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5 years ago

Top 7 most conservative Alabama legislators

Alabama State House
Alabama State House

1. Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise

Rep. Barry Moore
Rep. Barry Moore

Freshman representative Barry Moore is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He’s a founder or investor in multiple successful businesses, most notably Barry Moore Industries, a commercial waste management company based in Enterprise. Every vote he casts in the legislature is informed by his extensive private sector experience.

If it’s about smaller government, lower taxes, less spending or decreased government regulation, Moore’s going to be with you 100 percent of the time.

With Ft. Rucker located in his district, Moore has also been a leading advocate for military families. He shepherded a bill that made it easier for active duty military personnel to get in-state tuition, and a similar bill making it easier for military spouses to get business licenses. He also sponsored a bill that would’ve reduced unemployment benefits for certain persons receiving pension payments.

The vote that most illustrates Moore’s rock-ribbed conservatism occurred during the 2011 session. A bill to extend unemployment benefits was passed overwhelmingly in the House by a vote of 94-1. The one “no” vote? Barry Moore.

In a state house packed full of Republicans, Moore is the most dependable conservative vote in the Alabama legislature.

2. Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle

Rep. Ed Henry
Rep. Ed Henry

Known among his colleagues for his sense of humor and willingness to say — and tweet — exactly what’s on his mind, Rep. Henry really hit his stride as a legislator during the 2013 session.

He was the lead House sponsor on the Omnibus Gun Bill, giving Alabama what proponents of the bill called “the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country.” The gun bill was one of the most contentious pieces of legislation during the 2013 session. When negotiations got heated between staunch Second Amendment advocates, business interests, law enforcement personnel and other stakeholders, Henry was a steady, constitutional-conservative champion, balancing Second Amendment and Fifth Amendment concerns in an effort to build consensus.

Over the last few sessions, Henry sponsored the “Tim Tebow Act,” a bill that would allow homeschooled students equal access to sports and extracurricular activities; a “loser pays” bill to discourage frivolous lawsuits; and numerous pro-life bills.

If you’re a conservative, you want Henry in the room working for you.

3. Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Daphne

Senate Education Budget Chairman Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, speaking at the Business Council of Alabama April 9, 2013
Sen. Trip Pittman

Pittman’s libertarian streak is a little unnerving to his senate colleagues sometimes, but if the preservation of the free market is a big deal for you, Pittman’s your guy. He was even a member of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign team in Alabama.

His top duty in the senate is overseeing the biggest pot of money in state government — the education budget.

The budget has not experienced proration since Pittman took over at the helm.

When he’s not mixing it up on the seventh floor of the state house, Pittman runs Pittman Tractor Company, an Authorized Hyundai Dealer selling and repairing heavy equipments all over south Alabama.

A small business owner who fiercely defends the free market. That’s music to conservatives’ ears.

4. Sen. Phil Williams, R-Gadsden

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams Yellow Hammer Politics
Sen. Phil Williams

Williams is a hard-charging conservative bulldog, a trait that likely comes from his quarter century of military service that included multiple tours overseas — one each in Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier this month, LTC Williams took over command of the 4th Alabama Army National Guard.

In the legislature, Williams has pushed bills on a wide range of conservative issues.

He led the floor debate and ultimately helped win the repeal of the legislative pay raise Democrats gave themselves in 2007. He’s sponsored and supported numerous pro-life bills, including twice carrying the Personhood bill, which declares that life begins at conception. In recent sessions he’s been the lead sponsor on numerous proposals aimed at streamlining and downsizing state government.

Prior to his current private sector gig as an attorney with his own firm, Williams & Associates, LLC, Williams was in full-time ministry for seven years with the international youth outreach organization YoungLife.

5. Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale

Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale
Sen. Scott Beason

Never one to shy away from a fight, Tea Party favorite Scott Beason has been in the middle of just about every controversial bill the Alabama legislature has taken up in recent years.

