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Vote for Roy Moore December 12

Tom Ford

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By Dr. Tom and Leigh Ford

We have had so many ask us about the sexual misconduct allegations from 40 years ago against Judge Roy Moore that we wanted to post our thoughts.  We are including a 1 paragraph summary first and for those who want more information, a longer version following.  Hope it will help answer any questions or concerns you might have and give you the assurance you need to confidently vote for Roy Moore on December 12.

One Paragraph Summary

We don’t believe the accusations against Judge Moore are true and all 6 voters in the Ford household are voting unreservedly for Roy Moore on Tuesday.  Not only that, two of our daughters are working full time on his campaign.  God’s Word speaks to how to handle accusers and the accused and how to determine if one is guilty.  Scripture applies the principle of requiring multiple witnesses, produced by the accuser, across the board, searching out the matter diligently until substantiated evidence proves an accusation to be true and certain. Roy Moore is not guilty just because he has been accused.  It is always advisable to be careful about jumping to conclusions based on the evidence currently circulating in the national press.  Stand with Roy Moore or kneel to the media.  They want a liberal Democrat in DC who will join them in working for their agenda. You have seen the bias on the part of state and national press to hide the truth from Alabama voters.  The major news networks will not report the inaccuracies that have surfaced in the women’s accounts, even Beverly Nelson’s admission on Dec. 8 that she forged part of the yearbook signature.  They have been silent toward any support for Roy Moore, continue to report the fabricated allegations of the women as truth and are desperately trying to keep these unsubstantiated claims alive.  We believe the accusations are politically motivated, craftily designed to deceive Alabama voters about the character of Roy Moore in such a vile way that Doug Jones can win the election, taking his anti-God, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-sodomite marriage, pro-transgenders in our military and our daughter’s restrooms, pro-liberal Supreme Court Justice appointments, pro-Common Core, pro-Obamacare, anti-2nd amendment agenda to DC to ‘represent’ us.  Roy Moore adamantly denies the allegations and there are significant inaccuracies, lies, and/or underlying motives in each of the accuser’s testimonies, as well as character issues, casting serious doubt on the truthfulness of their accounts.  On the other hand, Roy Moore has proven himself to be one of the most principled men of our day.  If we carefully examine the evidence, consider Roy Moore’s denial of the allegations and his sincere Christian faith that has been proven by his actions over many years, remember his long, public record of standing for God’s righteous laws in Alabama and suffering for it, realize the importance of this race for our nation, and see clearly the motives of those involved in accusing and reporting, we believe Alabama will make the right choice and vote Roy Moore for Senate on December 12.

 Additional information

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Roy Moore’s statement of denial

“Yesterday, I made a statement that the allegations described in a Washington Post article against me about sexual impropriety were false…  I have never provided alcohol to minors, and I have never engaged in sexual misconduct…  As a former Judge and administer of the law, I take the protection of our innocent as one of my most sacred callings. False allegations are gravely serious and will have a profound consequence on those who are truly harassed or molested…I strongly urge the Washington Post, and everyone involved, to tell the truth.

“That is all we can do, and I trust that the people of Alabama, who know my record after 40 years of public service, will vouch for my character and commitment to the rule of law.”

“I adamantly deny the allegations of Leigh Corfman and Beverly Nelson.”

Suspicious Timing and Motives

So many things are questionable here and we do not mean Roy Moore’s character.  The timing of the Washington Post’s article is very suspicious, and their motives are well-known.  These horrific allegations surfaced just a few weeks before the Senate election and our most solid conservative, Christian candidate, Roy Moore, was leading in the polls by double digits.  Moore has publicly and courageously stood for God, His Word, Biblical marriage, and the right to life of the unborn, no matter what the cost to him and his family and for these reasons, he is hated by the left and their mouthpiece, the media.  The DC Republican establishment also spent $30 million in Alabama trying to destroy Judge Moore’s name and reputation in the primary run-off to keep him out of DC and it did not work.  We got it!  They do not want his, nor our, conservative values up there.  It is highly likely that the Republican establishment has joined with the Democrats and the national, liberal media in this last desperate attempt to replace Moore with a RINO.  Mitch McConnell and others, within minutes of the Washington Post’s article breaking, put out statements asking Judge Moore to step down immediately and began talk of a write-in campaign, saying they believed the women. Let’s help Mitch McConnell know AGAIN that he will not be choosing our Senator on Dec. 12.

