6 months ago

The ‘7 Things’ year-end rewind: What Alabamians talked about in 2018

7. President Donald Trump’s treatment of Alabama’s Jeff Sessions

— Trump’s treatment of the former attorney general started in 2017 and never stopped. He blamed him for Robert Mueller’s investigation. Sessions finally ended his tenure in late 2018.

— Even though he was treated poorly, Alabamians disagree on whether it was appropriate. Sessions told a Mobile crowd he still supported the president and was proud of his service as attorney general.

6. Revelations that a tech billionaire and his minions meddled in the 2017 election of Doug Jones comes to light

LinkedIn billionaire Reid Hoffman helped fund a deceptive social media campaign to impact the 2017 U.S. Senate special election. Now, Hoffman, Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall have called for an investigation into the matter.

— While the group involved attempts to downplay the impact the deceptive ploy had, an internal report for “Project Birmingham” said it “had enormous effect“.

5. The Riverchase Galleria shooting and the fallout from the protests finally give some in Alabama their “Black Lives Matter” moment

— A 12-year-old girl and an 18-year-old man were allegedly shot in the Hoover mall on Thanksgiving evening by Erron Martez Dequan Brown. In the chaos that followed, law enforcement shot and killed Emantic Bradford, Jr., mistakenly identifying him publicly as the shooter immediately afterward.

— In the protests that followed, Carlos Chaverst, Jr. emerged as a controversial leader by calling for escalations, joining with national figures like attorney Benjamin Crump. Meanwhile, the attorney general has taken over the entire investigation.

4. An Alabama politician is involved in a corrupt scheme to harm his constituents, goes to jail and takes his accomplices with him

— Former State Representative Oliver Robinson pleaded guilty in federal court for bribes from a Birmingham lawyer and an Alabama coal company in return for opposing EPA actions in north Birmingham. He received a sentence of 33 months in prison, $169,151 to the IRS and the forfeiture of $390,783.

— Robinson’s cooperation led to the sentencing of Joel Gilbert, a former partner at Balch & Bingham, and David Roberson, the former Drummond Company VP of government affairs, to prison sentences and fines.

3. Alabama is still open for business

— As the American economy boomed in much of 2018, Alabama did as well. In January, Alabama secured a 1.6 billion dollar Mazda-Toyota plant for Huntsville. It was such good news that Senator Doug Jones tried to take credit for it.

— It wasn’t just auto manufacturing. Alabama also picked up multiple data centers, an Amazon fulfillment facility and expansion of existing aircraft production.

2. Alabama’s 2018 elections

— While the nation saw a “blue wave” that took 40 Congressional seats from Republicans, ruby red Alabama actually became even more ruby red, as all statewide offices stayed in the Republican column. They also kept all six of their U.S. House of Representivates seats.

— Alabama Republicans already had a supermajority in the State House and State Senate, but they still picked up one seat and five seats, respectively.

1. Alabama’s Democrats continue to remain in irrelevancy with the mainstream media joining them

— If you followed Alabama’s elections in 2018 by reading newspapers or watching television, you probably thought that Democrats were poised to elect a slew of Democrats, in spite of the polling. That obviously did not happen.

— Failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox was promoted as the next Doug Jones, but the dysfunction in the Alabama Democratic Party continued to render the party feckless and a non-factor in state politics.

2 hours ago

Tuberville’s warning on immigration: ‘We have more Middle Easterners coming across that border at times than we do people from Latin America’

As was the case with several of the past elections, immigration will be a significant issue in the 2020 campaign cycle, especially with President Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

The 2020 U.S. Senate GOP primary in Alabama will not be an exception, especially as many Republican base voters are growing restless with congressional Democrats stalling Trump’s effort to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

During an interview with Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, a candidate for the Republican nomination for the 2020 U.S. Senate race, decried the lax border security and added that in some cases Middle Easterners were exceeding the number of those from Latin America coming across the border.

