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Alabama AFL-CIO announces endorsements

Brandon Moseley

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The Alabama AFL-CIO held its endorsement convention on August 2-3, 2018 at the Embassy Suites, in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Beginning at 1:00 p.m. on August 2nd we had a candidate forum and gave each candidate no more than three (3) minutes to speak to the delegates before we made our endorsements on the morning of August 3, 2018,” the AFL-CIO said in a statement.

The Alabama AFL-CIO endorsed all seven Democratic candidates for Congress; but split their ticket on state candidates, particularly in the state House of Representatives.

For Governor their choice was Walter “Walt” Maddox (D).
For Lieutenant Governor Dr. Will Boyd (D).
For Attorney General Joseph Siegelman (D).
Auditor Miranda Joseph Democrat (D)
Secretary of State John Merrill (R)

For the United States Congress, the AFL-CIO endorsed

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Robert Kennedy Jr. (D) in the First Congressional District.
Tabitha Isner (D) Second Congressional District
Mallory Hagan (D) Third Congressional District
Lee Auman (D) Fourth Congressional District
Peter Joffrion (D) Fifth Congressional District
Danner Kline (D) Sixth Congressional District
Incumbent Terri Sewell (D) Seventh Congressional District

In other statewide races the AFL-CIO endorsed:

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert S. Vance (D)
Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Place 4 Donna Wesson Smalley (D)
Public Service Commissioner Place 1 incumbent Jeremy Oden (R)
Public Service Commission Place 2 incumbent Chip Beeker (R)
State Board of Education District 2 Adam Jortner (D)
State Board of Education District 4 incumbent Yvette Richardson (D)
State Board of Education District 8 Jessica Fortune Barkere (D)

For State Senate the AFL-CIO endorsed:

District 1 Caroline Self (D)
District 2 Amy Wasyluka (D)
District 4 Garlan Gudger (R)
District 5 incumbent Greg Reed (R)
District 6 Johnny Mack Morrow (D)
District 7 Deborah Barros (D)
District 10 Craig Ford Independent
District 11 Carl Carter (D)
District 12 Jim Williams (D)
District 13 Darrell Turner (D)
District 14 incumbent Cam Ward (R)
District 18 incumbent Rodger Smitherman (D)
District 19 incumbent Priscilla Dunn (D)
District 20 incumbent Linda Coleman-Madison (D)
District 21 Rick Burnham (D)
District 23 Malika Sanders-Fortier (D)
District 24 incumbent Bobby Singleton (D)
District 25 David Sadler (D)
District 26 incumbent David Burkette (D)
District 28 incumbent Billy Beasley (D)
District 32 Jason Fisher (D)
District 33 incumbent Vivian Figures (D)
District 35 Tom Holmes (D)

The AFL-CIO has endorsed for State House of Representatives:

