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Brooks says Alabama will lose congressional representation if census counts immigrants

Brandon Moseley

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Friday morning, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing at the urging of Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, on questions regarding the U.S. Census.

Attorney General Steve Marshall testified before the committee regarding the lawsuit filed by Alabama and Brooks challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. Census Bureau’s plan to count immigrants in the country illegally for purposes of apportionment.

Brooks said, “I’m pleased the subcommittee is examining and bringing attention to the negative implications of including illegal aliens in the 2020 Census apportionment count. Outrageously, Alabama will lose representation in the U.S. House and Electoral College while states that encourage open borders policies and flout federal immigration law stand to gain representation because the U.S. Census Bureau plans to count illegal aliens. This injustice flies in the face of the Rule of Law and encourages more illegal immigration to America. In the hearing today, Democrats shamelessly put the interests of illegal aliens over American citizens by continuously defending unlawful conduct that undermines and diminishes the political representation of legal immigrants and citizens. Democrats even went so far as to openly advocate for noncitizens to participate in our electoral process.”

“Alabama losing political representation will have severe negative consequences for the Tennessee valley and our state,” said Brooks. “The defense and space community in our region rely heavily on the clout that Alabama’s congressional delegation has established on the House Armed Services Committee, Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and Appropriations Committee. I urge Alabama residents to consider the impact of losing a seat in the House, a body where strength of numbers often determines which communities receive federal jobs and funding.”

“If illegal aliens are counted, not only does that undermine and dilute the ‘one man, one vote’ and equal protection rights of Alabama citizens, it also means Alabama will likely lose an appropriator or House Armed Services Committee member, either of which reduces Redstone Arsenal’s influence in Congress and puts our defense and space jobs at greater risk,” Brooks warned.

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In his testimony Attorney General Marshall said, “Last month the State of Alabama filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging our expected loss of representation in Congress and the Electoral College as a result of the Census Bureau’s counting of illegal aliens for purposes of apportionment. As stated in our complaint— and it’s is joined by Congressman Mo Brooks who is here with us today— Alabama is set to lose one of its seven congressional seats and one of its nine electoral votes, a seat and a vote it would not lose if illegal aliens were excluded from the apportionment base. Not only would this skewed result rob the State of Alabama and its legal residents of the rightful share of representation but it plainly undermines the rule of law. If an individual’s presence in our country is in violation of federal law, the question is why should the states in which they reside benefit from their illegal status.”

Brooks has been a vocal critic of illegal immigration in his term representing the 5th Congressional District. Most people expect Alabama to lose a congressional district after the 2020 census. Brooks’ district has shown the most growth in the state over the last decade.

Brooks recently won the Republican nomination for a fifth term.

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Elections

Former congressional candidate Mallory Hagan signs on with “Draft Beto” group

Chip Brownlee

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Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally in the Pan American Neighborhood Park in Austin, Texas. (Flikr/Wikimedia Commons)

Former Democratic congressional candidate Mallory Hagan, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District, is joining other Democrats to launch a “Draft Beto” campaign.

The group is focused on raising at least $1 million for a future presidential campaign for Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, whose 2018 campaign for Senate against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz sparked national attention. Though he lost against Cruz, O’Rourke’s campaign inspired a number of Democrats who hope a young, progressive candidate like O’Rourke could be the Democratic standard-bearer in 2020.

The $1 million for Beto’s presidential campaign will be raised in the hopes of both convincing him to run and giving him a headstart in the primary.

Former Beto and Barack Obama campaign staffers, actors, social media influencers, a Google employee, a New York state public defender and former Democratic Congressional candidates are the lead organizers of the group.

Hagan, who is one of the group’s co-founders, is one of two red-state Democrats who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the group. Renee Hoagenson of Missouri’s 4th Congressional District is the other.

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Democratic candidate Mallory Hagan speaks to supporters in Opelika, Alabama, ahead of the November 2018 midterm elections.

“I had the distinct honor of hearing Beto speak while traveling this past year,” Hagan said. “His desire to see positive, progressive policy in America is infectious. Momentum for a Beto presidential run has been building since the Midterms.”