Applying Biblical principles to this situation  

Some Alabama Baptists put out a letter for pastors to sign shortly after the allegations against Roy Moore came out.  At first glance, the letter was a no-brainer to sign. It condemned abuse of women and children and, of course, conservatives and liberals alike are not for pedophilia nor abuse of women and everyone can unite around this.  However, at this time, in Alabama, it is just as important for Christians to be able to communicate that God also wants to protect us all from false accusers, tells us how to handle an accusation and how to determine if the accused is guilty. Here are a few verses dealing with accusers and the accused.  Numbers 35:30 and Deut. 22:25-27 require 2 or 3 witnesses to convict someone of a crime.  Moore is being accused of a crime in a 2 of the accounts, even though the statute of limitations prohibits trial. These witnesses are also required in 2 Cor 13:1 “Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”  Matthew 18:16 “Take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:19 “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Also related…Deuteronomy 17:4-6  “When you hear of a matter, search it out diligently to find out if it is true and certain,” and must have the witnesses… Deuteronomy 19:15-21 A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong… both parties must appear for questioning, also addresses malicious and false witnesses and protecting the accused and punishment for a false witness… Proverbs 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame,” and Proverbs 18:17 “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”  These verses show that the Scriptures apply the principle of requiring multiple witnesses, produced by the accuser, across the board for criminal charges, charges against an elder, against someone in the church and, finally, for every charge. The principle of searching out a matter diligently, including cross-examining the accusers, before making a judgement is another Scriptural point that is important for the protection of the accused.  And in cases where there are not two to three witnesses and we have a “she said – he said” situation, then we are left with the testimony of character witnesses.  Still the burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt rests with the accuser, not the accused.  The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  It is important for Christians to take the lead at this time to proclaim not only in what the Bible says about defending women and children from abuse, but also speak clearly to what the Bible says about protecting one from being falsely accused.  We don’t know what happened 40 years ago, but accusers need to prove with clear and convincing evidence, and until they do, Moore is presumed innocent of these charges.

Innocent until proven guilty and wrong responses

Roy Moore is being accused of criminal activity.  Although the media’s spin from the beginning has been that he is guilty, and the women are the ‘victims’, we must not allow the tactics of the left to convince us that one is guilty just because he has been accused.  Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental right of every American, conservative and liberal. Accuse, condemn then hang with no substantiated evidence is a very dangerous pattern and we should not allow it.  If we do, we are no longer free.   Many have made this mistake too early. Some presumed guilt and demanded that Judge Moore drop out of the Senate race immediately or prove that he did not do what the accusers claim he did 40 years ago and shame on anyone who questions the motives or the character of the accusers.  I (Tom), along with anyone else who has spoken up for Judge Moore personally, have gotten phone calls, letters in our mailbox and emails saying I should be ashamed for ‘supporting a pedophile’.  Name calling is always the tactic of the left to silence the Christians, because we do not want to be called unloving, judgmental, bigots and certainly not a supporter of pedophilia.  The tactic unfortunately works and keeps many silent.   It is always advisable to be careful about jumping to conclusions based on the evidence currently circulating in the national press.  If you were accused in a similar manner, would you want others to abandon you, believe the media automatically, question your trustworthiness, pronounce judgement without going through the proper process or would you hope that others would speak up and support you when the evidence against you is fraught with lies?

Significant inaccuracies/lies in the testimonies and character issues with the accusers

There are significant inaccuracies in the testimonies of the women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct, calling each of their accounts into serious question, whether the liberal national media will report on them or not.  A simple look at court documents, the testimonies of others, and just simple verification of the details of the women’s testimonies have revealed the high unlikelihood of truthfulness to any of them.  We have not found Moore’s accusers to be credible and have included a few of their debunked statements below.

