in everything we’ve done in space, and I think we’ll continue to do so,” he said.

Yet, he emphasized the statewide impact of the work the Aerospace and Defense Caucus will set out to do.

In addition to Huntsville and its surrounding areas, he cited Mobile, Auburn, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Pike County among the different communities in the state supporting the industry.

“It’s exciting to see what’s happening in Alabama,” remarked Livingston. “Look at what we’re doing. We sent man to the Moon out of Marshall Space Flight Center. And what happens at Redstone with our nation’s military defense systems. If a member of the military gets it, it comes through Huntsville. We’ve got aviation command there. We’ve got Ft. Rucker which trains all of our helicopter pilots, and Maxwell Air Force Base has the War College. Auburn and Alabama do avionics and autonomous vehicles in both locations. The University of South Alabama with Airbus and Austal in Mobile.”

One of the responsibilities he expects the caucus to assume is to work with members of Alabama’s congressional delegation on what are largely federal programs.

“We’ll work with everyone’s office in Washington,” advised Livingston. “This is a bipartisan committee.”

In particular, he recognized Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) leadership in building America’s space program.

“The truth of the matter is there’s no telling what Senator Shelby has meant to the aerospace and defense industry not only in Alabama but overall for the nation’s defense and space program,” Livingston stated.

RELATED: ‘From Alabama to the Moon’ — Richard Shelby is the driving force making America’s space dreams a reality

The Aerospace and Defense Caucus is set to meet for the first time on Wednesday when Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth calls the group to order. Livingston said that he received encouragement to start the caucus from Ainsworth, who currently serves as the national chairman of the Aerospace States Association, and members of the industry in Alabama.

Livingston believes it is beneficial to bundle aerospace and defense issues together for the caucus to consider. He called the two industries “interconnected” in the present day due to shared missions and technologies.

The nation saw evidence of this recently when President Donald Trump credited an early warning system with saving lives in Iraq. The system was made up of Lockheed Martin satellites carried into space by United Launch Alliance rockets. Both companies have significant manufacturing operations in Alabama.

RELATED: Trump — Satellites launched by Alabama rockets saved lives in Iraq

Upon announcing his intention to launch the caucus, Livingston said he received immediate feedback from 60 to 70 legislators who wanted to participate. He expects even more than that to ultimately join.

As for the type of issues the Aerospace and Defense Caucus seeks to tackle, Livingston has a few already in mind.

He said the state currently does not have any research and development assistance in its economic development plans.

“Primarily, one of the things that we could do would be provide some research and development credits that would help a company locate to Alabama.” Livingston offered.

Building off of the state’s workforce development successes is another priority for the committee, according to him.

When asked about the importance of two-year and four-year college programs specifically tailored for aerospace and defense, Livingston was quick to respond.

“Huge,” he called them. “There are already programs in place. The Alabama Cyber School that’s opening in Huntsville is already in place.”

He referenced the numerous programs supported by Gov. Kay Ivey to bolster the state’s aerospace and defense workforce. Livingston thinks there are even more programs that can be developed by the business and education communities.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

RELATED: Ivey focused on continued growth for booming aerospace industry — ‘Alabama is an easy sell’

The ability to help small businesses who support the aerospace and defense industry may also be on the agenda for the caucus.

“There are a lot of smaller companies out there that do a lot of supply work for this industry in communities like Scottsboro and other places,” Livingston pointed out. “We have a small company in Skyline, Alabama, that has done some machining and tooling for NASA. They have a contract which grew out of a Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce initiative that was done a few years ago on how to do business with NASA.”

Feeling there is no shortage of ways to enhance the state’s position in space and defense, Livingston looks forward to working with his colleagues to move the industry forward.

“It’s exciting to see the future come to Alabama,” Livingston concluded.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

4 hours ago

ALFA urges Alabamians to vote ‘Yes’ on Amendment One

The Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) is urging the citizens of Alabama to vote “Yes” on Amendment One when they go to the polls on March 3.

Amendment One would alter the governing body of Alabama’s public schools. The system Alabama has currently is a board of eight members that are elected by voters. Amendment One would create a board where each member is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the State Senate.

In the eyes of ALFA, “Amendment 1 provides voters a choice of keeping politicians in charge of the State School Board or replacing them with nine new commission members who are term limited.”


