1 year ago

Tuberville makes closing pitch: ‘We’ve got to have a new voice for Alabama’

MONTGOMERY — Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville on Monday morning made one of the final stops of his “The People vs. The Swamp” bus tour ahead of Alabama’s 2020 Republican U.S. Senate primary, which will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

Tuberville visited with voters at the Cahawba House restaurant in downtown Montgomery ahead of stops later in the day in Pell City, Talladega and Vestavia.

Speaking to Yellowhammer News in an almost 15-minute interview while seated at the restaurant, Tuberville reflected thus far on his first time running for office, hammering away at his campaign’s central point: he is the only true outsider in this race, the one who will be a change from business as usual in Washington, D.C.

With one day left until primary voters go to the polls, Tuberville expressed that he is feeling “good.”

“It’s been a lot of fun, you know. Me and my wife got up this morning at about 5:00, talking about it, talking about how little I’ve been home — I hadn’t been home a dozen or so days. She told me [back] when we prayed about this and decided to do it, ‘Don’t come home until you win.’ So I took her [advice] on that,” he said.

“But the thing about it is I don’t think people really realize the work ethic that coaches put in,” Tuberville continued. “So it doesn’t bother me. I’d leave at five or six in the morning, come home at 11 at night or stay in a hotel somewhere. And after three or four months, my wife said, ‘I’m starting to worry about something.’ I said, ‘What?’ She said, ‘You’re starting to like this.’ But I like people. And that’s what this business is about, it’s about people.”

Tuberville emphasized that meeting so many different people across Alabama has been his favorite part of campaigning.

“There are so many egos in politics, and I got a huge induction into that. But at the end of the day, traveling over the state many times … just going to all the small towns, I wanted to do my due diligence. Because people knew who I was. I wanted to go out and have people personally, as many as I could, hear what I had to say. Not on TV,” he advised.

The former football coach outlined that from his travels, he believes “people are a lot more educated on politics … than you’d think they were.”

“They get into it more [nowadays]. Talk radio and [cable news] television has educated people more,” he added. “So it was fun getting to listen to their ideas and their concerns, what they were looking for.”

‘I’m not a politician’

“You know, I’m not a politician, so if they ask me a question, I’m going to tell them what I think,” Tuberville noted. “And they appreciated that. I didn’t stick my finger up in the air and see which way the wind was blowing, see if it was going to cost me a vote. No reason to do that.”

He underlined that “this is an important election.”

“Maybe one of the [most important] ones in the lifetime of this state and the country, because, first, we’ve got to get this seat back,” Tuberville remarked. “And we’ve got to send somebody up there that’s not going to be afraid of making decisions. I’m going to go up and support President Trump, but I’m going to first be a voice for Alabama. … I’m going to come back here and spend a lot of time talking to people [and listening to their wishes], it’s going to be their vote, it’s not going to be mine. … There’s no reason for me to go up there and listen to special interests and those people; just do it the right way. And I think we’ve gotten away from that [in the country].”

Tuberville lauded the reception he has gotten from voters while on the campaign trail, adding that this does not always translate into votes, especially with the negative advertising against him on television and other mediums as of late.

“You don’t know how that affects people that I haven’t been able to get in front of [personally],” he commented. “I’ve tried to let people know on TV as much as you can, radio, about what I truly stand for.”

He said that after a recent poll showed him leading the field over former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), “all hell broke loose.”

Tuberville explained that he expected the opposing campaigns to respond to that polling with negative advertising against him.

“That’s politics. It’s like when you’re recruiting a great football player, and you’ve got him committed. But they can’t sign for a few weeks. And [other teams] go and do everything they possibly can to convince [the player] that that’s not the right team or that’s not the right coaching staff to play for. They pull everything out of the bag. Sometimes it works, most times [the player] can kind of feel through it,” he added.

“I don’t know how many people we’ve talked to, but our crowds have gotten bigger, more energized,” Tuberville said. “And I think we’re doing good. I just don’t know how to judge it. I don’t look at the scoreboard (polls). Never did. I’m just going to try and get it over the goal-line the best I can.”

“Like my wife said this morning, ‘One thing I’ll tell you, you didn’t leave nothing in the bag. You did it all, all you could do.’ So, let’s pray about it and see what happens,” he continued.

‘Vote ’em out’

Asked by Yellowhammer News what his “closing message” is to primary voters, Tuberville responded, “Everywhere I’ve been, I get a lot of questions — ‘Our education’s all messed up.’ We’ve got to get that straightened out.”

He then stressed the importance of building “the wall” championed by President Trump.

“No pathway for citizenship,” Tuberville underscored.

“Our hospitals and schools are getting overrun by people that don’t need to be in this country,” he said. “They need to be invited (enter legally).”