Leigh Corfman,  She’s the 14 year old, who supposedly talked to Moore in her room on a phone, but Corfman’s mom said her daughter did not have a phone in her room. She said she met him around the corner and gave the exact intersection but, upon investigation, the intersection she gave was a mile away and across a major thoroughfare.  She said her behavior changed drastically for the worse after the event, but court records show that custody changed from mom to dad because of disciplinary and behavioral problems that her father was better suited to handle right before the supposed event and then a year later, after the supposed event, custody records show that Corfman returned to the custody of her mom because her behavioral issues had improved significantly.  She says that she has been divorced 3 times and filed for bankruptcy 3 times.  In the initial breaking article, the WAPO included three other totally insignificant accounts in an attempt to make the misconduct with Corfman more believable.  These 3 accounts do absolutely nothing to verify the allegations of Corfman, as they were not illegal and not immoral and are not in the same category.

Later, Beverly Nelson

She is the woman from behind the Olde Hickory House restaurant with the forged yearbook signature, that cried while she lied.  Her lawyer is Gloria Allred, the attorney who claims credit for giving us Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in the murder of tens of millions of unborn babies.  According to a former waitress, Olde Hickory House required employees to be 16 years old. Nelson claims she was 15 when she started.  According to two former employees, the dumpsters were on the side of the building. Nelson claimed that they were in the back.  Olde Hickory House sat right off the four-lane highway and had a wrap-around porch with lights all around it. Nelson claimed that the surroundings were “dark and isolated.”  Rhonda Ledbetter, who worked at Olde Hickory House for almost 3 years, states that the earliest it closed was at 11 p.m. but she believes it was open until midnight. She is certain it did not close at 10:00 because Goodyear was next door, and employees came to eat when their shift ended at 10 p.m. Nelson claims her story occurred after the restaurant closed at 10 p.m.  It is unlikely that there was an entrance from the back of the parking lot, which Nelson claimed existed. Multiple sources have claimed that everyone parked on the sides of the building because there wasn’t much room behind the restaurant, according to Rhonda, not enough room to turn around. Renee Schivera stated that a neighborhood backed up to the parking lot and it was adjacent to the backyards of people’s houses, so she did not see how there would have been a back entrance as it would have gone through someone’s yard.  Nelson claimed that Judge Roy Moore came in almost every night and sat at the counter, but former employees state that customers at the counter were served by the bartender or short order cook – not served by the waitresses and had no reason to interact with the wait staff. Additionally, two former waitresses and two former patrons state they never saw Judge Moore come into the restaurant.  These witnesses have shared their testimony with multiple news outlets. The outlets have failed to report any of this.  Nelson was also a party in a divorce action before Moore in Etowah County Circuit Court in 1999. No motion was made for him to recuse. In her accusations, Nelson did not mention that he was the judge assigned to her divorce case in 1999, a matter that apparently caused her no distress at a time that was 18 years closer to the alleged assault. Yet 18 years later, while talking before the cameras about the supposed assault, she seemingly could not contain her emotions.  And on the forged yearbook signature that Allred and Nelson will not turn over to be reviewed by an outside party… Roy Moore’s signature on the order of dismissal in the divorce case was annotated with the letters “D.A.,” representing the initials of his court assistant, Delbra Adams. Curiously the supposed yearbook inscription is also followed by the same initials—”D.A.”  But at that time, Moore was Deputy District Attorney, not district attorney.  Did she copy the signature from the divorce papers, thinking DA stood for District Attorney?  It appears so and yesterday, Dec 8, Nelson finally admitted what we already knew in a press conference.  After three weeks of claiming it was Moore’s writing, she finally admitted that she forged part of the yearbook signature, but wants us to believe the rest of her story.   So, Nelson’s boyfriend at the time says she lied…Employees of the restaurant say she lied…Customers of the restaurant say she lied…Her step-son says she lied…And now she herself admits to lying.  But the major news networks refuse to report that Nelson forged the document and lied.

The last and third account of Tina Johnson’s backside allegation.   

