The Wire

  • Decatur doctor accused of sexual assault responds to lawsuit

    Excerpt from WHNT:

    A Decatur doctor accused of sexually assaulting several of his patients is disputing all claims of wrongdoing. Dr. Michael Dick of Alabama Medicine and Rheumatology Clinic responded to a lawsuit filed on behalf of six women who claim to be his former patients. The doctor also filed a protective order asking a judge to stop the victims from sharing their stories with the media.

    A Birmingham-based attorney responded on behalf of Dr. Dick saying there is “no basis to contend he preys on female patients as alleged in the complaint.” The lawsuit filed against Dr. Dick says female members of the nursing staff were present with him. He says no misconduct took place, as alleged in the lawsuit. The response also says employees who work at the medical practice deny any misconduct.

  • Bobby Bright says ‘D.C. powerbrokers’ pushed Trump to endorse Martha Roby

    Excerpt from AL.com:

    Bobby Bright says ‘D.C. powerbrokers’ pushed Trump to endorse Martha Roby in Alabama’s District 2 race.

    “I understand politics and how Washington works. It appears the D.C. powerbrokers have gotten to the President on this issue. It’s truly a swamp of insiders controlled by big money special interests, the same crowd who’s bankrolling Martha Roby’s campaign to the tune of over $1 million just this year,” Bright said in a statement. “It’s a place where loyalty doesn’t exist. When you take that much money from D.C., New York and California, you lose sight of Alabama.”

    Incumbent Roby will face Bobby Bright — a former congressman she defeated in 2010 — in a runoff next month. Bright served one term in Congress as a Democrat, but switched parties to run against Roby in this year’s Republican primary.

  • Man accused of trying to run over police officer, charged with attempted murder

    Excerpt from ABC 33/40:

    A man accused of trying to run over a police officer was charged with attempted murder Friday, Shelby County authorities confirm.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Roger Hepburn says Issai Serrano is the suspect connected with a Wednesday afternoon shooting involving an Alabaster Police officer. The shooting occurred at Morgan Road and South Shades Crest Road, said Hoover Police officers, who were the first to respond to the scene.

1 day ago

Amazon to create 1,500 jobs at Alabama fulfillment center

(Amazon)

Internet retail giant Amazon confirmed plans Friday to open a fulfillment center in Jefferson County with 1,500 full-time employees working alongside advanced robotics technology.

Amazon will build the 855,000-square-foot facility center on 133 acres of property being purchased from U.S. Steel off Powder Plant Road in Bessemer, located just minutes away from Birmingham. Total investment in the project is $325 million.

The Seattle, Washington-based company confirmed its plans for the Alabama facility in an announcement that said the project is moving forward, following a series of public meetings with local governments.

586

“We are thrilled to bring our first fulfillment center to the state of Alabama, creating 1,500 full-time jobs,” said Mark Stewart, Amazon’s vice president of North America customer fulfillment. “Alabama has a talented workforce and we look forward to making a positive economic impact in a state where we are committed to providing great job opportunities and an exceptional customer experience.”

Employees at the Bessemer facility will work with technology created by Amazon Robotics to pick, pack and ship items to the company’s customers.

“Amazon is one of the world’s most dynamic companies, and we couldn’t be more proud to see the company select Alabama for one of its high-tech fulfillment centers,” Governor Kay Ivey said.

“This facility represents good jobs for our citizens and the beginning of a long partnership that I believe will see Amazon expand and grow in Alabama in the future.”

SIGNIFICANT IMPACT

An analysis projects that the Amazon fulfillment center will generate a significant economic impact on Jefferson County and AlabamaThe center will contribute $203 million to the county’s economic output annually, while adding $123 million to the county’s GDP, according to the study prepared by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse School of Business.

The facility will contribute $232 million to Alabama’s economic output each year and add $137 million to the state’s GDP, the study says.

Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley said the Amazon project represents the largest single private investment in the city’s 131-year history. As an added bonus, the company has pledged to create a tuition-assistance program for its workforce.

“Amazon is bringing jobs and opportunity to our residents and students. I am particularly proud of the educational incentives Amazon will offer our young people: get your high school diploma, work one year and receive $3,000 the next four years toward furthering your education,” he said.

GROWING TECH JOBS

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Amazon’s project perfectly aligns with a strategic emphasis to facilitate the growth of tech jobs across the state.

“Amazon’s new fulfillment center in Bessemer will create a large number of high-quality jobs and feature cutting-edge automation and technological innovation,” Secretary Canfield said. “We’ve made recruiting technology-focused jobs a priority, and Amazon’s presence in the state will help us advance toward our goal.”

This is Amazon’s second project in Alabama. In June 2017, the company announced plans for a $30 million “sortation center” in Mobile to accelerate delivery of online purchases. The facility will have 1,000 part-time workers during peak periods.

Lee Smith, chairman of the Birmingham Business Alliance, said the successful recruitment of Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bessemer stemmed from a team effort that included a number of economic development agencies, utilities, transportation departments, and others.

“Amazon’s investment in our community is a big win for the Birmingham region,” Smith said. “This state-of-the-art facility will be able to accommodate an expanding workforce and a changing economy as Amazon continues to prepare for its future.”

Amazon said full-time employees receive competitive hourly wages and a comprehensive benefits package, including health care, 401(k) and company stock awards starting on day one. Amazon also offers generous maternity and parental leave benefits and access to innovative programs like Career Choice, where it will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.

Since the program’s launch, more than 16,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

2 days ago

CHALLENGE FOR WALT MADDOX: Let’s actually ride Amtrak before we start begging to waste Alabama money on it

(Satire graphic by W.Miller/pic: Maddox Campaign, J.Snell/Flickr))

I am convinced that the people who are upset that Gov. Kay Ivey is not spending almost $5.3 million dollars on an Amtrak investment in south Alabama have never taken an Amtrak in their lives. Yellowhammer News’s Jeff Poor nailed how absurd this entire idea is when he wrote that the previous Amtrak service to New Orleans took 10 minutes longer than just driving there, but for that convenience, you are at the mercy of a notoriously unreliable service.

Does anyone know why they canceled this train line in the first place? Hurricane damage? Why is there no clamoring for its return? Simple: it sucks.

So before we declare this is some major economic boom for Mobile and Alabama in general, let’s see if we can get some of these people on the Amtraks that exist right now in the state:

For $47 dollars Mayor Maddox and his crew (I am buying) can board a train and ride for seven hours and 24 minutes to New Orleans. They will then stop in Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport and Bay St. Louis, Miss. When they arrive, even if they get there on time (they will not), I will already be three Hand Grenades in because driving takes five hours.

Why this matters:

165

No one is going to ride this stupid train, this is just a way for Alabama Democrats to say “Alabama sucks.” If only we would seek out more federal government money, any government money, for any reason, the state would be better off. This ignores the “major disruption” the Amtrak commuter rail would cause at the bustling Port of Mobile, where actual money is being made.

