Ivey announces construction of new whiskey factory in Troy

September 15, 2017

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the makers of Clyde May’s Alabama-style whiskey plan to consolidate operations in Troy, Alabama, where the company will build an artisan distillery, rack houses and a bottling hub, as well as a tasting experience center designed to attract tourists.

Conecuh Ridge Distillery LLC’s project calls for an initial investment of $13.6 million in Troy and will employ 50 people in the fifth year of operation. The average annual wage for those jobs is around $54,000.

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Republican leadership gathers in Troy for summer meeting

September 1, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, Republicans from across Alabama gathered at Troy University in Troy for the summer meeting of the Alabama Republican Executive Committee.

Rick Dearborn, who is the deputy chief of staff for the Trump White House was the featured speaker at the event. Dearborn was formerly Senator Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff. He, Sessions and former Sessions staffer, Stephen Miller, are all playing key roles in the administration of President Donald J. Trump. Dearborn praised Senator Sessions and was optimistic and upbeat about his service in the Trump administration.

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APR to show Siegelman documentary in Montgomery

August 23, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Siegelman documentary will be shown in Montgomery after all.

APR has made arrangements to show the film at Troy University’s Davis Theater Oct. 1. Tickets are on sale now through this link.

But it wasn’t easy.

“Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman,” as the documentary is officially named, was originally set to be shown at the Capri Theater in Montgomery in July. But former Federal Prosecutor Leura Canary, who serves on the Capri board, convinced her fellow board members in June to rescind that rental agreement.
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Alabama Constitution Party to hold summer dinner in Prattville

August 17, 2017

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, August 26, 2017 the Alabama Constitution Party will hold their annual dinner meeting in Prattville.

The Party announced in a statement, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Saturday, August 26th the Alabama Constitution Party Summer Dinner will be held at Islamorada Fish Company inside the Bass Pro Shop in Prattville, Alabama from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  Please clear your schedule and be here with us as we make Alabama political history.  This event is open to everyone who loves freedom and wishes to make a difference in the future of Alabama.”

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GOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan congratulates Moore and Strange

August 16, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan made a statement congratulating Judge Roy Moore and Senator Luther Strange for their top two finishes in the Alabama Special Republican Primary.

Following the results of today’s historic election Chairman Lathan said, “Congratulations to Judge Roy Moore and Senator Luther Strange on winning today’s Alabama US Senate Primary Election. We commend all our excellent candidates. It is challenging to run for office, especially in a quick statewide race. We need good citizens to agree to serve our great state. We certainly had a strong slate of candidates for this election.”

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Wes Allen running for House District 89

June 13, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen (R) announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for the District 89 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives, covering Pike County and part of Dale County.

Judge Allen said, , “For eight years, I have had a front row seat to witness the hardworking people of Pike County. The people work hard. They get up every day to make our communities better and we have never lost sight that these are the same hardworking people who fund our government. We never lost sight of the fact that we work for the people. Not the other way around.”
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Ronda Walker launches campaign for Alabama State Senate

June 12, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the Vice Chairman of the Montgomery County Commission, Ronda Walker (R), announced her candidacy for Alabama State Senate District 25.

Commissioner Walker said in a statement, “Voter trust has been shattered and confidence in State government is at an all-time low. The great State of Alabama is stuck in neutral because elected officials are more concerned about political expediency and keeping lobbyists happy than the good of the state. I am running for the Alabama Senate, because I believe Alabama can and must do better.”
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Students bear burden of higher education funding cuts

March 1, 2017

By Jack Hawkins, Jr., Ph.D

Student debt is the hot-button issue in higher education. Each summer I hear from parents of incoming freshmen concerned about the challenge of rising debt and the impact it will have on their student’s future.

Their fears are well founded. Student debt in the United States exceeds $1.26 trillion, and for the first time exceeds credit card debt. More than 44 million Americans carry student loan debt and the average monthly payment for those 30 and under is $351 a month. One study even estimates students borrow on average about $12,000 more than they need to finance their education.
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What Happened in Vegas Was Heard at Troy

July 6, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Just days after the Alabama Political Reporter published excepts from a speech given by Dr. George R. Crowley, Associate Professor of Economics and Associate Chair of Economics & Finance at Troy’s Johnson Center, the University’s Chancellor, Jack Hawkins, took action.

Dr. Judson Edwards, Dean of the Sorrell College of Business, was given the task of dealing with the embarrassing fallout surrounding statements made by Crowley at a Las Vegas convention, sponsored by the Koch Foundation.
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Hubbard Consulting Contract Causes Stir

April 8, 2013

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Last Thursday, the State House was buzzing with rumors and questions about Speaker Mike Hubbard’s (R-Auburn) consulting contract with the Southeast Alabama Gas District. Even though the contract is over a year old, a recent press release by the company brought the questionable arrangement to light.