Court documents show that Roy Moore represented Mary Cofield, who is Tina Johnson’s mother, in the custody dispute over her son in 1991. This brought them to Moore’s law office.  Johnson’s mother stated that her daughter (Johnson) was an “unfit, absent and unstable mother” and had a “violent nature”.  Tina Johnson has also pled guilty to writing bad checks and for third-degree theft of property.  Delbra Adams, Moore’s then-secretary and later judicial assistant, said that in her 13 years of working for Moore, she never saw any inappropriate conduct toward womenThe information found in these court documents raise questions about Johnson’s motives in making this accusation.

If these allegations were true, why would these women risk the potential danger Moore would be to other girls for all these years until 4 weeks before the senate election, when the WaPo arrived in Alabama to help us choose our next senator?

Was Roy Moore banned from malls?

This is rather stupid, but continues to be included in the list of offenses against Roy Moore.  There is no evidence that Roy Moore was banned from the Gadsden Mall 40 years ago and you can read the testimony of three people who would have personal knowledge of the mall’s security protocol that completely counters everything alleged by the liberal media and the Moore campaign’s political enemies.

What about all the rest of the accusers?

National liberal media continues to show a photograph with numerous photographs of supposed accusers from 40 years ago in their youth.  This is highly exaggerated and deceptive.  Hope this photo alone causes question and doubt of the legitimacy and accuracy of the reporting.  If the allegations were true, Corfman and Nelson are the only illegal, immoral and serious ones and the Johnson allegation would be considered sexual harassment.  The rest of the women pictured are the ones who gave trivial allegations that range from he asked me out, to he said I was pretty, to he creeped me out at the mall, to kissing and several testified that the mothers of the girls were involved, vouching for the character of Moore.  It is deceitful and a lie to throw these dating claims in with the 2 molestation claims so they can keep up the fake news “multiple accusers” story. The Washington Post and other liberal reporters continue to use these other irrelevant accounts to make the misconduct allegations seem more believable.

The Media

Stand with Roy Moore or kneel to the media.  The liberal media is obviously one-sided in reporting the supposed accusations against Roy Moore and is dodging any source and refusing to air any interview that doesn’t square with their effort to land a liberal Democrat in the senate seat.  They have made no effort to fact check the allegations of the women and will not report the inaccuracies that have surfaced in their accounts and will certainly not cross examine them on air.  For over 5 weeks now, the liberal media has combed Gallant, Alabama, the Moore’s hometown, attempting to locate anyone willing to condemn or accuse the Judge.  You have seen the bias.  The liberal media is practically silent when it comes to reporting that Moore even has any supporters, or staff or volunteers.  This reveals an unconscionable bias on the part of state and national press to hide the truth from Alabama voters who will certainly see through the “fake news” and elect Judge Moore for the man that we have always known him to be.  In this critical election, may the great state of Alabama look beyond the sources of information that hate truth, that hate God (and those of us who belong to Him) and that continue to report false accusations as truth, while ignoring all evidence that might point to Moore’s innocence and cast their vote on Dec. 12 for Roy Moore for Senate without reserve!  Please make yourself into a grassroots activist and spread the side of the story that the mainstream media will not cover and feel free to use any or all of the information in this letter if desired.  Encourage your friends not to let the media vilification of Moore affect their vote.

A few words about the Roy Moore’s Democratic Opponent

We are not voting for the “lesser of two evils” in this election.  Our primary reason for voting for Roy Moore is not that we don’t want a liberal Democrat to win, but we believe Moore has been falsely accused and he has proven during his 40 years of public service to the people of Alabama that he meets the Biblical qualifications for being a public official- “look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people.”  Exodus 18:21

In 2012, the Democratic Party removed God from their platformDoug Jones, who has been endorsed by the Washington Post, adheres to the platform of his party, the party of murdering children through abortion, the party of homosexuality and sodomite marriage, the party of transgenders in our military and our daughter’s restrooms, the party of Common Core, the party of Obamacare, the party of gun control, and on and on.  Voting for him is not an option for a Christian because his stances on these issues do not line up with God and His Word.