This also ignores that more routes will only cost the federal government because of how terrible Amtrak is at actually making money, which according to Wired.com “has been losing money since it was founded during the Nixon administration.”

The only reason Maddox is even talking on this issue is so he can get the phrase “Alabama is not ‘on the right track‘ out to his media allies. I look forward to Mayor Maddox letting me show him how terrible this idea actually is.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

2 days ago

Calling SCOTUS sales tax ruling a ‘win’ for Alabama is disingenuous spin

Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.

That was the sound going off in the heads of many politicians and bureaucrats in Montgomery and around the county seats of Alabama on Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled states can levy a sales tax on online purchases.

In a 5-4 ruling, the high court sided with the state of South Dakota on a law that allows the state to collect sales tax on purchases made by South Dakota customers from out-of-state retailers.

The ruling overturned decades of case law that found a state couldn’t charge sales tax unless the retailer had a physical presence in the state.

Gov. Kay Ivey immediately applauded the ruling, categorizing it as a “common-sense approach,” with her suggestion being it levels the playing field for in-state brick-and-mortar sellers.

498

“Technology and the advent of e-commerce has drastically changed the retail landscape and the states’ ability to collect sales taxes,” Ivey said in a statement. “The Supreme Court’s ruling related to online sales taxes is a common-sense approach that modernizes existing limitations on the taxation of e-commerce sales and will facilitate collections in our global, technology-driven economy. The change effected by the Court’s decision will promote parity between our state’s brick and mortar businesses and competing out-of-state sellers.”

For starters, if our elected leaders were actually concerned about fairness for in-state brick-and-mortar businesses, they would have found a way to ease the tax burden on them long ago to allow them to be more competitive against online retailers.

There has been no such effort whatsoever.

What we’re told is this is a big win for the mom-and-pop shop in small-town downtown Alabama. But it’s an even bigger win for the Walmart in the strip mall out on the four-lane bypass that goes around the downtown.

Aside from the bureaucratic nightmare the ruling creates that will allow the at least 10,000 state and local taxing jurisdictions to tax out-of-state online retailers (as laid out by Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist on Thursday), it is a massive loss for the consumer.

Now we, the consumers of Alabama, are saddled with paying sales tax for online purchases. How is this a good thing? There is no longer any refuge for from consumers in a state with one of the highest state-local combined sales tax burdens in the nation.

We’re also being told this is fabulous for our state because the government coffers will have another revenue stream.

Yes, that’s precisely what Alabamians want: more money in government.

Of course, I’m being facetious. There’s nothing modernizing or common-sense about more money from the taken from the pockets of consumers and given to local and state governments that have in many cases betrayed the trust of the people they serve.

The ways these things tend to work out ultimately is the big businesses with money to foot the bill for lobbyists in Montgomery and county seats and city halls all across the state is the tax code will be crafted in a way that is most beneficial to them. Therefore, it is likely that any cost burden is passed on to the consumer. It may marginally impact their overhead costs, but that, of course, will also be felt by the consumer.

Are we really supposed to believe tech giants like Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are going to feel the heat from a state that will seemingly bend over backward to have any of them locate some sort of data-storage facility in one of the many beleaguered local economies around Alabama?

Yesterday’s ruling wasn’t a great day for Alabama. It wasn’t even necessarily a great day for the businesses of Alabama. It was a great day for government that is often very bad at managing its finances.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

3 days ago

Judicial races in Alabama highlighted

(YHN/Pixabay)

This is not just a gubernatorial year in the Heart of Dixie.

We have every constitutional office up for election which includes Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor and Agriculture Commissioner.

We also have a good many of the State Judicial races on the ballot. We have nine seats on our State Supreme Court. We have five judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals, as well as five seats on the Court of Civil Appeals. All of these judicial posts are held by Republicans.

645

Therefore, it is more than likely safe to assume that the winner of the Republican primary will be elected to a six-year term and can be fitted for their robe, at least by July 17. In fact, Democrats usually do not even field candidates in state judicial races.

Over the past two decades, a prevailing theme has been that women have become favored in state judicial races. In fact, it was safe to say that if you put two candidates on the ballot for a state judicial position, one named John Doe and the other Jane Doe, and neither campaigned or spent any money, Jane Doe would defeat John Doe.

However, for some inexplicable reason, this prevalence reversed itself on June 5 in the Republican primary. In the much-anticipated race for the extremely important Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, position two of the sitting members of the Supreme Court were pitted against each other.

Justice Lyn Stuart, who is the longest serving member on the State Supreme Court, had moved into the Chief Justice role after the departure of Judge Roy Moore. She was running for Chief Justice for the full six-year term. Justice Tom Parker was Roy Moore’s closest ally and is now the most socially conservative activist on the court. Parker and Moore dip from the same well.

Parker chose to challenge Stuart for Chief Justice. The Lyn Stuart vs Tom Parker contest was billed as one of the Titanic battles of the Primary season. Stuart was the darling of the business community. Parker openly was carrying the banner of the social conservatives. Parker bested Stuart 52 percent to 48 percent. Most of Parker’s financial backing came from plaintiff trial lawyers. Parker does have Democratic opposition from Birmingham attorney, Robert Vance, Jr.

However, he should win election in November.

Judge Brad Mendheim was facing two prominent female Circuit judges, Debra Jones of Anniston and Sarah Hicks Stewart of Mobile, for Place 1 on the State Supreme Court.

Mendheim has been a longtime popular Circuit Judge in Dothan. He was appointed to this Supreme Court seat by Governor Kay Ivey earlier this year. Mendheim decisively outdistanced his female opponents by garnering 43 percent of the vote. He is expected to win election to a full six-year term on the high tribunal on July 17.

Another example of the male uprising in the court contests occurred in the race for a seat on the Court of Civil Appeals. Judge Terri Willingham Thomas, who has been on this court since 2006 and has served with distinction, was shockingly defeated by her unknown male opponent, Chad Hanson.

Pickens County Prosecutor Chris McCool forged to the front in the race for a seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals. He led 43 to 35 over Rich Anderson from the Montgomery/River Region.

In the other court races, the candidate who raised the most money and was able to buy some TV time prevailed.

In the State Supreme Court race in Place 4, two Birmingham attorneys, John Bahakel and Jay Mitchell, were pitted against each other. Mitchell significantly outspent Bahaked and won 73 to 27.

Christy Edwards of Montgomery and Michelle Thomason of Baldwin County are headed for a runoff for a seat on the Court of Civil Appeals.

Richard Minor defeated Riggs Walker overwhelmingly 66 to 34 for a seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals. In the seat for Place 3 on the Court of Criminal Appeals there was yet another display of male dominance in the court races. Bill Cole bested Donna Beaulieu 60 to 40.