Tuberville expressed the need for solutions for rural healthcare woes, calling the situation “atrocious.” Pickens County Medical Center in recent days became the 17th hospital in the state to announce closure over the past 10 years.

The first-time candidate subsequently pointed to his support of term limits while noting that until term limits legislation is enacted on the federal level, elections are effectively term limits.

“The one message I’ve been hearing consistently, ‘Coach, we’re for term limits. What are you for?’ I’m for term limits,” Tuberville advised. “And more now than ever before, because we’re starting to get on the left a lot of people in there that their group is just going to continue to grow, and we’re going to get overrun, but term limits are not in the constitution — our term limits are, ‘You go vote, and vote ’em out.'”

“So all those people that are saying, ‘Coach, we’ve got to have term limits,’ this is our term limit tomorrow,” Tuberville emphasized, before lamenting both Sessions’ and Byrne’s respective amounts of time in public office and government service.

“It’s time for them to go home, we’ve got to have a new voice for Alabama,” he stressed.

RELATED: Tuberville: ‘Career, corrupt politicians’ are ‘a disease’ in our country

“People are concerned,” Tuberville subsequently stated. “They’re really concerned, and I think that’s the reason we’ve got a great chance. Because they’re tired of the career politicians. They’re absolutely sick of people going and not representing them but representing the special interests. It’s time that the swamp gets the message.”

He added that he views his potential election as a chance to spark similar Republican outsiders seeking office across the United States.

He expressed his wish that, “[If elected], people across the country will go, ‘My God, look at what they did. Look at what Alabama did.’ Start a precedent that we’ve got to have citizen legislators in Washington, D.C. It’s okay to send somebody that’s had a job, that knows what’s going on, that’s got a sense of what this country’s about and not somebody that’s been in Washington, D.C. 20 years that sat behind a desk and has no clue what’s going on.”

“We’ve got to have different voices up there, because this country’s been running on autopilot for 40-50 years,” Tuberville added. “Politicians haven’t had to make tough decisions, they just want to get reelected. Because we’re such a strong country [we’ve survived], but that autopilot’s about to burn out. … Thank goodness we’ve got Donald Trump. He’s made tough decisions, and what he’s done, too, is that clock runs real slow in government. When he got in there, you can tell how much faster government is moving. He’s told ’em, ‘Hey, we’re going to go to work.’ … That’s the reason we’ve got to get him four more years.”

Tuberville praised the job Trump is doing handling the potential spread of coronavirus into the United States.

“He’s shown his leadership skills in how he’s handled this,” the former coach said.

“We’ve got to have leadership in this country, we can’t have followers,” Tuberville subsequently outlined. “And I think that’s the biggest message I tell people. If we keep sending followers up there that want to go up there for a job [and] don’t want to make tough decisions, we’re going to get what we deserve. And in the long run, we’re going to get socialism. Because the wave is coming.”

He continued, “And we’re indoctrinating our kids in the schools about socialism and not capitalism. We’ve got to get our education straight. It scares me to death that Bernie Sanders looks like he’s going to have a great chance to [win the Democratic primary]. To even have the opportunity to be president of this country as a socialist, communist, just scares the heck out of me. … All the people behind him are from 18-30 [years old], they’re supporting him — it’s all coming from our education. So if we don’t change it, everything else ain’t going to matter.”

Tuberville concluded by reiterating that being a U.S. Senator would be service and not a job for him, as he would not accept a salary. That money instead would be donated to benefit Alabama veterans and/or the families of Alabama veterans.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

U.S. Rep. Rogers on Liz Cheney ouster: ‘We’ve got to be fighting today’s fights and tomorrow’s fights, and not the fight of yesterday’

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is expected to be voted out of her position as House Republican Conference chairwoman, the third-ranking member of the House Republican caucus, and be replaced with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

The move by Republicans has drawn very vocal reactions from the media and other Democrats, who allege that Cheney’s removal is a product of the GOP’s blind allegiance to former President Donald Trump. Cheney had been a frequent critic of the 45th president and remained so beyond his presidency.

During an interview that aired on Tuesday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks), the ranking Republican on the House Armed Service Committee, called Cheney “a close friend,” but acknowledged her comments about the January 6 incident on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. had a lot to do with her ouster. He argued Cheney should have had a more forward-looking focus in her leadership role.

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“Everybody sees it coming,” he said. “Liz is a close friend of mine, but she has made a decision that she is going to use her position as conference chairman not to just promote the position and point out the shortcomings of the Democrat majority and the Biden administration, but rather continue to relitigate what happened on January 6. It is not the job of conference chairman. It is to be the voice of our conference in talking about why we ought to be in the majority and why this majority is wrongheaded, the administration is not doing what the country needs. She has made this conscious choice. You know, we had a vote on this back. I think it was in February. And she survived. And everybody told her then, ‘We don’t care how you vote on the impeachment or any of that. That’s all behind us. You need to be talking about the conference goals and agenda.'”

