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Romney Campaigns in Jefferson County

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Mitt Romney brought his presidential campaign to Alabama in a big way with a visit to Thompson Tractor’s Tarrant area location.  Over 450 people supporters packed a bulldozer barn to hear the former Governor of Massachusetts share his vision for the country.

Gov. Romney standing in front of a Caterpillar off road dump truck and a Caterpillar track hoe said that “It is great to be among everyday Americans.”  Gov. Romney said that his journey across the country and all the people he has met in his campaign travels have given him “greater confidence” about the future of the country.  “We love this country.  We love the principles on which this country was founded.” I can take you through all the policies and the list of concerns that the media asks about but it is not about that.  It is about our kids and our grandkids.”

Gov. Romney said that the country is on a balance right now and warned that with four more years of Obama the nation will be something we would not recognize.  “He (President Barack H. Obama) is leading this country in a way that is not creating greatness and not helping the American people like he could and that is why we are going to replace him in 2012.”  We have a real choice in this country in what kind of America we are going to have. Are we going to be Like Europe with a bigger and bigger government taking more and more from us?”  Gov. Romney said that Obama was leading the nation down the same liberal course that other nations have followed.  “That is not the course I want.”  “I want to Keep America as the land of opportunity.”

“This President is comfortable with trillion dollar deficits. Gov. Romney said that Obama has passed a $15 trillion national debt on to our kids and grandkids.  “We are going to cut federal spending.  We are going to cap federal spending and we are finally going to have a balanced budget but politicians always say that.”  Gov. Romney said that his heart is the heart of a conservative business man.  “Businessmen have to be fiscally conservative” or they won’t be in business for long. “I learned in 25 years of business how to balance budgets and how to cut back to things that are important so that you can grow and be successful.

Presidential Candidate Romney said his administration will prioritize spending.  “We have to ask ourselves if a program is so critical that it is worth borrowing money from China to pay for it and on that basis we are going to get rid of some programs.”  Gov. Romney said that a lot of necessary programs needed to be handed over to the states along with the funding.  “I appreciate the federal workers and what they do but I want to link the pay and compensation of federal workers to that of the private sector.  The people who are working for us should not be getting paid more than the people they are working for do.”

Gov. Romney said, “The President wants to raise our taxes a lot.” “This President (Obama) wants to raise the marginal rate from 35% to 40%.  I want to cut the marginal rates for everyone by 20% and create more jobs.”  Gov. Romney said that 24 million Americans are either unemployed or are underemployed.  “Most businesses are not taxed at the corporate rate that is usually for the big corporations. They are taxed at the individual rate.”

Governor Romney said that President Obama has proposed about a trillion of cuts to the nation’s defense.  “Let me tell you the state of our military. Our Navy is smaller than at any time since 1917. Our Air Force is older in the fleet and smaller in the fleet than it has ever been at any time since it was formed in 1947. Our troops have been stretched to the breaking point by multiple rotations to Afghanistan and formerly to Iraq and now the President wants to cut over 50,000 active duty personnel.”  Romney said that the president is proposing hurting our soldiers and our veterans by cuts to their Tricare, the Military’s healthcare. Presidential candidate Romney said that he wants to increase the number of ships constructed from 9 a year to 15 ships a year, add more aircraft, add an additional 100,000 active duty personnel and “I want to give our veterans the care they deserve.” “This is important.  Romney said, “It is not just about winning wars this is also about preventing wars.  America’s strength is the greatest ally of peace the world has ever known.”  “We must keep our military second to none and I will do that.”

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“There is something else this President (Obama) is doing. I call it crony capitalism.” A practice where “the government rewards its friends: Solyndra, Tesla, and interone.  This is businesses where some Democratic fundraisers needed some money so he (Pres. Obama) gave them $500 million. Now they have gone bankrupt,” Romney said.  He is also helping his friends the union bosses.  He is taking care of them in a big way. President Obama passed an executive order that if you want to work on a federal project you have to use union labor.  He put “union stooges on the National Labor Relations Board.” Romney said, “We need to stand up for the freedom of American workers.” “We need to put the market to work.”  Gov. Romney displayed a chart showing the decline of American manufacturing jobs since 1975.  In 1975 we had ~18 million manufacturing jobs today we have 1~3 million.  In 1975 we had ~6 million union manufacturing jobs now down to ~1 million union manufacturing jobs. “You can see that the total number of manufacturing workers have come down a lot and that decrease was mostly union workers.”  “In many cases Unions have asked too much and have killed the businesses that they used to work for.” Gov. Romney said we should not force unions on the American workers.  He promised to end the favoritism for union workers for federal jobs.  The former Mass. Governor also said, “I don’t want the unions to be able to make money out of their workers’ paychecks in dues and give it to the candidates chosen by the union bosses.  People should have the freedom to give their money to the candidate they want.”

