2 years ago

‘This one’s for the girls’: Kay Ivey first Republican woman elected governor of Alabama

MONTGOMERY — Governor Kay Ivey triumphantly strode onto the stage to deliver her victory speech Tuesday night in front of a massive, overflow crowd at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Convention Center, with the country staple “This One’s for the Girls” ringing out in the background.

The song selection signaled the historic message of the night. As Alabama Republican Chairman Terry Lathan told Yellowhammer News, Ivey’s election broke the glass ceiling, as she was the first Republican female elected governor in state history.

It will also be the first time in Alabama lore that a lieutenant governor has become governor and then went on to win the election for a full term as governor.

After the long standing ovation subsided, Ivey began her speech, saying, “The people of Alabama have spoken loud and clear: we want to keep Alabama on the right track and keep Alabama working!”

Her remarks were frequently interrupted by applause, with the sincere appreciation for her supporters and elation of the moment showing for the governor.

“It is with immense gratitude that I stand before you tonight as the next governor of Alabama. I am ever so grateful for your steadfast support, prayers and votes,” Ivey said, adding “Together, we have made history.”

Alabama’s 54th governor then had a jab for her opponent’s camp and the legacy media outlets in the state that tried to convince people she was in poor health.

“The odds were against me. Some said I would never make it across the finish line, while others claimed I was on my last breath,” Ivey quipped. “Well, nothing could be further from the truth! Not only did I finish, we finished very strong. And I am just now getting started!”

Further cementing her message about breaking the glass ceiling, Ivey continued, “Most of you have seen my tv spot about how ‘this is as close I will ever be’ … dreams are possible in Alabama!”

“The last 19 months have been fast, challenging and rewarding. Working together, Alabama has achieved new heights. But we must not rest on our success. With your help and support, I plan to replicate a proven model over the next four years…our best days are ahead of us,” Ivey outlined.

Her speech was uplifting and forward-looking, with Ivey closing by reinforcing that Alabama is headed to new heights.

“I’ve always said I have one simple goal as a public servant. When I walk away, I want to leave things better than when I started. With your help, we will make Alabama a better place to raise a family, own a home, and create a business,” Ivey concluded. “May God continue to bless each of you and the great State of Alabama!”

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

2 hours ago

Fmr State Rep. Ed Henry: Pardon possibility looked bleak at the very end — Came at last minute from Trump at behest of Mo Brooks

Last week, former State Rep. Ed Henry was among 73 individuals to receive an end-of-term pardon from President Donald Trump, but it was not a certainty until the very end, according to Henry, who had pleaded guilty to a Medicare fraud case in 2019.

During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5 on Friday, Henry said the process had actually begun in September and was on track through the end of the year until the events of January 6 ensued.

However, with just hours remaining in the Trump presidency, which included lobbying from U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) and U.S. Reps. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), Henry received word he would receive the pardon.

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“I had desired one but didn’t even know how to do the process,” he said. “A close friend of mine, businessman up here, Tom Fredericks, reached out to Congressman [Mo] Brooks at a breakfast and just said, ‘I need you to look into working on a pardon for Ed Henry. Congressman Brooks — he had known the case. He had followed it, and I had given him all kinds of information about the lunacy of what they were claiming. He agreed, and he said I had never done this before but started the process back in September and just trying to figure out how to do the pardon. Basically, you’ve just got to get enough people to push it through the White House counsel. Senator [Tommy] Tuberville got on board right after he got elected. And then, Congressman Barry Moore from down in Enterprise in the second district has known about the case from the beginning. He and I served in the House together, so he knew the entirety of it. And they started pushing.”

“We were in line to get the pardon I was told probably in December,” Henry continued. “And then, all the chaos that ensued on January 6 kind of changed the landscape, and I have a friend that works in the White House staff — I didn’t know they were still there until all of this started happening — but I was told instead of the list getting longer, which is what typically happens on the last day of the president’s term,  President Trump’s list got shorter. At 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, I got a message from Congressman Brooks that said he said he had just spoken with Donald Trump, and my name did not make the 72 people that were getting a pardon. Congressman Brooks asked President Trump to specifically look at my case and the merits of what had gone on, despite White House counsel. President Trump told him, ‘I’ll look at it, but it is probably too late. I don’t think I can make it happen at this point.'”

“We were a little bit let down,” he added. “But honestly, I felt at peace about it. It doesn’t really define me, and I was ready to move on. And at 10 o’clock, I got a call back from Congressman Brooks that said the President of the United States just called and said, ‘Call Ed Henry. Let him know he’s a good guy. And I’ve got his pardon.’ It took two hours to actually pull all of that together, and at midnight, my phone started blowing up from different people all around the country that I had received the last presidential pardon that Donald Trump gave.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

4 hours ago

Lake Eufaula lands 2021 Bassmaster Team Championship event

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The last spot in the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk will be filled on historic Lake Eufaula as this Alabama fishery hosts the Bassmaster Team Championship and Classic Fish-Off Dec. 8-11, 2021.

