By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
United States Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich had four campaign stops in Alabama Tuesday and Wednesday. Following his big win in Georgia the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich went too Pell City in St. Clair County. Speaker Gingrich and his wife Callista were greeted by a crowd of well over 300 people at the Pell City Civic Center. Speaker Gingrich also had stops Wednesday in Montgomery and Birmingham and was in Huntsville on Tuesday.
‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ caught up with Newt Gingrich in St. Clair County. Former Speaker Gingrich told the crowd, “What is wrong with America today is liberalism. Liberalism is wrong about reality.”
Speaker Gingrich said, “The President (Barack H. Obama) went to North Carolina and explained that you could not get $2.50 a gallon gasoline.” Gingrich disagreed. “The President said drilling would not solve anything President said we had a solution ……algae. “ “This would be a great Saturday night skit.” “We can’t get any of the White House reporters to ask any serious questions about the speech.” “Not enough energy will come out of all the algae research to take one family on one summer vacation.”
The former Georgia Congressman said, “Two pages later we have had this great break through with natural gas that will create 600,000 jobs with natural gas.” “Not a single reporter has had the courage to ask the President how did we find the natural gas?” “This is a guy who is deeply ideologically committed to making energy more expensive.” “This is a President who promised to make coal energy so expensive that nobody will ever build another coal plant again, because it will bankrupt them.”
Speaker Gingrich said that Obama’s Department of Energy Secretary, “Dr. Chu believes we should pay European levels on gasoline: $8 to $10 a gallon.” Gingrich said that new technology increased liquid natural gas supply from an estimated ten years to 125 years. “Liquid natural gas is being shipped to China.” Supply and demand meant than an 11% increase in available supply has caused the price of natural gas to from $8 a gallon down to $3.00. Gingrich said that the same improvement in gas prices by increasing supply was possible. “No Obama then no expensive gas.” Modern oil fields are more difficult to develop; but “If you look at North Dakota, where oil is developed on private land” they discovered 25 times more oil than they thought they had. “North Dakota doubled the entire reserve of the United States.” What would happen if we fully developed oil fields in Alaska or California. Gingrich said that there is “perhaps 80 million barrels in California.” The state of North Dakota now has 3.5% unemployment, they have a fully funded rainy day fund, and they cut taxes. Speaker Gingrich said that oil production on federal lands has dropped 11% since Obama took office and natural gas production has dropped more than 20%.
Speaker Gingrich said that we could generate $18 to $20 trillion in oil and gas royalties over the next 20 years by fully developing all of our available oil fields on federal lands and offshore. Speaker Gingrich said that the federal government should balance the budget and then use all of the oil and gas royalties to pay off our national debt.
On foreign policy, Speaker Gingrich said, “I do not ever want to see an American President bow to a Saudi King.” “The Iranians are currently practicing closing the straits of Hormuz.” The short term solution is to tell the Iranians that, “Any effort to close the straits of Hormuz is an act of war.” “The long term solution is to develop our own energy resources need to be able to tell the Indians, the Europeans, and the Chinese that the Middle East is their problem.”
The Presidential candidate said that his thinking on the Middle East has changed because the region has changed fundamentally. The Egyptian government has grown much more militant and Islamic following the Arab Spring and it is clear that someone with the Pakistani government was hiding Osama Bin Laden and they have over 100 nuclear weapons. Gingrich said that when we killed Bin Laden they made no effort to find the people who were protecting him, they went after the people who had helped us.
Speaker Gingrich said, “When an American President apologizes to those who are killing Americans there is something profoundly wrong about our foreign policy.” “Obama is very eager to apologize to Islamic religious fanatics while he is attacking the American Catholic Church and religious liberties here
Speaker Gingrich said about the growing deficit, “We have had a generation of politicians who believe in selling the farm and leaving the children the mortgage.”
