Connect with us

Guest Columnists

Jeff Sessions has potential to be among nation’s greatest Attorneys General

Will Ainsworth



By Rep. Will Ainsworth

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “statesman” as “a wise, skillful, and respected political leader.”

Throughout its history, Alabama has produced scores of politicians, but our true statesmen have been few and far between.

Jeff Sessions is a statesman.


Throughout his public service career as a US Attorney, Alabama’s Attorney General, a US Senator, and, now, as our nation’s Attorney General, Sessions has served with integrity, determination, effectiveness, and a genial and gentlemanly nature that earned him respect from friend and foe alike.

In those various roles, each more prominent than the last, Sessions left a lasting mark.

While a US Attorney serving under President Ronald Reagan, Sessions filed civil rights charges against Ku Klux Klan members who murdered a 20-year-old African-American man in Mobile. And, at the urging of African-American voters who were tired of the criminal abuse that they alleged commonly occurred in elections, he sought to stop absentee ballot fraud that was prevalent in Alabama’s Black Belt region.

Elected as Alabama’s Attorney General in 1994, he defended state law and worked to preserve local funding for local school districts at a time when liberal activists pushed for a Robin Hood allocation model.

In 1996, voters chose him to succeed Howell Heflin in the US Senate, and this is perhaps where Session left his brightest and most indelible mark to date. Shortly after taking office, Sessions began highlighting the issue of illegal immigration which, until that time, had largely gone unnoticed.

Sessions pushed for laws and policies that sought to plug the holes in our southern border and stop the flow of illegal immigrants that continually funneled into the United States. While liberal Democrats and moderate Republicans worked to create a path to citizenship and legitimize those who break our laws with their simple presence, Sessions was a voice of common sense resolve and an advocate for immigration enforcement.

As a result, left-wing groups seeking to shield illegal aliens and liberal columnists who view the world through a Socialist prism hurled tremendous invective and false accusations of intolerance at Sessions, who rightly maintained his hardline, law-and-order stance despite the attacks.

It can be argued that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was built on the solid foundation that Sessions laid for him as a senator. Many of the issues that Trump promoted and espoused on the campaign trail, including the construction of an impenetrable border wall, were the same ones that Sessions had previously advocated in numerous speeches on the Senate floor.

That is likely why Sessions surprised many in Washington and brought a new and higher level of legitimacy to the Trump crusade by becoming the first US senator to endorse his candidacy while attending a rally in Huntsville.

From that point forward, Sessions was never far from Trump’s side as he offered valuable advice and counsel. Many of the most significant hiring announcements in the Trump campaign, and later in the White House transition period, involved current and former members of Sessions’ staff or other allies he suggested.

Reportedly offered his choice of any cabinet post after Trump’s victory shocked the fake news media and dissolved many Clinton supporters in tears, Sessions asked to serve as attorney general, a role with which he was already familiar and one in which he would cast a large shadow.

Since taking leadership of the Justice Department, Sessions has kickstarted initiatives to combat the opioid crisis and stop the scourge of drugs that destroys lives and tears families apart. He has drawn a line in the sand against so-called “sanctuary cities” who work to shield illegals from the laws they ignore. And he has declared war against the violent and dangerous “Mara Salva-trucha” international gang, better known as MS-13, whose footprint reaches even into portions of rural Alabama.

I strongly support President Trump and his agenda. In fact, if he asked for volunteers to start building his border wall tomorrow, I would be stacking bricks in Texas by sundown.

At the same time, I strongly support and stand beside Jeff Sessions, who remains a committed and trusted member of the president’s team and has the potential to be considered among the greatest Attorneys General in our nation’s history.

The rest of the country is beginning to learn what we in Alabama have known for quite some time – Jeff Sessions is no politician, but, rather, he is a statesman to his core.

Will Ainsworth, a small business owner in Guntersville, Alabama, represents portions of Marhsall, DeKalb, and Blount counties in the Alabama House of Representatives. He is a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in the 2018 election cycle.