District 2 Lora Kay Morrow (D)
District 3 Chad Young (D)
District 8 Billy Jackson (D)
District 9 Terrie Jones Savage (D)
District 10 J. B. King (D)
District 11 incumbent Randall Shedd (R)
District 12 incumbent Corey Harbison (R)
District 13 incumbent Connie Cooner Rowe (R)
District 14 incumbent Tim Wadsworth (R)
District 15 Suzanna Coleman (D)
District 16 incumbent Kyle South (R)
District 18 Eddie Britton (D)
District 19 incumbent Laura Hall (D)
District 20 Linda Meigs (D)
District 21 C. Terry Jones (D)
District 22 incumbent Richie Whorton (R)
District 23 incumbent James Hanes Jr. (R)
District 24 incumbent Nathaniel Ledbetter (R)
District 25 incumbent Mac McCutcheon (R)
District 27 Bill Jones (D)
District 28 Kyle Pierce (D)
District 29 Jared Millican (D)
District 30 Jared Vaughn (D)
District 32 incumbent Barbara Boyd (D)
District 34 incumbent David Standridge (R)
District 35 incumbent Steve Hurst (R)
District 36 Nicki Arnold-Swindle (D)
District 37 Charlotte Clark-Frieson (D)
District 38 Brain McGee (D)
District 40 Pamela Howard (D)
District 43 Carin Mayo (D)
District 45 Jenn Gray (D)
District 46 Felicia Stewart (D)
District 48 Alli Summerford (D)
District 49 incumbent April Weaver (R)
District 51 incumbent Allen Treadaway (R)
District 52 incumbent John Rogers (D)
District 53 incumbent Anthony Daniels (D)
District 54 Neil Rafferty (D)
District 55 incumbent Rod Scott (D)
District 56 incumbent Louise Alexander (D)
District 57 incumbent Merika Coleman (D)
District 58 incumbent Rolanda Hollis (D)
District 59 incumbent Mary Moore (D)
District 60 incumbent Juandalynn Givan (D)
District 61 Tommy Hyche (D)
District 62 Will Benton (D)
District 63 incumbent Bill Poole (R)
District 64 incumbent Harry Shiver (R)
District 65 incumbent Elaine Beech (D)
District 66 Susan Smith (D)
District 67 incumbent Prince Chestnut (D)
District 68 incumbent Thomas “Action” Jackson (D)
District 69 incumbent Kelvin Lawrence (D)
District 70 incumbent Christopher J. England (D)
District 71 incumbent Artis J. McCampbell (D)
District 72 incumbent Ralph Anthony Howard (D)
District 73 Jack Jacobs (D)
District 74 Rayford Mack (D)
District 76 incumbent Thad McClammy (D)
District 77 TaShina Morris (D)
District 78 Kirk Hatcher (D)
District 81 Jeremy Jeffcoat (D)
District 82 incumbent Pebblin Warren (D)
District 84 incumbent Berry Forte (D)
District 85 incumbent Dexter Grimsley (D)
District 86 Kristy Kirkland (D)
District 88 Cory Creel (D)
District 89 Joel Lee Williams (D)
District 90 Joanne Whetstone (D)
District 92 Mike Jones Jr. (R)
District 96 Maurice Horsey (D)
District 97 incumbent Adline C. Clarke (D)
District 98 incumbent Napoleon Bracy Jr. (D)
District 99 Sam Jones (D)
District 103 incumbent Barbara Drummond (D)
District 104 incumbent Margie Wilcox (R)

The General Election will be on November 6.

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Emails show Ivey, staff used private Gmail and iCloud accounts in Lieutenant Governor’s Office

Chip Brownlee

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Emails provided to the Alabama Political Reporter show Gov. Kay Ivey and her top advisers used personal email accounts like Gmail and iCloud to conduct official business while Ivey was serving as lieutenant governor.

Dozens of emails released to APR in response to allegations made by Democratic candidate Walt Maddox this morning show Ivey and her staff, including her chief of staff, Steve Pelham, communicated via their personal Gmail and iCloud accounts with top advisers between 2011 and 2014, during Ivey’s second term as lieutenant governor.

The majority of the emails released relate to the then-lieutenant governor’s schedule ranging from campaign events to economic development meetings. A portion of the emails related to Ivey’s campaign for lieutenant governor in 2014 and others deal with personal scheduling issues, both of which would have needed to be sent from personal accounts.

Office holders are prohibited from using state email accounts to conduct personal or campaign-related business.

But several of the emails, specifically those that are dated in 2011, 2012 and 2013, indicate Ivey and her staff were conducting state business through personal emails, including one trip to Washington that appears to have required the use of state aircraft.

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Ivey appears to have used several email accounts including a Gmail account, a Charter email account and another unidentified account named “Susan Anthony.” Ivey’s then-chief of staff Pelham, who now serves as Ivey’s chief of staff in the Governor’s Office, also used two different iCloud accounts, the emails obtained show.

The emails released to APR were collected from the Alabama State Archives, where official business is cataloged and saved in accordance with state law requiring emails and other state records be preserved.

Public officials are not prohibited from using personal email accounts, although it’s generally accepted that official business conducted on private emails must be retained as public record.

Ivey’s office has so far not responded to a request for comment sent early Monday afternoon.

Advocates for open government have long expressed concerns that the use of private emails by public officials can shield official business from public records requests because those emails aren’t automatically or immediately captured on state servers that are often searched to fulfill those records requests.