On Saturday before the Primary, legendary Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Clement Clay “Bo” Torbert, passed away at 88 in his beloved City of Opelika. His funeral was on Election Day. Judge Torbert served as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for 12 years, 1976 to 1988. He had previously served two terms in the State Senate prior to his election as Chief Justice.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

3 days ago

Don’t be seduced by the Amtrak impulse

(J. Snell/Flickr)

Imagine racing along the Mississippi countryside at 155 mph headed from Mobile to New Orleans on a Sunday morning on your way to watch the New Orleans Saints play at the Superdome, which is only a 10-minute walk from the Crescent City’s Union Passenger Terminal.

Sounds cool, right? You can enjoy the festivities of a Sunday in New Orleans, maybe enjoy a few drinks after the game in the French Quarter and be back to Alabama by 10 p.m.

The possibility of that fantasy becoming a reality is decades away at a minimum. Yet, it seems to be part of the sales pitch of bringing Amtrak back to Mobile.

577

Earlier this week, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox called on his November general election opponent Gov. Kay Ivey to allocate $5.3 million over the next three years to bring Amtrak service back to Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Up until 2005, Amtrak served Mobile with its Sunset Limited line, a route that stretched from Los Angeles to Orlando. After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Amtrak terminated the Sunset Limited line in New Orleans.

Pre-2005 Amtrak service in Mobile was awful. There were not a lot of takers. It made middle-of-the-night and early-morning stops every other day for passengers headed in either direction, with only an automated ticket kiosk in an awkward spot in downtown Mobile. It was rarely on time, sometimes late by multiple hours.

There is no reason to believe that will be any different if Amtrak were to restore Mobile service.

For a route like the one that operates in the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston, there are multiple tracks with overpasses that allow it to avoid railroad crossing in small towns where a passenger train would otherwise be forced to slow to a crawl before resuming speed.

There’s no existing infrastructure for a “bullet train” to operate between Alabama and anywhere in 2018. A trip to New Orleans from Mobile would require stops in Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport and Bay St. Louis, Miss. Before arriving in New Orleans. That trip (assuming everything was on time) took three hours and 20 minutes.

The trip is two hours and 10 minutes by automobile. Most people would probably opt for the drive and avoid the unreliability of 2018 Amtrak train service. But, if you are trying to avoid driving, MegaBus service will get you there in two hours and 45 minutes for as little as $14.

How could it possibly be cost effective for money to be spent on establishing rail service given these facts?

Traveling in the other direction was even worse. For a trip to Pensacola, Fla. from Mobile, roughly a 45-minute drive down I-10, the departure time was at 2 a.m. CT. It arrived in Pensacola at 4:30 a.m. CT, after a stop in Atmore.

The question for these civic leaders championing the idea Amtrak service restoration on the Gulf Coast is who is going to use it? Is there even enough of a demand for such a service?

Otherwise, bringing Amtrak back to this part of Alabama is just doing so to do so. Without high-speed rail infrastructure, passenger train travel is a novelty for tourists, those afraid to fly and those commuting between northeastern U.S. metropolitan areas.

You also cannot ignore the sad history of the Sunset Limited in Alabama. In 1993, 47 passengers died, and another 100 or so were injured in an accident at a rail crossing over Bayou Canot just north of Mobile. Even though that was 25 years ago, for some in Mobile, that memory is fresh enough to deter them from using Amtrak.

Granted, $5.3 million is a rounding error for the overall expenditures of the state of Alabama, but it would be much better used if put toward highway improvements.

With the daily logjams being the norm on I-565 west of Huntsville, on I-65 south of Birmingham and I-10 headed in and out of the Wallace Tunnel in Mobile, putting taxpayer money toward an antiquated means of transit like Amtrak’s modern passenger rail travel would be a disgrace.

Kay Ivey is smart to sit this one out.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

5 days ago

Kay Ivey warns Trump administration on import, retaliatory tariffs: ‘Will harm Alabama’

(H. Yeager/Governor's Office)

Monday in a statement, Gov. Kay Ivey appeared to break with the Trump administration on auto tariffs and warned specific tariffs could threaten companies that employ thousands of people in Alabama.

According to Ivey’s statement, even before the announcement of the Mazda-Toyota plant, “more than 57,000 Alabamians” were employed by the state’s auto manufacturing sector.

127

She touted the state’s $21.7 billion in exports and said $10.9 billion of those exports came from auto manufacturing. However, tariffs could jeopardize that portion of the state’s economy.

“Import tariffs, and any retaliatory tariffs on American made goods, will harm Alabama, the companies that have invested billions of dollars in our state, and the thousands of households which are dependent upon those companies for a good-paying job,” Ivey said in the statement. “I strongly oppose any efforts that may harm those companies that employ thousands of Alabamians and contribute billions to our economy. I am committed to protecting Alabama jobs and consumers, the world over, who are proud to purchase products made in Alabama.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

2 weeks ago

Maddox wants to debate Ivey in governor’s race

(Maddox/YouTube, Ivey/Flickr)

Democratic candidate for governor Walt Maddox wants to debate incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey ahead of the November election.

Maddox said after winning the Democratic nomination that he wants to debate Ivey and that Alabama voters deserve to hear from the candidates

102

Maddox said people are interested in comparing “who is going to be best” to address the state’s problems in health care, education and infrastructure.

Maddox campaign spokesman Chip Hill wrote Tuesday in a text message that Maddox looks forward to debating Ivey.

Ivey campaign spokeswoman Debbee Hancock wrote in an email that, “There will be plenty of time for these discussions and decisions” in the months ahead.

Ivey, who was the front runner for the GOP nomination, did not debate Republican challengers.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Sign-up now for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.

2 weeks ago

Analysis of gubernatorial primaries

Now that the dust has settled from last week’s gubernatorial primaries, let’s analyze the outcome.

Governor Kay Ivey and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox won very impressive victories. Ms. Ivey beat three well financed opponents without a runoff. She trounced them. She garnered 56 percent of the vote to 25 percent for Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. Evangelist Scott Dawson and Mobile State Senator Bill Hightower brought up the rear with 13 percent and 5 percent respectively. All three men worked hard and raised money. It was a daunting task to defeat a sitting governor.

The challenge now goes to youthful, vibrant, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, who captured the Democratic nomination with a brilliant and impressive victory.

642

Maddox’s win may have been more impressive than Ivey’s. He had to defeat a field of five. He did so, like Ivey, without a runoff. He also received 55 percent of his primary vote. His closest challenger was former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, who got 29 percent. Former Cullman State Representative James Fields ran third in the Democratic primary with 9 percent of the vote.

Polling revealed three months out that Kay Ivey had an insurmountable lead. Remarkably, the same polls had her with the almost identical 30-point lead three weeks out. Her numbers were 45 to Battle’s 12, Dawson 9, and Hightower 4 in mid-February and again as late as mid-May.

The only way to diminish that kind of lead is to go negative. Battle refused to go negative, which negated any chance he had to overtake her. He was the only one of the three with the financial resources to decimate her numbers. He chose to use his campaign largesse to buy name identification. He is probably planning on making another run for governor in 2022. Thus, making this his get acquainted race. Kay will more than likely not be a candidate for reelection in 2022, if indeed she survives the November general election against the Democrat Walt Maddox.