Closing

Five state campaigns. Forty years of honorable service. Roy Moore has been intensely scrutinized and not a hint of scandal.  But four weeks before the election, false allegations. Yet another scheme by liberal Democrats, the Republican establishment and the mainstream, left-wing, socialist news media trying to control our election by controlling our news.  If we carefully examine the evidence, consider Roy Moore’s denial of the allegations and his sincere Christian faith that has been proven by his actions over many years, remember his long, public record of standing for God’s righteous laws in Alabama to his own loss when others would not stand, realize the importance of this race for our nation, and see clearly the motives of those involved in accusing and reporting, we believe Alabama will make the right choice and vote Roy Moore for Senate on December 12.

Judge Roy Moore is also our friend and we trust him.  It is our purpose to support and defend him until we are given sufficient cause to do otherwise.

May God bless our state and nation as we consider this very important election.

Dr. and Mrs. Tom Ford

Montgomery, Alabama

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Guest Columnists

Opinion | Brett Kavanaugh: Chief Justice Moore 2.0

John W. Giles

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What do U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore have in common? They both are victims of the new ambush strategic initiative of the Washington Post.  What does the Washington Post and Amazon.com have in common? Jeff Bezos owns them both!  What do Jeff Bezos and George Soros have in common?  Both men are billionaires, who use their fortunes funding social engineering, promoting socialism, and supporting liberal causes and candidates.  Finally, what do the media elite, Bezos, Soros, liberal democrats, and social media magnates have in common?  For some reason they HATE economic, social, moral and constitutional conservatives and will attempt to destroy them at all cost.  The centerpiece of this article is the Kavanaugh – Moore connection; let’s raise the curtain and look backstage.

There is a new eleventh hour, well-strategically planned, perfectly time lined out, well-executed, mostly untraceable, and unmerited assault being unleased on economic, social, moral, and constitutional conservatives like Kavanaugh and Moore.  They bushwhacked Kavanagh before his Senate Judiciary committee vote, and they hit Moore when he was about to grab the coveted U.S. Senate seat for Alabama.

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher from ancient China, who authored a thirteen-chapter military strategic outline entitled, “The Art Of War.”  It is commonly known that consulting firms who generally represent liberal candidates craftily apply Sun Tzu war tactics with a few over arching themes: win at all cost, attack them at their strengths, and perception, not truth, is the origin.  Kavanaugh and Moore were both attacked at their strengths in the eleventh hour, publicly maligned, and unfortunately, stained as guilty until proven innocent.

Moore earned a stellar reputation in life: recognized as valedictorian in high school, appointed by Republican Congressman Jim Martin to attend West Point Military Academy, served with distinction as an Army Officer in Vietnam, earned a law degree from the University of Alabama Law School, appointed to a judicial circuit bench by Republican Governor Guy Hunt, re-elected as circuit judge, and then successfully ran for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.  Even though the Ten Commandments are the cornerstone of western civilized law and the moral foundation of the U.S. Constitution, Moore was sued in 1992 by the ACLU in Etowah County for posting a wood burned carving plaque of the Ten Commandments on the courtroom wall.  Remember, the ACLU elevated Moore into the national spotlight; not of his own doings.  Keep in mind the U.S. Supreme Court has a stone tablet over their courtroom backdrop in D.C. of the Ten Commandments and another couple of stone carvings of Moses holding the tablets depicting the Ten Commandments are the moral foundation of the U.S. Constitution.  Moore is a dedicated and devoted Southern Baptist Christian and often quotes scripture and may refer to God several times in his speeches.  Some in our state, many who are jealous of his notoriety, developed the perception that this nation media attention was self-serving.  Some, even church going folks, get nervous and antsy when a speech is given referencing God more than two times.  Others may not like his style and have formed an unmerited negative opinion.  I have known Moore for about twenty nine years, and I can tell you his faith and tenacity is an authentic passion; and he sincerely desires to restore constitutional governing back to all three branches of government at both the state and federal level.