Speaker Gingrich said about Obama. “His leftwing ideological policies are wrong for America have led to his fuel prices and high unemployment. We have an obligation to defeat President Obama for the future of the United States.” “I need your help to win the nomination I need your help to defeat President Obama and I need your help as Commander n Chief to govern the country for the next four years.”
Speaker Gingrich said that if he wins the nomination he would organize the entire ticket as a team.
Between the time the new Congress is inaugurated and the time he is inaugurated as President the Congress should repeal Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and Sarbanes-Oxley. The first thing he would do as President would be to sign the bills repealing those laws. He said he would also sign executive orders that first day to approve the Keystone Pipeline and moving the American Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Speaker Gingrich said that he is the most experienced candidate in the field. “It takes somebody who knows how to do these things.” The Country “needs somebody who understands how Washington works.” “I worked with Ronald Reagan in the 80s” to defeat the Soviet Union and turn around the economy with tax cuts “that created 16 million new jobs.” “Eleven years later Soviet Union disappeared.” As Speaker in 1994 Gingrich said that they ran positive ads not negative ads. The Gingrich Congress passed welfare reform, cut spending, passed the largest capital gains tax cut in history, and balanced the budget. “I am the author of the first four balanced budgets in your lifetime.”
Speaker Gingrich said that Senator Santorum voted for No Child Left Behind because he was a team player. “I voted no when Ronald Reagan asked for a tax increase” and voted no when George H. Bush broke his promise. “I do not play along to get along.
Speaker Gingrich said that his energy policy come from a book he wrote four years ago on energy policy. Gingrich said that he wrote a 54 page paper on the Constitution that took years of research to complete.
“Who do you want to have actually trying to fix the country?” Gingrich said that he was in Huntsville yesterday because Huntsville is an appropriate place to talk about Space. Speaker Gingrich said that both Santorum and Romney were critical of his space plan and Gov. Mitt Romney said that he would a fire someone who told him to build a moon base. “I understand that Romney likes to fire people, but would he fire Christopher Columbus? Would he fire the Wright Brothers? Would he fire John F Kennedy?” Gingrich said, “I am a visionary.” People need a bold achievable vision to work and strive for. “Being the manager of decay is not good enough.”
Presidential candidate Gingrich said, “I can not match Romney’s ability to go to Wall Street and ask for money. I need your help.” The former speaker suggested that people donate to his campaign, email their friends asking them to vote for him, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
“If we win both Alabama and Mississippi this is a whole new race.”
Before Speaker Gingrich spoke Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner (R) said, “Newt Gingrich is going to carry Pell City, St. Clair County, and Alabama.”
Alabama State Representative Jim McClendon (R) from Springville said, “I am excited to take part in bringing our next President to St. Clair County.”
Former Miss Alabama and Miss America Heather Whitestone McCallum said, “I love what Newt stands for and that is why I am here.”
Mrs. Callista Gingrich told the crowd, “America is at a crossroads.” “This is the most important election of our life time. We have one opponent, Barack Obama and we are committed to removing his from the white house.”
St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman and St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Freddie Turrentine said that the event had a great turnout and could not recall another Presidential candidate coming to St. Clair County during an election. St. Clair County Board of Education member and former St. Clair County School Superintendent said the only one she could think of was George C. Wallace, who ran as an independent twice.
Winning Alabama and Mississippi is critical to Speaker Gingrich maintaining a viable candidacy going forward. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney currently has won more delegates than Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum combined. It takes 1144 delegates to win the Republican Party nomination for President. Both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney will be making campaign stops in Alabama. Gov. Romney has been endorsed by: Congressman Mike Rogers (R) from Anniston, former Gov. Bob Riley (R) from Clay County, and The Birmingham News. Speaker Gingrich is committed to attend the GOP Presidential Debate at the Alabama Theatre on Monday at 5:30 pm.
The winner of the Republican Party’s nomination for President will face incumbent President Barack H. Obama on the General Election Primary Ballot on November 6th
To learn more about former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the Presidency visit his website:
Faith in Action Alabama calls on law enforcement to protect voters from harassment
“In these harrowing days it is incumbent upon all of us as citizens and you and your colleagues as law enforcement professionals to do all we can to maintain this right secured by so much courage and sacrifice.”