The emails have to be voluntarily submitted to the state archives or voluntarily searched for public records requests.

Maddox said Ivey’s use of a private email, while not illegal, is cause for concern.

“The discovery that Kay Ivey’s staff used private email servers during a period of time when there are so many questions about what actually occurred in Colorado in 2015, is disturbing,” Maddox said in a statement. “These private email servers are not available to be searched when a public records request is made, and that should be very troubling to every Alabamian who wants open, honest government.”

The Democratic candidate said Ivey should release all records from the private accounts found in the archives.

“This continues an unacceptable pattern of secrecy and nondisclosure by Kay Ivey,” Maddox said in a statement. “Accordingly, In addition to the questions I requested Governor Ivey answer regarding allegations of misuse of law enforcement and potential cover-up, she should immediately, in the interest of full disclosure, take immediate steps to release all email records for the following accounts.”

The revelation about Ivey’s purported use of private email accounts in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office comes at a time when Ivey is facing questions about a hospitalization during a 2015 trip to Colorado for an aerospace conference.

As APR reported over the last week, former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier, a former Republican state representative who was appointed to lead Alabama’s unified law enforcement agency by former Gov. Robert Bentley, and his second in comand  told APR that Ivey and her staff attempted to cover up the hospitalization.

According to the trooper at Ivey’s bedside, doctors in Colorado said they believed she had suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA). TIAs produce stroke-like symptoms but usually last only a few minutes causing no permanent damage.

When a member of her security detail reported the incident to superior officers after Pelham, Ivey’s chief of staff, told him not to tell anyone, the officer, Thomas “Drew” Brooks, was removed from Ivey’s security detail and his salary was reduced, according to personnel records obtained by APR.

Ivey has denied retaliating against the trooper assigned to her protective detail and her staff has maintained the hospitalization was the result of altitude sickness and nothing more serious.

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Second law-enforcement officer confirms Ivey’s hospitalization, cover-up and trooper demotion

Bill Britt

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When then-Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey was rushed to a Colorado hospital in April of 2015, her security detail officer, Thomas “Drew” Brooks, followed protocol by reporting the incident to his superior officers. He also reported that Ivey’s Chief of Staff Steve Pelham told him not to tell anyone. Brooks said that he was later instructed to say that Ivey was hospitalized for altitude sickness.

“I was present and informed on what was happening with the Lt. Gov. in real-time,” said John Thomas “J.T.” Jenkins who at the time served as Chief Administrator and running the day to day operations under then-ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier.

Former ALEA Chief confirms Ivey’s emergency hospitalization and cover-up

Jenkins, a career state law enforcement officer, served as a former Alabama Marine Police Director and as Deputy Director of Homeland Security before accepting a position as Collier’s number two at ALEA.

“As Chief of Staff Spencer informed me of the Colorado situation as it was happening,” said Jenkins.

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According to both men, Trooper Brooks was not giving his opinion of what was happening on the ground in Colorado but what the medical personnel were reporting as it was happening.

According to the trooper at Ivey’s bedside, doctors in Colorado were saying they believed she had suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA). TIAs produce stroke-like symptoms but usually last only a few minutes causing no permanent damage, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Ivey’s doctor recently released a letter in which he said he examined her after her three-day stay in a Colorado hospital and found no evidence of a TIA.

According to BMJ Journal, one of the world’s oldest general weekly peer-reviewed medical journals, a TIA can’t be accurately diagnosed after the event.

According to a research paper published in BMJ Journal, “There is no test for TIA: the gold standard remains assessment as soon as possible by a clinical expert. The diagnosis relies heavily on the patient’s account of their history and on expert interpretation of that history. Interobserver agreement for the diagnosis of TIA between different stroke-trained physicians and non-neurologists is poor.”

Collier says he was receiving information about what was being determined by the medical professional treating Ivey at the time.

He has also said he doesn’t question Ivey’s current physical condition and can relate to the challenges of dealing with health issues.

Jenkins also confirmed to APR that Collier was summoned by Ivey to the Montgomery offices of Balch and Bingham where she asked Collier to remove Trooper Brooks from her security detail, allegedly for trying to hack her email account.