Gov. Romney said that in a Romney Presidency, “We are not going to have these trillion dollar deficit that are taking us potentially toward a wall like Greece did.  We are going to get energy again by Drilling off shore, by drilling in ANWAR, by drilling in North Dakota, and by building the Keystone Pipeline.”

Governor Romney said that President wants to make us more like Europe.  “I don’t think we want to be more like Europe. Europe doesn’t work in Europe. America needs to become more like America, the America that was the dream of our founders.”

Governor Romney was introduced by Fort Payne native Randy Owens who is the lead singer for the popular Country music group, ‘Alabama.’  The popular musician and cattleman said, “We have an opportunity to show Alabama and the rest of the United States who we want to be President of the United States I have never done this before (endorsed a candidate for President), but this is important.” “We need a president who is not ashamed that America is the greatest nation in the world.”

Co-Chairman of Romney’s Alabama Campaign, Congressman Mike Rogers said, “Four years ago me and Kay Ivey were co-chairs of the Romney Committee when Gov. Romney dropped out of the race for the good of the party.  I told Mitt Romney then that it took Ronald Reagan to turn the country around after Jimmy Carter.  I was convinced then that he (Obama) was another Jimmy Carter.  I just did not realize that he was Jimmy Carter on Steroids.”  Rep. Rogers said that Gov. Mitt Romney is who we need to turn the country around “after our long national nightmare.”

Co-Chairwoman and Alabama Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey said, “We in Alabama know that Mitt Romney can beat Barack Obama.”

The Friday event was hosted by Thompson Tractor Company. Mike Thompson welcomed everyone to his facility and said, “Caterpillar makes the best equipment in the world.” “We are a worldwide company.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Gov. Mitt Romney currently has 454 delegates.  Senator Rick Santorum has 217 delegates, Speaker Newt Gingrich has 107, and Rep. Ron Paul has 47.  It takes 1144 delegates for a candidate to secure the Republican nomination for President.

The Republican Primary will be on Tuesday, March 13th.  Alabama has a combined Primary this year.  Local offices, congressional races, and state wide offices will all be on the same ballot as the Presidential race.  The Democratic Primary is also on March 13th.  Incumbent President Barack Obama is unopposed in the Democratic Primary.  He will face the Republican nominee in the November 6th General Election.

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Health

Ivey awards more than $17 million in federal coronavirus aid to local agencies

Eddie Burkhalter

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More than $17 million in coronavirus relief aid has been awarded to 20 state community action agencies, Gov. Kay Ivey’s office announced Friday. 

“COVID-19 has disrupted lives in many ways and in varying degrees,” Gov. Ivey said in a statement. “It is my hope that the services provided by these funds will help people as they work toward a quick and complete economic recovery.”

The Community Service Block grants made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be used by the various local agencies to provide aid to those impacted by the pandemic, including seniors,  the disabled and low-income families, according to a press release from Ivey’s office. 

“Gov. Ivey is determined to help Alabama and Alabamians emerge from this pandemic as strong if not stronger than ever,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA stands ready to be a part of that process with the funds made available through our programs.”

Agencies, amounts and coverage areas include:

  • Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama Inc. – $668,160 (Colbert, Franklin and Lauderdale counties)
  • Community Action Partnership Huntsville/Madison and Limestone Counties – $1.05 million (Limestone and Madison counties)
  • Community Action Agency of Northeast Alabama Inc. – $1.35 million (Blount, Cherokee, DeKalb, Jackson, Marshall, and St. Clair counties)
  • Community Action Partnership of North Alabama – $775,602 (Cullman, Lawrence and Morgan counties)
  • Marion-Winston Counties Community Action Committee Inc. – $226,538 (Marion and Winston counties)
  • Walker County Community Action Agency Inc. – $273,782 (Walker County)
  • Community Action Agency of Talladega, Clay, Randolph, Calhoun and Cleburne counties – $1.02 million (Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Randolph, and Talladega counties)
  • Community Action of Etowah County Inc. – $379,592 (Etowah County)
  • Pickens County Community Action Committee and Community Development Corp. Inc. – $117,329 (Pickens County)
  • Community Service Programs of West Alabama Inc. – $1.65 million (Bibb, Choctaw, Dallas, Fayette, Greene, Lamar, Perry, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties)
  • Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity – $2.19 million (Jefferson County)
  • Community Action Committee Inc. of Chambers, Tallapoosa, Coosa – $351,259 (Chambers, Coosa and Tallapoosa counties)
  • Community Action Partnership of Middle Alabama Inc. – $793,918 (Autauga, Chilton, Elmore and Shelby counties)
  • Montgomery Community Action Committee and Community Development Corp. Inc. – $911,887 (Montgomery County)
  • Alabama Council on Human Relations Inc. – $550,919 (Lee County)
  • Macon-Russell Community Action Agency Inc. – $375,068 (Macon and Russell counties)
  • Organized Community Action Program Inc. – $806,165 (Bullock, Butler, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Lowndes and Pike counties)
  • Community Action Agency of South Alabama – $1.24 million (Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Marengo, Monroe, and Wilcox counties)
  • Southeast Alabama Community Action Partnership Inc. – $827,944 (Barbour, Coffee, Geneva, Henry and Houston counties)
  • Mobile Community Action Inc. – $1.77 million (Mobile and Washington counties)
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Crime

