From the Office of Bill Armistead, Chairman Alabama Republican Party
“The Patriot who feels himself in the service of God, who acknowledges Him in all his ways, has the promise of Almighty direction, and will find His Word in his greatest darkness.”—Francis Scott Key
I saw the above quote recently and it struck me as to how apropos that is for our country today. We face troubles on all sides right now – failing domestic policies at home and emboldened enemies abroad – yet, I have never seen such an uprising of true American Patriots who are ready to work and sacrifice in order to get our country back. And I personally believe that our Alabama Patriots are the finest of all. They certainly proved their worth these past few days.
I came up with the idea of the Alabama Battleground Patriots because people across the state kept asking me how they could help the Romney/Ryan ticket in the swing states where the battle was truly being fought. I hoped that we would be able to send a few dozen people to help in battleground states, but we received such an overwhelming response of willing volunteers, that we ended up sending close to 200 Patriots altogether. Two buses headed up to Dayton Ohio, led by Congressman Mo Brooks, and one bus went to Jacksonville, Florida. Between these two teams, over 30,000 doors were knocked on! Some people may say it’s a coincidence that Romney’s numbers went up in those states a few points immediately afterwards, but I’m giving full credit to these amazing Alabamians!
I’ve asked a few of these weary travelers to share their thoughts and memories from the trips, as well as some photos taken along the way. We also caught the media’s attention, so I’d like to share those articles and videos as well. Please take a few minutes to read about your fellow Alabamians and the difference they made in the most important election in the history of our nation, and be proud to call them neighbors and fellow Patriots!
For the Cause,
Bill Armistead, Chairman
Alabama Republican Party
Susan Chipman, deployed to Ohio – “Having Mo Brooks join us was inspiring. It was nice to see him work side by side with us and he also took time on the bus trip to do a mini townhall meeting. You could bet there were a lot of questions for him to answer and he did! Going to Paul Ryan’s rally way out in the country was fabulous. Listening to what Paul Ryan had to say and then getting to shake his hand was a real privilege.”
Caryl Green, deployed to Florida – “The first day we hit a little over 60 houses and the next two days we did over 100 each day. Most were enthusiastically voting for Romney and were encouraging our efforts, especially when we told them we had come from Alabama to help get the early vote going.”
Tom and Becky Dollman, deployed to Ohio – “We had an outstandingly warm reception and support from local Romney/Ryan staffers and supporters. My wife and I worked out of the Centerville Victory Center in about 7 different neighborhoods in the Greater Dayton Area. WOW! What a blessing to be able to reach out to Ohioians.”
Amanda Pritchard, deployed to Ohio – “I’m so proud to have been a part of the Alabama Battleground Patriots who we now also call family. Meeting new friends in one of the most influential states of this election was an honor. We met mostly friendly folks with a few who were in favor of being repressed for another four more years. The people of Ohio were welcoming and ‘blessed our hearts’ and thanked us for being there and for spreading the word. Progress can be made by voting Romney/Ryan this Tuesday, November 6! Or as my favorite button said, ‘It’s time for some R & R.” Amanda was also responsible for supplying many of the photos used in this email!
Donald LaPointe, deployed to Florida – “Based on attendance, interaction and participation at the Monday night debate party; the attitude and energy of the Victory Center staffers and the ALGOP folks; and the responses the ALGOP volunteers are receiving as we visit in the community, it appears that Duvall County is going to be the vanguard of the GOP in North Florida and the Panhandle that will more than offset the liberal bastions of South Florida (especially Miami-Dade County) and deliver yet another swing state for the Romney-Ryan ticket. Thank you and the ALGOP for giving us the opportunity to participate in this historic event!”
John Martin, deployed to Ohio – “Thanks for your hard work to make the Ohio trip an organized and productive success. Dayton was a great area to work for the campaign and Mo Brooks is a real statesman for the Party.”
Jan Massie, deployed to Ohio – “Just want you to know what a great time our Alabama group had in Ohio last week! We feel that we did make a difference! A very worthwhile and memorable week! Thank you for planning this for us! I am so happy that I had an opportunity to be a part of this “once in a lifetime” experience!”
Ken Brown, deployed to Ohio – “When bad weather hit, we just put on a poncho and went out anyway. We were excited to come here and got a great reception from the Romney staff. We’re tired, we’re sore, but we’re also satisfied.”
Birmingham approves $1.3 million contract for real-time crime center technology
Woodfin repeated that facial recognition capabilities will not be used in accordance with the contract.
The Birmingham City Council approved a five-year, $1.3 million contract with Motorola this week to provide new technology for the police department’s real-time crime center amid unease and public concern over the potential use of facial recognition software within the new systems.
Mayor Randall Woodfin insisted in his remarks made before the council that the new technology is meant to integrate existing hardware and technology inside the real-time crime center. “You’re not buying any additional new equipment,” he said, “You’re buying something to integrate all those systems.”
The software suite includes Motorola Solutions’s CommandCentral Aware, a system that aggregates video, image and other data information into one interface, and BriefCam, a “video synopsis” system that will further integrate and analyze information from Birmingham’s ShotSpotter systems, public cameras and police body cameras.
Briefcam offers facial recognition capabilities, which was the main concern of community members speaking before the council, and the risk that use of the technology could disproportionately affect Black people. Facial recognition technology has a record of racial bias and misidentifies Black people at rates five to 10 times higher than white people.
“Despite assurances that there will not be facial recognition implemented at this phase that does not prevent it from being implemented in the future,” said Joseph Baker, Founder of I Believe in Birmingham and one of the Birmingham residents voicing concern on the proposal. “I believe that this software, if fully implemented, can easily lead to violations of unreasonable searches.”
