3 years ago

YHRadio: Mayor Battle hopes to apply his Huntsville strategy for success to ALL of Alabama

Huntsville Major Tommy Battle joins Scott Chambers and Andre Tice on Yellowhammer Radio to talk about his recent announcement to run for Alabama Governor in 2018. Mayor Battle lays out his plan to improve the state, which includes a greater emphasis on education, attracting more economic prospects, and repairing the state highways that Scott Chambers commutes on.

The full conversation with Mayor Battle can be heard on the Yellowhammer Radio podcast or in the video above.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Podcast on iTunes.


Scott Chambers:

We are joined right now on the Yellowhammer news hotline by the one, the only Mayor Tommy Battle of Huntsville, Alabama. Mayor Battle welcome into Yellowhammer Radio. How are you doing, sir?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Doing fine, how are y’all doing this morning?

Scott Chambers:

Livin’ the dream.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Good.

Andrea Tice:

Glad to have you on board. Excited to hear about you throwing your hat into the ring. I think this is the first time a mayor, this is what Scott has told me-

Scott Chambers:

This is true.

Andrea Tice:

That you are the first mayoral candidate to enter the governor’s race.

Scott Chambers:

Not enter the race, but there has never been a mayor in state history to take the office of governor.

Andrea Tice:

Got it.

Scott Chambers:

So how do you feel about your chances, Mayor Battle?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

We’ve never had a mayor elected governor, that’s why we’ve gotten into the problems that we’ve gotten into.’Cause mayors have to solve problems, it’s interesting, we solve problems in the grocery store line. We’re standing there getting groceries, somebody comes up to us and if there’s a problem, we have to take care of them.

And that’s the same way government’s gotta be. It’s gotta be a person to person government, and we’ve been very, very fortunate. In the north Alabama area we’ve had some great successes, and hopefully we can transfer those successes to the state.

Scott Chambers:

That’s a beautiful answer. That’s a great answer. ‘Cause Andrea and I were talking about this off the air. We’ve had no mayor elected as governor, but we need that because you guys, you balance budgets, you work with city councils, you work with the entire state to make your city prosper, and you’ve certainly done that in Huntsville. I first visited Huntsville when I was a kid, and then I guess when I was about 18 years old, I made my first trip solo to Huntsville to visit friends, and I’ve spent many, many weekends in that fine city over the years. And if you go back five years, you go back 10 years, especially 15 years, and you look at the progress in what you have done as mayor of Huntsville, a big pat on the back to you. Because Huntsville is a beautiful city and there’s been so much progress under your leadership.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

We’re real proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. I moved up to Huntsville in 1980 from Birmingham. I grew up in Birmingham down on Rocky Ridge Road many moons ago. Went to Berry High School down there, and 10 to 60 percent of our people are from somewhere else. As we come in, we try to bring good ideas from areas … Some of the not so good ideas, we try to make sure they stay out of our public policy and it’s been a real successful track record that we’ve been able to do in the last 10 years with jobs, and schools, and education … And you know, touching on all the things that really helped our community grow and state grow.

Scott Chambers:

You mention education there, which is a real important thing for the state of Alabama. I know as mayor of Huntsville, you’ve overseen 250 million dollars in new school facilities. If elected governor of Alabama, will you continue that push for better education in the state?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Oh gosh, education is key. It’s paramount to being able to recruit industry and recruit jobs. Mrs. Battle was a kindergarten teacher for 27 years and now runs a little nonprofit that gives back materials to teachers. And education is the key for any of our success that we can have. We’ve got to make that one of the number one issues that’s out there because we have great education in a bunch of areas, in quite a few areas across the state, but then you have some key areas that we’ve gotta work on, and as we work on those key areas, and we can bring those up, it brings our whole economic prospects up for the state.

Scott Chambers:

Excellent. Well you know, that’s … Another thing that I want to talk about, and sometimes we laugh and joke because I drive. I live in Etowah county, in south side, and I drive to the studio every day to Birmingham. So, I drive roughly 140 miles round trip each and every day. I drive on state highways.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Yes.

Scott Chambers:

State highways to someone that drives every day, it’s a pain in my rear, sir, and I know that you have overseen a pay as you go solution there in Huntsville for 500 million dollars in road and infrastructure projects. If elected governor of Alabama, will you assure me and all the other drivers out there we’re gonna have a good road system in this state?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Well, we’ve got to work on the roads. I mean, that’s gonna be key to us. When you start looking at I-65, which is over capacity [inaudible 00:04:13] and everybody knows that little slow down period just because you’re over capacity. And you compare 65 to what Georgia’s done on I-75 going north and south through the state.

