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DeMarco Speaks At Sixth District Candidate Forum in Oneonta

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, July 1, Gary Palmer and State Representative Paul DeMarco both were at Oneonta High School in Montgomery for another candidate forum.  This event was hosted by the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and was moderated by Blount County District Attorney Pamela L. Casey.  The two are running the Republican Primary Runoff election on Tuesday, July 15.

State Representative Paul DeMarco said, “I can honestly say in the past six or seven months I have spent more time in Blount County than any other candidate in the last six or seven weeks.”  DeMarco said that growing up his parents every month took him and his brother to eat at ‘Little Joe’s’ in Blount County.

Rep. DeMarco said that Blount County needs a Congressman who can be an advocate for Blount County.  DeMarco said that the best way to evaluate a candidate is to judge them on how did they did in the past.  Back when Jefferson County had an illegal occupation tax, people in Blount County were opposed to the Occupation tax.  “There is no longer a Jefferson County Occupation Tax,” and DeMarco took credit for helping prevent the legislature from restoring the Occupation Tax after the courts declared that the county had been collecting it illegally (for years after the legislature had repealed the tax).

Rep. DeMarco said that he helped lead the fight in the state legislature against the current makeup of the Birmingham Waterworks Board.  DeMarco said that Blount County has no representation on that board even though the waterworks pumps thousands and thousands of gallons of Blount County water out of Inland Lake. “It is not fair.”  DeMarco said that he is confident that legislation reforming the composition of the Birmingham Waterworks Board will pass next year in the legislature.

Rep. DeMarco said that he has worked for the construction of the Northern Beltline which will help spur job creation.  DeMarco said, “I have a great working relationship with both your mayors and your county commissioners.”  Paul said that if he is elected for the first time there will be a Sixth Congressional District office in Blount County.

State Rep. DeMarco said that the best way to help Blount County is to grow Blount County.  Let the people of Blount County grow jobs in Blount County like the people of Vance did with Mercedes.  That way you have folks staying home and finding a job in Blount County.  They spend their money in the county that they both work and live in and they generate more revenue for Blount County.

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Rep. DeMarco said that he wants to partner with our local chambers of commerce to grow the Blount County economy and put more revenue through that growth so that local government will have more dollars for front line prosecutors and first responders.  DeMarco said that he wants to work with your local officials, to partner with them so that Blount County grows so that there will be a future for your children and grandchildren in Blount County.

DeMarco said that 18 months ago he was talking about economic issues with leaders in industry and Governor Robert Bentley (R) and they emphasized the need for work force development.  The State has opened up Alabama Industrial Training Facilities so that teens can learn how to use a backhoe, learn about safety regulations and other skills so that they have the skills when they finish school to get a good job and don’t have to leave the state to find a job.

DeMarco said that Blount County doesn’t need Washington DC telling Blount county officials what we have to do.  The combination of luring new jobs here from outsiders looking to relocate and grow the jobs from the businesses that are here is what Blount County needs to do.  Talk to the agriculture community and ask them what they need to grow that sector of the Blount County economy.

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DeMarco said that we need to start sending people to jail in the scandals that are occurring in Washington.  “The heads of these agencies have lost respect for the Congress and that means they have lost respect for the people of the United States.”  There is something wrong when the IRS can target you like they did conservative groups for their political beliefs.  DeMarco said, “Fix it (the IRS) now or get rid of that agency altogether.”  He called for a, “Top to bottom examination of the Veterans administration.”  “If they can treat our veterans like that with their healthcare, how do you expect they will treat us with our healthcare?”

State Representative Paul DeMarco said that he is from the district.  “I always tell people that I am proud that I was married in the same church I was baptized in.  Alabama is my home.”  DeMarco said that we do not need a Congressman who will bring Washington DC values back to Alabama, what we need is a Congressman who will bring Alabama values to Washington D.C. because they have lost their way.  DeMarco said that he will show up on the first day with the experience to be your advocate.