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | Checking in on the Alabama Accountability Act

Larry Lee



By and large, the Legislature passes laws and seldom looks back to see what impact they are having.  Which seems a HUGE mistake to me.  The Alabama Accountability Act passed in 2013 being a prime example.

So from time to time I visit the Alabama Department of Revenue web site where they post info about AAA.  It’s always an interesting read.

For instance, you find a list current through Feb. 22, 2018 that shows there are now 204 private schools which have signed up to participate in this program that gives vouchers to students to attend private schools.  (This does not mean 204 schools have gotten scholarships, just that many have said they would take them.)

The state indicates if these schools are accredited or not.  Of the 204, 69 of them are NOT accredited.  That’s 33.8 percent.  AAA started in 2013 and 12 of the non-accredited schools have been that way since 2013.  One has to ask why we allow this to happen?  Why are we diverting money from the Education Trust Fund that may go to a school that has had five years to become accredited, but hasn’t?   Is this really looking out for the best interest of the young folks of this state?


For instance, the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, one of the state’s scholarship granting organizations (SGO), reported that at the end of 2017, they had students at 114 private schools.  By my count, 166 of these scholarships are at 27 non-accredited schools.

The Department of Revenue keeps track of how much money is given to SGOs each year.  From 2013 through 2017, the total amount is $116,617,919.

Remember that each one of these dollars gets a one for one tax credit from the state.  Which means we have now diverted $116 million from the Education Trust Fund for private school scholarships.

Today there are 396,711 elementary students (K-6) in Alabama.  So over the past five years we have diverted $294 from ETF for each one of these students.  That is $7,000 per elementary classroom.

I visit a lot of elementary schools.  I see a lot of classrooms.  I don’t know a single elementary teacher who would not have jumped at the chance to have an extra $7,000 for her classroom since 2013.

In this legislative election year, we need to let every candidate, incumbents and challengers alike, know what is going on.

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | Protecting our children

Bradley Byrne



For much of the year, the safety of our students rests in the hands of the faculty, staff, and resource officers at our schools.  Without a shadow of a doubt, the people who know best how to protect our schools are the teachers, parents, administrators, police officers, and students in their own communities.

In February, the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida resonated throughout our communities, highlighting a disturbing trend of individuals who clearly show signs of grave mental instability falling through the cracks.

Sadly, this incident likely could have been avoided had there been better oversight at every level of law enforcement.  From the top down, we failed these students by not heeding the warning signs and working together as a team to ensure our students’ safety.

In response to this incident, the House recently passed the Student, Teacher’s Officer’s Prevention (STOP) School Violence Act, which provides grant funding for evidence-based training for our local law enforcement, school faculty and staff, and students to help identify and prevent school violence before these tragic events occur.


First, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding for training to prevent student violence, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students in the event of an emergency.  This training would be designed to give students and school personnel the ability to recognize and respond quickly to warning signs of violent behavior and would include active shooter training.

Second, the bill provides funding for technology and equipment to improve school security.  This includes the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems, as well as the installation of metal detectors, locks, and other preventative technologies to keep schools secure.

The legislation also authorizes funding for school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams for school personnel to respond to threats before they become real-time incidents.  Recognizing the warning signs of violent, threatening behavior and having the proper resources to address it on the front end can prevent these tragedies from ever occurring.

Finally, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding to support law enforcement coordination efforts, particularly the officers who already staff schools.  From the federal level all the way down to our local law enforcement, we need to ensure there is accountability and communication when handling violent behavior.

Many of our local schools are already reevaluating their security measures and taking additional steps to promote a safe learning environment for our students.  Our students’ safety and security should always remain a top priority, and I believe it is imperative that our local schools have the most appropriate resources in place in the event of an emergency.

As we look for ways to prevent these terrible tragedies, I am open to additional solutions to address the underlying issues that cause these events to occur.  That said, I remain steadfastly committed to upholding the individual right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.  Millions of Americans should not have their Second Amendment rights infringed upon due to the bad actions of a few individuals.

