By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Former Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Matt Fridy spoke to the membership of the Rainy Day Patriots on Thursday about his candidacy for State Representative for House District 62.
Matt Fridy (R) said that he is a lawyer who specializes in constitutional law for the law firm of Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff, and Brandt.
Fridy said, “I will be honest with you. I have my political views and what I believe I will fight for.” Fridy said that he will not tell you do one thing and then do the opposite in Montgomery.
Fridy said that his firm is defending Governor Bentley (R) against the Alabama Education Association (AEA). The Republican super-majority passed a law banning the state from collecting AEA union dues from education employees. The powerful education worker’s union filed suit and found a liberal federal judge to file an injunction blocking the law from going into effect. Governor Bentley then hired Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff, and Brandt to defend the law.
Fridy said, “Every day it is great to get out of bed and go to fight the AEA.” I do some lawsuits where businesses are fighting over money, but that he gets excited about fighting the AEA.
Fridy said that he is married to his wife Kimberly and they have four children: 7, 6, 5, and an infant.
Fridy said, “I am Pro-life because I believe life begins at conception.” Fridy said that life has intrinsic value because of what it is and that opposing abortion is the issue that he is most passionate about. Both of Fridy’s parents have been arrested for their activities with Operation Rescue. Fridy said that holding a Pro-Life sign in front of an abortion clinic and watching his parents get arrested for their beliefs made a huge impression on him growing up. Fridy said, “Abortion is the exact same thing as marching a one year old or a five year old and putting it to death.”
Fridy said that he was active in the College Republicans when he was a student at the University of Montevallo. Fridy called being a conservative Republican at Montevallo at the time, “a lonely endeavor.”
Fridy got involved in Republican politics in Shelby County and was elected Chairman of Shelby County Republican Party in 2004. After his term as Chairman ended he started working in Republican Primaries
Fridy said that he managed campaigns for people but that he never charged anything. He tried to pick candidates with a conservative philosophy and never wanted to get paid for it because he could walk away if he found out the candidate was not what he or she appeared to be, though that never happened..
Fridy said that he helped April Weaver win her seat representing Shelby and Bibb counties in an open seat when Cam Ward vacated the seat to move to the Senate.
Fridy said that helped Kurt Wallace win a state house seat in Chilton County. Wallace ran against incumbent Jimmy Martin (D) and everyone told them that Martin was unbeatable. Kurt Wallace was the mayor of Maplesville and Martin was the owner of the biggest funeral home in Chilton County. Despite that Wallace worked hard and he was a good conservative guy. Both Wallace and Fridy raised what funds they could and also got some resources from the state party. Wallace raised $150,000 and Martin raised around $150,000. Fridy said, “We beat him on conservative philosophy.” Some conservative groups wanted to go negative, but Kurt Wallace refused. Fridy said that they did 8 or 9 mail pieces and their consultant wanted to go negative, but Wallace refused. It was 2010 so. “There was a lot of wind at our backs, but that does not explain a 30 pt victory.”
Fridy said that he also helped Mike Bess get on the Shelby County Commission and Marty Hamlin win to be the Mayor of Alabaster.
Fridy told the Patriots, “Get involved, but don’t look to make money in politics.”
Mr. Fridy said that he is pro-traditional marriage though he does not like that term. “Marriage makes no sense outside of a man and a woman. Marriage is intrinsically procreative.” Fridy said that society accepts that the best way to raise children is in a loving traditional marriage. The purpose of marriage is not two friends who get together and they like to have sex.
Fridy said that it is important for conservatives to engage the world. Liberals have taken the media. They have taken the school system. Fridy said that he loves the way that the Rainy Day Patriots get out and engage.
Fridy said I am a big believer in education, but that we need innovation. “You nationalize something and they are all marching in lockstep.” Fridy said he has talked to a lot of people about common core and come to the conclusion that it is just a bad idea. Every state should maintain its own sovereignty and maintain it’s own education curriculum.
Fridy said that Alabama students need to finish school and be ready for college or be ready for a trade.
Fridy praised Gov. Bentley for attracting jobs to Alabama that are well paid. The starting pay for someone with an associates degree in robotics is $80-$85,000. Schools need to prepare college bound students for college. Too many have to take remedial educational.
Fridy said that he supports harder standards, but simply being harder does not make it the best way to do things. “Learning 14 different ways to add 3 plus 4 is just silly.”
Fridy said that he is a big believer in school choice. “Competition could be the key to raising our standards.” Fridy said that the Alabama Accountability Act is a good first step, but that he is a firm believer in vouchers. He said that he also supports the rights of families to home school their children.