All three dawdled with the scheme to go after Kay’s age, cognizance, and health. The first to use the ploy was Hightower. In a veiled way to draw attention to Kay’s health, he released his medical report. Dawson and Battle followed suit with statements from their doctors saying they were fine. The media took the bait and smelled blood. They caught Kay off guard and off script.

She first gave some ambiguous, befuddled response. Then when her campaign handlers had time to survey the scenario, they realized that all the three men did was to get a written statement from their primary physician that simply stated they were in generally good health. Well, Kay could do that. The issue was diffused and laid to rest.

Presidential candidates cannot get by with broad, benign statements that they are fine. They are made to reveal their medical records and history. This is sometimes pretty private and quite revealing. Every medical problem, procedure, medication, and disease contracted is shown.

There is a reason that Bill Clinton did not release his medical records.

The gentleman award in the GOP Primary goes to Mayor Tommy Battle and Preacher Scott Dawson in the Governor’s race and State Senator Rusty Glover in the Lt. Governor’s race. They were vibrant and positive. Their sincerity and candor were refreshing. They gave hope that good people will enter Alabama politics. However, they also gave renewed credence to the old adage, “nice guys finish last.” This maxim is especially true in politics.

One of the most interesting stories of this year’s gubernatorial election is that when Kay Ivey was a student at Auburn University 52 years ago, she cut her teeth in politics campaigning for Lurleen Wallace for governor. Lurleen won that race going away. In 1966, Governor Lurleen Wallace defeated 10 male opponents without a runoff. She is our only elected female governor in our state’s history. Ironically, if Kay is elected in November, she will be our second elected female governor.

Kay Ivey also made a special friend at Auburn. She and Jimmy Rane met and bonded at the Loveliest Village on the Plain. Rane, better known as the Yellow Man from his commercials, founded Great Southern Wood Company and has forged it into one of America’s great companies. Rane runs his company out of Abbeville and still resides in his native Henry County.

Rane and Ivey have remained fast friends over the years. He has been an integral part of her campaign. He has been her largest personal contributor. In addition, she used Rane’s Great Southern jet to fly around the state on her final day of campaigning.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

2 weeks ago

Beware, Alabama Republicans: Low Dem primary turnout doesn’t necessarily mean large-margin November wins

(W.Miller/YHN)

Now that the dust has settled and we’ve weeded out some of the pretenders from the contenders, things look pretty good for Alabama Republicans.

Despite a gubernatorial primary that wasn’t all that competitive, incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey’s decisive win Tuesday makes her seem nearly impossible to beat. If the three Republicans aggressively canvassing the state of Alabama couldn’t land a meaningful punch on Ivey, then how could a Democrat in overwhelmingly Republican Alabama be expected to do so?

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, the Democratic Party nominee, also avoided a runoff Tuesday night. He dispatched former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, a well-known, long-established entity in Alabama’s Democratic Party, without a runoff Tuesday.

692

But he failed to even come close in the vote tally. Ivey finished with 330,743 votes – more than the 283,081 votes garnered by Democrats, including Maddox’s 154,889, combined.

On Wednesday morning, that was one of the big talking points from Republicans and right-leaning pundits in Alabama being used to dismiss the prospects of Walt Maddox being Alabama’s next governor.

There’s no question Maddox is a long-shot. Even with the enthusiasm of Doug Jones’ 2017 win in the rear-view mirror, it is hard to see “blue lightning” striking twice in the Yellowhammer State.

However, don’t assume Tuesday’s tallies indicate Ivey will win by the same margin reflected in those tallies.

First of all, in Alabama, given most of the action is on the Republican side of the ticket, a lot of Democrats participate in the Republican primary. Much like the top of the ballot, the down-ballot races, where a lot of local policy is determined, the winner of the GOP primary is the sure thing in November. Therefore, the numbers in a Republican primary versus the number of voters in a Democratic primary isn’t necessarily indicative of the Republican-Democratic voter ratio in November.

Second, some Democrats tend to only participate in general elections. Liberal voters that would cast a ballot for a Democrat tend to be younger. Younger voters don’t participate in these preliminary elections. In the 2014 midterm election cycle, Alabama voter turnout in the primary was 21 percent. Later that year in the general election, it was 41 percent.

In the 2014 primary, GOP nominee then-Gov. Robert Bentley earned 388,247 votes and Democratic nominee former U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith 115,433 votes. Based solely on that, Bentley should have defeated Griffith by a 77-23 percentage margin.

But he didn’t. It was a little closer, a 64-36 percentage margin.

Even the biggest Republican cheerleader would have to admit that Walt Maddox is a more formidable opponent than Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat Parker Griffith.

Third, this is a midterm following a presidential election. Historically, the party in power, in this case the Republican Party, has struggled after a presidential election.

Trump is trending in a direction that defies this historical norm, but don’t discount that norm. The “blue wave” Democrats have been anticipating for the last two years might not be a tsunami. But you can’t entirely dismiss it.

Democrats may have peaked too early. They went very hard and very negative immediately after Trump’s inauguration and left very little in the tank for the midterms.

But don’t underestimate that Democratic Party enthusiasm, especially compared to current Republican Party enthusiasm.

Finally, there seems to be a moderation underway in suburbs of Alabama’s metropolitan areas. The 2017 special election showed us that given the right circumstances in places like Homewood, Fairhope, Auburn, and Tuscaloosa, dispirited Republican voters could be persuaded to go beyond just sitting out an election. They could be convinced to go the polling precinct and mark a ballot for a Democrat.

Furthermore, the explosion of growth in Lee and Tuscaloosa Counties due to the expansion of higher education in America has made those traditionally reliable GOP-voting counties less reliable.

Consider this: Look to the east in Georgia and what is happening.

Georgia is still for the most part a Republican state. But the growth of Atlanta has made it where the GOP can’t take things for granted. As Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile grow, there could be a similar phenomenon underway in Alabama. That’s not to say a shift in Alabama’s voting trends will happen overnight, but it could be a long-term issue, and the GOP should make sure it is getting ahead of that trend.

In the 2017 special election primary for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat, 423,282 ballots were cast for 10 candidates on the Republican side, and 165,006 ballots were cast for the eight candidates on the Democratic side.

One might have looked at those tallies and wondered where Democrats, even in a best-case scenario, could muster up enough votes to come close to competing with the eventual GOP nominee. But they did, and they won.

Kay Ivey certainly isn’t Roy Moore. However, beware of assuming one can extrapolate from Tuesday results what will happen in November.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

3 weeks ago

Kay Ivey is not Roy Moore, Democrats need to figure this out soon

(W.Miller/YHN)

You almost start to feel bad for Alabama Democrats — the election of Sen. Doug Jones in 2017 has fried their brains.

They truly seem to believe that Alabama is a purple state. They believe that Gov. Kay Ivey’s re-election is in doubt because Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox is a candidate who can lead them to victory in Alabama.