As part of their support for the amendment, ALFA is joining other groups to fund the “Yes for the Best Education” campaign.


“Amendment 1 offers voters an opportunity to take the first step to improving public schools,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell, who is chairing the campaign.

He added, “Voters recognize that public K-12 schools are undeniably at the bottom of almost every national ranking. At the same time, instability has become the norm at the top of the Alabama State Department of Education, which has seen five state superintendents in the last four years.”

The push to move to an appointed school board was led in the Alabama Senate by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), with strong support from Governor Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia).

“Alabama is just one of seven states that still hold elections for State School Board. If Amendment 1 is approved by voters, local school boards will still control their districts and decision-making,” Parnell advised.

Recent polling from ALDailyNews showed Alabama voters are split on whether or not to approve Amendment One, with many still undecided.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

5 hours ago

Mooney for Senate endorsed by 10 state legislators

State Rep. Arnold Mooney’s (R-Indian Springs) campaign for the U.S. Senate has received an endorsement from 10 of his colleagues in the state legislature with less than two weeks to go before the primary election.

The endorsers include many of the most conservative members in the Alabama statehouse, like State Rep. Mike Holmes from the Montgomery area and State Rep. Tommy Hanes from Northeast Alabama.

The state-level endorsements fall in line with the prominent national conservatives who have endorsed Mooney previously. Conservative Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY), along with conservative television host Mark Levin, and Alabama’s own Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) are among those who have thrown their support behind Mooney.


The full list of state legislators, as follows:

  • Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals)
  • Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens)
  • Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R-Owens Cross Roads)
  • Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-Bryant)
  • Rep. Mike Holmes (R-Wetumpka)
  • Rep. Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa)
  • Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville)
  • Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Florence)
  • Sen. Dan Roberts (R-Birmingham)
  • Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road)

In addition to those legislators, Mooney has gotten the personal endorsement of Eunie Smith, the president of the Eagle Forum. The Eagle Forum is a deeply conservative group with a strong presence in Alabama.

Many of Mooney’s coworkers in the state legislature called him a “friend” in their statements. They praised Mooney’s passion for conservative values, his commitment to pro-life policies and Christian values. The group of legislators that endorsed Mooney on Friday is viewed by many as having similarities to members of the Freedom Caucus in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Dan Roberts said in a statement, “Arnold Mooney is a true conservative and has the record to prove it. Over the years, I have witnessed Arnold stand up to the establishment in Montgomery, fight for the life of the unborn, and ensure that the voice of the people he represents are heard. Arnold is a family man, a true conservative, and a strong Christian. Alabama needs him in Washington.”

“Representative Arnold Mooney is a tremendous friend and colleague who is well suited and very capable of representing Alabama as a United States Senator. He is the true conservative in the race and has the record to prove it,” Rep. Andrew Sorrell advised.

Mooney’s supporters will be hoping the endorsements generate enthusiasm for a campaign that has lagged in recent polls.

Yellowhammer reported earlier Friday that Mooney has $350,626 cash on hand for the remainder of the election. Fundraising is one area where the Mooney campaign’s success has surprised many political observers. The candidate has consistently been able to pull in funds at a level that outpaces his relative standing in public polls, seemingly from small grassroots donations.

(FEC) Totals from the entire race up to Feb 12, 2020.

Mooney will compete at the ballot box on March 3 with former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

6 hours ago

Dale Jackson: Sessions is punching in all directions — that shows the status of the U.S. Senate race

The race for the United States Senate seat from Alabama has gotten pretty contentious this past week. The knives are out, and it’s about time.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made his presence felt by going after both Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Sessions joined WVNN on Thursday to highlight his concerns with the other major contenders for his old Senate seat.


Sessions hit Byrne for abandoning the president only weeks before the general election against Hillary Clinton.

Sessions explained on “The Dale Jackson Show,” “Well it’s a huge mistake. It would have guaranteed the election to Hillary Clinton.”

Sessions wants voters to know that he was on stage with now-President Donald Trump wearing a red MAGA hat while “my own Congressman was saying he was unfit to be president and should resign.”

“That would have split the party and been a disaster of monumental proportions, so it is a big deal, I just have to say,” he added.

The attacks pointed towards Tuberville are far more pointed.

Sessions hammered him on his Florida residency, pointing out that Tuberville claimed his homestead exemption in Florida and has never voted in Alabama. He also pointed out that Tuberville did not donate a cent to the Trump campaign, while millions of average Americans did.