Fridy said that he has been lucky to afford to send his children to an academy school where they are instructed in Latin starting in the second grade and they study logic, rhetoric, and the classics. It is a proven system that works and is how people were educated 200 years ago. Fridy said that he wants every parent to have the same choice.
Fridy said that although he does not actually own any guns he believes in the Second Amendment. He is also a big believer in property rights. Fridy said that it was an unforgivable use of eminent domain to take property and give it to a private company for economic development. He called that a gross use of eminent domain and if elected he would propose a state Constitutional amendment preventing that from ever happening again in Alabama.
Fridy said that he is opposed to the nationalization that has been going on since the 1930s. The federal government should have defined limited powers.
Fridy said that when you have a federal government that has 800,000 federal workers that they can furlough because they are non-essential, ten you have a government that is just too big.
On global warming, Fridy said that the left should have made only long term predictions, because all of their predictions are being prove false.
Fridy said that he plans on building relationships with other legislators to try to get things done in Montgomery. Fridy said, “I have got a good relationship with Mike Hubbard.”
Fridy said that he is not in favor of a statewide constitutional convention and had not read enough to know if he supports a national constitutional convention. Fridy said that he does support a state constitutional rewrite article for article.
Melody Warbington introduced Matt Fridy. Warbington said, “I have known Matt Fridy for a few years now and I can say that he is solidly a conservative.” Ms. Warbington said that Fridy is Pro-life, for low taxes, and that she knows that he is a staunch supporter of school choice and is for bringing education closer to the people.
The Rainy Day Patriots Legislative Director Ann Eubanks made several announcements:
Dr. Gina Loudon will be holding a book signing Friday at Hoover Tactical Firearms at 5:30 pm.
On October 24th, the St. Clair County Republican Party will be meeting at 6:00 pm at the Moody Park Pavilion. Some state candidates are expected to attend.
On November 12th the Rainy Day Patriots will have a meet and great with conservative candidates at the Homewood Library.
The Dean Young for Congress Campaign is asking the Rainy Day Patriots to go to South Alabama to campaign door to door for Young in his Republican Primary Runoff race against Bradley Berne.
The Rainy Day Patriots are till looking for a venue for their Christmas Party.
In January, the Rainy Day Patriots will move their meeting to Hoover Tactical Firearms.
Alabama’s hospitalized COVID-19 patients Sunday at highest number since Sept. 2.
It’s a trend that has public health officials and hospital staff concerned that the state may be headed for another surge.
Alabama hospitals on Sunday were caring for 920 COVID-19 inpatients, the highest number of patients since Sept. 2 and a 23 percent increase from a month ago.
It’s a trend that has public health officials and hospital staff concerned that the state may be headed for another surge just as the regular flu season begins to fill up hospital beds.
Alabama state health officer Dr. Scott Harris by phone Friday called the rising new cases and hospitalizations “worrisome.”
Alabama’s seven-day average of daily hospitalized COVID-19 patients was 864 on Sunday, the highest it’s been since Sept. 8. State hospitals saw a peak of COVID-19 inpatients on Aug. 6, when 1,613 patients were being cared for.
The state added 1,079 new confirmed and probable cases on Sunday, and Alabama’s 14-day average of new daily cases hit 1,358 Sunday, the highest it’s been since Aug. 13. Two “data dumps” to the Alabama Department of Public Health of older confirmed cases Thursday and Friday elevated the daily counts on those days, but after weeks of daily cases hovering around 700 and 800, the state now regularly sees more than 1,000 cases a day.
The older test results skew the state’s percent positivity, but Alabama’s 14-day average of percent positivity on Sunday was 20 percent. Just prior to the addition of those older cases, the 14-day average was 15 percent. Public health officials say it should be at or below five percent or cases are going undetected.
As cases continue to rise, the number of tests being performed statewide continue to decline, which is increasing Alabama’s percent positivity rate. The 14-day average of daily tests was 6,619 on Sunday — a 5 percent decrease from two weeks ago.
There have been 2,866 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths statewide. The state’s 14-day average of daily confirmed deaths was 14 on Sunday, up from 12 two weeks ago.
The United States on Saturday recorded its second highest day of new cases since the start of the pandemic, with 83,718 new cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Saturday’s peak was just 39 cases fewer than the country’s all-time daily high, set on Friday. As of Sunday, 225,061 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.
Trump Truck and boat parades this weekend
As Election Day draws near, Alabama Republicans are excited about promoting the re-election of Donald J. Trump as President and the election of Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate. This weekend two pro-President Trump events are happening in the state. There will be a truck parade from Ashland to Phenix City on Saturday sponsored by the Clay County Republican Party, while there will also be a boat parade on Wilson Lake in the Shoals sponsored by the Colbert County Republican Party on Sunday.