Another resident who spoke against the resolution was Byron Lagrone, director of engineering at medical software solutions company Abel Healthcare Enterprises. Lagrone pointed to IBM and Amazon as examples of companies that have halted or abandoned facial recognition and object tracking software altogether over racial bias concerns.
“The prevailing attitude, among technical people is this technology is not effective, and it causes high amounts of harm for next to no gain,” Lagrone said.
Woodfin repeated that facial recognition capabilities will not be used in accordance with the contract.
“It’s explicit in this contract that facial recognition will not be used,” Woodfin said, “[If] facial recognition wants to be used in the future of this city. It would have to be approved by this body. … The mayor’s office or the police department doesn’t have unilateral power to use facial recognition. That is not part of what our contractual relationship is with Motorola.”
Woodfin also clarified that the total $1.3 million price of the contract will not be paid as a lump sum but spread out over the five-year commitment.
The city council voted 8 to 1 to approve the contract, with District 8 Councilman Steven Hoyt speaking in favor of the use of facial recognition capabilities.
“You can’t say, ‘I’m going to build a house but I’m not going to use the restroom,’” Hoyt said. “If it’s in the house, you’re going to use the restroom. … If it has the capability of facial recognition, guess what’s going to happen? You’re going to use it. I’m going to vote for it because I know we’ve got to have every tool we can garner to fight crime, because it’s out of hand.”
Hoyt also suggested a review of the information collected by the new system apparatus.
“I do think, for the public’s sake, we need to have some way we review that and see how it’s being used,” Hoyt said. “We need that to go along with this.”
District 3 Councilwoman Valerie A. Abbott — who said she was the victim of a burglary the day before the vote — echoed the mayor’s insistence that the facial recognition capabilities would not be deployed unless authorized by the city council, reading a letter from Motorola stating “in order to enable facial recognition, Motorola will require an addendum or change order to the contract,” which would have to come before a public meeting of the city council.
“I too would not want facial recognition,” Abbot said, “I’m voting in favor of this because the majority of my constituents are telling me they want more and better policing, capture of criminals, prevention of crime.”
District 5 Councilman Darrell O’Quinn was the lone no vote among the near-unanimous city council, stating that he had “some reservations about how we’re doing this and will vote my conscience.” Later, O’Quinn was quoted in BirminghamWatch, saying his vote reflected his concerns about “taking on a new debt obligation in the midst of a projected $63 million shortfall in revenue.”
Opinion | Doug Jones’s pathway to victory: Substance over lies
Jones said his work in the Senate should prove to the people of the state that party matters less than productivity.
Alabama Sen. Doug Jones believes voters will ultimately see through Tommy Tuberville’s lazy campaign and lies, and that enough of them will be moved by his work over the last two years to send him back to D.C.
Jones’ comments came during a lengthy interview on the Alabama Politics This Week podcast. He also discussed his plans to address some of Alabama’s most pressing issues and also praised Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican.
But it was Jones’ comments about Alabama voters — and whether too many of them are incapable of moving away from the Republican Party — that were most interesting. Jones still believes there are open-minded voters in the state, and that there isn’t enough attention being paid to polls showing a growing dissatisfaction in Alabama with President Donald Trump.
“There are a number of things that Donald Trump has done that people (in Alabama) don’t agree with,” Jones said. “There are a number of things that he’s done that’s hurt Alabama and that they’re not OK with. That’s where I come in.”
Jones said his work in the Senate, where he’s sponsored the most bipartisan legislation over the last two years, should prove to the people of the state that party matters less than productivity.
“I tell everyone, you owe it to yourself to look at every candidate and every issue,” Jones said. “I do that. I’ve been a Democrat all my life but I don’t think that I have ever pulled a straight lever. Because I look at every issue. I will tell you that there have been times that I didn’t vote for people who are Democrats for whatever reason — I just couldn’t do it. I think we owe it to ourselves to do that.”
Jones had the perfect example to drive the point home.
“Y’all all know our state auditor, Jim Zeigler? Jim wasn’t always a Republican. Jim’s first runs for office were as a Democrat.
“I rest my case.”
You can listen to the full interview at the Alabama Politics This Week website, or you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
New unemployment claims decreased last week
Fewer people joined the unemployment rolls last week compared to the week before.
There were 7,964 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, down from 8,581 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.
Of the claims filed between Oct. 11 and Oct. 17, there were 4,032 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s 51 percent, compared to 36 percent the previous week.
Trump to visit Pensacola tonight
Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy.
Neither presidential candidate is likely to visit Alabama before the general election, as both campaigns accept that Alabama will be certainly in President Donald Trump’s camp on election day no matter what else happens. While Alabama is not a swing state, Georgia and Florida are both in play, and both campaigns are devoting enormous resources there.
Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy. Trump will be just across the Florida-Alabama state line visiting Pensacola and is scheduled to address supporters at the ST Engineering hangar beginning at 7 p.m. CT.
The doors open at 4 p.m. and the event begins at 7:00 p.m.
The president’s rally tonight comes right after a visit to Pensacola last week by Second Lady Karen Pence and is one of many Florida campaign events planned for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump arrived in Florida after Thursday’s final presidential debate with Joe Biden. He is scheduled to hold a campaign event in The Villages before traveling to Pensacola. The president will spend the night at his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago and will vote early Saturday.
The vice president will hold rallies in Lakeland and Tallahassee on Saturday. Florida has 27 electoral college votes. It would be very difficult for Trump to get the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win without winning Florida.
Democrats warn that attending a Trump rally could be dangerous due to the coronavirus threat.
“The last thing Floridians need is for Donald Trump to host more potential superspreader rallies across our state,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement on the rally in Pensacola. “What we do need, however, is a president capable of putting Floridians ahead of his own self-interest and get this pandemic under control.”
Most recent polls have Trump trailing Biden in Florida. Tickets are required to attend the rally.