Scott Chambers:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mayor Tommy Battle:

I-75 is six, eight, 10 lanes all the way across.

Scott Chambers:

Right.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

We’re sitting here with the majority of 65 is four lanes. You just cannot compare. You compare the economic development of every interchange in Georgia on I-75 versus economic development on our interchanges on I-65. Those are things that you want to invest in, and it is an investment, it costs money, but you have to invest in that to become a prosperous state, to become a state with good jobs and good paying jobs, and to improve your job standards and your quality of living.

Andrea Tice:

Mayor Battle, I have a question. Scott mentioned the pay as you go program which you instituted or implemented at least in Huntsville

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Sure

Andrea Tice:

Can you explain that more to the person who’s not from Huntsville, who’s … This is a new concept and how that works and how it’s benefited your area?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Sure. We’re in Washington, D.C. right now and most of your state highway money and federal highway money is a 90/10 mix. 90 percent federal money and 10 percent local money. We stepped up with the state, and we went to the state because it was crucial that we had some roads built that would keep us on roads prosperity, keep us being able to bring in jobs, bring in industry.

So, we committed 25 million dollars a year to put to roads and road building, and that’s the 25 million dollars a year, year in and year out, that we’ve committed from now until through the foreseeable future. And the state matched our 25 million dollars. So they put up their 25 million dollars.

What it did, it helped them take the money that the state gives [inaudible 00:06:03] and really multiply it so that they can get more road projects out of it because we’re paying more than our fair share for it, and they can use it for somebody else’s match if they need to, but for us it was crucial to pay that just so that we could go ahead and get roads and we could get them into [inaudible 00:06:20] on them in the next seven to eight years. And as we’ve done that … And it’s a pay as you go, it’s not a bonded out, it’s not gonna have our kids paying for it for twenty years. We don’t have that generational debt which I almost call generational theft, which you know, we want something now but we don’t want to pay for it so let’s push it off on our kids. To me I think that’s one of the most important conservative values you can have is that you pay for what you get.

Andrea Tice:

All right, then while we’re talking about money, let me just change the topic just a little bit because there’s a story that came out recently about a woman in Birmingham who was able to defraud the Social Security System for probably roughly 10 years. Even after she was convicted of killing her own husband and that’s where she got the benefits from. Then we’ve got another story coming out of Florida, which is just one state over, of millions and millions of dollars being paid out in Medicaid fraud to people who had fraud allegations against them. So, let’s talk about that whole arena here in Alabama, and what would be some of the first steps you would take as governor to address that issue?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

You know, fraud abuse is something that we all need to jump on but it’s very tough to address situations where most of the work that they’re doing and they’re talking about doing is federal programs being administered federally.

Andrea Tice:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mayor Tommy Battle:

We need to be more [inaudible 00:07:43] out in Washington. I’m in Washington right now and we’re talking to a congressional delegation and our senators and talking about the need for Medicaid. You need to have Block Grants coming down. The state knows how to administer that money much better than the federal government.

Andrea Tice:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Those kind of issues coming back home to us gives us a local control over it so that we can address what’s actually needed but also we can address the wrongs in the system also. As we work through this it’s gonna be very important to us that we continue to go to the federal government and try to get their fingers out of what we do in the state because I really feel like the state and our local officials have a better idea about where we need to go and what we need to do.

Scott Chambers:

So you’re definitely a states’ rights guy there

Mayor Tommy Battle:

(laughs) Definitely a states’ rights guy. I’m a local community guy. It’s kind of interesting, sometimes the state legislature will send things to the cities because they want to kind of control what the cities do and I keep looking at them and say “Man, y’all the guys that don’t want the federal government stepping into your business and then you step into a local situation.”

Andrea Tice:

Yeah.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

So, I think all of us need to stay in our lanes.

Scott Chambers:

Well our guest is Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle who is running for governor of Alabama and in the final few moments here I have one question and then I want to close out and find out who you are. But before we get to that I want to ask, you know the last administration that just left office in Montgomery … The word corruption keeps coming up, time and time again. Alabama politics have been known for corruption. If elected governor of this state, what will you do to cut down on corruption in Montgomery?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Well, I think it’s more important that we walk the walk rather than talk the talk. We’ve had many, many people talk the talk of, “I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that. Uhh, you know, uhh w-we’re all good Christian fellows who- who are running for office.” But more importantly, we’ve gotta walk that walk. For nine years we’ve been able to walk the walk of a good honest government that responds to the people, a government that addresses issues that are important. And that’s the only way to build confidence in your government. You’ve gotta tell the people “Hey, there’s a plan, there’s a strategy.” And the end result to that plan and strategy is jobs, is a prosperous community. And if you can make them understand that and work with them so that they can have confidence in you, that’s the only way to get confidence back in your government. And we have lost confidence in our government over the last three years with everything that’s gone on.

