Connect with us

Elections

Alabama Democrats open special qualifying period for vacancies

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Monday, qualifying opened to fill vacancies created by the withdrawal of the Democratic nominees in House District 9, House District 80, and Circuit Judge, 15th Judicial Circuit, Place 6.

This special qualifying period will close at 5:00 P.M. on Friday, August 10, for each office. Qualifying forms and fees are available on the Alabama Democratic Party’s website, www.aldemocrats.org, or forms can be picked up at the State Party Headquarters, 501 Adams Ave., Montgomery, AL. For more information, interested persons may call the Party Office at (334) 262-2221.

Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley said, “One candidate qualified within minutes of the opening of qualifying today, and more candidates are expected to qualify this week.”

“The Democratic Party had a record number of candidates to qualify for the June Primary, and these current vacancies, created by family illness, career advancement, etc., give even more Democrats the opportunity to represent the working men and women of Alabama,” Worley added.

While more than one candidate may qualify for the vacancies there is not time enough before the general election for there to be a special Democratic Primary.

Advertisement

Instead, following the Executive Board’s setting the dates for the opening and closing of qualifying, the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) will meet on Saturday, August 11, to elect the Democratic nominee to fill each vacancy.

House District 9 includes parts of Morgan, Cullman, and Marshall Counties. HD9 is currently represented by Ed Henry (R-Hartselle). Henry has been indicted in a federal Medicare fraud probe and is not running again. The Republican nominee for HD9 is businessman Scott Stadthagen.

House District 80 covers parts of Russell and Lee Counties. HD80 is currently represented by incumbent Chris Blackshear (R) who is seeking reelection.

Circuit Judge, 15th Judicial Circuit, Place 6, serves Montgomery County.

Nancy Worley is the first woman to serve as Chairperson of the Alabama Democratic Party. She was an educator in the Decatur, Alabama Public Schools, served as Secretary of State, and was the first two-term AEA President.

The general election will be November 6.

Continue Reading

Elections

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

Bill Britt

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.

 

Continue Reading

Elections

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

Josh Moon

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.”

 

Continue Reading

Elections

Alabama one of country’s least politically engaged states

Chip Brownlee

Published

on

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.

Advertisement
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.

 

Continue Reading

Elections

Hagan: Thousands of Alabama voters disqualified or labeled inactive since February 2017

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Mallory Hagan, the Democratic candidate for Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District, held a press conference on the steps of the Tuskegee Courthouse to announce the creation of a Voter Protection Committee with co-chair Attorney Fred Grey Jr. The Committee will address voting rights in Alabama.

Hagan said that well over 55,000 voters have been disqualified or labeled ‘inactive’ since February of 2017 in the 3rd Congressional District alone. The projection for the number of purged voters from voting rolls statewide could be well into the hundreds of thousands.

Hagan is the Miss America 2013. She is challenging incumbent Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Saks.

“Eight months ago, I chose to run for this office because I saw the people around me, the people I know and love, struggling.” said Miss Hagan. “… not through a fault of their own, or through an act of god, but struggling because every day the people of East Alabama face unnecessary bureaucratic burdens. Our schools lack funding, our college students drown in debt, our veterans are denied the care they need, our leaders are wallowing in corruption and our hospitals are closing. My community and our state’s people deserve better.”

“Today, I tell our voters that we must be on high alert,” Hagan warned. “According to our most recent findings, more than 1 in 10 voters here in East Alabama have been removed from the active voter rolls. These voters are either entirely disqualified or have been marked ‘inactive’… We have reason to believe this number is much higher.”

Advertisement

Miss Hagan announced that she has plans for her campaign to ensure the integrity of every vote in the 3rd District and called upon every citizen in the State of Alabama to check their voter registration status.

“To the voters of East Alabama, I say this: we have your back,” Hagan continued. “If you fear your voice will be lost in the system, if you don’t trust that a government that has failed you could ever be fixed, know that change will not happen until we step up, even when the going gets hard. We cannot allow complications to derail the very elections which are the foundation of democracy. Check your registration status today, find your polling place, and get your ID ready.”

Hagan’s Voter Protection Committee to protect voters from what she claimed were voter suppression efforts between now and election day.

Today is the last day to register to vote, October 22, and be able to participate in the November 6 general election. If you have moved today is the last day to change your registration status and the polling place you are assigned to. You can register at your local Board of Registrar’s office or online at the Secretary of State’s office.

You must have a valid photo ID in order to participate in any Alabama election. Make sure that your ID has not expired. If you do not have a valid photo ID, you can get a free photo ID from the Secretary of State’s office or your local Board of Registrars. You will not be allowed to vote without a photo ID.

Hagan’s committee will be comprised of lawyers throughout the district working pro-bono to assist in monitoring and addressing voter suppression concerns.

Hagan said that statewide, on June 30, 2017, the number of inactive voters was 46,484. By July 30, 2017, that number was 385,878.

Mallory Hagan grew up in Opelika before moving to New York City to continue her studies at the Fashion Institute. She won Miss New York and then competed for Miss America. She is 29 years old.

Continue Reading

Authors

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending

Alabama Democrats open special qualifying period for vacancies

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 2 min
0