Collier said he didn’t believe Ivey’s allegations against Brooks because she was adamant that his alleged hacking not be investigated.

“Spencer came to me after his meeting with Gov. Ivey and said for me to reassign Drew.”

Gov. Ivey’s campaign spokesperson, Debbee Hancock, said in a press release that Brooks was not demoted.

However, state personnel records contradict Ivey’s spokesperson’s claims showing that Brooks’ pay was cut when he was dismissed from Ivey’s security detail and reassigned to a licensing station in Houston County.

Brook’s transfer letter reads in part, “The three (3) step pay differential authorized for employees assigned to Dignitary Protection will be removed. Consequently, your semi-monthly salary will be modified from $2,038.50 (step 4 of salary range 77) to $1,895.90 (step 1 of salary range 77).”


 


Collier verifies that Jenkins was briefed during the incident in Colorado and that he handled the personnel records on Brooks’ transfer.

Both men corroborate the facts as reported by APR and say that former Gov. Robert Bentley could also validate the points if he would go on the record.

Bentley has told several close confidants about Ivey’s Colorado health scare but refuses to answer media requests for information.

Currently, Collier is suing Bentley for wrongful termination.

While serving as ALEA Chief, Collier was ordered by Bentley to lie to the state’s attorney general’s office in the lead-up to the criminal trial of Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. Bentley fired Collier because he wouldn’t lie.

“She [Ivey] instructed law enforcement to lie and then covered the issue up… sounds just like Bentley,” said Collier.

The Ivey administration has paid over $300,000 to defend Bentley in his lawsuit with Collier.

“Bentley was briefed [about Colorado] and knows everything——sounds like a good reason to pay his legal bills,” Collier said.

Opinion | Collier’s allegations are not about Ivey’s health — they’re about retaliation

APR‘s reports have not questioned Ivey’s current physical well-being. Ivey and her doctor have both said she is in good health. Ivey denies Collier’s account of the Colorado hospitalization, cover-up and demotion of Trooper Brooks.

 

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She scheduled a mastectomy and the next day her doctor told her she didn’t have breast cancer

Josh Moon

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The card came in the mail on June 1, and Beth Rhea knows it was June 1, because the day before was one she’ll never forget.

The day before, May 30, Rhea scheduled a mastectomy with her surgeon — a procedure she hoped would cure her breast cancer. That’s a hard day to forget.

It was, for Rhea, the end of one of the longest months of her life. On May 2, she had gone to her OB/GYN for a checkup, after noticing clear signs of possible breast cancer. She was sent for a mammogram that afternoon.

The evidence of the cancer was so clear on that scan that the imaging center at Helen Keller Memorial Hospital in Sheffield called later that day and helped Rhea set up an appointment for a biopsy.

Two weeks later, she had the biopsy performed. A week after that, there was another test to determine the extent of the cancer and the best treatment options. And then, finally, when the test and biopsy results clearly showed the presence of cancer, the appointment on the 30th to set up the mastectomy.

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A truly awful month.

A day later, Rhea went to her mailbox and found a card from that OB/GYN she visited on May 2, Dr. Larry Stutts, who is also a state senator.

The card informed Rhea that Stutts’ office had received the results from her mammogram, and they were normal. No cancer detected.

“I was … I was just stunned,” said Rhea, who posted copies of the card and her mammogram results on Facebook shortly after.

That would not be the most disappointing part, however.

Rhea said Stutts has been her doctor for over 20 years. While she isn’t what she would call a “doctor person” — meaning that she, like many people, hate going to the doctor — she had been to see Stutts numerous times over the years.

But May 2, before leaving for the mammogram, was the last conversation she’s had with him.

“Not a phone call. Not a letter. Not a text message. Nothing,” Rhea said.

Despite serving as her doctor for more than two decades, and despite Stutts’ office being aware that Rhea had received the card saying her mammogram results were normal, she said Stutts has never bothered to call her.

Despite his office receiving electronically every subsequent test result and notifications of procedures and outcomes, no one has bothered to call and check. No one, including Stutts, has reached out to help Rhea navigate the cancer treatment process — which would be normal for an OB/GYN.