Battling for that coveted berth in the Bassmaster Classic will be the grassroots anglers competing at the Bassmaster Team Championship. The team portion of the event will be held Dec. 8-9 and will feature anglers from across the country — 32 states in 2020. The winning duo will not only win a cash prize, but they’ll also lead the charge into the Classic Fish-Off which will take place Dec. 10-11.

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The top three teams through Day 2 — six anglers in all — will have their weights zeroed and then compete individually in the Fish-Off. The competitor with the heaviest two-day total of the group will earn their spot in the Classic. 

In 2020, that honor went to Jordan Wiggins, a 29-year-old Cullman, Ala., resident whose older brother Jesse notched a third-place finish in the 2019 Classic.

“What a wonderful way to end a year,” says Ann Sparks, Tourism and Main Street Executive Director for the City of Eufaula. “We are thrilled to be hosting the Bassmaster Team Championship and showing off what Lake Eufaula has to offer! Most anglers have fished our great lake, but we are excited to show off our changes and improvements to our beautiful town.”

B.A.S.S. has visited Lake Eufaula 17 times for major events, including an Elite Series tournament last year that was broadcast live to an audience of more than 2.8 million. The town itself — with a statue declaring Eufaula as the “Big Bass Capital of the World” — is known throughout the fishing industry as the hometown of legendary angler and lure designer Tom Mann. It’s the home of Mann’s Bait Company and the Johnson Outdoors location where Humminbird electronics are produced.

In addition to the Team Championship event, Lake Eufaula will also host the Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX on May 1.

The tournaments are being hosted by the Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce.

(Courtesy of B.A.S.S.)

5 hours ago

Del Marsh: Legislative priorities include gaming, broadband for remainder of Alabama Senate tenure; Expect gambling proposal next week

Earlier this year, State Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) announced he was stepping down from the pro tempore post, and Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) would assume the role for the 2021 legislative session.

Marsh says he gave up the pro tem position he had held since 2010 to focus on his legislative priorities centered around education.

During an interview with Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5 on Friday, Marsh gave listeners a preview of his efforts, including gaming and rural broadband internet access. The Calhoun County Republican revealed details of his gaming proposal would be “probably out next week.”

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“One of the first things I’m going to be coming out with, and details will probably out next week — I’ve been working for some months on a comprehensive gaming package for the state of Alabama,” he said. “And the reason I’m doing this, Jeff — one is to provide scholarships for our young people — not only to those going to four-year universities — the scholarships to post-secondary, the trade schools that we have such a desperate need for those types of skills in Alabama but I think that a lottery will provide that. On the other side, you’ve heard me talk for some time about the need for broadband and the state of Alabama coverage from part of the state to the other. Rural areas during this pandemic have been unequally served because they don’t have access. I mean, think about the kids out there that are doing virtual learning, and then those that can’t do it at all because they don’t have internet access.”

“I think that a gaming bill can provide a long-term statewide broadband program and provide scholarships for our young people and young adults, who are perhaps looking at career changes,” Marsh added. “That piece of legislation will be a constitutional amendment. It’ll be for the people to vote on. It is my intention to get it through the Senate and the House. I’ve been working closely with leadership in both houses, and I’m optimistic we can get something out. It will tail onto the gaming commission the governor just finished. My bill had already had a lot of those components in it. But we’ve taken the suggestions of the governor’s gaming commission and added them into the piece of legislation, and I look forward to getting that out and letting the people take a look at that early in the session.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

5 hours ago

Auburn basketball begins to find its stride in a 109-86 beat down of South Carolina

The Auburn Tigers have had a rough going in the beginning of SEC play, losing five of their last seven SEC games coming into Saturday’s matchup with South Carolina. However, recent wins against Kentucky and Georgia have put the Tigers on a much brighter path with endless possibilities.

One big factor for the turnaround is point guard Sharife Cooper, who had to work out eligibility issues with the NCAA early in the season.

In the game Saturday, Cooper picked up a double-double by scoring 16 points and recording 12 assists to propel Auburn to a 109-86 victory over the Gamecocks. The 6’1” point guard also managed to snag six rebounds for the Tigers.

Guard Allen Flanigan scored the most points of anyone in this contest, which has become normal for the sophomore this season. Flanigan went 4-6 from the three-point line to help get him to his team-high 24 points.

Defeating the Gamecocks was a big win for this young Tiger team, considering that even the most experienced Bruce Pearl-coached teams have had trouble facing Frank Martin’s squads.

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However, the Tigers were able to get it done in Columbia. The key to the win was getting the entire team involved. Pearl’s group had no problem there with five players scoring in double figures.