Want to pass the country’s toughest immigration law? Beason will be the lead sponsor. Want to expand and protect gun rights? Beason’s your guy. Want to repeal Common Core? Beason’s leading the charge.

There are a lot of legislators who could be on this list based on their conservative voting record. Beason’s on here because he’s not just going to vote for it, he’s going to sponsor it, stump for it, yell at the press about it and push his colleagues to support it until it’s finally done.

6. Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Arab

Sen. Clay Scofield
Sen. Clay Scofield

Scofield is the senate’s tort reform champion. He’s led the charge against frivolous lawsuits as part of the GOP’s efforts to make Alabama the most business-friendly state in the country. He’s a guaranteed “yes” vote on any piece of conservative legislation, and a “no” vote on anything that strays from his conservative, down-home roots.

Scofield is also one of Alabama’s most socially conservative legislators. He has sponsored and supported numerous pieces of pro-life legislation since he was elected just three short years ago.

7. Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville

Rep. Kurt Wallace
Rep. Kurt Wallace

Wallace describes himself in his bio as a “Conservative Christian who will fearlessly defend my God, country, and family against all who would do them harm.”

He’s is a staunch defender of Alabama’s right-to-work status. His very first bill in the legislature paved the way to make it more difficult for employee unions to organize using intimidation. It was past as part of Republicans’ “Handshake with Alabama,” a series of bills delivering on GOP campaign promises after the 2010 elections.

He’s earned a reputation around the state house as a calm operator who stands on principle, even when it’s not politically correct or socially convenient.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

10 hours ago

Gordon mayor convicted of voter fraud, removed from office

The mayor of Gordon, Alabama, has been convicted of voter fraud and removed from office.

News outlets report Elbert Melton was convicted Wednesday of unlawfully falsifying ballots when he was elected in 2016.

He defeated challenger Priscilla Wilson by a 16-vote margin.

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This conviction strips him of his office. The Gordon Town Council will appoint an interim mayor to serve until an election is held.

Melton was charged in September with absentee ballot fraud and second-degree theft of property.

Arrest warrants say he knowingly obtained or exerted unauthorized control over $1,700 that belonged to the town.

Prosecutor Mark Johnson says the judge has released Melton on bond. Melton is set to be sentenced next month on the fraud charge.

He still is facing the theft charge.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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11 hours ago

Newly installed Alabama chief justice names a director of courts

Alabama’s chief justice on Wednesday announced that Rich Hobson will serve as his administrative director of courts, a position he held twice under former Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Hobson last year unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Martha Roby in the Republican congressional primary.

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He also managed Moore’s unsuccessful 2017 campaign for U.S. Senate, a race Moore lost after being accused of sexual misconduct — allegations he denied.

Chief Justice Tom Parker also worked for Moore before being elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2004 as an associate justice.

The director assists the chief justice, who oversees the state court system.

Parker was sworn in last week as the state’s new chief justice after winning the November election.

In a statement announcing the appointment, Parker praised Hobson both as an innovator and someone who will help keep “leftist influences” out of the state court system.

“There is no one in Alabama who knows and understands the court system better than Rich Hobson. He is an effective, efficient, and competent administrator who has hit the ground running,” Parker said.

“Like me, Rich is a strong constitutional conservative who shares my philosophy and will help me keep leftist influences out of our court system,” Parker said.

Hobson has three decades of experience in the court system.

He held a variety of jobs before becoming the director of the court system, including court referral officer and managing the judicial volunteer program and the family preservation court improvement project.

Moore twice named Hobson as his administrative director of courts.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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11 hours ago

State Sen. Shay Shelnutt: ‘Maxine Waters needs to leave Alabama banks alone’

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have taken over the House Financial Services Committee, and one Alabama state senator is already pushing back on their agenda.

Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) is the incoming chairman of the Alabama Senate’s Banking and Insurance Committee, and he told Yellowhammer News that he fears the approach Waters and Ocasio-Cortez take could end up harming the Alabama banking community and the consumers who depend on it.