“He filed for homestead in Florida in 2018, and he hasn’t voted in Alabama. He voted in Florida in 2018, it appears. I’m not sure he even voted for President Trump, I’m not sure, he certainly didn’t give a contribution to the Trump campaign, he never once spoke out in favor of the Trump campaign. So, now he waltzes in tourist-like, I think it’s a fair word, to say now I want to be Alabama’s senator, and go up there and defend Alabama’s values.”

Sessions in the interview also hit Tuberville on immigration, vets and trade.

My takeaway:

These are all fair arguments. Tuberville filed his homestead exemption, which you file on your primary residence in Florida in 2018. He paid his taxes there. He lived there and admitted to me that he moved here to run for U.S. Senate because he knew his name ID in the state would work.

Tuberville did talk about amnesty for illegals.

Tuberville did say he was blaming Trump for veterans’ health care.

Tuberville did say Trump was putting a noose around the neck of farmers.

The attacks show that Sessions knows he is in a dogfight for his former seat. He is not walking away with this like many thought he would. Polls indicate he is in first or second, so as this race continues to heat up, look for more attacks on his opponents’ records from Jeff Sessions.


Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

8 hours ago

Mo Brooks, colleagues introduce bill to protect travelers with firearms

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), along with 13 original cosponsors, introduced the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act on Friday.

According to a press release, the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act would “expand the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) ‘transport’ definition to include ‘staying in temporary lodging, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, or any other activity incidental to the transport.'”

In addition, the bill clarifies that the ability to transport a firearm also applies to  ammunition and  detachable magazines, which are essential to the function and purpose of a firearm.


“‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ means that Americans do not relinquish their Second Amendment Rights by simply traveling across state lines,” Brooks said. “All Americans have the constitutional right to self-defense whether they are at home or traveling.”

He added, “My bill, the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act, would bar freedom-hating, anti-Second Amendment states and localities from prosecuting firearm-transporting travelers who are passing through on the way to their destination who engage in travel-related activities.”

The press release also noted that FOPA currently prohibits state prosecution of “persons traveling from one place to another for any state firearms offense if the traveler is merely passing through on the way to their destination as long as the firearm is transported in a locked container other than the vehicle glove compartment or console.”

“Despite FOPA protections, a disturbing trend has emerged wherein anti-Second Amendment states and localities increasingly seek to criminalize the possession of a firearm or ammunition,” the release stated. ” These freedom-hating jurisdictions continue to seek ways to prosecute travelers merely for the possession of an otherwise lawful firearm. This bill seeks to safeguard otherwise law-abiding gun owners traveling the country from overcriminalization by anti-Second Amendment states and localities.”

“Malicious state laws  unconstitutionally  criminalize  what would otherwise be considered  law-abiding activity  for the explicit purposes of making gun ownership, possession, and transportation more difficult,” said Aidan Johnston, GOA’s director of Federal Affairs. “The Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act complements the Second Amendment in its mission to protect Americans from governmental infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.”

Johnston added, “I hope every member of Congress supports this simple legislation that protects gun owners while they travel.”

Original cosponsors of the bill include Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02), Congressman Steve King (IA-04), Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-AL), Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03), Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10), Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-05) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).

Follow Kyle on Twitter @RealKyleMorris and Facebook.

8 hours ago

Auburn University announces A-Day kickoff time, ticket sales

Auburn University announced Thursday that its popular A-Day game, presented by Golden Flake, will kick-off at 1:00 p.m. CST at Jordan-Hare Stadium on April 11.

Tickets for the annual spring football game are on sale now through the Auburn Ticket Office for $5 to the general public and free for AU students who have an Auburn Ignited Card.


Tickets for the event can be purchased here or in-person at the Auburn Ticket Office located at Auburn Arena from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

A press release for the event said a pre-game “Auburn Legends” flag football game will be held in Jordan-Hare Stadium with participating players being announced at a later date. A post-game autograph session will also be held after A-Day. Fans will be limited to one item per person.

A-Day Weekend will also feature the softball and men’s tennis teams competing at home. The softball team will host Ole Miss at Jane B. Moore Field on Friday, April 10 at 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday, April 11 at 4:00 p.m. In addition to the other events occurring, the Auburn men’s tennis team will host Arkansas on Friday, April 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.

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