Hagan lost her 2018 bid against Rogers by 26 percentage points, but her campaign was energized by a grassroots movement. The former Miss America was a local television news anchor and activist before launching her congressional bid.

Organizers have set up an ActBlue escrow account, which would transfer any funds raised to O’Rourke’s campaign account if he were to announce one next year. Hagan’s group is one of two draft efforts seeking to push O’Rourke to run. The other, Draft Beto 2020, held a rally last weekend in New Hampshire, an important primary state, Politico reported.

All contributions forwarded to Beto through Draft Beto are treated as contributions from the original contributor and not from Draft Beto, the group said in a press release.

O’Rourke, a three-term congressman from El Paso, has not said whether he will run for president. He initially shut down calls for him to but has since back stepped. He’s said he doesn’t have a “hard date” on when he would make a decision.

O’Rourke’s impassioned campaign included a tour of all 254 Texas counties. He raised more than $70 million in campaign contributions, the most of any Senate candidate in American history and more than $40 million more than Cruz’s fundraising totals. O’Rourke had 1.2 million separate donations.

He received enormous national attention as a political underdog. A large portion of O’Rourke’s contributions, about 38 percent, were from out of state, though more than 40 percent of Cruz’s contributions came from out of state, an analysis by the Dallas Morning News showed.

Though O’Rourke lost by about 2 percentage points, his race was the closest a Democrat has come to unseating an incumbent Republican in deeply red Texas since 1978.

“Our goal is to bring that energy to the surface and build a grassroots movement to Beto a head start in the primary,” Hagan said. “Beto’s experience, passion, inspiration, vision and ability to connect with voters gives him the best chance to win in 2020.”

Other organizers in the campaign include social media influencers like actor Misha Collins and voice actress Tara Strong, who is known for her Powerpuff Girls and Rugrats roles, and Santiago Palomino, who was a field organizer on O’Rourke’s Texas Senate campaign.

Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll in Iowa that was released over the weekend showed O’Rourke in third. He registered 11 percent support, behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, in the important early primary state.

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Environment

Byrne applauds funding that benefits Dauphin Island

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, celebrated news that the Army Corps of Engineers is dedicating $4 million to place dredge material in the expanded Sand Island Beneficial Use Area (SIBUA). The Army Corps also obtained environmental clearances to expand the SIBUA.

“We received good news that the Army Corps will dedicate $4 million to benefit Dauphin Island by placing dredge material in the Sand Island Beneficial Use Area,” Rep. Byrne said. “Doing this will help support the restoration and long-term stability of Dauphin Island. This has been an ongoing priority for our office for some time now, so I appreciate the help of Senator Richard Shelby in securing this funding. I am committed to working with the Army Corps, Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier, and local leaders to ensure Dauphin Island is protected in the years ahead.”

Dauphin Island is a Gulf Coast town and barrier island, essentially a big sand bar protecting the entrance to Mobile Bay. It is popular with tourists and residents alike for its stretches of white sand and beaches. It is however very vulnerable to hurricanes and rising sea levels.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been tasked with routinely dredging the bar channel which keeps the harbor of Mobile accessible to ocean going shipping. The Corps needs a place for the dredged materials. Expanding the SIBUA to strengthen and protect the residents of Dauphin Island provides a constructive use for that dredged sand.

In September 2004, a modification of the SIBUA was issued to expand the disposal site to include the area around the Sand Island Lighthouse, which is a valuable cultural resource listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Placement of sandy material around the light house’s rubble foundation is beneficial in that it provides protection to the historic structure. In order to continue the beneficial use practices, in December 2008, the USACE expanded the SIBUA extending a 4,500-foot wide southern boundary approximately 2,000 to the south. This expanded area provided for continued placement of sandy material from the Mobile Bar Channel in a manner that returns this material to the local littoral system.

