Roby Comments on the ISIS Threat

August 29, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery commented on the growing threat that ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, poses to the United States.

Rep. Roby said in a written statement, “I am deeply concerned about the growing threat posed by ISIS, and so are my constituents. I have reviewed footage and photographs of innocent men, women, and children being crucified and beheaded, including the beheading of American journalist James Foley. When the tactics ISIS uses are so brutal that al Qaeda denounces them, we are talking about a next-level terrorist ideology. Even worse, this group is well-funded, well-organized and has demonstrated military-style skills and discipline.”
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Improving Our Nation’s Higher Education System

August 29, 2014
Bradley Byrne

By Representative Bradley Byrne (AL-1)

As college football season rolls around, people are starting to show their school pride. From the Crimson Tide to the Auburn Tigers to our newest team, the South Alabama Jaguars, there is a lot of excitement over football season. But is there the same level of excitement for what is happening in our college classrooms?

In lower Alabama, we are blessed with many great institutions of higher learning. Mobile is home to the University of South Alabama, Spring Hill College, and the University of Mobile. We also have Columbia Southern, an online university based in Orange Beach.
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Ivey Says She is Committed to Alabama’s Military

August 29, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Lt. Governor Kay Ivey (R) has announced that she has launched a tour of Alabama military installations.

Lt. Gov. Ivey said in a written statement, “My time in office can be characterized by my efforts to support our military. Strengthening our military assets has been a primary pillar of my service. I have long been an ardent patriot and supporter of our military men and women. My father, an Army officer, fought on the battlefields in Europe during World War II. Throughout my years in public service, I have encouraged our youth to become citizen leaders and serve their communities, State, and Nation. Like most Alabamians, patriotism is one of my core values.”
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Law Firm that Exposed Mike Hubbard in Memo Will Sue Obama for US House

August 28, 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Baker Hostetler, the law firm that authored the memo exposing the money funneling scheme between officials in the Republican State Leadership Committee, a national GOP PAC, and Speaker of the Alabama House – then ALGOP chairman – Mike Hubbard, will now take on a new, even more high profile role: suing the President of the United States.

David Rivkin, a partner at the D.C.-based law firm, has been chosen as the primary lawyer in moving forward with a suit against U.S. President Barack Obama, authorized by a vote of the House of Representatives earlier this month.
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AG Strange Tells Hubbard in Letter: No Go, Joe

August 28, 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY – In a letter dated August 27, the Office of Attorney General Luther Strange notified State Representative and Democratic candidate for AG Joe Hubbard that they will not be providing a response to a legal question for which Hubbard had asked for an official AG’s opinion.

Rep. Hubbard, D-Montgomery, had asked for an official AG opinion on the legality of transfers from one political campaign committee to another, a practice that has come to light within the ALGOP in the last few day with the disbursement of funds left from the campaign coffers of now retired Congressman Jo Bonner.

Over the last year, Bonner’s principal campaign committee, of no use to him any longer, is dispensing its funds to state GOP candidates.

Hubbard’s legal understanding, however, was that such transfers violate the PAC-to-PAC transfer ban signed into law by former Governor Bob Riley, so he requested a formal opinion.

Instead of a formal opinion, Hubbard received a letter from the AG’s office claiming they had no legitimate duty to issue an opinion based on his request.

“Legislators are not among the public officials entitled to receive opinions… As a courtesy to legislators, this Office has given opinions to legislators if there is some nexus between the question posed and a perceived legislative duty,” the letter reads.

“Your present question does not appear to be one under which we can give a formal opinion. I regret that I will be unable to provide you with an opinion on this matter,” it concluded.

Notably, Representative Hubbard brought to the forefront an earlier contribution to Attorney General Strange that appeared to be funneled through a charitable nonprofit, a charge Strange denied, though the money was returned out of an “abundance of caution” by the Strange campaign.

Strange will face Hubbard in the November elections.

 

ALFA Endorses Harri Anne Smith in District 29

August 28, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
 
On Wednesday, August 27 the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) voted to endorse Alabama State Senator Harri Anne Smith (I) in the Senate District 29 race.  SD 29 consists of Houston, Geneva and Dale Counties.

The group said that Senator Smith is a longtime supporter of agriculture and farmers in the Wiregrass.

Sen. Smith said in a written statement, “An important part of our economy in the Wiregrass is the hard work of our farmers and the food they produce that feeds not only America but the world.  With the many market challenges our farmers face each day, I have strongly supported keeping taxes low and reducing regulation that hurt their ability to compete.  I am deeply honored to have the endorsement of the Alabama Farmers Federation and the farmers throughout the state.”

Smith has been an active member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Senator Smith has consistently opposed tax increases, including the $1.2 billion Amendment 1 package of across the board tax increases that a then Democratic controlled state legislature and then Governor Bob Riley (R) asked for from voters.

Alabama Farmers Federation Dale County board member Wayne Woodham said in a written statement, “Senator Smith has been a solid independent voice who has fought for conservative values and lower taxes in the Alabama Senate.  Senator Smith has always supported and been a spokesperson for agriculture in Alabama, and I’m proud to stand by her side with the ALFA endorsement in her State Senate race for District 29.”