Rep. DeMarco said that he and his wife Jacqueline have a new son named Jack.  When Jack was born his share of the national debt is over $60,000.  “That is not fair to our children and our grandchildren.”  To do something about the national debt we have to have men and women of courage.

DeMarco said that he has a track record of standing up and not only of taking on President Obama and Nancy Pelosi, but also standing up to his own party when they are in the wrong.  DeMarco said that this healthcare law (Obamacare) is hurting us here in Alabama.  Chilton County lost their hospital because of these rules that are coming out of Washington.

DeMarco said that if he is elected he will continue to live in Homewood Alabama and, “You will see me in the community.”  DeMarco promised that he would be responsible committed and will be loyal to Blount County.

DeMarco’s Republican Primary Runoff opponent is Gary Palmer.  Palmer co-founded the Alabama Policy Institute (API) and for 24 years served as its’ President.
The Republican Primary Runoff is Tuesday, July 15.

The Sixth District is currently represented by Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia who is retiring after this term, his eleventh term.

The eventual Republican nominee will still have to face Democrat Avery Vise and Libertarian Aimee Love in the November 4th general election.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Education

Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program gets more national attention

The article analyzed a recent study that found that students who attended the program were “statistically significantly more likely” to be proficient in both math and reading than those who did not.

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The state’s First Class Pre-K program gives children advantages in math and reading that last into middle school, far longer than the gains studied in other high-quality pre-K programs, according to an article published in the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy.

The article analyzed a recent study that found that students who attended the program were “statistically significantly more likely” to be proficient in both math and reading than those who did not.

While programs like Head Start and Tennessee’s pre-K program have been shown to lead to significant educational improvements when children enter kindergarten, those benefits appear to experience a “fadeout” within a year. 

The new research followed students through the 7th grade. Further research should examine the persistence of benefits through high school, according to the article, which was published by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, ThinkData and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.

The research “is reassuring and supports accountability for continued investments and expansion,” the article concluded.

The journal that featured the article is a publication of the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

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Congress

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne announces new chief of staff

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, on Friday announced that Seth Morrow will serve as his chief of staff.

“As we enter the last half of 2020, my office remains busy assisting constituents and advancing our legislative priorities. I know Seth shares my focus on finishing out my term in Congress strong, and he is well prepared to move into the Chief of Staff role,” Byrne said in a statement. “My staff and I will continue working hard every day to fight for the people of Southwest Alabama and advance our conservative agenda.”

Morrow is a native of Guntersville and has worked for Byrne since June 2014, serving as deputy chief of staff and communications director. 

“I am grateful for this opportunity, and I’m committed to ensuring our office maintains our first class service to the people of Southwest Alabama. Congressman Byrne has always had the hardest working team on Capitol Hill, and I know we will keep that tradition going,” Morrow said in a statement.

Morrow replaces Chad Carlough, who has held the position of Byrne’s chief of staff since March 2017. 

“Chad has very ably led our Congressional team over the last few years, and I join the people of Southwest Alabama in thanking him for his dedicated service to our state and our country,” Byrne said. 

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Crime

Alabama Department of Corrections investigating inmate death

Robert Earl Adams, 40, died on Aug. 5 and although no foul play is suspected, a department spokeswoman in a message to APR said the exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Department of Corrections is investigating the death of an inmate at the Donaldson Correctional Facility.

Robert Earl Adams, 40, died on Aug. 5 and although no foul play is suspected, a department spokeswoman in a message to APR said the exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.

“While Adams’ exact cause of death is pending the results of a full autopsy, at the time of his passing inmate Adams was not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, was not under quarantine following direct exposure to an inmate or staff member who previously had tested positive, and was not in medical isolation as a result of a positive COVID-19 test,” said ADOC spokeswoman Samantha Rose in the message.

Because Adams was not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, he had not been tested, Rose said.

An ADOC worker who contacted APR Friday morning about the death, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions from ADOC administrators, said it’s suspected that Adams may have overdosed after being given a cigarette laced with a drug.