“That’s what that position is all about,” Rogers added. “She has chosen not to do that. I fully expect [tomorrow] she is going to be recalled, and Elise Stefanik is going to be put in that position because we’ve got to be fighting today’s fights and tomorrow’s fights, and not the fight of yesterday. She just won’t turn loose of it. Now at this point, because she’s my buddy, and I hate that she’s taking this course of action — but she’s a very smart lady, and this is a conscious decision on her part.”

@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.

15 hours ago

How the Regions Tradition led to Alabama’s star-studded vaccine PSAs

You already know the Regions Tradition’s reputation for competition. It’s the first major on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule in 2021, and it produces millions for charities.

But it’s also the place where things get done. And this year’s focus was intended to save lives.

The Bruno Event Team, which manages the Tradition, and the Alabama Department of Public Health used the annual Celebrity Pro-Am tournament as a stage to create a public awareness campaign encouraging Alabamians to get the COVID vaccine ASAP.

The idea, the pitch and the execution all came together in a week. And when approached, the centerpiece of the project agreed to participate without hesitation.

The centerpiece?

Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

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RELATED: College football’s biggest names turn out for 2021 Regions Tradition Celebrity Pro-Am

“Research told us you don’t use national celebrities,” said Gene Hallman of the Bruno Event Team, which produced the spots. “You use local doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Or you use local celebrities. And in this state, no one is better known than Coach Saban.”

In fact, according to a Montgomery pollster the Bruno team consulted, there’s no one more respected throughout the state than Saban. John Anzalone told the Wall Street Journal that Saban’s favorability rating is the highest in the state – 77 percent. That means that even Auburn fans who root against him each week still respect him.

Or, as Anzalone told the Wall Street Journal, “He is a God.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health reached out to the Bruno team to create a marketing campaign for the state’s underserved population, intending for the spots to motivate Black, Latino and tribal populations to get the vaccines. The public awareness videos will run on television and radio stations statewide, as well as on social media.

But as the campaign expanded, the goalpost moved. With federal and state grants provided for that specific reason, “we’re going to try to reach a very broad audience – the entire state,” Hallman said. “We’re not hammering people. We just want to provide an education on the science of the vaccine, so people can make an informed decision.”

And, since it’s Alabama, there’s also another lure: the opportunity to pack college football stadiums at 100% capacity next fall if enough people get vaccinated.

It’s not the first time the tournament known as the Regions Tradition proved to be a catalyst for change.

When the Champions Tour first came to Birmingham in 1992, Hallman’s group was called in to help with a very hush-hush operation. They were told an unnamed group of visitors from Europe, interested in bringing business to the U.S., would be coming to town to see what Alabama had to offer. No other information was provided, but they were to be shown a good time.

Only one problem.

The first tournament was held in August, a notoriously bad time for southern hospitality – at least for people used to cooler weather than the notorious sticky, 100-degree days. But, as luck would have it, an unusual cold front swept in at the start of the tournament, providing record low temperatures that created perfect temps for the visitors.

So, the secret entourage spent a week at the tournament, got to meet popular Champions Tour legend Chi Chi Rodriguez, and spent a day touring a large plot of land outside Tuscaloosa, less than an hour away …  land that would eventually become the site of Alabama’s first automotive manufacturing plant.

As for the vaccine spots, once Saban came on board others followed. The list includes an NBA legend, a college conference commissioner, a U.S. Senator and other coaches. All recorded their parts while participating in the Regions Tradition Pro-Am.

“We asked and they answered in two seconds,” Hallman said. “There was no hesitation. We got them all on camera that day.”

(Courtesy of Regions Bank)

15 hours ago

Governor Ivey urges Alabamians not to panic-buy gas

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday spoke with the U.S. Department of Energy on a call regarding the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, which has caused a shutdown of the pipeline operations.

The pipeline, which is the largest system for refined oil products in the United States, is 5,500 miles long and can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Texas and New York. It is operated by Colonial Pipeline Company, which is headquartered in Georgia.

The pipeline runs through Alabama, as people may remember from a Shelby County leak in 2016 that caused gas shortages in the region. The county is home to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm.

However, Ivey wants to assure Alabamians that the temporary pipeline shutdown should be resolved in the coming days and that any potential gas shortages have not reached the Yellowhammer State.

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“Please do not fill up your car unless you need to and do not fill multiple containers. Overreacting creates more of a shortage. Please use common sense and patience!” Ivey said in a social media post.

The governor’s spokesperson reiterated Ivey’s message.