Andrea Tice:

Yes, that is true. I’m glad you’re identifying the confidence factor that’s been lost, the trust factor.

Scott Chambers:

No question. Well, in our final few moments here tell us: who is Tommy Battle? Tell us about yourself, for those that around the state, that in north Alabama, most everyone knows the name, knows who you are. In south Alabama, there’s a few people that may not know who the mayor of Huntsville is. So, who is Tommy Battle?

Mayor Tommy Battle:

You know, I think the biggest thing to say is that I learned a lot of values from my parents. I learned from my parents, my mom and my dad, the value of hard work. Working in the back halls of Britling’s Cafeterias which was the family business. Working back there you [inaudible 00:11:04] and everything else, you learn the value of hard work.

But also, going through … Growing up in Birmingham, working in Mobile part-time to get through school, coming to Huntsville … We’ve been able to have some achievements, and the great thing about it is, going to Montgomery it won’t have to be on the job training. We already have a strategy, a plan that has been very successful in the north Alabama area … Can we transfer that to Montgomery, and make Montgomery successful also, and can we pull back confidence in Montgomery? Those are some of the key issues that I think everybody should look at when they’re looking for their next gubernatorial candidate.

Scott Chambers:

Absolutely. Mayor Tommy Battle, we appreciate you being on with us here on Yellowhammer Radio today. We look forward to continuing this conversation as the campaign moves forward and look forward to having you here in studio with us some time.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

Great, I’m looking forward to it.

Andrea Tice:

All right, have a great time up there in D.C.

Scott Chambers:

All right, take care, sir. Absolutely.

Mayor Tommy Battle:

All right, thank you.

Scott Chambers:

Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle on Yellowhammer Radio we’ll come back and take your phone calls, go through some of the rest of the news of the day. You can listen to the program of course on 101.1 FM, 95.3 FM in Birmingham, and also 1260 AM as well. Check us out online, yellowhammernews.com, tweet the program @yhnradio. Your phone calls coming up next 866-551-9933. We are live from the call, KS.com heating and air studio.

8 hours ago

Sessions makes closing pitch, knocks Tuberville with eight days until election

PIKE ROAD — Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday attacked his opponent for connections to a failed hedge fund and made the case that he was the right choice for Alabama Republicans in next week’s primary runoff.

Sessions’ remarks came during a campaign appearance at SweetCreek Farm Market in Pike Road, a suburb to the east of Montgomery. He and his opponent, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, compete at the ballot box on July 14 to be the nominee that will take on U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in November.

The details of Tuberville’s involvement in a hedge fund that ended in disaster were first printed in the New York Times over the weekend.

“Either he was greedy, incompetent, naive and lacked knowledge; or he actually deliberately participated in an activity that was criminal,” Sessions said Monday about the former coach’s alleged involvement.

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Tuberville campaign chairman Stan McDonald told the Times that Tuberville’s involvement in the hedge fund “was a big mistake, and he’s paid for it.”

McDonald says the coach was “as surprised as anyone” to learn that his partner in the venture, John David Stroud, was engaging in fraudulent behavior with the money in the fund.

Neither the regulating body in Alabama or Washington, D.C. that oversees hedge funds chose to charge Tuberville with a crime, though a former attorney for Stroud alleged Tuberville had knowledge of the dealings. The Times reported that the coach “was not picking stocks, or even a frequent presence in the office.” Coach Tuberville settled out of court after being sued by investors in the hedge fund and reportedly lost all of the money he invested in the venture.

Sessions also brought up a piece authored by an opinion writer at the Washington Examiner that detailed how Tuberville suspended a player for one game after the individual pleaded guilty a misdemeanor: contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The incident in question involved Auburn wide receiver Clifton Robinson allegedly having sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl while he was a 20-year-old college student. The young woman involved in the encounter was visiting her sister on Auburn’s campus.

Robinson was initially charged with statutory rape but later pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was sentenced to one year of probation and 200 hours of community service.

Tuberville suspended Robinson indefinitely while the charges were being prosecuted as a rape but lessened it to a one-game suspension once prosecutors lowered the charge to a misdemeanor.

Sessions believes that the one-game suspension was insufficient.