After Senator Jeff Sessions was appointed as U.S. Attorney General by President Trump, Governor Bentley appointed former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange as the U.S. Senator from Alabama.  Bentley later resigned and Governor Kay Ivey called for a special election for this seat.  Moore sailed through the primary and Republicans gave him an overwhelming 54.6% of the run off vote, even after approximately thirty million dollars had been spend against him by the Senate Majority Fund and others.  After the run off, Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post unleashed a timely and horrifically fabricated dossier given to them by an unnamed source alleging Moore assaulted a teenage girl. There were no witnesses, no corroboration, and all of the claims were proven not true.  Then the strategic timeline began to unpack with the notorious Gloria Allred marching out another supposed victim.  Here again, there were no witnesses, no corroboration, and nothing about the claims were proven true.  After the Allred drama show, we all lost count of the mounting string of the false accusations.  Then, the Doug Jones liberal coalition including George Soros, Super Pac Hwy 31, and others spent another twenty million dollars tearing the hide off a good man.  Even high ranking Republicans at the state and national level turned their back on Moore, but many later stood true with Kavanagh.  Even with a tsunami of pressure on Governor Kay Ivey to withdraw her support, she dug in and fought like a warrior keeping her support of Moore; she’s my kind of girl.

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Brett Kavanagh had also earned an unblemished stellar record in his life accomplishments.  His education includes a B.A. Yale University (cum laude) and J.D at Yale Law School. His public career includes clerking in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.  He also worked in the Solicitor General’s office, Office of Independent Counsel, Assistant to President Bush, and served on the U.S. Court of Civil Appeals.  In his public service positons, Kavanagh had six thorough FBI background checks and cleared them all.  He was squeaky clean, and then the Jerry Springer style circus of rabid liberals, who opposed his nomination, public hearings, and confirmation of Justice Kavanagh, was Chief Justice Roy Moore 2.0.  The rest is history. Kavanagh is on the high court, but the modern day “Art Of War” assault against economic, social, moral, and constitutional conservatives has only just begun, unless this clear and present danger to the national security of our elections is preserved.

Kavanagh and Moore may have the same DNA, but differing styles; both are economic, social, moral, and constitutional conservatives, each have a deeply held faith, and come from GOP camps.  I am very happy at this moment of how Senator Mitch McConnell faced the violet tsunami getting Kavanagh confirmed, but I am very disappointed that he and Senator Shelby shunned and turned their backs on Moore.  That is a debate down range.  The most important take away here is we need to return in this country to the long served notion that we are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Liberal media outlets like The Washington Post and others truly HATE conservatives, and there is no limbo bar too low to slither under to ruin the character of good people.  In the heat of the battle, please listen to those who have known personally the assaulted conservative for years and hear what they say, rather than believing CNN and those embracing the Maxine Waters doctrine. Unless we send some folks to jail for perjury, fraud, malicious slander, and the like, we can expect our finest to become Kavanagh – Moore 3.0.  Anyone can be next.

 

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Guest Columnists

Opinion | Our HBCUs are at risk – we need to step up to protect them

Sen. Doug Jones

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Since 1867, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or “HBCUs,” have played a vital role in Alabama’s higher education system. With 14 today, Alabama is home to the most of any state in the country. And as I said in a recent speech on the Senate floor, we don’t just have the most, we have the best.

Tuskegee University is the only HBCU with a College of Veterinary Medicine, and the school produces over 75-percent of African-American veterinarians in the world. It has also just hired its first female university president, Dr. Lily McNair.

Alabama A&M University is the only 1890 land-grant university offering four Ph.D. programs. They are also the leading producer of African-Americans with Ph.Ds. in Physics.

Oakwood University is the nation’s fifth-highest producer of undergraduate African-American applicants to medical school.

Alabama State University is home to the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture. ASU is currently doing preservation work on some never-before-seen documents such as court notions, bond documents, and official papers connected to the Montgomery bus boycott.

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And Lawson State Community College was named a Champion of Change in 2011 by then-President Barack Obama.

Today, there are over 100 accredited HBCUs, both public and private, in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They enroll approximately 300,000 students – 80-percent of whom are African-American and 70-percent are from low-income families. While HBCUs only make up three-percent of our country’s colleges and universities today, they produce nearly 20-percent of all African-American graduates.

Among HBCU graduates, there are countless trailblazing Americans who have quite literally changed the course of our history as a nation: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Marian Wright Edelman, Langston Hughes, Katherine Johnson.

And according to the National Science Foundation, between 2002 to 2011, the top eight institutions where African-American Ph.Ds. in science and engineering earned their bachelor’s degree were all HBCUs. HBCUs annually generate $14.8 billion in economic impact and add more than 134,000 jobs for local and regional economies. Based on a report in 2014, Alabama HBCU graduates can expect total earnings of $130 billion in their lifetimes. I could go on and on.

For all of these incredible achievements, HBCUs in Alabama and across the country are working against the strong headwinds of serious financial struggles.

The Government Accountability Office recently investigated the capital finance needs of HBCUs. Its report estimates that 46-percent of all HBCU buildings are in need of repair or replacement. This is due to deferred maintenance, the evolution of higher education and technology, and the fact that many of these buildings are state or federal registered historic places. For example, Tuskegee University is designated as a National Historic Site by Congress.

That is a remarkable figure – and it is wholly unacceptable.

But this is not a surprise for those who understand the challenges these institutions have long faced. HBCUs lack a plethora of revenue sources – public HBCUs heavily rely on state and federal grants, appropriations, and bonds. Private HBCUs have to rely on private or alumni giving and tuition fees. On top of that, the GAO found that the average endowment of an HBCU is half the size of a similarly sized non-HBCU.

None of the 90 institutions of higher education in the country with endowments greater than $1 billion is an HBCU.

This results in an endless cycle for these schools that have contributed so greatly to our country and the talented students they serve. With their limited revenue sources and the discrimination they face in the bond market, it is difficult to maintain campus buildings that attract high enrollment. Lower enrollment just leads to even less tuition and fees collected. And the cycle continues.

But I don’t just want to talk about problems without offering a solution.

Recently, I introduced the Strengthening Minority-Serving Institutions Act that will permanently extend and increase federal funds to all minority-serving institutions. Most federal funds are currently set to expire after Fiscal Year 2019.

My bill goes beyond just supporting our HBCUs, but is inclusive of other minority-serving schools like those that primarily admit Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans, among others.

With this legislation, we increase mandatory funding from $255 million to $300 million for these institutions.

They will be able to put that money to good use for infrastructure improvements, technology upgrades, and other critical needs that have gone unfulfilled.

This won’t solve all of the challenges HBCUs are working hard to overcome, but it’s a step in the right direction—and it’s the right thing to do for these schools that are part of the very foundation of our higher education system.

 

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Guest Columnists

Opinion | Water infrastructure vital to Alabama’s economy

Bradley Byrne

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There are very few places in the United States that can boast the sort of diverse infrastructure we have here in Alabama. There are 11 interstates, over 3,000 miles of freight rail, 5 commercial airports, and more than 132,000 miles of rivers and stream channels in our state.

One of our state’s most important pieces of infrastructure is the Port of Mobile, the 10th largest port and fastest growing container terminal in the United States. With 41 berths, 5 million square feet of warehouses and yards, and covering 4,000 total acres, it has an economic impact of around 135,000 jobs in Southwest Alabama and generates more than $22 billion per year in economic value.

Recent expansions and developments at the Port will only further grow the economic impact of the Port on not only Southwest Alabama but our entire state. For example, the recent announcement about a new roll-on/roll-off vehicle processing facility at the Port will help our state’s automotive manufacturing industry continue to grow.

Even with these impressive facts, it has been clear that our infrastructure throughout the country is in need of updates, repairs, and overhauls to ensure that we are at the cutting edge of transportation and innovation in order to compete economically on the world stage.

Last week, in a major bipartisan effort, Congress sent a piece of legislation to President Trump’s desk that will help to unlock the full economic potential of our region and state.