Nine clergy members from across the state have signed an open letter calling on local and state law enforcement to protect voters against intimidation and harassment at the polls.
The clergy are leaders in Faith in Action Alabama, a regional association of Christian congregations affiliated with the national group Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the country. It seeks to address a range of issues like gun violence, health care, immigration and voting rights.
This is their letter:
Across our country and here in Alabama, it is being seen that citizens are turning out in record numbers to vote early and by absentee ballots. It is very heartening to see so many of our fellow citizens energized and committed to exercising that most fundamental and critical duty of citizenship, the use of their franchise. As servant leaders of an ecumenical association of nearly 2,000 faith communities across our state we are certainly encouraging our congregants to fulfill this duty either through early, absentee or day of election voting. For us this is not only part of our civic duty, but as people of faith obligation as well.
Unfortunately, it it also largely known that there are forces in our country that are actively, publicly and fervently at work to suppress the votes of some of our fellow citizens. We write to implore you to use the full authority of your office and department to ensure that those who seek to vote, especially on November 3, 2020 are not assailed or intimidated by illegal harassment in their polling places. We believe these threats are pervasive enough and real enough that proactive measures should be in place as citizens come to vote throughout that day. The strong, visible presence of uniformed legitimate law officers will hopefully prevent any attempts at confrontation or intimidation and violence.
The history of our state is marked by the efforts of tens of thousands of Alabamians who marched, protested, brought legal actions, shed their blood and some even gave their lives that every citizen of this state might have full and free access to the ballot box. In these harrowing days it is incumbent upon all of us as citizens and you and your colleagues as law enforcement professionals to do all we can to maintain this right secured by so much courage and sacrifice.
Please be assured of our prayers for you and the men and women of your department who have the awesome responsibility of providing public safety and equal protection under the law for every Alabamian. If we, the members of Faith in Action Alabama’s Clergy Leadership Team, can be of assistance please do not hesitate to call upon us.
Rev. Jeremiah Chester, St. Mark Baptist Church, Huntsville
Rev. David Frazier, Sr., Revelation Missionary Baptist Church, Mobile, and Moderator, Mobile Baptist Sunlight Association
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Bishop Russell Kendrick, Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast
Bishop Seth O. Lartey, Alabama-Florida Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
President Melvin Owens, Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention
Bishop Harry L. Seawright, Ninth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
Dr. A.B. Sutton, Jr., Living Stones Temple, Fultondale
Father Manuel Williams, C.R., Resurrection Catholic Missions of the South, Montgomery
Report: Alabama’s Black Belt lags behind state in economic prospects
Black Belt counties lag behind others in economic prospects and investments in businesses.
It took Marquis Forge five years and 18 banks before he and his partner were able to open their company, Eleven86 Water, in Autauga County, just north of the Black Belt, and a report released Tuesday shows how Black Belt counties lag behind others in economic prospects and investments in businesses.
Forge, a former University of Alabama football player, told reporters during a briefing Monday that he considers Autauga County, which borders the Black Belt’s Lowndes County, part of the Black Belt, and said it shouldn’t have been so difficult to access the capital needed to start a business.
The report released Tuesday by the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center titled “Black Belt manufacturing and Economic Prospects” is the last in the center’s Black Belt 2020 series, and found that only four of the state’s 24 Black Belt counties, as defined by the center, are above the statewide average of 22.4 businesses per 1,000 residents, and just one, Montgomery County, was above the 2018 statewide average of personal income of $43,229.
Researchers also found that just three Black Belt counties are above the state’s average in gross domestic product being produced by counties of $45,348.
“To achieve Governor Ivey’s ambitious goal of 500,000 a million more Alabama workers with skills by 2025, all hands have to be ‘on deck.’ It will require higher labor force participation rates, particularly in the Black Belt, where the average is 20 points below the statewide average,” said Stephen Katsinas, director of the university’s Education Policy Center and one of the authors of the report.