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“The problem that we’re having, and people don’t understand this, is we do need workers,” he said. “We need people over here to work. I’m big on immigration, but we got to get them in there the right way. And we’ve got to know who is here. We have more Middle Easterners coming across that border at times than we do people from Latin America. We do not have a clue who is coming across, and a lot of these people aren’t coming over here to help this country out. They’re coming over here to tear this country down. They are not for the Constitution. They are not for our laws. They are not for the people in this country. They want to tear it down, and we’re not going to let that happen.”

“That’s the reason I’m running because I want the people in this country to have safe neighborhoods, safe streets,” Tuberville continued. “It sounds like a politician, but all you got to do is open up your eyes and look. That’s one of my mottos in this campaign: Open your eyes and look at what’s going on, and let’s get these people out of Washington that won’t do anything and put people up there that will make a decision and don’t care if they go back and get reelected.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

4 hours ago

Roby: Honoring our symbol of freedom

On June 14th, 1777, our country’s flag was officially adopted by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Many years later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that established June 14th as Flag Day, and on August 3, 1949, this day of observance was officially established by an Act of Congress.

Now, every year on June 14th, our country has a special opportunity to celebrate our flag and reflect upon what it symbolizes. The American flag displays 13 horizontal stripes alternating red and white with a blue rectangle, specifically referred to as the “union,” that bears 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine horizontal rows. As you may know, the 50 stars on the American flag represent our 50 states. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the United States.

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While the design of the American flag has been officially modified 26 times since its initial adoption in 1777, the symbolic meaning has remained the same. Whether flown on front lawns across Alabama, in front of schools, universities and businesses of all sizes, or proudly displayed at military installations across this great country, for centuries the American flag has been an inspiring emblem of pride, hope, and freedom for countless people throughout the world.

Whenever I see our flag, I am especially reminded of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have fought to defend it and all it represents. This year, Flag Day comes during an especially important time, as I recently was proud to announce my 2019 appointees to our United States service academies.

Each year, it is my distinct privilege and honor as a member of Congress to nominate students from the Second District to be considered for appointment to the United States Air Force, Naval, Military and Merchant Marine Academies.

This year, I am very pleased to announce that I nominated the following students who received official appointments to the service academies:

  • Daniel Brayden Banner is the son of Dan and Amanda Banner. He is a graduate of Providence Christian School in Dothan, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.Theodore Maxwell Dowd is the son of John and Donna Dowd. He is a graduate of Northview High School in Dothan, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
  • Amore Jacarra Hardy is the daughter of Regina Hardy. She is a graduate of Booker T. Washington Magnet High School in Montgomery, and she received an offer of appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Timothy Jurard McClendon is the son of Emma Lee McClendon. He is a graduate of Carroll High School in Ozark, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Johnny M. Montgomery, III, is the son of Johnny Montgomery. He is a graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Jackson Scott Parker is the son of Scott and Hannah Parker. He is a graduate of Abbeville High School, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
  • Isaac Taylor Sherman is the son of Jeremy and Morgan Sherman. He is a graduate of Prattville High School, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Seth Cameron White is the son of Steve and Terri White. He is a graduate of Wicksburg High School, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Naval Academy.

In the spirit of Flag Day, I believe these students from our communities are to be commended not only for their academic excellence, but more importantly, for their eagerness to serve our great country. I am incredibly proud to join their families, friends, teachers and hometowns in offering my sincerest congratulations and thanks. Our flag will continue to shine as a symbol of freedom because of young leaders like these men and women.

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

6 hours ago

SEC Baseball Tournament at Hoover Met sees record crowds

Record crowds of more than 160,000 people attended the 2019 SEC Baseball Tournament.

The tournament, held annually at the Hoover Met Complex, had an estimated $15 million economic impact on the area.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference three years ago looked for a host site that would enhance the tournament experience for fans. “After reviewing numerous proposals and visiting a number of potential sites, it turned out that Hoover, our longtime home, could provide everything necessary to make it the right venue for SEC Baseball,” Sankey said.

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He said the city of Hoover stepped things up with the Finley Center to house the SEC Fan Fest, the construction of on-site practice fields and, this year, the addition of a new video board.