The contract with SEAGD signed January, 2012, pays Mr. Hubbard $12,000.00 a month for economic development.
According to filings, the Southeast Alabama Gas District (SEAGD) is a public corporation created on January 29, 1952, under Act Number 762, General Laws of Alabama. It was established to provide natural gas service to domestic, commercial and industrial customers located in 32 communities in the southeast portion of the state.

In announcing Hubbard’s position the company said, the “Board Retains Auburn Network and Mike Hubbard to help market [the] region to site selectors, prospective companies.”

According to the same press release, “Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell, who served as chairman of the SEAGD board, said the District is well-positioned to be a catalyst for regional economic development.”

The stated reason for hiring Hubbard was to, “increased efforts to recruit new jobs, support local industries and better market natural gas.” Blackwell also said that the gas district wanted to, “partner with state and local leaders to move our region forward.”

Who would be a more useful partner than the man considered to be the most powerful politician in the state? Mr. Hubbard has a his history of not only enriching his partners but he also seems to benefit greatly from his positions. Just as he did when he was Chairman of the ALGOP and received hundreds of thousands of dollars for his printing company Craftmaster. Or the many other occasion when money flowed from the ALGOP and other PACs into campaigns and then back to Hubbard-owned businesses.

Concerning the SEAGD contract, Hubbard and the company sought the input of the State’s ethics commission. Writing for the commission, legal council Hugh Evans, III, said, “The only potential issue that we saw would be if something came before the legislature that uniquely affected the Southeast Alabama Gas District differently than it affected all other utilities around the State of Alabama. Should this happen we would expect that speaker Hubbard would have plenty of notice in which to remove himself from discussions, votes, etc.” Perhaps the key words in the commission’s finding are, “uniquely affected.”

SEAGD is a quasi public-private entity that is owned by 14 municipalities. They are Abbeville, Andalusia, Brundidge, Dothan, Elba, Enterprise, Eufaula, Fort Deposit, Greenville, Headland, Luverne, Opp, Ozark and Troy work in cooperation to provide their communities with natural gas service and numerous opportunities for economic growth. SEAGD also provides natural gas service to the franchise communities of Ashford, Baker Hill, Brantley, Coosada, Cottonwood, Daleville, Gantt, Glenwood, Level Plains, Midland City, Montgomery, Napier Field, New Brockton, Newton, Newville, Opelika, Pike Road, Pinckard, Red Level, River Falls and Rutledge.

Everyone of these municipalities will have occasion for local legislation to come before the Alabama House of Representative. All legislation that would affect these municipalities would come before Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. Has Mr. Hubbard removed himself from every occurrence in which one of these 14 municipalities had an issue before the government?

As Speaker and consultant, what safeguards has Mr. Hubbard put in place to insure that he does not show favoritism to one municipalities over others? What safeguards did the Ethics Commission set in place to ensure that Hubbard would not use his influence?

The Ethics Commission did say that, “The general prohibition continues to apply, in that the Speaker may not use his position or mantle of his office to assist him in obtaining consulting opportunities or providing benefits to his consulting business or his clients. Otherwise other than this we see no problems.”

How does Mr. Hubbard put off the mantle of Speaker? How does the office he holds not come into play when he meets with potential customers of SEAGD? A position of such political power cannot be discarded as one would a coat or hat. Mr. Hubbard who has a State provided personal bodyguard and is a highly recognizable public figure is not seen by business entities as just “good old Mike.”

A former prosecutor who asked not to be named said, “This contract stinks on its face. Who is going to believe that the Speaker of the House is going to be seen as just another businessman?”
 
On March 05, 2013, Wiley Lott was named Director of Economic Development and Governmental Affairs for SEAGD.
The press release also said, “Rep. Mike Hubbard and Billy Joe Camp will continue to serve as Economic Development Consultants for The Southeast Alabama Gas District. “The Speaker and Mr. Camp have served this company well and I will draw upon their experience and knowledge as we seek new opportunities for economic growth in the communities we serve,” Lott said. Even Lott referred to Hubbard as Speaker. If Lott recognizes him as such, is it not fair to believe that a conflict of interest or at least the mantle of his office is in consideration?

It has been said that Mr. Lott will receive around $300.000 in annual compensation. Mr Camp is said to receive around $90.000 and Mr. Hubbard receives $144,000 for his efforts. This means SEAGD is spending over half a million dollars a year for three economic development professionals.

According to Hubbard’s contract he is to, “submit monthly written reports of his activities in form and substance acceptable to SEAGD on or about the 15th day of each month but not later than the third Tuesday of each month.” A request to review these contracts was ignored by SEAGD. Mr. Hubbard is also expected to turn in expense reports, these also were denied.

The question stirring around the State House on Thursday, was how does Mike Hubbard separate his $12,000 a month consulting job from his influence as Speaker of the Alabama House?

No one seems to be clear on the answer.

click here for Contract and ethics letter

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