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America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 passed the Senate last week, after passing out of the House a few weeks back. This bill authorizes funding for waterway projects, port improvement projects, and other important water infrastructure projects in all 50 states. Not only will this allow for much-needed infrastructure improvements, but the bill reinstates a “Buy America” provision for federally funded projects, meaning a boost for American steel producers.

Commonsense legislation like this will create jobs, incentivize the use of American-made products, and build our nation’s capabilities to produce, package, and transport goods all around the globe. It will also make our drinking water safer, improve our wastewater systems, combat algae blooms, and restore our nation’s beaches through grant programs.

The Army Corps of Engineers can move forward on improving our dams, locks, reservoirs, and shipping channels. We have a major Army Corps project that needs attention right here in Southwest Alabama. The project to deepen and widen the Mobile Bay Ship Channel has the ability to fundamentally alter the economic potential of the Port and create more jobs in our state. Senator Richard Shelby has long been a champion for this project, and I am committed to working with him to make it a reality.

Our shipyards, airports, and rail yards will all see an impact from waterway projects like this, and I am thankful to the members of the Senate and my colleagues in the House for passing this water infrastructure legislation to help propel Alabama even further into the 21st Century.

The future of Alabama rests upon our ability to look beyond the short term and into what will set us up for success for years to come. Focusing locally on important infrastructure projects will spur economic growth through business investment and job creation, and it will open up opportunities we don’t even know exist yet.

Investing in our infrastructure today will lead to a stronger tomorrow. I applaud the work of my colleagues in both the House and the Senate in making a better economic future possible through this vital water infrastructure legislation.

 

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Guest Columnists

Opinion | Retiring Republican state senator: Alabama should expand Medicaid

Gerald Dial

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I was born in Delta, Alabama, and I have spent the majority of my life in Lineville, working as a teacher, a coach, and as a state senator in the Alabama Legislature. I served my country in the Alabama National Guard as a Brigadier General and have a strong sense of duty for the state of Alabama. I know the joys and the challenges of life in rural Alabama, and I am committed to keeping our rural areas strong.

As a retiring legislator and a former chairman of the State Senate Health Committee, I can appreciate the struggles our lawmakers face in trying to fund key state services. However, I also understand the importance of quality health care in our local communities, and I believe that by not expanding Medicaid we are missing a huge opportunity to strengthen our local economies.

For years, we have used state dollars to recruit industries to locate in Alabama, and we have been very successful. We now have an opportunity to support existing health care jobs and make sure every Alabamian has access to care when they need it, and where they need it. Investing in Medicaid expansion will keep our rural hospitals open, save hundreds of local jobs, and provide basic insurance coverage to almost 300,000 Alabamians. These are our friends and neighbors, hardworking Alabamians who don’t earn enough to afford health insurance. They work in our local restaurants, in our local retail shops and build our houses. Medicaid expansion would enable them to continue working while keeping their family healthy.

What happens if Alabama passes up this opportunity? More hospitals will close. Already, six rural hospitals have closed since 2011, and 88 percent of the remaining rural facilities continue to operate but are losing money every day, providing care to thousands of un-insured individuals. Many have had to eliminate services, cut staff and, if nothing changes, a number of them will likely have to close their doors. And when a community loses its hospital, it also loses doctors, pharmacies, and other providers, devastating the community not only in terms of access to health care, but in job and economic losses.

I realize we don’t have all the answers on how Medicaid expansion will be funded. But I do know that for every $1 the state invests, the federal government will return $10 to the state. That’s a good deal for Alabama and one that we can’t afford to pass up. And remember, that federal funding comes from tax dollars we are already sending to Washington, dollars currently funding expanded Medicaid programs in 33 other states and in Washington, D.C. Instead of sending our money out of state, let’s invest that money in Alabama’s health care industry.

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We’ve got to find a way to keep our state’s health care system viable. I urge all Alabamians to find out more about Medicaid expansion and the tremendous benefit it will have, particularly in our rural areas. I’m afraid that the cost of doing nothing is too great.

Gerald Dial represents District 13 in the Alabama State Senate, which includes all or parts of Randolph, Lee, Cleburne, Clay, Cherokee, and Chambers counties.

 

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