They believe that the “blue wave” is a thing and Alabama is about to take part in it.

This stuff is not a real thing outside of the social media world.

163

But Democrats are already trying to nationalize this election by talking about the #BlueWave’s lesser known cousin #FlipTheSouth:

Or go to war with Trump … in Alabama:

Why this matters:

Ivey isn’t Moore, and if they can’t find a silver bullet to use against Kay Ivey she is going to trounce Maddox and demoralize Alabama’s Democrats. The media and their Democrat allies truly believe Sen. Jones won his election, but he did not.

The 2017 special election was won by Democrats because Republicans stayed home. Unless that happens again, Maddox has no prayer.

The details:

— Jones won because he got 92 percent of Clinton’s vote total from 2016 while Moore just got 49 percent of Trump’s. That won’t happen again.

— Ivey more than doubled Walt Maddox’s primary total.

— Ivey also beat all Democrats combined.

— Second-place GOP finisher, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, only trailed Maddox by roughly 10,000 votes.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

4 weeks ago

Alabama deploys Guard helicopter, crew to Mexican border

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr)

Alabama is sending a National Guard helicopter and guardsmen to help patrol the Mexican border at the request of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s office announced Friday that the helicopter and five guard members will support the Texas National Guard in partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

71

The state will dispatch a UH-72A Lakota helicopter on Tuesday, along with a flight and maintenance crew, from an aviation battalion based in Birmingham.

Ivey’s office said the crew will be an additional tool for the “observation and tracking of illegal activity in the region,” but the soldiers will not be conducting law enforcement operations.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Sign-up now for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.

1 month ago

Alabama governor opposes release of Judith Ann Neelley, convicted in slaying of Georgia teen

(AL DOC, Ivey Campaign)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is opposing parole for a woman convicted of killing a Georgia teenager more than 35 years ago.

Ivey is urging the state’s parole board to reject an early release for Judith Ann Neelley.

Members are scheduled to consider her case on Wednesday.

Neelley was convicted with her husband of killing 13-year-old Lisa Ann Millican, who was abducted from a mall in Rome, Georgia, in 1982. The girl was sexually assaulted, injected with drain cleaner, shot and dumped into a canyon in northeast Alabama.

59

Neelley was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die, but Alabama Gov. Fob James commuted Neelley’s death sentence to life in 1999.

Neelley’s lawyer said she wanted to waive the hearing, but paperwork wasn’t filed and it’s scheduled in Montgomery.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Sign-up now  for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.

1 month ago

Hightower runs for Alabama governor on flat tax, term limits

State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile)

State Sen. Bill Hightower is stressing his background as a businessman as he runs for governor on a sweeping platform of government overhauls that includes term limits for legislators and replacing the state income tax code with a flat tax.

The Mobile Republican says he believes long-serving politicians have become the “enemy of improvement” in Montgomery.

Hightower’s platform includes limiting legislators to three consecutive terms, establishing a flat tax income tax and ending budgetary earmarks. Legislators would have to approve the measures.

60

Hightower is challenging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in the June 5 Republican primary along with evangelist Scott Dawson and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

A relative newcomer in state politics, Hightower was first elected to the Alabama Senate in a 2013 special election.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Sign-up now  for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.

1 month ago

‘Rick & Bubba’ radio’s Burgess warns Kay Ivey ‘is going to be a Roy Moore, part two’ — ‘Walt Maddox is going to walk into Montgomery’ (AUDIO)

(Screenshot/YouTube)

Friday on the Birmingham-based “Rick & Bubba” radio show, co-host Rick Burgess sounded off on what the future may hold if current Gov. Kay Ivey wins the Republican gubernatorial nomination next month and is in a head-to-head match-up with potential Democratic Party nominee Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

Burgess, a supporter of Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Dawson, was responding to a caller that was seemingly a supporter of Ivey and offered a warning to those willing to support Ivey given any circumstances.

According to Burgess, such blind support sets up a potential repeat of Alabama’s 2017 special election GOP U.S. senatorial nominee Roy Moore’s performance, who lost narrowly to Doug Jones last December.

325

“That’s the problem with politics now,” Burgess said. “Some of y’all get upset because we think a different candidate should be in and all of that. Look, go vote your conscience and vote what you think is best. I will tell you this – there seems to be some similarity with the Kay Ivey supporters — they have that Roy Moore feel. No matter what this person does, or what they do – we’re going to defend them on every turn and we’re going to push them to the end of that election.”

“My concern for the state of Alabama is if all of you push her through, as some of you want to do no matter what comes up, no matter what is said, no matter what she does – you’re going to get to October and you’re going to run into another formidable Democrat – Walt Maddox out of Tuscaloosa, and Walt Maddox is going to beat her,” he continued. “Because all of this playing nice with her right now – ‘How dare you bring up this ADECA thing! That’s mean!’ It’s the first thing that has ever been brought up of anything negative, even if its true. The Democrats, they can’t wait. I’m telling you, the Paula (sic) Todd thing was them outing themselves a little bit. They’re going to go after all of these things that nobody wants to talk about, OK, because you want to be nice.”

“They’re not going to be nice in October, I promise you,” Burgess added. “And it is going to be a Roy Moore, part two. They’re going to bring up everything they can find and its going to turn off some evangelicals that will say, ‘Maybe I just shouldn’t vote at all,’ kind of like what happened with Roy. And Walt Maddox is going to walk into Montgomery.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 month ago

Listen: Scott Dawson acknowledges knowing possibility Kay Ivey sexuality rumors raised — Denies it was his intent

(Screenshot/YouTube)

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Dawson appeared on Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 “Matt & Aunie” radio show Friday to discuss the controversy tied to his efforts to highlight the potential misappropriation of Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) grant money to the LGBTQ activist group Free2Be.

Dawson initially raised the issue in two press conferences earlier this week, which led to State Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) posting a tweet that acknowledged rumors about Gov. Kay Ivey’s sexuality.

In a sometimes-contentious exchange with co-host Matt Murphy, Dawson insisted it wasn’t his intent to play up those rumors when he first raised the ADECA issue. However, he acknowledged those rumors might be associated with his efforts.

689

Exchange as follows:

MURPHY: Do you understand why people see the timing of it and believe the reason you did it three weeks out was to bring up the rumor Kay Ivey was gay?

DAWSON: If they want to believe that – I can’t choose other people’s thoughts. I can’t determine other people’s actions like I realized this week. I told y’all at the very beginning I am a fallible person. But when I was looking at this, we knew we were going to get this out as transparency and being accountable in front of the people.

MURPHY: In the press conference before Patricia Todd’s tweet, before all of this blew up – before the press conference. You referenced the rumors. You said I’m not here to talk about rumors or spread rumors. What rumors were you talking about specifically?

DAWSON: I mean, OK. You said everyone in politics has heard the rumor that our governor is gay. She has come out and flatly denied that, and I understand that. But, during that time –

MURPHY: So, you knew that there would be a connection made at the time you held the press conference.