And that is the most egregious part of this, as far as Rhea is concerned.

Mistakes happen in health care, just as in any profession. Rhea said she could understand how a mixup might’ve occurred, and she possibly could have forgiven it.

But the lack of compassion and responsibility from Stutts make that impossible now.

“The only person who reached out to me from that office was (an administrative assistant) who sent me a message on Facebook,” Rhea said. “She explained it was a mistake made by a nurse in the office.

“But what that tells me is that the people in that office know a mistake was made, and that (Stutts) knows a mistake was made, and not one of them has called me to see if I’m OK, to see if they can help with anything. What kind of a person does that?”

Well, Larry Stutts.

This isn’t, exactly, Stutts’ first time in the spotlight for an egregious act. He has been, essentially, a pariah in the Alabama Senate thanks to self-indulging bills that embarrassed and angered his colleagues.

The most notorious, of course, was his attempt to repeal a law that was passed after one of his patients died. Without telling his Republican colleagues, Stutts attempted to repeal Rose’s Law — a law named after Rose Church, who was Stutts’ patient, required insurance companies to cover a 48-hour hospital stay after childbirth.

Church, who died in 1998, was released just 36 hours after giving birth to a baby girl. The Church family sued Stutts. Their local state senator at the time took up the cause to get Rose’s Law passed.

The stunt gained national attention for Stutts, who was shamed on multiple national tv shows.

But it didn’t stop him.

He also tried to repeal a law that requires doctors to notify their patients if a mammogram reveals dense breast tissue — often a sign that the patient could be at increased risk for breast cancer. That law was sponsored by the senator Stutts defeated for his seat — a senator whose wife was a breast cancer survivor.

Stutts has also been sued multiple times for medical malpractice, including an awful case that was filed last December over the death of twin babies. That case is still ongoing.

And there could be one more coming.

Rhea signed an official complaint against Stutts last week with the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, often the first step in the legal process.

She’s doing much better these days. The mastectomy was a success and she’s cancer free at the moment. She’s planning to start a support group in Franklin County for breast cancer survivors — she’s currently having to drive to Decatur for a group there — and is busy following her daughter around to band competitions.

Rhea’s life was upended by the cancer diagnosis, and she’s just now getting things back to a state somewhere near normal. But the hurt from what happened, and the way it was handled by Stutts, remains.

“I just want others to know what he did and what sort of a person he is,” Rhea said. “When I think about what he did — you know, I could have died if I just got his card and went on about life for a year. He has to know that. And to not call me or acknowledge this …. I want to make sure others know about this.”

 

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Alabama one of country’s least politically engaged states

Chip Brownlee

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Alabama is one of the United States’ least politically engaged states, according to a new report that analyzed voter registration, past voter participating and political contributions ahead of the Nov. 6 general election.

Alabama ranked as the 3rd least politically engaged state, according to the analysis conducted by WalletHub.

The analysis compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across ten different indicators of political engagement that ranged from the percentage of voters who voted in the 2016 elections as compared to the 2012 election, the total political contributions per adult and the percentage of voters who have voted in past midterm elections.

Alabama ranked 43rd in the country for the percentage of the electorate that voted in the 2016 election, 46th for the change in the percentage of the electorate who voted in 2016 as compared to 2012, and 35th for total political contributions per adult.

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Source: WalletHub

The state also scored as the 27th state in the country for percentage of registered voters in the 2016 election, 28th for the percentage who voted in the 2014 midterm elections and 38th in voter accessibility policies.

With election day in only 15 days, the U.S. ranks 26 of 32 when it comes to voter turnout among developed democracies. In 2016, a record 137.5 million people voted, but that’s only 61.4 percent of the voting-age population. The numbers are worse for midterms when in 2014 only 36.4 percent of eligible voters voted.

Elections experts predict the 2018 midterms may draw the highest turnout for a midterm election in decades.

Alabama’s voter registration deadline is today, Oct. 22. You can register online at alabamavotes.gov until 11:59 p.m.

 

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Alabama AFL-CIO announces endorsements

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 4 min
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