Republican Presidential Campaigns Spar in Mountain Brook

January 31, 2012

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter 

The Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina Republican Presidential primaries and caucuses are over and now the campaigns are beginning to gear up for states farther down the schedule.  Florida votes today (January 31) and the Alabama Presidential Primary is just six weeks away on March 13.  Already the four Republican presidential campaigns are mobilizing their forces within the state of Alabama in a battle for the hearts and minds of Alabama’s Republican Primary voters.

All four campaigns sent their representatives to the Red Mountain Republican Club meeting Monday at Salvatore’s Pizza and Pasta in Mountain Brook, AL.  The debate was moderated by Alabama State Representative Paul DeMarco of Homewood.

Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner, who is the Chairman of the Alabama Newt 2012 campaign, spoke on behalf of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s campaign.  Chairman Waggoner said, “the ultimate goal is to defeat Obama in November.” Chairman Waggoner said he has been friends with Speaker Gingrich for 28 years and was honored to be Speaker Gingrich’s Alabama campaign Chairman. Waggoner said that he had personal reasons for supporting Speaker Gingrich; but that he was also supporting him “because he is a real intellect,” is “the brightest person in the campaign,” and is “the best debater.”  Chairman Waggoner said that Gingrich “does not always win [every debate] but is always competitive and knowledgeable.”   Chairman Waggoner said that he believes the media is trying to prevent Gingrich from getting the nomination because, “as Sara Palin said, I think the main stream media knows that Obama would not clobber Newt Gingrich in a debate.”  Waggoner said, “At the end of the day you are going to know that he (Gingrich) is the true conservative in the race.”  Chairman Waggoner said that the campaign was going well and that they were trying to get Gingrich campaign chairmen in all 67 Alabama Counties.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign was represented by Ms. Caryn Gleason.  Ms. Gleason said that Rep. Ron Paul was the best choice for the Republican Party because he had the greatest appeal with younger voters and independent voters.  Ms. Gleason said that there is a lot of misunderstanding about Rep. Paul’s campaign.  She said that Rep. Paul is “not an isolationist,” but instead believes in a “less interventionist foreign policy.”  Ms. Gleason said that Rep. Paul voted to send American troops to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but opposed invading Iraq.  Ms. Gleason said that a less interventionist foreign policy is favored by younger voters and that most Republican voters favored Rep. Paul’s domestic policies.  Ms. Gleason said that Rep. Paul wants to eliminate five federal government departments, cut federal spending, and get control of our nation’s debt which is growing much faster than is the nation’s gross domestic product.

Former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors represented former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s Alabama Republican Presidential Primary campaign.  Chairman Connors said that we need a president that has actually gone out in the real world and made money and not somebody who has simply studied economic theory.  Chairman Connors said. “I would like a guy (as President) who intuitively gets it (economics)” and who has “private sector experience.”  Chairman Connors said that the federal government needs to be managed like Gov. Romney managed Bain Capital. Chairman Connors also said that he wanted a President with predictability.  We did not need somebody as President who pursues a new idea every day; but rather we needed somebody like former President Ronald Reagan who focused his presidency on two things: defeating communism and making government smaller.  Chairman Connors said that the third most important thing to look for in a Presidential Candidate is electability.  Connors said that the Republican Party needs a candidate who can win more than just Alabama.  The only question President Obama had in Alabama was whether he lost with 37% of the vote or with 39% of the vote.  Chairman Connors said that the party needed a presidential candidate who could win over voters in the swing states that could go toward either party.  Chairman Connors said that Gov. Romney has won more debates than Newt Gingrich has thus far in the campaign.  Chairman Connors said that the Mitt Romney campaign has already set up a large and extensive leadership team in place in Alabama.  Chairman Marty Connors said that both he and the Romney campaign “are in it to win it” in the Republican Primary and beyond. 

Jackie Curtiss spoke for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s campaign.  Ms. Curtiss said that Sen. Santorum “is a family guy”, is authentically pro-life and is the best candidate in the field for pro-life issues, and if elected Sen. Santorum will reinstate President Bill Clinton’s ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy for gays in the military.  Ms. Curtiss said that Sen. Santorum also had the best record on national security and of supporting the U.S. Military.   

In other business, several Republican candidates for office addressed the group and asked the Republicans for their support:

Al Mickle is running, in a crowded field, to represent Alabama’s Sixth District in the United States Congress.  

Judge Suzanne Childers is seeking reelection to Jefferson County’s Domestic Relations Court.  Judge Childers is running unopposed in the primary but faces a Democratic Party opponent in the general election.

David Faulkner is running for Jefferson County Circuit Judge Place 6.  Faulkner has opposition both in the Republican Primary and in the November general election.

Pat Thetford is running for Jefferson County Place 13.  Thetford is opposed in the Republican Primary and in the November general election on November 6th.

 

Stronger bill against cockfighting sought

January 31, 2012

Staff Report
Alabama Political Reporter

A group trying to increase penalties for cockfighting in Alabama plans to bring a sub­stantially similar bill to one in­troduced last year.

The Humane Society of the United States has also asked the Alabama attorney general’s office to investigate the non­profit status of the Alabama Gamefowl Breeders’ Associa­tion, which opposed the 2011 legislation. The Humane Socie­ty accused them of being a “front-group” for cockfighters.

A lobbyist for the Breeders’ Association said the complaint “sounded frivolous” and said previous legislation has been overly broad.
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New view for public schools

January 31, 2012

Staff Report
Alabama Political Reporter

Visitors are expected today in Decatur City Schools. They will get a polite, Southern welcome, but school officials aren’t looking forward to the visit.

State Department of Education representatives will be monitoring the school system to make sure it’s following state and federal regulations.

These visits every three years create a lot of additional work that educators dread.

But new state Superintendent Tommy Bice gave educators from Decatur, Hartselle and Madison hope for relief and more flexibility Monday during a speech to the Rotary Club of Decatur.
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Polls show Romney headed for Florida victory

January 31, 2012

Staff Report
Alabama Political Reporter

PPP’s tracking of the Florida Republican primary wraps up with Mitt Romney at 39%, Newt Gingrich at 31%, Rick Santorum at 15%, and Ron Paul at 11%. Our three days of tracking found very little movement in the race: Romney was at 39-40% every day, Gingrich was at 31-32% every day, Santorum was at 14-15% every day, and Paul was at 9-11% every day.
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Newt Gingrich’s Fear Factor: What If He Loses the Florida Primary?

January 31, 2012

Staff Report

Are the media about to bury Newt Gingrich for the third time, shoveling extra dirt on his campaign casket to just to make sure?

That’s a distinct possibility if Gingrich loses Tuesday in Florida.

A little over a week ago, Gingrich looked like a serious threat to capture the Republican nomination. He had just won a smashing victory in South Carolina, he was dominating the debates, and he had shot into the lead in the Florida polls while Mitt Romney was getting tangled in his taxes.
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How Obama’s speeches compare to our Founders

January 31, 2012

Much has been made of the fact that according to the Flesch-Kincaid scale, President Obama’s latest State of the Union address peaked at an eighth-grade reading level. Additionally, according to the article that first reported the story, Obama’s addresses have consistently scored in this range. In the past 70 years, only one address, George H.W. Bush’s 1992 offering, has scored lower than any of Obama’s. This led syndicated talk-show host and founding generation proponent Mike Church to publish a brief article comparing Obama’s address with Thomas Jefferson’s first annual message in 1801. The results — and they are not pretty or surprising — are found here. This brilliant work led me to think about how other presidents before 1934 would score, most importantly those from the founding generation and those considered to be unintelligent buffoons by both their contemporaries and the historical establishment.

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Good Government Starts With Honesty, Transparency

January 31, 2012

By Rep. Martha Roby

Consider this: a father gives his son $50 to buy boots for a summer job. The son, surprised to find a half-off sale at the store, purchases the boots for $25 and uses the remaining $25 to buy a video game. Later, his father is not happy. The son protests, “I don’t see why you’re upset. The video game didn’t cost you anything because I saved you $25 at the shoe store.” 

 

Obviously, money that was never going to be spent cannot later be claimed as “savings.” That’s common sense. At home, perhaps we chalk up the son’s poor judgment to the joys of parenthood. But when our representatives in Washington play the same game, we ought to call it what it is: a dishonest gimmick designed to create the illusion of savings and hide new spending. 

 

The American people sent my historic freshman class to Washington to end business as usual, restore transparency and accountability, and stop spending money we don’t have. We’re making progress. Despite stiff resistance from the Senate and the White House, we’ve changed the conversation in Washington from “How much can we spend?” to “How much can we cut?” That is no small feat.

However, after a year in the trenches, many of my colleagues and I are dismayed at the dysfunction in the process. We’ve seen firsthand the insider tricks and schemes used to distort the budget, create faux-savings, and hide new spending. We’ve learned that these loopholes are deeply engrained in the rules of Congress, and that both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of exploiting them. 

 

Americans deserve a government that shoots straight. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.” How can the people hold their representatives accountable when Congress distorts the basic facts? In the private sector, such accounting methods would amount to a felony.

 

I am convinced that we can do better. That’s why I’m introducing the Honest Budget Act, legislation designed to root out the budget gimmicks most commonly used by politicians to hide the truth, confuse the public, and run up the national debt. 

 

In the Senate, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions already introduced legislation to strengthen the Senate’s rules against budget trickery. Numerous conservative groups have endorsed Sessions’ bill, including the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and Citizens Against Government Waste.

 

The Honest Budget Act would apply Sessions’ commonsense approach to the House of Representatives, providing rank-and-file members new tools to remove the smoke and mirrors.

 

Our legislation addresses nine specific budget gimmicks that, since 2005, have cost taxpayers more than $350 billion and have consistently added to the burgeoning national debt. Here’s how one works:

When Congress rescinds—or takes back—previously approved spending authority from a federal agency, it can legitimately use that recession to offset increased spending in other areas. However, Congress too often intentionally rescinds spending authority that would not actually have resulted in spending down the road. (In other words, the Treasury was never going to spend the money—whether Congress rescinded it or not.) Congress then counts the phony rescissions as “savings” that can be used to “pay for” something else. 

 

So, when the final 2011 appropriations bill rescinded funds left over from the 2010 decennial Census, it looked good on paper—until you considered that the Census was already over and there was no chance those funds were actually going to be spent. Regardless, the “census rescission” counted as $1.8 billion in savings that Congress used to “offset” new, real world spending.

Under the Honest Budget Act, the Budget Committees would be prohibited from counting rescissions of budget authority that do not produce actual cash savings. Put simply, the son buying boots couldn’t count the $25 discount as savings to spend on another frivolous purchase.

 

Small changes can make a big difference. The editorial board of the National Review recently noted that “cracking down on these deceptive accounting practices would go a long way toward restoring fiscal sanity to the federal budget process” and “would help to tamp down some of these [budget] shenanigans.”

That’s true, but the issue is larger than accounting rules. The legislation addresses the wider culture of irresponsibility and dishonesty that has shaken America’s confidence in government.

 

A budget is a plan for the nation’s future and an annual financial report to the stockholders of the company—in this case, the American people. We deserve the truth. Given what I have witnessed over the last year, the only way to guarantee the truth is to specifically root out and end the gimmicks that so often obscure it.

In many respects, the Honest Budget Act embodies the spirit of transparency and accountability that unites my freshman class, and I am working to line up a majority of my freshman colleagues to join me on the legislation. The bill is a rallying point for those who truly want to put an end to the tricks, gimmicks, and empty promises, and for all who believe that the American people deserve a government that they can trust.

 

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District in the House of Representatives. She serves on the House Committee on Armed Services, House Committee on Agriculture, and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Roby’s legislation, the Honest Budget Act of 2012, is a companion bill to legislation introduced by Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions. 


Beason Credits Immigration Bill for Drop in Alabama Unemployment, Suggests that it Could be Model for the Nation

January 31, 2012

 

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter 

 

The state of Alabama passed the nation’s strictest anti-illegal immigration bill in last year’s regular session of the Alabama Legislature.  Despite an aggressive legal assault on the bill by President Obama’s Justice Department, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, and even several Alabama Churches, most of the law’s provisions went into effect in October.  Since then Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped far faster than the national average.  Is there a relationship between implementing the illegal immigration law and fewer Alabamians applying for unemployment benefits?  The bill’s Senate sponsor, and candidate for Congress, Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale thinks so. 

 

Recently the Alabama State Senator said: “Since the anti-illegal immigration law went into effect, Alabama has seen a tremendous drop in unemployment.  A drop that far outpaces the other states in the region.”  ”In three months Alabama has dropped 1.7 points to a level below the national average.”

 

Sen. Beason also said, “Those who oppose the new law ignore the fact that areas like Marshall County where the illegal alien population was very high have seen unemployment drop 3 points since the law was passed.”

 

In exclusive comments with the Alabama Political Reporter, Sen. Beason said, “If we had not gotten the pushback from the federal government in the courts we would have been able to put even more Alabamians back to work.”  Sen. Beason said that if the federal government would be a “partner with the state instead of a hindrance” we could do even more to grow the economy and put citizens and legal immigrants back on the job.  Sen. Beason said that if you study the graph of where Alabama’s unemployment rate suddenly broke downward and decreased far more rapidly than that of the other southern states; that point was where his immigration bill went into effect in October.

 

In a joint annoucement, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Senate Pro Tem Dell Marsh wrote: “Alabama has by far the lowest unemployment rate among neighboring states, with Tennessee at 8.7 percent, Georgia at 9.7 percent, Florida at 9.9 percent and Mississippi at 10.4 percent. Over the last six months, the average decline in those states’ average unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, while Alabama’s rate dropped by a whopping 19 percent.”   Speaker Hubbard and Senator Marsh credited “a crackdown on illegal immigration (H.B. 56), which sent a clear message that only legal workers could hold jobs here” as well as new tort reform laws and an economic incentives package the legislature passed for businesses hiring new workers for the sudden improvement in Alabama’s long stagnant economic picture.

 

In his exclusive conversation with the Alabama Political Reporter, Senator Beason said that the experience with the anti-illegal immigration laws in Alabama, Utah, and Arizona “show that they (illegal immigrants) will self deport” and that unemployed Americans will take those jobs if they become available.  Sen. Beason said, “the pro-illegal immigration crowd knew that if we did something substantive that we would get results.  That is why they went so psychotic on us.”  Sen. Beason credited the local liberal media, the White House, and pro-illegal immigration groups with helping lower Alabama’s unemployment.  Senator Beason said “the media hysteria” actually encouraged more illegal aliens to self deport out of Alabama than would have with the law (H.B. 56) by itself. 

 

In contrast, President Barack H. Obama said “I believe it (H.B. 56) doesn’t match our essential values as a country” in remarks made to the Spanish newspaper ‘La Opinion.’ “It would be hard to have a more clear contrast than the one we see between what the Republicans support, and what the Democrats and I back. If there’s a high level of participation from Latinos in the election, in states that are very important to the presidential election, it will send an explicit message that we need to pass immigration reform and maybe then the political dynamic could be different, coming into my second term,” President Obama said.

 

Sen. Beason said that he supports a combination of something similar to the comprehensive approach of H.B. 56 nationally with heightened border security.  Senator Beason said that everybody running for Congress say that they support border security when they are campaigning but “My question is: when are they going to do something?”  Sen. Beason said that if he is elected to the Congress he is going there “to get things done” and not just talk about doing something.

 

Earlier, Sen. Beason said, “The critics may whine, but many of our neighbors have jobs again.  I know those folks are thankful for the opportunity to work and support their families, and that opportunity was opened up by HB-56.”