DAWSON: I tried my best to stay away from that and bring it toward the transparency of government. That’s what I was focusing on –

MURPHY: But you knew that someone was –

DAWSON: How do you avoid that? Do you just not talk about it?

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY: If you knew the connection would be made, how do you avoid someone like me saying that it serves your purpose to get that rumor out there because it benefits you politically?

DAWSON: I don’t know how in the world you cannot discuss that community, and not go, ‘Hey, I’m not here to dispel that. I want you to look at this organization. I want you to look at where this money is going. That’s where we were focused on. If you go back and just – anyway, look at the video.

MURPHY: So, you knew at the time the press conference was held that someone would bring up the rumor Kay Ivey was gay publicly?

DAWSON: No.

MURPHY: Then why did you bring up the rumors?

DAWSON: I did not –

MURPHY: You brought up the rumors.

DAWSON: I was trying my best to focus us on transparency of government. I was trying my best to keep us away from that, and unfortunately, someone did something.

MURPHY: But when you say something like, “You know, I know that there are rumors going out there,” don’t you know members of the press are going to go, “What rumors is he referring to?”

DAWSON: OK, now you’re accusing me of not know, but you’re saying you do not know.

MURPHY: No, I’m saying you knew specifically what rumors you were talking about. You admitted that this morning.

DAWSON: I was trying to avoid that.

MURPHY: Then why did you bring it up?

DAWSON: I was trying my best to keep us toward this for the for-cause of what we wanted to do with ADECA. That is where we were.

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY: Why did you bring up the rumors? You knew someone was going to associate with the rumor Kay Ivey was gay.

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY: Did you, or did you not know that? That’s why you brought up the rumors.

DAWSON: Did I know what? You’re backing me into –

MURPHY: You said there are rumors out there, and I can pull up the quote. You know what you said in the press conference. This was before Patricia Todd before anybody brought up any of that. You said, “I knew there were rumors out there.” You were referring to the rumors Kay Ivey was gay.

DAWSON: Well, I guess in that situation I was.

MURPHY: So you knew at the time of the press conference that your press conference was going to bring this up?

DAWSON: It’s not about that.

MURPHY: But don’t you accomplish your goal? Don’t you accomplish a goal in that?

DAWSON: A goal? The goal for me is for-cause about what we need to do for that. We’re going to have a difference of opinion on that, I guess.

MURPHY: That’s fair.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 month ago

Patricia Todd takes ‘personal responsibility’ for ‘outing’ tweet, but won’t offer full apology to Ivey on Birmingham radio

(Screenshot/MSNBC)

Friday on Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 “Matt & Aunie” radio show, outgoing State Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) gave her first remarks since posting a tweet that publicly acknowledged the existence of rumors that Gov. Kay Ivey was gay.

Ivey promptly dismissed Todd’s claim by calling it a disgusting lie. And also, as a result of that tweet, One Orlando Alliance, an LGBTQ advocacy group in Central Florida, rescinded a job offer to Todd.

After a brief dialogue about her beginnings in politics, Todd explained her reasoning for the tweet and what she suggested was a hypocritical culture in politics that inspired it.

853

Remarks as follows:

I take personal responsibility for the tweet. And I will take all of the heat that comes with it. I will stand up and do that as an adult and try to move forward. It’s been a valuable lesson for me. I wish there was a pause button on Facebook — you know, let’s take 30 minutes to think about this before you push that button. I did it in haste.

I was frustrated by the Governor’s comments about Free2Be funding, and I reacted. That is one of the negative sides of social media is those words are there forever. And I made a decision that I needed to come and talk to you all and talk to the people — take the heat. I mean, it has been brutal what some people have said about me. And honestly, I don’t care about people who don’t know me. I have gotten that for 12 years. I get emails and phone calls that call me everything but a child of God, and they always attack the way I look — that I’m fat and ugly, and you know, I don’t care.

That doesn’t hurt my feelings. But it was brutal with people in my own community came out and attacked. That’s been an interesting lesson for me to learn, and obviously, I have touched a nerve about outing. And I want to make it clear to everybody that you don’t ever out an individual. You know, I’m 63. I’ve witnessed some conservative Christians who talk about their faith all the time, and have voted against my interests. At the same time, they have skeletons in their own closet. That’s frustrating. This isn’t the first time this has happened.

There’s been many, many Republicans or conservatives that have been outed, and they vote consistently against us. And so, I want to make that distinction clear. This was not — it wasn’t like, ‘OK, I want to out Joe Smith.’ That was not the case. It was my frustration in hearing people, you know, saying negative and disparaging things about my community. At the same time, the rumors abound about themselves. That’s what spurred it.

Murphy asked Todd if she owed Ivey an apology, to which Todd said she was uncertain.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “You know, as public officials pretty much our life is scrutinized in various ways. I might apologize for the inappropriate way I said what I said, but I think she can take the heat.”

“I know this sounds like I’m wishy-washy on this,” she said. “Apologies sound like, ‘Oh, I did bad. Please forgive me.’ I got to stand up and take responsibility for what I did and what I said, and suffer the consequences that I already have. I would apologize that I frame my message wrong, and I wish I had addressed the issue of her disparaging remarks versus trying to out her. If I could go back and have a rewind button, of course, I would do things a lot different, but I don’t. And I’ve got to suffer the consequences of my actions.”

When asked if she believed that Ivey was “gay,” Todd declined to answer but added she didn’t think Ivey would identify as gay.

“I refuse to answer that question,” she said.

“Let me clarify that — I don’t think she would ever identify as gay,” Todd added. “An identity — there’s a lot of men who have sex with men that don’t identify as gay. But they still have relationships with men. It’s not the identity as gay. It’s, ‘Have you ever had a romantic relationship with a woman?'”

Co-host Andrea Lindenberg pushed back on Todd’s reply by saying that Todd was still basing her comments on rumors that she didn’t know were true, and they could have easily been said about anyone. Todd claimed there was a distinction between the governor of Alabama and others.

“Well, we don’t, but you haven’t said disparaging remarks about my community and signed into law legislation that hurts us,” Todd replied. “That’s what I responded to.”

The Birmingham Democrat also took exception to Ivey’s terminology regarding Todd’s tweet.

“I guess I would pause here and say, the comment here about this being a ‘despicable lie’ — it almost felt like she thought that accused of being gay was despicable … disgusting, and there’s nothing wrong with being gay,” Todd said.

She dismissed any ties to Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Dawson and said it wasn’t her intention to promote his campaign.

“It was not my intent to elevate him in any way, or be a part of that discussion,” Todd said.