“You simply cannot place winning football games ahead of responsibilities to young girls, you can’t put winning football games ahead of teaching important life lessons to young men,” Sessions commented.

“I think he made a mistake,” Sessions said of Tuberville.

At the event in Pike Road, the former senator from Alabama continued to express his frustration with Tuberville for choosing not to participate in a debate.

Sessions alleged that Tuberville “promised Bradley Byrne and I” that he would debate if he made the runoff.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) took third place in the initial Republican primary for the U.S. Senate on March 3.

Yellowhammer News asked Seth Morrow, who served as Byrne’s campaign manager, about the alleged promise Sessions talked about on Monday.

Morrow told Yellowhammer that no formal agreement or promise was ever made between the three men to debate in a runoff scenario. Morrow added that he had checked with Byrne himself on Monday to make sure.

Tuberville’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment about the debate assertion. The campaign has in the past maintained that their declining to debate is a matter of prudent strategy.

Sessions continues to say that Tuberville should “come out of hiding.”

With regards to why he was the right choice for voters, Sessions pointed to his conservative record and said he had “come out of the soil” of Alabama.

Sessions argued that he was a staunch supporter of the American First agenda since before Donald Trump began campaigning for president.

He mentioned that two conservative challengers have recently beaten Trump-endorsed candidates, because in his view, those challengers were more effective than their opponents at communicating their support of the president’s agenda. Sessions believes he will be the next member of that group.

Sessions was asked if it was disappointing to be trailing Tuberville in the polls to try and represent the seat he held for 20 years.

“The voters will decide,” he responded. “The polls have often been in error.”

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

10 hours ago

Doug Jones to host Dr. Anthony Fauci for Tuesday press conference

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has a big-name special guest for his next weekly live-streamed press conference regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jones on Monday announced that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci will join him for the remote press conference, to be held Tuesday, July 7, at 11:15 a.m. CT.

Fauci rose to national attention as a leader in the White House’s response to the coronavirus outbreak this spring.

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Jones’ press conerence can be viewed live on his office’s Facebook page.

Fauci’s public appearances have waned recently compared to earlier in the pandemic.

Recent guests featured in Jones’ press conferences include Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

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

10 hours ago

Dale Jackson: Why won’t the Trump candidate act like Trump?

Are we heading toward a Roy Moore 2.0 (even though he ran like 10 times)?

The media and their Democrats sure hope so. They want Tommy Tuberville as the nominee. They want a blank slate that they can paint however they desire.

Look at the stories about Tuberville’s past that are being floated by national media outlets in the last two weeks of the election.

Keep in mind that this is the GOP oppo research, not Democrats with their deep-pocketed allies and their slim hopes to hang on to a blue seat in a red state.

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U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) knows that he needs people to vote against the GOP candidate and not for him. This is just a math question at this point.

Can Jones and his allies in the media (national and local) damage his opponent and make people skip the race?

Doubtful, but I bet there are zero surprises in former Senator Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) record. It’s the main reason so many Republicans are mad at him. They know all about his recusal as U.S. Attorney General and how mad that made President Donald Trump.

Trump wants Tuberville, and Trump may get his way.

But, if Tommy Tuberville is not the Republican nominee after next Tuesday, it will not be the fault of Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump, Clifton Robinson, John David Stroud, the Washington Examiner or the New York Times.

It will be his own fault.

The former football coach has run a campaign for the attention of President Donald Trump while running the least Donald Trump campaign of all time.

The premise that Trump would sit on a lead and run out the clock is absurd, but Tuberville has said that is what he is doing.

Trump wants 10 debates with his opponent, but Tuberville won’t do one.

People say Trump is a counter-puncher, but that is a lie. Trump is an aggressive punch-thrower and is constantly looking to knock his foes out of the fight.

Whether they are worthy of the fight or not, Trump swings away.

Tuberville does not.

When the Washington Examiner brought to the surface a story that has been bubbling on social media and in text messages about a more than 20-year-old allegation that then-coach Tuberville was soft on a player charged with statutory rape, his campaign barely responded.

The most that was mustered in response was from Tuberville campaign chairman Stan McDonald during a weekly appearance on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” who said, “It is something that originates from people who are trying to bring Tommy Tuberville down. So, that is not something we’re going to participate in.”

This was a different time in America, obviously, which is why it will get new legs in a 2020 general election.

Is this politics? Yes. Last-minute campaign noise? Obviously. A reason to swallow the whistle? Nope.

When the New York Times reported on a shady hedge fund that Tuberville was involved in, did his campaign respond?