“Due to smaller economies of scale, our approaches to education, workforce development, and community building will have to be different to reach Alabama’s Black Belt,” Katsinas continued. “In the longer term, we first must define the Black Belt, because you can’t measure what you can’t define. Then we must do what West Alabama Works is doing–go where the people are to bring hope by connecting them to a well-aligned lifelong learning system that makes work pay.”
Donny Jones, COO of Chamber of Commerce West Alabama and Executive Director of West AlabamaWorks, told reporters Monday that one of the keys to helping the Black Belt will be helping state and Congressional legislators understand the nuances of rural Alabama.
Jones said the state should look at how colleges are graded, and that many smaller colleges don’t get credit for putting students through programs that get them short-term certificates that lead to jobs.
“Those are some of the things on the statewide level that we can really start to work on,” Jones said, adding that they’ve already begun teaching modern manufacturing in Black Belt high schools that gives students college credits toward an associates degree while still in high school.
“I think that’s very important for individuals to understand the impact that we can have in our higher ed and our K-12 system, really works hand in glove to move the needle for workforce development,” Jones said.
Jim Purcell, State Higher Education executive officer of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, told reporters that it’s also important to look at one’s own community and identifying what is “unique and special,” and said he was recently in Autauga County, where he is from, and bought two cases of Eleven86 Water because he remembered how good the water there was.
“I think that’s what you’ve done, is you’ve taken the gift that Autauga’s environment has and enhanced it, so that the people can benefit from it,” Purcell said to Forge. “I think that’s the key.”
Asked what he’d tell state legislators to spur them to make changes so that other entrepreneurs wouldn’t have to struggle as hard as he did to open a business, Forge said he would ask for a clearer path for assistance.
“Instead of digging down through a tunnel with a spoon I would have someone outline the tracks on getting funds and assistance from local, state and the national level, because there are funds out there,” Forge said.
After going to 18 banks to get the financing he needed, he still had to liquify all his assets to make it happen, Forge said.
“How many people are going to do that?” he asked. “We shouldn’t have to do that.”
To read all of the Education Policy Center’s reports on Alabama’s Black Belt, visit here.
Zeta is a hurricane again
Zeta currently has sustained winds of 85 mph. On its current course it will make landfall at Southeast Louisiana or the Mississippi Coast late this afternoon and move through Alabama tonight.
Zeta is continuing its path toward the Gulf Coast, and it is strengthening. Zeta is now a hurricane again and is forecast to be a category two hurricane when it comes ashore this evening.
“As expected, #Zeta is strengthening as it moves across the Gulf of Mexico,” the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency warned. “The windfield extends nearly 150 miles and we will begin to see impacts such as tropical winds, rain, rip currents and dangerous surf, as well as storm surge in Baldwin County.”
Zeta currently has sustained winds of 85 mph. On its current course, it will make landfall along southeastern Louisiana or the Mississippi coast late this afternoon. It should move through Alabama tonight.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama state line including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans.
According to the NOAA, hurricane conditions are expected there this afternoon, with tropical storm conditions beginning later this morning.
Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. Damaging winds, especially in gusts, will spread well inland across portions of southeastern Mississippi and southern Alabama this evening and tonight.
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from the mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Navarre Florida including Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Pensacola Bay and Mobile Bay.
“If you live in a low-lying area you should evacuate before dark on Wednesday evening to a safer place,” warned Congressman Bradley Byrne, addressing Mobile and Baldwin County residents. “If you live on higher ground in southwest Alabama please make your plans Wednesday to be wherever you plan to spend the night by dark Wednesday evening and do not leave until daylight Thursday as we will experience tropical storm force winds and 2-4 inches of rain which could cause flash flooding, downed trees or downed live power lines. This storm should pass through our area rapidly and be gone early Thursday. Let’s all pray that this is the last storm of this hurricane season.”
