Connect with us


District Six Challengers Address Jefferson County Republicans

Brandon Moseley



By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Republicans who are challenging incumbent Congressman Spencer Bachus for the Sixth District Congressional Race all spoke to the Republican Jefferson County Party at their straw poll event at the Trussville Civic Center on Saturday.  Incumbent Congressman Spencer Bachus did not personally attend the event, though his campaign was well represented there.

Alabama State Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale is running for Congress for the Sixth Congressional district.  Sen. Beason said, “I want to talk about the future of the country.”  Sen. Beason said that before he came he was in the neighborhoods campaigning door to door. Sen. Beason said that it is great to be on the front porch campaigning one on one with the voters.  “We all are concerned about the direction the country is going.”  “We are all worried about how our Christian values and principles are under attack.”

Senator Beason said “Just a few years ago we had a Republican President. Republicans were in control of the House and Republicans had control of the Senate.”  “Republicans did not increase domestic energy, did not deal with the social issues, and did not pass the balanced budget amendment.”  “The bottom line is putting Republicans back in charge to fix the problem is not enough.  We need to put conservative Republicans in charge.”  “That is the difference between my candidacy and the current Congressman.  I do what I say what I say I will do. I am not here to make the editorial boards of the newspapers happy.”  “America needs to stir it up and I promise that I will do that if you elect me to the Congress.”

Senator Scott Beason represents parts of Jefferson and St. Clair County in the Alabama State Senate.  Before running for the State Senate six years ago, Senator Beason served in the Alabama House of Representatives.


Al Mickle is running for Congress to represent Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Mr. Mickle said, “We are getting no representation. We have a guy (Bachus) who is bragging that he voted for something that only 1% of the district supported.”  Mickle served in the military as a navy corpsman in both Somalia and in the First Gulf War. “I have walked the streets of Somalia. I didn’t cut and run then, and I won’t cut and run now.”  “I have owned my own business. I know how to make a payroll.” “Government needs to get out of the way of private business and industry.” “Let businesses prosper. Business owners create the jobs not government.”

Al Mickle said, “I still believe America’s best days are ahead of us, not behind us.”  “We are running out of time.” “We have people who are ignoring our freedoms they are shredding our amendments.” Voters need to make changes at the ballot box now or they may have to pick up an ammunition box later. “I promise you that I will restore the Constitution. I will support the people of this district.”

Al Mickle is from Shelby County and has never held any elected office before.

David Standridge also addressed the Republican Party gathering.  “I want to tell you a little about my background. I am the probate judge of Blount County. I live in Hayden. I grew up in a humble background.  I am concerned about what is happening in the country.  What I bring to the table is what I have done as Blount County Probate judge.” Standridge said that Blount County has had budget shortfalls under his watch but they have dealt with them. “We have done something that most cities, most counties, and the nation can’t say. We paid off our long term debt. Its been tough, especially during the economic downturn.”

Judge Standridge continued, “It is easy to say that I am for a balanced budget.  We have done that in Blount County. I believe in a small government, a balanced budget amendment, and a strong military.  We need to develop our own energy resources. I believe in term limits. We need to lower gas prices.”

Judge Standridge said that we can get the country back to its historic greatness, “but we need to get our fundamentals right. I ask you to vote for me for Congress.”

Judge Standridge holds the office of Probate Judge in Blount County.  Blount County combines the offices of Probate Judge and Head of the County Commission.  Judge Standridge has also served on the Blount County Commission.  His career experience has been in law enforcement with the Montgomery Police Department, the Montevallo Police Department, and the Blount County Sheriff’s Department.

Representative Bachus won the Jefferson County Straw Poll with 143 votes followed by Sen. Beason with 120 votes.  Mr. Mickle and Judge Standridge had 13 and 10 votes respectively.

Senator Beason’s campaign accused the Bachus campaign of buying their victory.  In a press release, the Beason campaign wrote “Participation in the event cost $25 per voter. Alabama State Senator Scott Beason came in second with a total of 120 votes while Representative Spencer Bachus won with 143 votes. The Bachus campaign directly purchased 25 tickets for the event and unnamed surrogates reportedly purchased another 40 tickets. Beason supporters paid for their tickets out of their own pockets. Additionally, many Bachus supporters voted only for the congressional contest on the ballot, ignoring even the up-ticket presidential candidates.”

Sen. Beason said, “Just like he’ll be trying in the real election, Spencer Bachus packed the vote with money obtained from the financial institutions which benefitted directly from his taxpayer bailouts.” “Had this been the primary election, I would have made it into the runoff with just one more vote. That’s how close we are to winning this thing. Right now, it’s the taxpayers of the Sixth District versus Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re simply going to have to work a little bit harder to ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t win.”

The winner of the March 13th Republican Primary will face the winner of the Democratic Party Primary, where Birmingham Attorney William “Bill” Barnes is running against retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Penny Huggins Bailey.

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

Hash tags: Congressman Spencer Bachus Alabama Senator Scott Beason Al Mickle Probate Judge David Standridge Jefferson County Republican Party straw poll candidates forum

Continue Reading


ADOC could be held in contempt for failing to meet mental health staffing requirements

Chip Brownlee



The Alabama Department of Corrections could be held in more legal peril for failing to meet multiple deadlines for required mental health staffing in Alabama prisons.

ADOC officials are appearing Tuesday at a contempt hearing before U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. The hearing, which comes nearly 10 months after Thompson ordered ADOC to increase mental health staffing numbers, is the latest development in an ongoing lawsuit over health care in prisons.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which brought the lawsuit, is asking the court to rule on whether ADOC should be held in contempt for failing to fill mental health care staff positions and failing to inform the court of their inability to meet its requirements.

“Prisoners with mental illness in the ADOC continue to receive constitutionally inadequate care,” SPLC attorneys said in a notice of non-compliance when they asked for a hearing earlier this year. “Increasing the amount of mental-health staff is a necessary part of bringing an end to the constitutional violations found a year ago.”

The contempt hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Montgomery. An initial hearing was held in September but was delayed for mediation after ADOC requested clarification over what the order requires for staffing. The SPLC is again asking that ADOC be held in contempt.


Federal Judge Myron Thompson said in his ruling last year that ADOC’s mental health care system was “horrendously inadequate” and ordered broad changes. The ruling said ADOC failed to provide constitutional health care.

The contempt hearing comes months after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a $360 million contract between the Alabama Department of Corrections and the Pittsburgh-based prison health care provider Wexford Health on March 9 of this year.

The health care provider was hired, in large part, to fulfill the state’s requirements under Thompson’s order, but since their hiring, the number of full-time mental health staff has not increased.

Before the contract was finalized, the Legislature approved a $30 million supplement to the Department of Corrections’ funding for last fiscal year — an increase legislators said at the time was needed to comply with the court decision that mandated changes to medical and mental health care in Alabam’s prisons.

ADOC received more than a 20 percent increase to its budget over the next year with the $30 million in additional emergency funding to ADOC’s budget last fiscal year combined with this year’s General Fund.

In its ruling last year, the court found that “persistent and severe shortages” of mental health care staff contributed to the prison system’s constitutional violations.

In February, the court ordered ADOC to fulfill the required level of mental health staffing, which means 263.2 full-time equivalents, or FTEs, by July 1. So far, ADOC has only reached 76 percent of the required levels, or 201 FTEs, according to court filings. Thompson cited that number, which was included in the request-for-proposals that led to ADOC contracting with Wexford Health.

The number of current full-time mental health staff working in Alabama prisons is no higher than March of this year, when ADOC reported 202.6 full-time mental health staff, and far below the 263 full-time equivalents the court ordered the state to hire.

If the court rules ADOC should be held in contempt, parties could face fines and, in some cases, jail time. The SPLC asked that a monitor be appointed to oversee how ADOC is progressing and to keep the Court and the Plaintiffs informed.

ADOC, in a motion filed last month, asked the court to clarify the order requiring that the department hire at least 263.2 full-time equivalents through alterations or amendments because it cannot comply with the order as written.

The department has also asked for a different way to count the number of staff it has.

The contract between ADOC and Wexford defines staffing requirement in terms of hours of service, not full-time positions filled, which is how the court’s order defines it.

“In short, the State cannot practically ensure staffing ‘consistent’ with the Agreement while at the same time insisting that Wexford fulfill the different terms of the Court’s Modified Staffing Remedial Order,” the state said.

The state requested in their motion that the definition of compliance be changed to FTEs hours of service provided instead of defining it in terms of FTE positions filled.

“This revision would permit Wexford to cover the hours of ‘unfilled positions’ with locums, PRN, or overtime work and still be in compliance with the Agreement and the Court’s order,” the state wrote.

In their filing, ADOC said it isn’t clear whether the order would permit the state and Wexford to receive credit for individuals working overtime, individuals working on a temporary or as-needed basis or FTEs taking paid or unpaid leave, which could lead to discrepancies between “FTEs filled” and “FTEs provided.”

“These fundamental inconsistencies between the Court’s Modified Staffing Remedial Order and the Agreement render the State and Wexford unable to comply with the Modified Staffing Remedial Order,” the state said in their motion.

“The State and Wexford, however, remain committed to complying with this Court’s orders and fulfilling their constitutional obligations to provide adequate mental-health services to inmates in ADOC’s custody,” the motion reads.

Continue Reading


Jones introduces bipartisan legislation forbidding mailed unsolicited “live” loan checks

Brandon Moseley



Monday U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) joined Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) in introduced legislation that would end the practice of mailing high-interest loans to consumers in the form of “live” checks.

When consumers receive these loan checks, many unknowingly believe they have received money from their bank or financial institution, not realizing that the check is often a high-interest loan.

The Unsolicited Loan Act of 2018 would prohibit this practice and ensure that consumers access loans only when they proactively apply for them. This legislation mirrors the decades-old prohibition on the mailing of live credit cards.

“As working Americans look to make ends meet, lenders will often target cash-strapped families with these mailings,” Senator Jones said. “It is unconscionable that someone would take advantage of another person’s dire financial situation to make a quick buck for themselves. We need to end this predatory lending tactic and pass this legislation to protect consumers and their pocketbooks.”

“People should understand clearly when they are taking on debt,” Senator Cotton said. “But because ‘live’ checks mailed directly to consumers don’t require an application or any previous relationship with the consumer, many individuals don’t realize that these checks are actually high-interest loans until it’s too late. Just like Congress ended the practice of mailing ‘live’ credit cards nearly 50 years ago, Congress should pass our bill now to stop this underhanded practice.”


“When you receive a check in the mail, it’s natural to assume that depositing it will help—not hurt—your bottom line,” Sen. Merkley said. “But these checks don’t pad consumers’ pocketbooks; instead, they send them into a vortex of debt. The practice of mailing high-interest loans disguised as checks is unconscionable and clearly predatory. Today, we’re sending a bipartisan message that this unacceptable practice must end.”

The sponsors said that it has been long recognized by Congress that consumer loans should require an application by a customer. In fact, Congress banned the mailing of unsolicited live credit cards nearly 50 years ago. In modern lending, a formal loan application can often take just minutes. The bill does not prohibit the direct marketing or mailing of a loan application. The sponsors say that this legislation would provide common-sense consumer protections without limiting access to credit for consumers who willingly apply and seek lending products.

The bill would also ensure that companies cannot shift from the mailing of live checks to other forms of transfer, such as a gift card or an “e-check.” In addition, it would ensure that customers are not liable for debt incurred from an illegal, unsolicited live check loan. The National Consumer Law Center has endorsed this legislation on behalf of its low-income clients.

According to the average American is carrying $58,849 in debt. American families owe over $19,371,000,000. Almost $15,374,000,000 of this is mortgage debt; but Americans also carry nearly $1,580,000,000 in student loan debt and almost $1,050,000,000 in credit card debt. According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, through November 703,130 Americans have already filed for bankruptcy in 2018, including 24,676 in Alabama.

Senator Jones was elected a year ago in a special election for the seat vacated by Senator Jeff Sessions (R) when he accepted President Donald J. Trump’s (R) nomination to be U.S. Attorney General. Jones is the only Democratic candidate to win a statewide election in Alabama since 2008.