This Auburn team made history with 109 points being the most ever against an SEC team on the road in program history. On the record-breaking performance, Flanigan said, “Everybody who comes to Auburn, we come here to make history. We made history tonight.”

Forwards J.T. Thor and Jaylin Williams tied for the most rebounds on Saturday at seven a piece. Auburn’s big men are starting to attack the boards, which is something the Tigers have been missing even from their great teams in recent years. Williams added 18 points to his stat line, which was second on the team.

Williams has been a key player in the Tiger’s offense this season so far, but he seemed to start growing towards a more pivotal role this week. That could pay off for Auburn in the long run, considering he is very athletic with a big frame and a confident perimeter shot.

If Pearl can get Williams more comfortable on offense and give him a larger role, the Tigers will have multiple star players to lean on in crucial situations, which is great for a young team.

The Auburn Tigers improve to 3-5 in conference play. They will have a quick turnaround this week, hosting the 19th-ranked Missouri Tigers on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. CT on ESPN 2. If Auburn wants to climb up the SEC ladder, what better opportunity is there than a team in the top five of the conference?

Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: hayden@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.

6 hours ago

Alabama forest products industry has rich, traditional, bright future

The forest products industry has long been important to Alabama, and the evolution of the industry is ensuring it will continue to play a vital role in the state’s economy.

“As an industry, forest products is evolving,” said Gary Faulkner. “It’s an exciting time, with new technologies, products, sustainable resources, geographical market shifts and other factors creating opportunities for all segments of the industry. But, at the end of the day, everything still revolves around resources – and we have the resources and the business climate to ensure that the forest products industry continues to thrive in Alabama.”

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Faulkner is the forest economic development specialist for the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), the state agency that manages, protects and educates the public about forest resources. His enthusiastic view of the industry’s future in Alabama is shared by Brian Via, Regions Bank professor and director of the Forest Products Development Center at Auburn University.

“The forest products sector has always been very important to Alabama financially,” Via said. “Now, thanks to the commitment to developing new products and reaching new markets, the industry is in prime position to expand.”

Alabama’s forest products industry is among the state’s top-tier manufacturing sectors, especially in rural communities. It produces $4 billion worth of products annually, including nearly $1.4 billion in exports.

Over the past decade, forest products have added 10,000 new jobs in Alabama, along with $6.7 billion in capital investment. Today, Alabama’s wood-based economy accounts for more than 43,000 jobs – a figure projected to grow by more than 10% by 2025 – and more than $2.4 billion in annual payrolls.

While those projections were pre-COVID-19, the industry appears to be weathering the worst impacts of the pandemic. One example is the increased demand for toilet paper from Georgia-Pacific’s facility in Choctaw County, where the company employs 900 and recently completed a $120 million expansion. Two other manufacturers – in Mobile and Cherokee counties – employ a combined total of more than 1,000 Alabamians in producing toilet paper from recycled paper.

“COVID affected all of us in the forestry sector,” the AFC’s Faulkner said. “But the industry has persevered well as a designated ‘essential industry,’ and the trends continue to look good. As we get to the other side of the pandemic, Alabama’s forest products industry will be the right place, at the right time, with the right products.”

Sustaining Alabama’s success and building for the future of forest products lies in managing and expanding the state’s rich timber resources. While forests cover approximately 30% of land in the lower 48 U.S. states, more than two-thirds of Alabama’s land area is covered by forest timberland. In 2019, the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory Analysis reported that Alabama has 42.2 billion cubic feet of standing timber – the largest recorded inventory in the state’s history.

“We do a good job of managing our forests,” said Auburn’s Via, pointing out that for every tree being harvested in Alabama, 1.6 are being planted. “That’s a real asset, and it’s going to continue to be critical for long-term growth.”

At the same time, Via adds, new innovations are emerging to meet the needs of new markets, providing value-added products and jobs from Alabama’s renewable resources while continuing to support a service and supply chain that generates additional jobs and economic activity. Via’s work at Auburn includes research and development of sustainable adhesives, fillers and wood composites. He notes the growing use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) for large-scale projects such as high-rise buildings, which will continue to increase with the update of the International Building Code to allow for greater use of CLT.

For generations, the forest products industry in Alabama has benefited from the combination of soil, water, climate and location that make the state one of the industry’s national leaders. Now, as growing numbers of businesses and individuals are recognizing the competitive advantages of sustainability, Alabama is positioned to build on that prominence.

Helping to accomplish that task is a dedicated network of professionals who understand the needs of the forest products industry and have the knowledge and experience to ensure continued success. That includes numerous state agencies, educational institutions, local economic developers and the state’s utility providers.

“Alabama has a great team,” Faulkner said. “Everybody recognizes the importance of the forest products industry and its future. We can support our industry to be successful, and thanks to the quality of the team we have and the strength of the industry, success is something we expect.”

For more information on Alabama’s Forest Products Industry, visit Amazing Alabama.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)