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“Maxine Waters and Ocasio-Cortez have no idea what it takes to build a business and take care of customers day in and day out,” said Shelnutt. “They are going to try to take sound bites that sound good to their liberal base and turn that into policy. The only thing that will end up doing is hurting our hometown banks and the families and small businesses that depend on them.”

Shelnutt sees the measures taken by President Donald Trump to loosen burdensome regulations as a good thing for Alabama’s economy.

“Our banks and small businesses finally got some relief from Trump when he got in there and cut a lot of the red tape Obama left behind,” he continued. “Now the Democrats in Congress are taking over, and they want to put the Obama restrictions back in place and maybe even worse.”

As a first-year chairman of his chamber’s banking committee, Shelnutt thinks his committee can play an important role in maintaining a sound environment for Alabama businesses.

“We have an outstanding group of senators on Banking and Insurance,” noted Shelnutt. “I feel confident we can do some things, from a policy-making standpoint, that will really help our state. We’re committed to helping consumers and small businesses, and we can do that by making sure we have healthy financial institutions.”

Shelnutt thinks there is a lot at stake and said he will continue to closely monitor what happens in Washington.

“There are banks in small communities all across Alabama that are depending on us,” he added. “I hope this is nothing more than posturing by Washington politicians. Bottom line: Maxine Waters needs to leave Alabama banks alone.”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

12 hours ago

Brooks is right — Trump could do the State of the Union in the Senate chamber, but there’s a better location

Shutdown politics are far uglier than normal Washington politics. We have seen veterans locked out of memorials by President Barack Obama, we have seen workers miss paychecks and now we have Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi revoking the president of the United States’ invitation to give his State of the Union address in the House chamber.

None of these were necessary, but President Donald Trump has options to circumvent her ploy to embarrass him. He can’t let her do that.

Her goal is obvious: keep the American people from hearing him speak, remove his ability to take his message directly to the people without her allies in the media filtering it. He has to give a speech.

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Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has suggested the president deliver the address on the floor of the United States Senate. This is all well and good as it would send the appropriate message and would show the president will not be cowed by San Francisco’s congresswoman, but it doesn’t go far enough.

If Trump wants to push back against this “hyper-partisan and shameless” move, as Brooks called it, he should deliver this speech from the United States border.

He should not be in an arena with cheering and chanting fans, he should not be wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and he should not be playing to a raucous crowd with insults and barbs. He should stand at a podium at the Texas desert border wall, with an audience of families who lost loves ones to illegal immigration, border patrol agents and federal employees.

Trump should make a speech laying out the dangers of illegal immigration and explain how Democrats will not negotiate to reopen the border.

He should give a speech that the fact-checkers cannot debunk and the tone-police cannot destroy.

Polling indicates that Americans mostly blame President Trump and Republicans for the shutdown, and after all of the media’s coverage of the shutdown, no one is surprised by this.

More worrisome to the president — a recent poll indicates that only 30 percent of respondents would “definitely” vote for him while 57 percent “definitely would not” vote for him.

Granted it is early 2019, but this has to turn around for him to be re-elected. A “presidential” presidential address during a crisis could start that turn.

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

12 hours ago

Rogers: Missile Defense Review ‘vital’ to national defense

After President Donald Trump announced the release of the Missile Defense Review (MDR) from the Pentagon Thursday, Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-3) released a statement saying the MDR “lays out smart and strategic policies” vital to national defense.

“Missile defense is vital to securing our homeland, our forces abroad and our allies, and will continue to be for the for seeable future,” Rogers said. “This Missile Defense Review lays out smart and strategic policies that will guide our missile defenses and posture to counter our adversaries through an increased focus on advanced technology.”

“I am also pleased to see it builds on many of the policies we have supported in the Strategic Forces Subcommittee for the last several years and look forward to continue working with President Trump to implement these policies,” he concluded.

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Rogers served as chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee the past two Congresses. Now, in the 116th Congress, he serves as ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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