“A horrific scene”: Seven found dead after Morgan County shooting

Brandon Moseley

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Seven people were found dead in a horrific scene at a home in rural Morgan County late Thursday night after gunshots were reported.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Friday morning said its deputies responded to the scene Thursday night. At approximately 11:23 p.m. deputies responded to a gunshots call in the 500 block of Talacuh Rd in Valhermoso Springs. Police confirmed seven adult fatalities.

“The scene is secure and no immediate threat to the public in the area,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement, but no suspect in custody.”

There are media reports that the victims include four men and three women.

“Morgan County Sheriff and Madison County Sheriff Crime Scene Units are processing the scene,” the Sheriff’s Department said in the statement. “The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is part of the FBI Violent Crimes Taskforce which is also assisting. Sheriff Puckett, Coroner Jeff Chunn and District Attorney Scott Anderson have been on scene throughout the night and morning.”

Upon arrival at the residence, deputies saw part of the home was on fire and later discovered seven bodies inside after the fire was extinguished. The deputies were able to put out the fire before the fire department arrived. A dog was also found dead in the home.

“It is a horrific scene and to be able to process it will take some time,” MCSO’s public information officer Mike Swafford told WAAY. “We don’t have a motive at this time. We don’t have a determined suspect at this time. Investigators are following leads to piece together exactly what happened and who was involved. We can say we don’t believe there is an active threat to anybody in the area.”

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The neighbors called 911 to report the gunshots

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National

Mobile removes Confederate monument overnight

Chip Brownlee

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The city of Mobile removed a Confederate monument from downtown overnight following days of protest in Mobile and nationwide over police brutality and systemic racism.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said he ordered the statue removed from its prominent location in downtown Mobile overnight.

“Moving this statue will not change the past,” Stimpson said in a statement on Twitter. “It is about removing a potential distraction so we may focus clearly on the future of our city. That conversation, and the mission to create One Mobile, continues today.”

The 120-year-old statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes, a Confederate Navy admiral, is the second Confederate monument removed in Alabama since protests gripped the nation over the police killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“To be clear: This decision is not about Raphael Semmes, it is not about a monument and it is not an attempt to rewrite history,” Stimpson said.

Stimpson said the statue has been placed in a secure location.

Last week, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin ordered a Confederate monument in Linn Park removed. That statue had been at the center of a years-long legal battle between the city of Birmingham and the Alabama Legislature, and Attorney General Steve Marshall has since sued the city a second time seeking a $25,000 fine for removing the monument.

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It is likely that Mobile will also face a similar fine.

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Crime

More prison workers, inmates test positive for COVID-19

Eddie Burkhalter

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Four more prison workers and three inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Corrections announced Thursday. 

Workers at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, the Elmore Correctional Facility, the Kilby Correctional Facility and the Bibb Correctional Facility self-reported positive coronavirus test results, according to an ADOC press release. 

Fifty-one cases among prison staff remain active while 25 workers who tested positive have been cleared to return to work. 

One inmate at the Easterling Correctional Facility and another at Tutwiler prison were moved into isolated areas in the facilities’ infirmaries after testing positive for the virus, according to the release. There have been 17 confirmed COVID-19 cases among staff at Tutwiler and 2 infected inmates. 

In addition to those two new confirmed cases, an inmate at the St. Clair Correctional Facility who had pre-existing medical conditions was taken to a local hospital after exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, where he tested positive for the virus. 

Thirteen of 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates remain active, according to ADOC. 

ADOC has tested 191 of approximately 22,000 inmates as of Wednesday.

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