Connect with us

News

Five Questions for Alabama’s Federal Candidates

Cameron Smith

Published

on

By Cameron Smith

Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District, which encompasses the suburbs of Birmingham, may be the only hotly contested election this cycle, but that is no excuse for voters to give the remaining federal candidates a free pass on detailing their solutions to the challenges facing Alabama and the nation.

Unfortunately, the difference between candidates who have real solutions and those who simply memorize their party’s talking points is challenging to tease out in short sound bites, particularly when many of the candidates appear to agree on major policy themes. With that in mind, here are five questions that will help Alabama’s voters differentiate between federal candidates:

1. What inefficient, ineffective government program or spending priority would you cut or reform?
“Eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse” is a favorite bipartisan slogan, but it rarely happens because every federal program has guardians capable of creating political headaches. Candidates should have specific ideas of their own or take advantage of taxpayer-funded work like the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s annual report which identifies inefficient or duplicative federal programs.

2. What is one piece of legislation or policy priority offered by a member of the opposing party that you could support?
Regardless of political perspective, no candidate or a party has cornered the market on good ideas. While principled differences will always be present in political life, candidates should have an interest in working on positive solutions with those who might disagree with them on other issues.  A prime example of the effectiveness of this practice was President Reagan’s work with Congressman Dick Gephardt and Senator Bill Bradley, both Democrats, on the landmark Tax Reform Act of 1986.

3. How would you improve the healthcare marketplace and access to healthcare in America?
The Affordable Care Act has become a political liability for many of the politicians who supported the law. At the same time, candidates joyfully throwing around the “repeal and replace” mantra should be prepared to provide specifics about their alternatives rather than soft theories or promises that will be difficult to honor. Candidates must also focus on the drivers for the high cost of healthcare itself rather than aiming predominantly at health insurance.

ADVERTISEMENT

4. How do you plan to address the growing financial challenges facing Social Security?  The 2013 report from the Board of Trustees for Social Security found that Social Security reserves will “become depleted and unable to pay scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis in 2033.” Social Security is a tough political issue, but voters should look for candidates with the courage to discuss practical solutions in a way that does not isolate voters. Otherwise, Social Security’s financial problem compounded by a political problem will become our problem.

5. What are your ideas for alleviating the increasing cost for small businesses to comply with the growing number of federal regulations?
In 2010, the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy released a report that totaled the annual cost of federal regulations in 2008 at $1.75 trillion. To put that figure in perspective, the total amount of corporate and individual federal income tax collected in 2008 was only $1.45 trillion. According to the same report, the regulatory cost facing small businesses is 36 percent higher than that of large corporations. Regardless of the merits of specific regulations, candidates need to have an answer as to how they plan to alleviate the ever-expanding quagmire of federal rules on the average business.

Even in less-contested or unopposed federal races, Alabama’s voters perform an important function in our Republic by engaging their elected officials, posing tough questions and expecting to hear reasonable answers.

Advertisement

News

Alabama Democrats launch “biggest” turnout campaign in their history

“Our organizers and volunteers have been working relentlessly to turn out the vote,” the Alabama Democratic Party said.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Democratic Party said Friday that they have launched the biggest get-out-the-vote campaign in their history in a bid to re-elect U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

“We’ve made over 3.5 million voter contacts this election cycle,” the ADP wrote in an email to supporters. “Today, we’ve started the biggest GOTV campaign in our history. We will be contacting voters around the clock from now until Election Day. As it stands, we have enough money to reach about 91 percent of the voters in our GOTV universe.”

“Our organizers and volunteers have been working relentlessly to turn out the vote,” the ADP said. “They are contacting voters in all 67 Alabama counties, making sure every Democrat has a plan to vote on Nov. 3.”

On Saturday, Jones will make several campaign stops throughout the Birmingham area to encourage voters to turn out on Election Day. He will make stops in his hometown of Fairfield as well as in Bessemer, Pratt City and East Lake.

Jefferson County is the Alabama Democratic Party’s main stronghold in the conservative state of Alabama. Mobilizing Democratic voters to come out, especially in Jefferson County, is essential if they are to have any hope of re-electing Jones, who has been trailing in public polling.

Jones’s shocking upset of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in the 2017 special election is the only statewide race that the Alabama Democratic Party has won since 2008.

ADVERTISEMENT

Jones had a decided advantage in money in that contest to saturate the airwaves and fund a GOTV effort to reach Democratic voters in the special election.

The Jones campaign is trying to build upon that success, but it is an uphill battle and he’s widely viewed as the most vulnerable Democratic senator up for re-election in 2020.

This time, Jones’s Republican opponent is not hamstrung by allegations of sexual misconduct and Trump is at the top of this ticket. The president remains popular in Alabama even if his support has waned in some other states.

Jones needs both an unusually strong Democratic turnout and for a large number of Trump voters to split their ticket and vote for Jones instead of his Republican opponent, Tommy Tuberville.

Public Service Announcement

Roughly half of Alabamians are straight-ticket voters.

Continue Reading

News

Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh won’t seek re-election in 2022

Marsh said it would be up to the Republican caucus to decide whether he’ll remain pro tem for the last two years of his term.

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, the top Republican member of Alabama’s upper chamber, will not seek re-election in 2022. 

Marsh told The Anniston Star, which first reported the story, that he will also not run for governor or the U.S. Senate in 2022 or in the future.

