By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Cheryl Ciamarra (R) is running as a Republican for State of Alabama House District 43. House District 43 is currently held by Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R) from Indian Springs. Rep. McClurkin has announced that she is not seek re-election.
Ms. Ciamarra told The Alabama Political Reporter on Thursday that McClurkin did much for the state as a legislator and she feels that the state needs another conservative woman to take her place. Ciamarra said that the legislature needs more conservative women who can come to the microphone and speak intelligently in the face of opposition from liberal men and women.
Ms. Ciamarra said on Facebook, “Alabama House District 43 is a special place for myself and my family. It would be an honor to serve as your representative in Montgomery. I will be responsive and dedicated to the concerns of families and businesses in our district.”
According to her website, Cheryl Ciamarra has lived in Birmingham Alabama since the mid 1980′s and wrote that she has found the people and the vibrant Christian faith of the State a delightful breath of fresh air to raise a family.
Ciamarra said that she supported Mary Sue McClurkin in her first bid for the office and has lived in House District 43 in North Shelby County since 1998 where she has raised her five children, Mark, Allison, Michael Joe, John and James.
Ciamarra was Born in New Orleans into a Catholic family with a strong faith. Cheryl was a child actress at the La Petite Theatre where she won city wide competitions in Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation and gained experience as both an actress and directer. At 14 Young Life a non-denominational Christian Youth Outreach ministry took her to Boulder Colorado’s Frontier Camp where she developed a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ including on-going bible study, which supplemented her Catholic upbringing.
In 1979, Cheryl graduated from the University of Southwest Louisiana in Lafayette, Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Speech Pathology and Audiology, a Psychology Minor, and diagnosis of reading disorders specialty. During College, she was in Chi Omega Fraternity and participated in New Orleans vibrant community theater. Ciamarra attended LSU Medical School where she earned a Masters in Communication Disorders graduating Summa Cum Laude.
After graduation she started a private practice in speech language pathology.
Later she worked for the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul’s Hotel Dieu Hospital where she served the handicapped elderly and disabled.
She moved to Birmingham after marrying and took a job as staff development director for a national concern. She also started a private practice providing individual professional consulting to NME and PIA’s program development. Cheryl became Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital’s Speech and Hearing Department Director where she specialized serving traumatic brain injury and stroke patients. Cheryl became a full-time stay at home mom after her third child was born. She remained active in the community attend and leading women’s bible studies and helping with Meals on Wheels and Gods Helpers of His Precious Infants. Cheryl also became politically active in the legislative process and the pro-life movement.
Cheryl started the Showers of Blessing Birmingham ministry with the assistance of area churches connecting women’s groups to support girls turned around from abortion with material goods through baby showers.
Cheryl moved to Montgomery with the Fob James administration and became involved with Alabama Citizens For Life serving as their Legislative Director and as an alternate to the National Right to Life Committee Board in Washington D.C.
Cheryl’s believes in less government interference in business. Cheryl also strongly believes in promoting legislation to protect innocent human life from euthanasia.
Ciamarra has served as Alabama Citizens for Life public relations and media spokesperson and has appeared on several TV and radio shows, including For the Record and The Hank Irwin Show. Ciamarra created and hosted a culture of life radio show with The United For Life Foundation www.focusonliferadio.com
Ciamarra is currently a single mother of 5 children, with three in college and is serving as the Board Director Representing Alabama on the National Right to Life Committee where she travels to D.C. quarterly to be a voice for Alabama. Cheryl has been the keynote speaker at SAV-A-LIFE Director Retreats and Pregnancy Resource Center fund raising events over the years, where she has shared, “her personal walk of faith and the practical steps average citizens can take in their homes and community to stand up for our religious freedom and God given rights.”
Cheryl, due to her wide range of knowledge and experience regarding healthcare delivery of services, has been invited to participate in CATO Health Policy Summit’s in Washington D.C. and New Orleans. Cheryl has been a presenter on media relations at The National Right to Life Convention. Ciamarra also has her private practice, Ciamarra Communication Consulting has been part-time.
She attends continuing education on a full range of adolescent and elder care issues. Through the years Cheryl has been an active member of the Confraternity of Christian Motherhood, Eagle Forum of Alabama, a Founding Board member of Her Choice Pregnancy Resource Center, is a Save A Life supporter, and as a Strong supporter of Second Amendment rights she is a member of the National Rifle Association.
Cheryl writes that running for Alabama House of Representatives is a natural next step. Cheryl Ciamarra believes that Alabama needs more Republican women representation in Montgomery (only 5 of the 107 house members are conservative women).
Ms. Ciamarra said that she is a proven advocate for life and family values, is a small business owner, and promises that she will keep taxes low and will look out for the concerns of those in HD 43.
The Cheryl Ciamarra campaign for Alabama House District 43 will hold a kick off event and fundraiser on November 14 at 7:00 pm at the Brava Grill at 5184 Caldwell Mill Road in Birmingham.
Incumbent state Representative Mary Sue McClurkin is not seeking re-election. In the Republican Primary, Ciamarra will face former Miss Alabama Amie Beth Shaver (R) who is also running for the seat.
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.”
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.