Continue Reading


Byrne applauds NOAA’s increased Red Snapper catch limit under new rule

Brandon Moseley



Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, applauded a new NOAA Fisheries rule to increase the annual catch limits and annual catch targets for the Red Snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This increase from NOAA shows exactly what those of us on the Gulf Coast have known for years: the health of the Red Snapper fishery is incredibly strong,” Representative Byrne said. “These latest numbers will further drive us to continue fighting for greater state control over the Red Snapper fishery and a full and adequate Red Snapper fishing season.”

The commercial annual catch limit would increase from 7.007 million pounds to 7.701 million pounds. The annual recreational charter boat catch limit would increase from 2.848 million pounds to 3.13 million pounds. The annual recreational private boat limit would increase from 3.885 million pounds to 4.269 million pounds.

The catch limits for Red Snapper are being increased because assessment of Gulf red snapper was completed in 2018 and indicated that red snapper was not overfished or experiencing overfishing, but the stock is still in a rebuilding plan. Based on the assessment, catch limits can be increased. The commercial, recreational, and component ACLs could also be increased.

The proposed rule would also decrease the annual catch limit of West Florida Hogfish from 219,000 pounds to just 129,500 pounds in 2019. It would increase to 141,300 pounds in 2020, and 150,400 pounds in 2021 and beyond.


The current Red Snapper total ACL is 13.74 million pounds whole weight. Of that, 51 percent is allocated to the commercial sector and 49 percent to the recreational sector. The recreational sector’s annual catch limit is further divided into the private angling component (57.7 percent) and federal for-hire component (42.3 percent). These components were implemented in 2015 and are currently set to expire in 2022.

This is just a proposed rule. NOAA is seeking public comments. The comment period is open now through January 3, 2019. You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail. Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.

Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.

Step 1) Go to:!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0130

Step 2) Click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields.

Step 3) Enter or attach your comments.

Submit written comments to Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

Alabama federal and state officials have been troubled by federal red snapper rules for years. Last year, Congressman Byrne worked with Senator Richard Shelby and other Gulf Coast congressmen to secure a full Red Snapper season for Alabama’s recreational fishermen.

Continue Reading


Shelby announces $14.2 million highway infrastructure grant for Decatur

Brandon Moseley



Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation will award the city of Decatur a highway infrastructure improvement grant totaling $14,222,671 in federal funding.

The grant is made available as part of the DOT Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program, which focuses on economic development and infrastructure improvements.

“This $14 million BUILD grant is great news for the city of Decatur and the surrounding region. The funding will allow for much-needed improvements and enhancements to the current infrastructure in Decatur,” said Senator Shelby. “As Alabama’s transportation needs evolve, it is important that we find ways to support rapid growth, especially in rural areas. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues and the DOT as we continue to prioritize the infrastructure needs of the state and the nation.”

The grant will aid in the construction of an overpass bridge at the intersection of State Route 20 and Bibb Garrett Road. The project also includes ramps, a new access road, improved highway lighting, and accommodations for safe pedestrian access.

According to the city, there has been a significant lack of resources to develop and maintain major rural highway infrastructure. This funding will help bridge the gap between Decatur and other main employment areas in the state, providing necessary funding for these much-needed transportation resources.


“The creation of a Highway 20 overpass and exchange is the catalyst of growth and change our city has been striving to achieve,” said Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling. “Through the keen oversight of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, the generosity of Sen. Richard Shelby’s office, and the ever-diligent work of the City of Decatur’s grant team and Director of Development Wally Terry, our collaborative efforts have culminated in a regional development that will benefit North Alabamians for generations to come.”

President Donald J. Trump (R) has urged the Congress to pass a $trillion infrastructure bill to allow for more modernization and repairs to America’s infrastructure system.

Senator Richard Shelby has been elected to six terms to the U.S. Senate and is the Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Prior to his Senate service he was elected to four terms in the United States House of Representatives and two terms in the Alabama state Senate representing Tuscaloosa.

Continue Reading






District Six Challengers Address Jefferson County Republicans

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min