ABC 33/40 television meteorologist James Spann said on social media, “We will deal with periods of rain today with temperatures in the 70s; the main wind and rain associated directly with Zeta will come tonight, and there is potential for a high impact wind event for much of the state.”
Storm surge predictions have risen since yesterday. Under current forecasts, Zeta is expected to bring a storm surge of six to nine feet for Dauphin Island. The storm surge will be four to six feet in Mobile Bay, and three to five feet for the Baldwin County shore towns of Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to the Florida line.
Wind gusts in Mobile and Baldwin counties could be as much as 70 miles per hour. Isolated tornadoes are a possibility as this powerful storm system moves through the state of Alabama.
Because the storm is moving so fast, it should not produce as much torrential rain as a slower moving storm, reducing the flooding risk; however, that fast speed means that it won’t lose a lot of strength as it moves through the state, thus tropical storm winds could be experienced well inland.
Most of Alabama should get 1 to 3 inches of rain. The combination of heavy winds and heavy rains could weaken the root systems of trees meaning there is a possibility of losing power tonight. Citizens should check their emergency kits and make sure that they have flashlights, batteries, radios and fully charged phones in case they are needed tonight.
The Mobile County Emergency Management Agency is asking that people who live on the coast or in flood-prone areas to evacuate before tonight. Shelters have been set up in Mobile County including a medical needs shelter.
The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has set up a shelter for livestock evacuating the area at the Alabama A&M Agribition Center in Huntsville.
Sandbags are available at the Baldwin County Commission office in Robertsdale. There is a limit of 25 bags per person while supplies last.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has declared a state of emergency.
Baldwin, Mobile and Escambia Counties were declared a natural disaster area after Hurricane Sally slammed into the state last month. Many areas are still in the process of cleaning up from that storm.
Byrne introduces bill to protect underwater forest
This is the only known site where a coastal ice age forest this old has been preserved in place, with thousands of trees still rooted in the dirt they were growing millennia ago before being reclaimed by the Gulf of Mexico.
Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, has introduced the Alabama Underwater Forest National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act, a bill that would designate the site of an ancient cypress forest found 60 feet underwater south of Gulf Shores as a National Marine Sanctuary.
“The underwater forest is another unique Alabama gem with global importance. As the only known site where a coastal ice age forest this old has been preserved in place, we must take action now to protect it,” Byrne said. “The Alabama Underwater Forest National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act protects Alabamians ability to fish, dive, and recreate at the site while ensuring none of its invaluable artifacts can be removed or damaged. This designation will also open up further tourism opportunities along our Gulf Coast.”
“I would like to thank Ben Raines, whose work with me after his discovery of the site has been instrumental in crafting this bill,” Byrne said.
Some 60,000 years ago, the planet was cooler than it is now. This forest is a relic from an ice age before the last ice age 16,000 to 10,000 years ago. Tons of water were locked up vast glaciers that covered the globe from not just the Arctic but as far south as St. Louis.
Herds of wooly mammoths, giant bison, mastodons, wooly rhinos, horses and American camels were pursued by saber toothed cats, dire wolves, and the massive cave bear.
With so much water locked up in snow and ice, ocean levels were significantly lower than they are now. Gulf Shores, which is a barrier island town today, was not the Alabama coast then. The coast was much further south. The underwater forest is a remnant from that bygone age and appears to be a wholly unique relic of our planet’s past.
This is the only known site where a coastal ice age forest this old has been preserved in place, with thousands of trees still rooted in the dirt they were growing in millennia ago before being reclaimed by the Gulf of Mexico.
For scientists, this a treasure trove of information about the types of plants that inhabited the Gulf Coast during the ice age and before humans. That world was impacted by a sudden sea rise.
The work of the team investigating the site is detailed in Ben Raines’s documentary, The Underwater Forest, co-produced by This is Alabama and the Alabama Coastal Foundation.
Byrne represents Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. He is not running for re-election.