Alabama Farmers Federation Geneva County board member Gerald Aplin said, “Harri Anne is deserving of this endorsement because she has always been a trustworthy representative of farmers and conservative values in the Wiregrass. If there is ever a problem that needs fixing, Harri Anne will stand with you to make the calls and help get the job done.”

Houston County farmer Joe Carothers said, “I’ve worked side by side with Senator Smith on agriculture issues, and have always been proud of the way she has stood up to fight for farmers in the Wiregrass. Harri Anne realizes the importance of family farms, and has gone out of her way to protect these small businesses, which are often passed down through generations. Her efforts have helped preserve agriculture as a traditional way of life in Houston County.”

As an independent, Sen. Smith is required to accumulate nearly 2,000 signatures of registered District 29 voters to even be on the ballot, a number that she easily surpassed by over 11,000.

After receiving word from the Alabama Secretary of State’s office that she had been officially qualified for ballot access, Sen. Smith said, “Four years ago the effort was really about people in the Wiregrass taking back our vote. This time it is about keeping our vote. The people in our area are mad about Montgomery political bosses trying to dictate who our Senator will be.”

Sen. Smith said, “My philosophy is simple. The people of the Wiregrass elected me and not some special interest or political boss in Montgomery. My job is to take care of our area and our people. How I vote is how the people in my district want me to vote and that has never changed and it never will.”

Senator Smith was first elected to the state Senate as a Republican in 1998.  Smith however was forced to run as an Independent for re-election in 2010 after her candidacy was removed from the ballot by Republican Party officials who ruled that Smith broke party rules by supporting a Democrat during the 2008 election.

In 2008, both Senator Smith and former state Representative Jay Love pursued the open Second District Congressional seat being vacated by the retirement of U.S. Rep. Terry Everett (R).  Rep. Love defeated Sen. Smith in a hard fought Republican Primary that got very negative.

An angry Sen. Smith endorsed the Democratic candidate; former Montgomery Mayor, Bobby Bright rather than her primary opponent: Rep. Love.  Bright eventually won the seat with Smith’s support.  The shocking Democratic Party victory was a blow to the Alabama Republican Party, then Chaired by state Rep. Mike Hubbard from Auburn, since the Second Congressional District seat had been in Republican hands since 1964.  Republican Martha Roby took back the Second Congressional District in 2010, narrowly defeating Congressman Bright.

Smith’s actions in the 2008 election led to her being challenged in the 2010 Republican Party Primary.  The Alabama Republican Party, then still chaired by Rep. Mike Hubbard, removed Sen. Smith from the Primary ballot so at that time she received the necessary signatures to run and won the race by 23,800 votes to 19,225 votes against a well-funded Republican opponent in George Flowers.

Smith is the former Mayor of Slocumb.

Smith’s Republican opponent in this election is Houston County Commissioner Melinda McClendon.   Melinda McClendon has the endorsements of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and the Alabama Forestry Association.

The General Election will be November 4.

 

Bonner Bonuses: Campaign Cash Transfers May Violate PAC-to-PAC Ban

August 28, 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY – From January until days before this year’s June 3 primary, the political campaign committee – the campaign war chest – of now retired Congressman Jo Bonner began to empty. Bonner, however, was not spending the money himself, as he is no longer running for public office, but working at the University of Alabama. Instead, Bonner’s campaign committee transferred its contents to the coffers of GOP candidates across the state, causing what has become a political and possible legal firestorm.
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Lowell Barron Responds to Official Dismissal of Charges

August 28, 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

This week, after unanimously losing an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court over evidentiary matters in the case, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange formally moved to drop all charges against former State Senate Pro Tem Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, and a judge has now certified that decision.

Barron had originally been indicted with several charges stemming from alleged campaign violations perpetuated by himself and his former campaign aide Jill Johnson.
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Space Launch System Passes Review

August 28, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

NASA announced on Wednesday, August 27, that the Space Launch System (SLS) has passed a formal review by NASA officials and the program’s progression from formulation to development has been approved to proceed.

The SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions. NASA plans to use the SLS to launch a craft to distant objects, to including an asteroid and ultimately the planet Mars. Much of the engineering, design, and testing work for the SLS is being done in Huntsville at the Marshall Space Flight Center.
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Alabama Unemployment Still High

August 27, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Earlier this month, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced that Alabama’s July Unemployment Rate was 7.0%. That is much better than the post-Great Recession jobs situation that Governor Bentley inherited four years ago, but not considerably better than where the state was this time last year.

Total wage and salary employment has grown by 19,400 jobs during the last year.
Gov. Bentley said in a written statement, “An increase of nearly 20,000 jobs since last July is something that we are proud of. A large number of those jobs are the manufacturing sector, which tend to be higher paying jobs. Additionally, we continue to see tens of thousands of jobs being advertised throughout the state, which means employers are hiring. Our efforts will continue until every Alabamian who wants a job has the opportunity to have a job.”
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