Nope.

There are allegations that Tuberville’s business partner was involved in a massive fraud that saw him sentenced to 10 years in prison, and the Tuberville response was one of weakness.

McDonald and pro-Tuberville Grit PAC employee Brad Presnall both begged off the question by claiming that the coach was just a small-time football coach who didn’t know any better. The big city folks conned him, too.

Tuberville said he was just a swindled pawn, a victim, and he was manipulated.

“They sued me because I invested in it, and he used my name to get other people to put money in,” he stated.

Could you ever see that from Donald Trump? I can’t.

The facts also paint a different story, but not a better one:

But a review of public court records shows that he had a broader role. While he was not picking stocks, or even a frequent presence in the office, Mr. Tuberville made introductions to potential investors, had business cards identifying himself as managing partner, and leased a BMW and got his health insurance through the company. Its offices in Auburn were filled with his coaching memorabilia. In 2010, he traveled to New York with Mr. Stroud to meet potential brokers for the fund, and was kept in the loop on decisions about hiring, according to email traffic.

But what would Trump do here?

Why would the Trumpian candidate sit back and let this all go on around him without firing off a few tweets taking on the New York Times or the fake news media?

Why wouldn’t Tuberville seek out the cameras, which he could summon at any time, to come take his testimony about what really happened?

None of this dooms Tuberville on July 14. Everyone knows he has a lead.

And we all know the media and their Democrats can’t wait to attack Tuberville on these issues, but the idea that Alabama voters will go into a polling place to vote for President Donald Trump in November while also pulling the lever for soon-to-be-former U.S. Senator Doug Jones is laughable.

The real question in all of this is where is Tommy Tuberville, and why isn’t he punching back? Trump supporters want a fighter and an outsider. His huge early lead was indicative of the outsider part, but the fighter part never materialized.

If that is who Tommy Tuberville is, then he needs to get out there and prove it.

Right now he is taking body blows. Maybe he can withstand them, but that is harder to do while sitting on a lead and hoping he can run out the clock.

Listen:

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

 

11 hours ago

Carl, Coleman lead pre-runoff fundraising in Alabama’s GOP congressional races

The latest fundraising reports have been filed in the respective Republican primary runoffs for the U.S. House of Representatives in Alabama’s First Congressional District and Second Congressional District.

Covering April 1 to June 24, the pre-runoff reports were due by Thursday, July 2 — 12 days ahead of the July 14 election.

Reports filed with the FEC show that Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl, running in AL-01, raised $215,740, spent $183,035 and finished the period with $238,925 cash-on-hand.

Meanwhile, his opponent former State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) reported raising $174,057, spending $192,156 and ending the period with $194,924 on hand.

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The campaigns have also filed 48-hour notice reports in the subsequent days. These mandatory reports only include donations of $1,000 or more and thus do not include all money raised in a 48-hour window.

Carl reported raising $9,500 from June 25 through July 3, while Hightower reported raising $30,950 during the same timeframe.

In AL-02, Wiregrass businessman Jeff Coleman led in fundraising for the pre-runoff report period.

From April 1 to June 24, Coleman raised $328,502, spent $257,761 and finished the period with $132,054.

In comparison, his opponent former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) brought in $92,343, spent $126,784 and concluded the period with $92,583 on hand.

Moore has not filed any 48-hour notice reports for June 25 through July 3. Coleman reported raising $12,500 during this period.

While in different races, fundraising leaders Carl and Coleman share the same fundraiser: EBW Development.

Hightower and Moore are both backed by Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth, which has spent large sums for both candidates during the runoff.

RELATED: Tuberville leads Sessions in final fundraising report before July 14 runoff

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

12 hours ago

Tuberville leads Sessions in final fundraising report before July 14 runoff

The latest fundraising reports have been filed in Alabama’s Republican primary runoff for the U.S. Senate.

Covering April 1 to June 24, the pre-runoff reports were due by Thursday, July 2 — 12 days ahead of the July 14 election.

Respective reports filed with the FEC show that former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville raised $652,389, spent $663,004 and finished the period with $448,204 cash-on-hand.

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Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reported raising $439,734, spending $688,639 and ending the period with $500,331 on hand.

The two campaigns have also filed 48-hour notice reports in the subsequent days. These mandatory reports only include donations of $1,000 or more and thus do not include all money raised in a 48-hour window.

Tuberville reported raising $195,300 from June 25 through July 3, while Sessions reported raising $36,800 during the same timeframe.

The winner of the GOP runoff will go on to face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November.

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