Todd listed Ivey’s signing a bill into law that restricted adoptions for same-sex couples and her remarks she made after the Supreme Court’s decision that legalized same-sex marriage as instances when Ivey had taken “hurtful” stances against the LGBTQ community.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 month ago

Watch: Scott Dawson, Rick Burgess lay out issue with Gov. Kay Ivey awarding federal grant money to Free2Be

Thursday on the “Rick & Bubba” radio program, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Dawson elaborated on why he raised the issue of Gov. Kay Ivey’s distribution of federal grant money through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to Free2Be, an organization described as an LGBTQ activist group that has an apparent questionable past.

Earlier this week, Dawson held two press conference raising the issue. Dawson received backlash and was accused of having an ulterior motive by raising the issue, especially given outgoing State Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) used the announcement to advance the rumor Ivey was gay.

However, with the aid of “Rick & Bubba” co-host Rick Burgess, the two dismissed the notion there was any other intent behind raising questions about the grant money and explained why that it was an issue.

171

“Some things have happened that were not really the original intent,” Burgess said. “I know there’s a lot of other commentators that they’re so certain this was the original intent, and this was intended all along, and they’ve been in politics. … Whatever the case is, I know you as a man, and they don’t. And I know the conversations that we’ve had.”

Burgess went on to emphasize that whether the money was federal or not, it wasn’t relevant because “the money belongs to the people.”

Dawson explained the purpose of making the case at multiple stops statewide given the timing of the June 5 GOP gubernatorial primary.

“Whenever I found something out, I was just trying to make sure people knew about it,” Dawson added. “I’ve gone back in my mind, and have kind of researched this. The reason why we did it across the state is that we’re three weeks out from the election.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 month ago

Scott Dawson ally ‘Rick & Bubba’ show’s Rick Burgess: Patricia Todd tweet ‘might have been a good thing’ for GOP (AUDIO)

Thursday on his syndicated “Rick & Bubba” radio show program, co-host Rick Burgess, a supporter of Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Dawson, speculated on what might have caused Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) to post a tweet questioning the sexuality of Gov. Kay Ivey.

Burgess’s comments were in response to a caller’s remarks about Todd’s tweet. The caller suggested the tweet set Ivey up for the sympathy vote in next month’s Republican gubernatorial primary, and he went on to add that Ivey would be an easier opponent for Democrats in November.

Burgess made the case that Todd may have tipped off Democrats’ strategy for November in a possible general election setting, which he said was a good thing for Republicans.

149

“I thought the same thing,” he replied. “When you saw what happened, I think that it might have been a good thing for the Republican Party because, in my opinion, this is what they were going to do in October. And I think this particular person, Democrat, got angry and kind of launched before this gameplan was supposed to launch.”

“But I feel very confident that was coming from the Democrats,” he added. “They would act like it was not them doing it. But that was going to happen in October if Kay Ivey were to be the nominee. And I think that that strategy just got outed, no pun intended, quicker. So, I think the Democrats showed their hand a little bit on that.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 month ago

‘Disgusting lie being pushed by a paid left-wing liberal political operative’ — Alabama Gov. Ivey responds in TV interview (VIDEO)

(Screenshot/WVTM)

Wednesday in an interview with Birmingham NBC affiliate WVTM, Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) denied being gay in response to a tweet from Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) posted a night earlier.

A spokesman for Ivey immediately responded with a statement and called it “a disgusting lie being pushed by a paid liberal political hack.”

She elaborated on that statement in the interview with WVTM’s Jeff Eliasoph that aired on WVTM on Wednesday afternoon.

Watch the interview below:

94

“This most recent personal attack against me is beyond disgraceful,” Ivey said. “It’s a disgusting lie being pushed by a paid left-wing liberal political operative. There is absolutely no truth to it. It’s false. It’s wrong. It’s a bald-faced lie. And I’m not going to let them get away with it. Whether these attacks are malicious or ignorant or both – they represent everything that’s wrong with politics today.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

1 month ago

Alabama’s race for governor bores us … but shouldn’t that excite us?

(Campaign)

Hardly anyone is paying attention to the race for the Republican Party’s nomination for governor this year.

That’s because the campaign is sort of boring. All four candidates are qualified, rational, reasonable and respectable people, and we lack a serious crisis or pressing issue upon which to contrast their differences.

But isn’t that a good thing?

266

Unlike in years past, when I look around our state I think to myself, “Gosh, everything seems to be going quite well.”

I look at our State Legislature and see leaders who are conservative, dedicated and serious.

I look at our business sector and see a thriving, growing environment.

I look at my community and see a culture that has largely withstood the assaults from the left.

And then I look at the four candidates for the GOP nomination for governor and think, “I would be happy voting for any one of them.”

I’ve never been able to think that before.

We have the matriarch, the businessman, the pastor, and the thinker, and who I vote for may simply come down to how I’m feeling on June 5th.

Should the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” be on my mind, I’ll likely vote for Gov. Kay Ivey.

If I’m thinking even more jobs would be even mo’ better, then Mayor Tommy Battle will be my man.

If I happen to read something in the news that shows our Christian world and life view under attack, then I’ll respond by voting for evangelist Scott Dawson.

And if I’m feeling that we need someone who has a firm grasp of, and commitment to, authentic conservative principles, I’ll fill in the circle beside State Senator Bill Hightower’s name.

Meanwhile, I’ll spend some time writing a little about each, why I like them, and the attributes they could bring to the office.

It might be a boring race … but I’m getting pretty excited about what comes next.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

1 month ago

Low voter turnout expected for primary

(Wikicommons)

We are less than four weeks away from our June 5th primary. Those of us who follow Alabama politics have pointed to this year as being a very entertaining and interesting gubernatorial year.

However, last year’s resignation by former Governor, Robert Bentley and the ascension of Kay Ivey from Lt. Governor to the Governor’s office has put a damper on the excitement we anticipated in the governor’s race.

Kay took over the reins of state government and her appearance as a seasoned veteran of state politics seems to resonate with voters. Polling indicates that the governor’s race is hers to lose.

Therefore, the less she does may be the best course. Her support is a mile wide and an inch deep. A slip and fall could derail her train.

545

Her perch reminds me of a story surrounding the last truly colorful southern governor, Edwin Edwards of Louisiana. Ole Edwin had a wide lead like Kay’s in the polls a few weeks prior to his race for reelection as governor of the Pelican state. The press asked him about two weeks out about his significant lead in the polls. Edwin’s reply was, “Yeah, the only way that ole Edwin
can lose this race is to get caught in bed with a dead woman or a live boy.”

Tommy Battle, the popular Mayor of Huntsville is poised to make a formidable run at Kay in the closing weeks. He has some money in the bank and will come out of the vote rich Tennessee Valley with a good friends and neighbors vote. The Evangelical Roy Moore voters appear to be coalescing around Evangelist Scott Dawson.

My guess is that Walt Maddox, the young 45-year old Mayor of Tuscaloosa is benefitting from a grass roots support among African American voters in the Democratic primary. If indeed this is the case, Maddox will be favored to capture the Democratic nomination.
Will Barfoot has emerged as the frontrunner in the closely watched open Montgomery/River Region Republican seat. Incumbent State Senator Paul Bussman is in a close contest with Cullman City Council President Garlan Grudger. Polling indicates that this one may be too close to call. Bussman’s departure from the GOP Senate Caucus has given his constituents the
perception that he may be rendered ineffective. This district is politically savvy.