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The Corps is proposing to further expand the existing SIBUA by approximately 3,305 acres (to the west towards Dauphin Island) for the continued placement of Mobile Harbor Federal Navigation Channel O&M material. This action would provide for the return of sediment into the littoral system as well as increasing placement capacity in the SIBUA, consistent with established regional sediment management implementation principles and goals. The characteristics of the sediment being dredged and placed ranges from fine to medium grained quartz sand from the Mobile Harbor channel(s).

To read the full report, click here.

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National

Jones, Cruz bill to release civil rights cold case records passes Senate

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Sens. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced that their bipartisan Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act has passed the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support.

Jones and Cruz introduced the legislation in July to require the review, declassification, and release of government records related to unsolved criminal civil rights cases. Even though the Civil Rights Movement was almost 50 years old, many of these documents are not publicly available and some remain classified.

Since its introduction, Jones and Cruz have worked together to earn support for the bill both at the committee level and in the full Senate.

“This legislation means a great deal to the families and communities that have been impacted by these civil rights-era crimes, and I am so proud that we have been able to move the bill quickly through the Senate this year,” Jones said. “I understand well how important it is to confront the darkest moments in our history so that we can begin to heal and move forward together. This bill will unlock records that can help us better understand that history and give victims’ families a chance at a sense of closure. I thank Senator Cruz for his partnership in this effort and I look forward to seeing this bill move through the House and to the President’s desk.”

“During the civil rights movement, far too many violent crimes committed against black Americans went unsolved,” Cruz said. “This bill attempts to address this injustice by disclosing case records so that the public—including private detectives, historians, victims, and victims’ families—may access these files, pursue leads, and document these tragic events. I want to thank Sen. Jones for his efforts on this important bill. It is my hope that this bill will bring justice for the victims, closure to their families, and another victory for the legacy of the civil rights movement.”

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Jones is a former U.S. Attorney for North Alabama. He successfully prosecuted two former Klansmen in 2001 and 2002 for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that killed four young girls.

Since its introduction, the legislation has earned bipartisan support and has brought renewed national attention to the issue of civil rights cold cases. Among the most well-known of these cases is that of Emmett Till, who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of fourteen. Till’s case was re-opened by the Department of Justice earlier this year after it had received new information. However, more than 100 other cold cases remain closed without any resolution.

If passed the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018 will require the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to establish a collection of cold case records about unsolved criminal civil rights cases that government offices must publicly disclose in the collection. It would also establish a Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board to facilitate the review, transmission to NARA, and disclosure of government records related to such cases.

Cruz ran for President in 2016, finishing second to Donald Trump in the Republican Primary. Cruz recently won re-election defeating Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

Jones was elected in a special election a year ago.

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National

Shelby taps committee staffer Dayne Cutrell as new chief of staff

Chip Brownlee

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Alabama’s senior U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby has hired a new chief of staff.

Shelby announced Monday that he’s selected Dayne Cutrell, a native of Mobile who previously worked as a top aide to Shelby on the Senate Appropriations Committee, to serve as his chief of staff beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

Cutrell worked most recently as the staff director for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies after Shelby became the chairman of the full committee.

“Dayne is an experienced legislative strategist who has worked on issues that impact people all across our great state,” Shelby said. “Raised in Alabama, he also cares deeply about our state’s success. I am pleased to have Dayne as my chief of staff, and I am confident that his leadership skills will serve my office well as we work to advance Alabama’s priorities.”

Shelby’s hiring of Cutrell as his new chief of staff comes after his former chief of staff, Katie Britt, left his office to become the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, a non-partisan business association representing companies throughout the state.

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She had served as chief of staff to Shelby since 2016, following her role as deputy campaign manager and communications director during the senator’s most recent re-election campaign.

Cutrell started in Shelby’s office in February 2015 as a legislative assistant and later legislative director.

Prior to moving into Shelby’s office in the Senate, he was a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cutrell received a law degree from American University Washington College for Law and is a member of the Alabama State Bar.

Before living in Washington, Cutrell graduated from Samford University where he also played baseball for the Bulldogs.

He and his wife, Maggie, currently reside in Washington, D.C.

 

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Brooks says Alabama will lose congressional representation if census counts immigrants

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 3 min
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