 

Alabama State Senator Scott Beason sponsored the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, commonly known as HB 56, in the Alabama Senate.  Senator Beason’s critics have called him a racist because of his strong stance on illegal immigration and because of his use of the word “aborigines” to refer to Greene Track patrons in a private joke made to other Senators.  Sen. Beason however defends his record saying that the passage of H.B. 56 was a promise made to the people of Alabama when he was reelected and the people of Alabama gave Republicans control of both house of the state legislature for the first time since the 1870s. “I promised that the anti-illegal immigration law would open up thousands of jobs for Alabamians, and it has done that.  People are going back to work” Sen. Beason said. 

 

Sen. Beason is now campaigning for Alabama’s 6th Congressional District against incumbent Representative Spencer Bachus (R) of Vestavia.  In comments recently made to the ‘Alabama Political Reporter’, Sen. Beason said that his negatives, like H.B. 56, and his cooperation with an FBI investigation into corruption involving state gambling magnates and the Alabama legislature would become positives for his campaign.

 

Also running in the March 13 Republican primary are tea party activist Al Mickle, Blount County Probate Judge David Standridge, Tuscaloosa businessman Stan Pate, and Justin Barkley.  The winner of the Republican Primary will face Democratic opposition in the general election on November 6th from either retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Penny Bailey of Leeds or Birmingham attorney Bill Barnes.  Leeds resident Terry Reagin is collecting signatures to attempt to run on the general election ballot as an independent.

 

Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District includes all or parts of Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, Chilton, Bibb, and Coosa Counties.

 

Scott Beason’s press release:

 

 

Speaker Hubbard and Senate Pro Tem Marsh’s press release

 

 

President Obama’s position

 


 

 

Rep. Sewell Recognizes 3rd Anniversary of Ledbetter Act

January 30, 2012

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter 

Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell released a statement to the press remembering the third anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

In her statement Sewell said, “Today we celebrate the sacrifice and hard work of Alabama’s own Lilly Ledbetter, a humble activist, for courageously fighting to ensure that our daughters and granddaughters are equally paid for the work they do regardless of race, age or gender.”

Rep. Sewell continued, “The protections enacted by the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will strengthen American families— because equal pay for equal work is not simply an issue for women; it’s a family issue,” said Rep. Sewell.  “However, we must not forget that the journey to securing equality for our nation’s women is far from over. We must act now to build on Lilly Ledbetter’s work, fight discrimination anywhere it exists and put an end to this and all injustices in America.”

Rep. Sewell said, “In this difficult economy, when so many Americans are already working harder for less and struggling to get by to pay their mortgage, pay for their medications or to simply put food on the table for their children, the last thing they can afford is losing part of their paycheck to blatant discrimination.” “We must continue to do more to level the playing field and restore fundamental fairness to all American workers.”

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was signed by President Obama in 2009, makes it easier for people to sue their employers for alleged wage discrination in court.

According to information, from the National Women’s Law Center and 2009 Census data, released in Rep. Sewell’s statement, the average woman makes 78 cents for every dollar earned by men.  The average Black woman makes 62 cents for every dollar earned by white men.  Hispanic women earn 53 cents for every dollar earned by white men.

Lilly M. Ledbetter from Jacksonville, Al is a former worker at Goodyear’s Gadsden, Al plant who sued Goodyear over alleged gender pay discrimination.  She ultimately lost her lawsuit, but 2009 legislation was named in her honor.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell represents the Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, which includes Birmingham, Demopolis, Eutaw, and Selma.  This is Sewell’s first term.  She is unopposed in the Democratic Party Primary; but will face Republican opposition in the General Election on November 6th.

To read the statement itself:

http://sewell.house.gov/press-release/rep-terri-sewell-recognizes-third-anniversary-lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act

 

Armistead speaks on unemployment drop

January 30, 2012

By Bill Armistead

Alabama led the nation with the largest decrease in unemployment for the month of December with a decrease of .6% from 8.7% to 8.1%. This is the 6th month in a row that the unemployment rate has declined in Alabama. It has dropped from a high of 10% to the December rate of 8.1%. And you should know that this didn’t happen by accident. The Governor and the Legislature passed legislation last year that rewards business for expanding in Alabama and locating in Alabama. The new Illegal Immigration law also has caused jobs to be opened up to many unemployed citizens.
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