Veteran educator, Wayne Reynolds, may be poised to win the State Board of Education District 8 seat in the Huntsville-Tennessee Valley area being vacated by Mary Scott Hunter. Mary Scott and Sam Givhan are battling for an open state Senate seat in Huntsville. This race is one of the best Senate races in the state. Both Givhan and Hunter are heirs to great Alabama legacies.

Givhan’s grandfather was legendary Black Belt State Senator Walter Givhan. Ms. Hunter’s daddy, Scott Hunter, is one of Bear Bryant’s famous quarterbacks.

Speaking of legends, Alabama political icon, Milton McGregor, was laid to rest a few weeks ago. He would have been 79 today. Montgomery’s Frazer Memorial Methodist Church was overflowing. A good many of the state’s past and present political powers were there, including several past governors and a sitting U.S. Senator.

One of the state’s most famous and personable preachers, John Ed Mathison, presented a masterful sermon. He is a great man. He and his wife were best friends with Milton and Pat.

It was actually a joyous political homecoming event. As folks were visiting and reminiscing, one of Alabama’s most prominent pulmonary physicians, Dr. David Thrasher, who has been a doctor to many famous Alabamians and was one of Milton’s pallbearers was visiting with me and said, “Steve, I was at Governor Wallace’s funeral when Franklin Graham spoke and it
doesn’t compare to this.” Then he quipped, “Steve, I got a call from Billy Graham. He said that he had met a nice guy at breakfast by the name of Milton McGregor. Milton said to tell John Ed to remind the people down here that if they did good and believed in Jesus that they could be a winner too and join him.” That’s what John Ed said.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

1 month ago

GE Aviation opens Alabama factory complex to produce unique materials

(Made in Alabama)

GE Aviation opened factory complex in Alabama Wednesday that will be the only U.S. location to produce unique materials used to manufacture ceramic components poised to revolutionize jet propulsion.

The center in Huntsville is comprised of two adjacent factories standing on 100 acres, where silicon carbide (SiC) materials will be mass produced. The plants are critical in enabling GE Aviation to produce ceramic matrix composites (CMC) components in large volume.

CMCs have ultra-lightweight properties and can withstand extremely high temperatures, making them an ideal material for use in the hottest portions of jet engines.

369

“After years of research and testing, GE Aviation and our partners have cracked the code on mass producing CMC material,” GE Aviation executive Mike Kauffman said at a plant-opening ceremony today.

He added: “The impact of these materials will be felt around the globe.”

AEROSPACE LEADER

GE Aviation executives joined Governor Kay Ivey and state and local officials at the plant-opening ceremony, which comes more than two years after the company announced the project.

“Alabama is recognized as a leader in the aerospace industry, and Alabamians are setting the standard in aerospace manufacturing, development and maintenance,” Governor Ivey said.

“When a company with a reputation like GE Aviation chooses to locate in our great state, it says a lot about our state and the quality of our workforce.”

GE Aviation currently employs 90 people at the Huntsville production site, a number that is expected to double in the coming year. At full production, employment should reach 300.

Production is projected to begin at the sprawling facility in the fourth quarter. Investment in the project has already exceeded $150 million and is expected to reach $200 million.

“This is a great day for the State of Alabama. This is a great day for the City of Huntsville. This is a great day for GE Aviation,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said. “The partnership that we will build over the years is a partnership that will help each of us succeed.”

CUTTING-EDGE FACTORIES

At the Huntsville plant complex, one factory will produce SiC ceramic fiber, the raw material used to make the unidirectional CMC tape being produced in the neighboring factory. The CMC tape will be used to fabricate CMC components for jet engines and land-based gas turbines.

The fiber plant is modeled after the SiC fiber factory of NGS Advanced Fibers in Japan, a joint company of Nippon Carbon, GE, and Safran of France. The expanding NGS operation is the only plant in the world today producing CMC fiber on a large scale.

Demand for CMCs is expected to grow tenfold over the next decade driven by rising jet engine production rates.

This is not GE Aviation’s only cutting-edge Alabama factory. The company also produces fuel nozzles for next-generation LEAP engines using additive manufacturing at a facility in Auburn.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

2 months ago

Alabama Gov. Ivey’s doctor says she is in ‘excellent health’

(Ivey Campaign)

Responding to her primary challengers and questions about her physical condition, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey released a letter from her doctor on Wednesday saying the 73-year-old is in “excellent health.”

In the brief letter, Dr. Brian Elrod wrote that he sees “no medical issues that would prevent (Ivey) from fulfilling her obligations as governor.” Elrod said Ivey has received regular check-ups. “Governor Ivey has had physicals for the past 15 years, and she is in excellent health,” Elrod wrote.

Ivey’s campaign released the letter after State Sen. Bill Hightower and other challengers in the June 5 Republican primary released their own medical information, including test results, and challenged other candidates to do the same.

223

Ivey, who turns 74 in the fall, would be among the oldest governors to take office in Alabama if elected in November. Her campaign said the letter should settle any questions.

“Sorry to ruin your misguided publicity stunt, but we’re confident you’ll find new ones. Meanwhile, Governor Ivey is going to stay focused on fighting for her conservative agenda to keep Alabama working,” Ivey campaign manager Mike Lukach said in a statement.

Hightower, 58, argued Wednesday that the letter provides scant actual information about Ivey’s health. He said he’s “glad Kay has decided to release a letter” but expected more details.

“A letter from a doctor without any details is not a great deal of information from which to make a decision,” said Hightower, who released copies of his medical test results, including blood tests and a cardiac stress test.

“Knowing this is a demanding job, I released my medical records,” Hightower said. “It isn’t about age. It’s about can you do the job.”

Another candidate, evangelist Scott Dawson, released his own doctor’s letter describing the results of a recent chest X-ray, an electrocardiogram to examine heart function, and bloodwork. His physician said Dawson has no evidence of cardiovascular disease or past strokes.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle’s doctor, meanwhile, wrote that he has no evidence of underlying illness, and Battle only takes medication for seasonal allergies.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

2 months ago

Ivey: Alabama ‘stronger’ than it was a year ago

(Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

Gov. Kay Ivey says Alabama is “stronger” than it was a year ago.

In a campaign stop in south Alabama, she stressed improvements in the state’s economy and named companies that have announced projects in the state over the last year.

Ivey became governor last year when her predecessor resigned in a scandal and is now seeking to win the office in her own right.

65

Ivey faces evangelist Scott Dawson, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and state Sen. Bill Hightower in the Republican primary.

Her challengers have indirectly raised the 73-year-old frontrunner’s health. All three released medical information after a challenge by Hightower.

Ivey dismissed it as a “publicity stunt.” She said if he, “has a problem with my age, he ought to come out and just plum say it.”

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)