Adams is at least the sixteenth state inmate to die this year from either homicide, suspected drug overdose or suicide. Additionally, fifteen inmates and two prison workers have died after testing positive for COVID-19.

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Alabama GOP chair: “We expect our elected officials to follow the law” after Dismukes arrest

“Will Dismukes matter: We expect our elected officials, regardless of Party, to follow the laws of our state and nation,” Alabama GOP chair Terry Lathan said on Twitter.

Brandon Moseley

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State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, has been arrested on the charge of felony theft.

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan said Thursday that Alabamians expect their leaders to follow the law. Her comments came in response to news that an arrest warrant had been issued for State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, on the charge of felony theft.

“Will Dismukes matter: We expect our elected officials, regardless of Party, to follow the laws of our state and nation,” Lathan said on Twitter. “No one is immune to these standards. It is very disappointing to hear of these allegations. This is now a legal matter and it must run its course.”

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, said Friday in a statement that Dismukes will get his day in court.

“As a former law enforcement officer, I have faith in the criminal justice process and trust that he will receive a full and fair hearing,” McCutcheon said. “Both Democrats and Republicans have been accused of similar crimes in the past, and we cannot tolerate such behavior whether the lawmaker involved has a D or an R beside their name.”

Dismukes has been charged by his former employer, a custom flooring company, of felony theft charges. Dismukes left that employer and started his own custom flooring company.

Dismukes, who is serving in his first term and is one of the youngest members of the Alabama Legislature, has been heavily criticized for his participation in a birthday party for Confederate Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest in Selma. Forrest was also the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

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The party in Selma occurred the same week that Congressman John Lewis’s funeral events were happening in Selma. Dismukes resigned his position at Valley Baptist Church when the Southern Baptists threatened to disassociate the Prattville Church if they retained Dismukes. He has defiantly refused to step down from the Legislature, but if convicted of a felony, he would be automatically removed from office.

Both Democrats and Republicans have called for Dismukes to resign from the Alabama House of Representatives over his being the chaplain of the Prattville Sons of Confederate Veterans and his Facebook post lauding Forrest. The investigation into the theft predates the controversies surrounding Dismukes’s glorification of the Confederacy and Forrest.

Republican State Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who also represents Prattville, has called on Dismukes to resign.

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“Since first being elected in 1996, I’ve had a policy of not publicly criticizing other elected officials, but at this time I am making an exception since Rep. Dismukes is MY state representative. He does not represent my views or the views of the vast majority of people of District 88,” Chambliss said. “The post is bad enough, the timing is even worse, but the real problem is that an elected official in 2020 would attend a celebration of the life of someone that led a group that terrorized and killed other human beings. He has had 24 hours to understand why people are so upset, but his interview on WSFA a few moments ago confirms that he is lacking in understanding and judgment — he should resign immediately.”

Alabama Democratic Party Chairman State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, has repeatedly called for Dismukes to resign from the Alabama House of Representatives.

The Alabama Democratic Party recently said in a statement, “Will Dismukes is morally unfit for office. Republicans and Democrats statewide seem to agree. Unfortunately, despite the mounting calls for his immediate resignation, Will intends to stay in office and seek re-election without penalty from the Republican Party.”

“While Alabama Republicans hope this will be a distant memory when Dismukes runs for re-election in 2022, we are not going to let him off the hook,” the ADP wrote. “The Alabama Democratic Party is going to leverage every tool we have to send Will packing when he comes up for re-election in two years.”

“In our darkest hours in life there is still light in Christ!” Dismukes wrote on social media Wednesday. “As the storm continues to blow with heavy force, there is yet a peace that this too shall pass. I guess sometimes we find out if we have built our house on sand or the solid rock of Christ. Psalm 23.”

When Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, was indicted on 21 charges of felony ethics violations, he did not resign and actually remained speaker until a jury of his peers in Lee County convicted him on 12 counts.

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