“We feel those changes in particular have been game-changers in providing the SEC with a ‘baseball campus’ that is unique to college post-season tournaments,” Sankey said.

From May 21-26, 12 teams competed in the double elimination tournament, which was won by Vanderbilt.

Throughout the week, 162,699 people attended the various baseball games and 32,000 of those attendees came through the SEC Fan Fest. The area included access to inflatables, arcade games, a zip line, climbing, miniature golf course, live entertainment, food and beverage options and more. Fans were able to watch the game from a giant flat-screen TV and couches in the large, air-conditioned facility.

“The 2019 SEC Baseball Tournament was a tremendous success at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex,” said Hoover Mayor Frank V. Brocato. “The city of Hoover was able to welcome a record-setting number of baseball fans throughout the week and attendees had many options for activities around the baseball tournament once they arrived at the complex. … It is certainly our privilege to have hosted this tournament for the past 22 years. We look forward to seeing everyone back in 2020.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

7 hours ago

State Sen. Cam Ward: ‘I don’t think you bring back a lottery’ in proposed prison special session

The Alabama legislature was not able to come to an agreement on a lottery this past general session, meaning the body will likely address it in the future.

Could that come as soon as later this year, when Gov. Kay Ivey will reportedly call a special session to address Alabama’s prison system? Given the state’s prisons are under the threat of a federal government takeover, some have suggested that a lottery could be used as a funding mechanism to fix the state’s ailing prisons.

During an appearance on WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster), who has been out in front of the prison issue, downplayed the chances of lawmakers addressing the lottery as part of any prison solution.

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“I just don’t see what has changed since the regular session until now that would make a lottery even feasible to bring up in a special session,” Ward said. “I mean, you look at our state. We’re one of four states that have two budgets. And the bulk of our money goes to the education budget, which has a $400 million growth fund this time, and that’s good. But at the same time, we had a lottery that we passed out of the Senate that money went to the general fund, which is constantly struggling with issues like prisons, Medicaid, and mental health. And it failed in the House because most people want to see it all go to education. I just can’t imagine why a lottery bill would come back during a special session because I’m not sure what has changed since it failed in the House this last time. I mean, unless something has changed that I’m not aware of, I don’t think you bring back a lottery in this special session.”

Ward said he did not see the need for increased revenue to solve the prison problem, noting the significant increase in funding for the Department of Corrections already.

“I think the money is already here,” Ward replied. “I really do. I don’t think you need any kind of increase in revenue. I mean, good gracious we gone from a $380 million budget for prisons just a few years ago. Today we’re at $560 million-$580 million. I don’t think you need to do any more revenue. I think it’s how you handle policy within the prison and how you handle the policy with sentencing.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

8 hours ago

State Sen. Orr: Lottery could be on the November 2020 ballot

The 2019 legislative general session was a miss for lottery proponents. Despite the Senate’s narrow passage of a lottery bill, the House could not come together for passage of its own version.

For that reason, Alabamians will not get to vote on a lottery on the March 2020 primary ballots. However, it could be coming eight months later on the 2020 general election ballot.

During his weekly appearance on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) agreed with host Dale Jackson, who suggested the possibility that if the legislature could agree on a lottery proposal during the 2020 general session, a vote of the people could be forthcoming.

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“Absolutely, the November 2020, it would be a vote of the people,” Orr concurred.

One potential concern for the GOP raised was the possibility a lottery vote on a general election ballot could turn out more Democrats than usual. Orr said with President Donald Trump on the ballot, the lottery on the ballot should not be a significant factor.

“[Y]es, it could bring out votes that would maybe trend to also vote Democrat,” he said. “But being a presidential year, most people that are going to vote are going to vote anyway, and of the 140 legislators in the legislature – I don’t know how many are Republican, we’ll say 110 total – they’re not on the ballot. Then the statewide officers are not on the ballot in 2020. It wouldn’t affect any of them. It’s just the U.S. Senate race that would affect. And you would think that Donald Trump would certainly carry Alabama in the presidential race, it could impact that Senate race, but I think the Republican is going to wipe it up with [Doug] Jones.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.