Rather, I believe we should focus on addressing mental health issues and combatting the role of violence in our modern culture, such as the prevalence of violent video games that normalize this behavior for our young students, and promoting commonsense solutions that will address the larger issues of mental health so that those with mental illness do not fall through the cracks.

There is still work to be done to ensure each child’s safety and well-being while attending classes. However, I am proud that we have taken this action in the House to promote a safe, secure learning environment for our children.

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | When liberals help the poor they do more harm than good

Scott Beason



Stock Photo

On my Scott Beason Radio program this past Monday, a regular contributor mentioned that a bill to eliminate payday lending had passed the Alabama Senate, and I was surprised. Having dealt with the issue back when I was in office, I think payday lending gets a bum rap out in the mainstream media. These short term loans are an important part of the financial lending community and are often the only access to credit that some people have. I also wondered what special interest group is driving an agenda for which the general public nor the so called “poor” is clamoring. The answer is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Republican supermajorities do not – or used to not – kowtow to the SPLC. If there is a more liberal group in the United States, this conservative is not aware of it. Maybe the legislators have bought into the SPLC propaganda that they are protecting the “poor”. … By eliminating the only means for credit the “poor” have? By eliminating the jobs of the 5,000 people in the state who work in the industry? That doesn’t make sense.

“Helping the poor” is a noble cause, in the generic sense of the words, but how does eliminating payday loans actually help the “poor”? How does making it more difficult for someone with limited means and bad credit to get the money they need to make it to the next paycheck help the “poor”? This question is the one that made it difficult for me to legislatively pursue the total destruction of the payday lending industry.

If a “poor” person needs $100 dollars on Wednesday to make it to Friday, where can he get it? The answer is nowhere, if there is no such thing as short term lending. These loans are simply too risky and too small for banks or credit unions to handle. If payday loans were workable at a lower interest rate, then someone would be doing it right now. You don’t have to change the law to do that. Just let capitalism work. I suggest that those who believe they can run a better business model for short term lending get out in the market and do so. Show us how to “help the poor” the “right” way.

What happened to free market Republicans in the Alabama legislature? There used to be enough to make up an entire caucus. Does the term, free market, mean nothing when the Southern Poverty Law Center says jump? In Washington DC Barack Obama tried to crush the payday loan industry, and now Republicans gleefully further Obama’s agenda in Alabama. Regulating a whole sector of the financial services industry out of existence is not the free market.


Another person on the radio show described working at his job and loaning his buddies $20 on Wednesday to help them make it to Friday. On payday they gave him back $25. He called it 20 for 25, and his friends appreciated being able to buy gas and food for those couple of days. 20 for 25 seems reasonable and harmless, but the cost to the borrower is more than is charged in Alabama’s payday lending industry. … I know. … It’s weird. … 20 for 25 did not seem “predatory” at all.

The “working poor” will continue to need small cash loans from time to time. That will not change, but we cannot help people by not allowing them to help themselves. All of our freedoms come with the risk of excess and of getting into trouble. Payday lending is simply another market based, regulated, and lawful financial service that replaced the mob supported loan sharks of days gone by. My friend, Senator Tom Whatley, who was apparently one of the few willing to talk about the free market on the Senate floor made a great point: the people who cannot get short term loans in Alabama will now get them online, or from people who want more than an interest rate. They want an arm or a leg. … Well said Mr. Whatley.

To help the “poor”, the legislature should stop helping. Prior legislation has straightened up the industry, and lawmakers should leave well enough alone. Let the payday lending legislation die a quiet death. It is not needed, and it hurts regular folks who are thankful that they have the option of a short term loan when they need one to make ends meet.

Scott Beason a former State Senator is the host of The Scott Beason Show on WYDE Superstation 101 in Birmingham.


Continue Reading






Jeff Sessions has potential to be among nation’s greatest Attorneys General

by Will Ainsworth Read Time: 4 min