The pickup trucks will assemble at the Ashland Industrial Park in Clay County, 8240 Hwy 9, Ashland. There is a pre-departure rally at 10:00 a.m. central standard time. The trucks will depart at 11:00 a.m. and then proceed on a parade route that will take them into the bitterly contested swing state of Georgia. The Trump Pickup Parade will wind through east Alabama and West Georgia traveling through LaGrange and Columbus before concluding near the Alabama/Georgia line in Phenix City, 332 Woodland Drive, Phenix City at approximately 2:00 p.m. central time. Speakers will begin at 3:00. Trump flags will be on sale at the event.
The Phenix Motorsports Park will be hosting what sponsor hope could possibly the world’s largest Pickup Tuck parade in U.S. history that is routing over 50 mile through Georgia in effort to “pickup” President Trump’s numbers in GA.
A number dignitaries have been invited to address the Phenix City rally, including Coach Tuberville. Former State Sen. Shadrack McGill, Trump Victory Finance Committee member former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr., and Paul Wellborn, the President and CEO of the largest Family owned Kitchen Cabinet manufacture in the USA are among the featured speakers who have committed to speak at the event.
Entertainment will be provided by: Charity Bowden, an up and coming country music singer who was the runner up on “The Voice”. Charity will sing ‘I am Proud to be an American’ as well as songs from her Voice performances. The McGill Girls will also perform. The three beautiful and talented sisters will be singing patriotic songs in three part harmony. Geoff Carlisle, a professional DJ will be keeping the crowd pumped with music and entertainment.
Following the speakers and the entertainment there will Trump truck-vs- Joe Bidden truck races down the drag strip for the finale.
The Northwest Alabama boat parade will be on Sunday. The boats will gather at 2:00 p.m. near Turtle Point and then the flotilla will parade around the open waters of Wilson Lake til 3_00 p.m.. There will be a contest for best decorated Trump boats.
Trump supporters have held a number of large boat parades across the state to show their support for the re-election of Pres. Trump.
Boat parade sponsors say that this parade will be: pro-American, pro-law enforcement, pro-military.
COVID-19 hospitalizations, new cases continue to rise
The number of rising hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alabama is a concerning sign of a possible coming surge of the disease, state health experts said Friday. Alabama hospitals were caring for 888 coronavirus patients Friday, the highest number since Sept 9.
UAB Hospital was caring for around 80 COVID-19 inpatients Friday afternoon, said Dr. Rachael Lee, an infectious disease specialist at UAB, speaking to reporters Friday. UAB Hospital hasn’t had that many coronavirus inpatients since Aug. 18, when the disease was surging statewide.
“We have been dealing with this since March, and I think it’s easy for us to drop our guard,” Lee said.
Alabama added 3,852 new coronavirus cases on Friday, but 1,287 of them were older positive antigen tests, conducted in June through October and submitted to ADPH by a facility in Mobile, according to the department. Still, Alabama’s daily case count has been increasing, concerning health officials already worried that as the weather turns colder and the flu season ramps up, Alabama could see a surge like the state had in July.
Alabama’s 14-day average of new daily cases was 1,247 on Friday, the highest it’s been since Sept 4. Over the last 14 days, Alabama has added 17,451 new COVID-19 cases.
Friday’s inclusion of those older positive test results throws off the day’s percent positivity, by Thursday the state’s percent of tests that were positive was nearly 16 percent. Public health officials say it should be at or below five percent or cases are going undetected.
The state added 16 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, bringing to total confirmed deaths statewide to 2,859. Over the last two weeks, 206 deaths were reported in the state. Alabama’s 14-day average of new daily deaths on Friday was 15.
Alabama state health officer Dr. Scott Harris told APR by phone Friday called the rising new cases and hospitalizations “worrisome.”
Harris noted the data dump of older confirmed cases in Friday’s data, but said “but nevertheless, I think it’s clear our numbers are going up.”
Harris said it’s not yet clear what’s causing the continued spread, but said it may be due at least in part to larger private gatherings. ADPH staff has mentioned a few outbreaks association with such gatherings, but Harris said it’s hard to know for certain if that’s the major driver in the state’s rising numbers.
“It’s football season and the holidays are coming up and school is back in session,” Harris said. “I think people are just not being as safe as they were.”
Harris noted that on ADPH’s color-coded, risk indicator dashboard, red counties, which denotes counties with rising cases and percent positivity, the 17 red counties on Friday were distributed across the state.
“So there’s not one event, or even a handful of events. It seems like there’s just a lot of things happening in a lot of places,” Harris said.
Alabama’s rising numbers are mirrored in many states. The U.S. reported more than 71,600 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, nearing the country’s record highs, set in July.
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.”