“She was assured that the pipeline should be operational in a few days,” said Gina Maiola. “She is urging Alabamians and others to not panic and to use good judgement. A shortage has not reached Alabama at this time, and she reminds us that an overreaction would only lead to that. Be courteous, only fill up if you need to, and do not fill up multiple containers. Governor Ivey urges patience and common sense.”

Public Service Commissioner Jeremy Oden echoed Ivey’s words.

“While the state of Alabama is fortunate to this point to not be suffering from gas shortages, there have still been reports of panic-buying and gas price increases,” he said in a statement. “I echo Governor Ivey’s request that Alabama residents refrain from panic-buying, which would only cause more anxiety in the market. As Colonial has stated publicly they are working vigorously to reestablish service.”

The Colonial Pipeline shutdown comes as the average price of gas in the U.S. has risen from $2.112 per gallon before President Joe Biden was elected to $2.985 per gallon this week.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

16 hours ago

Vocational center for construction, electric vehicle, aviation technology fields coming to DeKalb County

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced a $1 million grant to help the Fort Payne Board of Education construct a new vocational center aimed at training students in careers that include construction, electric vehicle and aviation technologies.

The funds come from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.

The new DeKalb County vocation center will prepare Fort Payne high school students and adults for the future while helping to meet the needs of Alabama’s workforce in several career fields.

“Alabama is sounding the call for a skilled workforce and the Fort Payne Board of Education is responding to that demand,” Ivey said in a statement. “This program will ensure that students graduating from high school will be ready for rewarding and high-paying jobs, and that employers will be hiring a qualified workforce to move our state forward.”

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RELATED: Guest: Electric vehicles important for Alabama’s automotive industry

The new Building, Electric and Aviation Technology Center will provide students with a rigorous training program in a workplace environment to ready them for careers.

“The path to rewarding careers does not always go through colleges and universities,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell added. “I applaud the Fort Payne Board of Education for offering other options for students who have the same dreams for successful careers but choose a different path to get there.”

The project is supported by Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro), who chairs the Alabama Space Authority and the legislature’s Aerospace and Defense Caucus.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

17 hours ago

Alabama State Senator Andrew Jones running for reelection

State Senator Andrew Jones (R-Centre) on Tuesday announced he will seek reelection to a second term in the 2022 election cycle.

As a freshman member of the legislature’s upper chamber, Jones currently serves as chair of the Children, Youth, and Human Services Committee.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in the last 2 ½ years,” he stated. “I ran for the State Senate because I had seen first-hand as a business owner and farmer how government impacts hardworking Alabamians. I have worked hard to be the people’s voice in the Alabama Senate and bring much-needed resources back to the people of Etowah, Cherokee, and DeKalb.”

Jones will kickoff his reelection campaign at respective events in Etowah and Cherokee Counties on May 25 and June 3.

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Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) offered his support for Jones’ reelection bid.

“Senator Jones has quickly learned to navigate the ins and outs of the Alabama Senate. He is known by his colleagues as a capable and effective Senator who will do whatever it takes to fight for his district. Andrew is not afraid to take bold, decisive action to meet the challenges our state faces,” Reed said.

Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) echoed Reed’s comments.

“Andrew has been a key voice in our Republican caucus for conservatives policies to improve the lives of everyday Alabamians,” Scofield commented. “Senator Jones is a champion for his local folks, but at the same time he has also won the respect of his colleagues. He has the full support of our caucus in his reelection effort.”

Elected in 2018 in his first run for public office, Jones campaigned on economic development, infrastructure, education and protecting Alabama values. Progress has been made, he now says, on all of those fronts.

“During my campaign, I talked about three infrastructure projects in my district. The U.S. 411 expansion project between Etowah and Cherokee Counties is currently underway, which is a $43 million project. We also recently secured $2 million for the engineering design of the I-759 Eastern Connector, and we are working with local leaders on multiple applications for funding for the Southside Bridge project. Last year, that same application made it to the final round,” Jones advised.

The freshman senator also touted a $2.7 million investment at the Etowah County Little Canoe Creek Megasite through the Growing Alabama Tax Credit Program, an investment which was made possible through an amendment that Jones negotiated to prioritize megasite properties over 1000 acres. He has also supported broadband expansion, incentives for small businesses and workforce training efforts in the Senate, as well as education initiatives to expand pre-K, provide teacher raises, and recruit math and science teachers. Additionally, Jones has backed pro-life legislation, election security measures and Second Amendment protection bills.

In the Senate, Jones has also authored legislation to support the military, incentivize adoptions, promote small farm wineries and repeal the grocery tax, among various other causes. Locally, the Republican has led an effort to repeal occupational taxes in five Etowah County municipalities. In 2020, voters approved a local constitutional amendment sponsored by Jones to designate surplus prison food funds for law enforcement purposes, including school resource officers.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn