5 months 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

Sierra Club endorses Joe Biden, calls him ‘champion for climate justice’

Emphasizing its agenda of “climate justice,” the California-based environmental group Sierra Club announced its endorsement of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday.

In a release touting its intent to elect what it termed “climate champions up and down the ticket,” Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune outlined the desire of his group to defeat President Donald Trump.

“We are confident that Joe Biden will be the champion for climate justice that America needs in the White House,” Brune stated. “As Americans head to the polls in November, our country will be facing crises on multiple fronts, including a climate emergency that disproportionately harms communities of color. This may be the most consequential election of our lives, and it is critical that we replace Donald Trump with a leader who understands the scale and urgency of the climate crisis and is ready to take bold action to solve it.”

Sierra Club has maintained an active presence in Alabama this year.

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In May, Secretary of State John Merrill declared Sierra Club an organization “threatening the economic livelihood of Alabama’s own businesses” through what he called a “shortsighted political agenda.”

Merrill cited lawsuits initiated by Sierra Club to restrict Alabama energy production as part of his contention that the group’s effort in the state would kill jobs.

“The Sierra Club, which is based out of San Francisco, California, does not represent Alabama thinking or values,” Merrill wrote. “It is troubling to see out-of-state activist groups working to influence our state’s power supply and its workers.”

In March, Sierra Club was among the environmentalist groups which descended upon the Alabama Public Service Commission to oppose natural gas usage for power generation.

Sierra Club endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

1 hour ago

Madison County Commission says it will not break the law to remove a Confederate monument

Alabama is obviously not immune from the racial strife gripping the United States. In recent months, we have seen statues come down, a state representative attended a birthday party for Nathan Bedford Forrest, small riots and acts of vandalism.

Like most Americans, Alabamians have generally accepted that the Confederate memorials all over the state on courthouse squares and in public parks are going to come down. Some are headed to cemeteries, some are headed to storage, and the fate of many is still unknown.

In Madison County, the Huntsville City Council and the Madison County Commission have both voted to move its controversial Confederate statue, and a new resting place at Maple Hill Cemetery has been selected. However, the monument still remains.

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That monument was vandalized last week, and Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong did not want to use taxpayer resources to clean it up, so it stands defaced and ugly near the steps of the Madison County Courthouse.

Strong appeared on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” on Monday and made it clear he wasn’t going to clean it up or force county employees to do so, but he hinted that if someone wanted to clean it up in the dead-of-night, like when it was vandalized, they should have at it.

In the interview, Strong voiced frustration with recent reporting that indicated he and the Madison County Commission have not reached out to Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office seeking a way to remove the statue and pay a $25,000 fine.

The commission views this as a non-starter. Strong believes attempting to “negotiate” breaking the law is a violation of his oath of office. Instead, he “filed an application of waiver with the committee based on a law that was written in 2017,” he advised.

Strong is worried about precedent, saying, “[T]here’s a lot of hesitation in contacting the attorney general. What happens if the next time someone that somebody desires to remove the name Jefferson Street, Washington Street or they don’t like the name on a building? What do we do? Just go in here and let somebody set a fee, pay the fee, and say hey just remove whatever you want to?”

My takeaway:

This is what should be done. The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act is the law of the land and it has been upheld.

Obviously, Chairman Strong is right. The law needs to be followed, and if it is unwieldy, change the law. If you don’t, we will be seeing attempts to move historic markers, veterans memorials and the like that are followed by the presentation of a cartoonish $25,000 check.

Society cannot just ignore the laws we dislike and pay a fine and move on. The precedent is bad, and the Madison County Commission and its chairman want no part of it.

Listen:


Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

2 hours ago

ICE announces arrests of two illegal aliens in Alabama, including for attempted murder

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday announced two recent Alabama arrests by its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division.

According to a release, HSI made the pair of arrests in the Yellowhammer State on July 22.

Agents of the HSI Birmingham office reportedly arrested Christian Martinez, 32, a Salvadoran national and U.S. fugitive, on two state charges of attempted murder, as well as a charge of shooting into an occupied dwelling and another for being an alien in unlawful possession of a firearm.

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HSI Birmingham worked with the United States Marshals Service on Martinez’s arrest on a fugitive warrant at a work site in Mountain Brook. ICE is also pursuing federal charges for unlawful firearm possession. Martinez was booked into the Jefferson County jail and given a $150,000 bond. This is an ongoing, HSI-led investigation, according to the release.

Additionally, HSI Huntsville arrested Iris Ferreira-Cardoso, 49, a Brazilian national, for alleged violations of federal immigration law.

Agents from HSI Huntsville and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations were part of a federal-local law enforcement collaboration that reportedly arrested Ferreira-Cardoso at a residence in Owens Cross Roads in Madison County. He will remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

ICE advised that both Martinez and Ferreira-Cardoso are aliens who were in the United States illegally.

Martinez is alleged to have illegally entered the country without being inspected or paroled by an immigration officer on an unknown date and at an unknown location.

Ferreira-Cardoso was previously removed from the United States in 2005. He is believed to have returned after that time, allegedly illegally entering without being inspected or paroled by an immigration officer on an unknown date and at an unknown location.

“People in these communities can rest easier knowing that these two violent criminals are not roaming the streets in search of their next victims,” commented Acting HSI Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama.

“The United States should not be viewed as a safe haven for violent criminals fleeing justice in their own countries,” he concluded.

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

2 hours ago

Saban: ‘Players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home’

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban on Monday afternoon weighed in on the player-led #WeWantToPlay movement to save the 2020 college football season.

In an interview with ESPN, Saban commented on the movement that is in part led by Crimson Tide star running back Najee Harris.

The movement, less than a day old, has quickly gained steam, garnering public reactions already by President Donald Trump, other prominent elected officials across the nation and many in and around college football.

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Speaking to ESPN, Saban pushed back on the notion that student-athletes will inherently be safer if the season is not played.

“I want to play, but I want to play for the players’ sake, the value they can create for themselves,” Saban said.

“I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety,” he outlined. “Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a 2% positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of the July. It’s a lot higher than that in society. We act like these guys can’t get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they’re in a bar or just hanging out.”

The legendary coach noted that the SEC has already pushed back the start of its season to September 26 to allow the fall semester to resume before final decisions are made on football.

“It’s going to be a challenge when the other students get on campus, and I get that,” Saban remarked. “But we really don’t know what that entails until it happens. It’s a big reason we pushed the season back, to assess that, which is the prudent way to do it.”

Bama senior All-American offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood also spoke with ESPN, strongly stating his position. He underscored that players need to have a voice as conferences and schools make decisions.

“There’s a lot of noise and bad stuff out there about playing football with the virus going on, but I haven’t really seen anything about what the players want,” Leatherwood told ESPN. “We’ve been grinding all summer, and you don’t want it to be all for nothing.

“The story that needs to be written is that we want to play,” he added. “We take risks every single day, especially in this sport, and life shouldn’t stop. If there is a chance for long-term effects if you get it and people don’t feel comfortable, then don’t play. Everybody is entitled to their right. But we want to play, and we’re going to play.”

Harris, speaking to ESPN, praised Saban’s leadership.

“Coach Saban listens to his players and wants to hear from us first,” the running back advised. “He told us that none of this is about him, but it’s about us. He wants to hear our concerns, and we made it clear that we want to play and feel like Alabama is doing everything they can to make sure we can play safely.”

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth backed Saban on the matter in a tweet.

“I’m with Coach Saban on this one. The player are much safer on campus and at practice than back home. For the players sake, let them play,” he commented.

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

3 hours ago

Birmingham, Huntsville rated best business climates among cities their size

Business Facilities magazine has ranked Birmingham and Huntsville as two of the most business-friendly cities in the United States.

Birmingham was ranked as the number one most business-friendly mid-sized city, and Huntsville took the number one ranking for small cities.

The same magazine ranked Alabama as the fourth-most business-friendly state in the nation, behind Texas, Virginia and Tennessee.

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Ed Castile, director of Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), told Made in Alabama why he believes Alabama received good grades in business rankings.

Castile said it is because the state has “an available workforce with an extraordinary work ethic, world-class companies that choose Alabama and hire our citizens, a business-focused Governor and Legislature who are totally engaged in our workforce strategies, and a Secretary of Commerce who helped create the Accelerate Alabama strategy that is the foundation of all our work.”

Business Facilities is a national publication that targets the industrial development and site selection industry. It has been publishing for more than 5o years.

“Alabama, home to thriving automotive and aerospace sectors, continues to expand its reach,” the publication wrote about the Yellowhammer State.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95