Marsh’s decision to not run again will bring an end to a 24-year career in state politics. Marsh, 64, made school choice a focus of his legislative work over the years, championing charter schools and wrote the Senate’s version of the 2014 Alabama Accountability Act, which allows for tax credits for those who make donations to scholarships for students at private schools. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Marsh found himself on the other side of public health experts’ understanding of the disease, suggesting to a reporter that he’d actually like to see more people become infected to build the state’s overall immunity to the virus, a theory that public health experts say would lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths and many more illnesses. 

Marsh also battled Gov. Kay Ivey over the expenditure of $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief aid over the summer, suggesting early on that the state should spend $200 million of that money on a new Statehouse, which drew widespread public condemnation.

The Alabama Legislature later approved Ivey’s plan to spend the federal aid, which does not include a new Statehouse. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Marsh explained to AL.com on Friday that during his tenure, the Republican-controlled Legislature has put Alabama’s fiscal well-being on solid ground. 

“Fiscally, I think we’re as strong as a state as we’ve ever been. I think this COVID has shown how financially secure the state is through our policies. I feel very good about our accomplishments,” he told the outlet. “But there comes a time for everything and I just want to make it clear that I do not intend to seek election in 2022.”

Marsh said it would be up to the Republican caucus to decide whether he’ll remain pro tem for the last two years of his term.

Continue Reading

News

Alabama Power reports progress on restoring power following Hurricane Zeta

Alabama Power said 131,000 outages remain and that the utility provider expects to have service restored to 95 percent of affected customers by Tuesday.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Crews work to restore power after Hurricane Zeta. (VIA ALABAMA POWER COMPANY)

Alabama Power said Saturday that its crews have restored power to 373,000 customers following Hurricane Zeta, which caused more than 504,000 outages at peak.

As of Saturday at 2:12 p.m., Alabama Power said 131,000 outages remain and that the utility provider expects to have service restored to 95 percent of affected customers by Tuesday.

 

 

Hurricane Zeta hit Louisiana as a category two hurricane on Wednesday before ripping through Mississippi and Alabama. There is an enormous amount of damage across the footprint of the Southern Company, the parent of Alabama Power.

ADVERTISEMENT

Alabama Power has said the impact of the storm is similar to what the company experienced during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

Because Zeta was so fast-moving, it did not lose much of its strength as it moved inland. Much of the state experienced tropical-storm-force winds. There is significant, widespread damage throughout the state.

Alabama Power is having to deal with downed poles and trees that knocked out wires. The company’s crews are working with more than 1,700 lineworkers and support personnel from 19 states and Canada.

Alabama Power said that its crews are working quickly and safely to restore power and will continue to work on restoring power over the weekend.

Public Service Announcement

Alabama Power storm team evaluators, line crews and support personnel worked throughout the day Thursday and Friday assessing damage and repairing poles and wires damaged in the storm.

Crews are working diligently and as quickly and safely as possible to restore service, the company said.

Remember that there are line crews working along roadways all across the state. Cities, counties and homeowners are still working on debris removal so drive slowly and give yourself more time to get where you are going while out.

Alabama Power warns everyone to stay away from downed power lines, as well as fallen trees and tree limbs that could be hiding downed lines. Always assume a downed line is still energized and poses a potentially deadly hazard.

If you spot a downed line, call Alabama Power at 1-800-888-2726 or local law enforcement and wait for trained crews to perform the potentially dangerous work of removing the line or any surrounding debris.

Hurricane season lasts until the end of November.

Continue Reading

Governor

Governor meets with VIP fourth grader

The discussion was described as “wide-ranging and productive.” The governor and McGriff covered everything from school to their love of dogs.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Gov. Kay Ivey and fourth grade student Cate McGriff. (GOVERNOR'S OFFICE PHOTO)

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey invited a special guest to meet with her in the governor’s office on Friday: fourth grade student Cate McGriff, known for her impeccable impersonation of the governor.

The discussion was described as “wide-ranging and productive.” The governor and McGriff covered everything from school to their love of dogs.

Ivey asked McGriff what her favorite subject in school is, the governor’s office said. McGriff replied that it was math. She also told the governor that she wanted to attend Auburn University just like Ivey did.

Ivey asked Cate what she wanted to be when she grows up after she attends Auburn. McGriff said that she wants to be an engineer.

Ivey advised her to keep working hard on her math.

Gov. Kay Ivey and fourth grade student Cate McGriff. (GOVERNOR’S OFFICE PHOTO)

ADVERTISEMENT

Ivey shared that when she was a young intern for Gov. Lurleen Wallace, the only other woman to serve as governor in Alabama history, she had the opportunity to sit behind the governor’s desk. Ivey then asked Cate if she wanted to sit behind the desk, and they recreated the governor’s own photo behind Gov. Lurleen Wallace’s desk.

Cate and Ivey both were wearing their red “power suits” and Auburn face masks.

McGriff was joined by her parents and two siblings, Claire and Sam.

The McGriff family frequently tune in to the governor’s regular COVID press conferences. Cate also was given the chance to stand behind the lectern in the Old House Chamber.

Public Service Announcement

Governors frequently meet with very important people including presidents, CEOs, congressmen, senators, scientists, university presidents, state legislators, county commissioners, economic developers and fourth graders.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement