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Bill Adair Defects to Republican Party

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Monday, September 8, Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair announced that he has officially left the struggling Alabama Democratic Party to join the Alabama Republican Party.

DA Bill Adair made a written statement regarding his decision to join the Republican Party. DA Adair said, “The decision to switch parties was made after a great deal of personal reflection. I came to realize that my personal beliefs most closely aligned with those of the Republican Party. I’ve always believed in hard work and in treating people equally and fairly, as well as with dignity and respect.”

Walker County Republican Party Chairman Keith Davis said, “The Walker County Republican Party welcomes Bill as the first Republican district attorney of Walker County. Bill is an outstanding district attorney that cares deeply about Walker County and upholding justice in Walker County. Several Republican leaders have encouraged Bill to come over – his values, ideals and principles align with the Republican Party. Bill has my full support and the full support of the Republican Party, and we are honored to call Bill a Republican.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said, “We are proud that Bill Adair has stepped forward to make history in Walker County. The Republican Party’s conservative philosophy reaches from the courthouse to the statehouse and we are glad to add Adair to our ranks. Adair’s exodus from the Democratic Party is just another indication that the Alabama Democratic Party and the National Democratic Party are one in the same – too liberal for Alabama’s conservative voters. Adair’s departure once again highlights the Democrats’ inability to connect with the citizens of our great state. We look forward to the continued success of Bill Adair in the District Attorney’s office and to his future re-election as a Republican.”

Adair has served as DA for Walker County since 2011.

The Alabama Republican Party has seen over 60 elected Democrats switch parties since the 2010 election in which Republicans won control of both houses of the Alabama legislature and every statewide office on the ballot. The Republicans continued their statewide dominance in the 2012 election.

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Chairman Armistead said in a statement in March when Sheriff Amerson in Calhoun County switched to the GOP, “We invite all conservatives, whether they are Democrats or Independents, to join ranks with us at the Alabama Republican Party to work together for a better future for the next generation. However, as I have said in the past, if a Democrat office holder does not subscribe to our core conservative philosophy, and only wants to join the Republican Party just to enhance their election, they need not apply.”

In Monday’s press release, the GOP said that DA Adair has dedicated himself to increasing awareness of crime victims and the struggles they face as they navigate the criminal justice system. Adair has also led the effort to establish one of Alabama’s largest candlelight vigils to honor and remember the victims of crime.

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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Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday to visit coast impacted by Hurricane Sally

Ivey is to fly by helicopter over Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, according to an announcement to media from Ivey’s office on Thursday.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey Held a post Hurricane Sally Press Conference at Alabama EMA headquarters in Clanton, Ala. Thursday September 17, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Gov. Kay Ivey plans to visit Alabama’s coastline on Friday to see for herself the damage caused by Hurricane Sally. 

Ivey is to fly by helicopter over Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan, according to an announcement to media from Ivey’s office on Thursday.

Following the flyover Ivey will meet behind closed doors with Alabama Emergency Management Agency director Brian Hastings, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship, her staff, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, and local officials for a briefing. 

Ivey at noon on Friday is to hold a press conference at the Gulf State Park Lodge, followed by a flyover of Dauphin Island and another closed-door meeting before another press conference set for 3 p.m. at Dauphin Island City Hall to give an update on the state’s recovery efforts 

At least one person in Alabama died as a result of Hurricane Sally, the state’s EMA director Brian Hastings said earlier on Thursday.

More than 130,000 Alabama Power customers along the coast and Southeast Alabama were without power Thursday afternoon.

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Governor awards grant to expand court facility dog program

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Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded $1.17 million to continue and expand a statewide program that helps children and others who have been victims of crime feel more at ease when testifying in court or undergoing other crime-related interviews.

The grant to the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services will enable that state agency to continue its facility dog program.

The program uses specially trained dogs to calm traumatized victims when they are called into the courtroom or interview room to recount details of often horrific crimes committed against them.

“I cannot imagine what victims, especially children, have to go through when they are called before strangers to recall what is often a very personal and sensitive tragedy that they have difficulty even relaying to family members,” Ivey said. “This program has proven beyond successful and has been admired and modeled by other states. I am pleased to support its continuation and expansion here in Alabama.”

Facility dogs have been used more than 1,000 times including forensic interviews, court hearings, medical examinations and other case-related matters. The dogs are based in several counties, but according to the Office of Prosecution Services, are available for use throughout the state.   

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available to the state from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The facility dog program has been vastly successful and well received throughout the state,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell. “Although we would prefer that there would be no reason for this program to even exist, ADECA joins with Gov. Ivey in assisting with its continued success.”

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Ivey notified Barry Matson, executive director of Prosecution Services, that the grant had been approved. 

ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, victim programs, economic development, water resource management, energy conservation and recreation.

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Elections

Secretary of State extends absentee voting for Senate District 26 special election

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Secretary of State John Merrill has officially extended the opportunity for anyone concerned about COVID-19 to apply for and cast an absentee ballot for the Senate District 26 special election.

The special primary election for Senate District 26 will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 17. If necessary, a runoff election will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The general election will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

Any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their polling place shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application that is most applicable to that individual.

State law allows the secretary of state to issue absentee voting guidance during declared states of emergency, allowing Merrill to encourage voters to check the box which reads, “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]” unless another box applies.

For the Nov. 17 primary election, the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Thursday, Nov. 12. If delivered by hand, absentee ballots must be returned by Monday, Nov. 16. If delivered by mail, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 16.

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Jones introduces bill to forgive CARES Act loans for small businesses impacted by hurricanes

Eddie Burkhalter

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Sen. Doug Jones speaks during a live-streamed press briefing. (VIA JONES CAMPAIGN)

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, on Thursday introduced legislation that would forgive small business loans made under the CARES Act in counties hard-hit by Hurricanes Sally and Laura. 

The Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act of 2020 would establish a process for businesses in counties with major disaster declarations from Hurricane Sally to seek forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, according to a press release from Jones’s office. 

“As folks across South Alabama begin the work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sally, I believe Congress should be assisting them in any way we can,” Jones said in a statement. “That’s why I’m joining Senator Kennedy, from our neighbor Louisiana, to introduce bipartisan legislation that ensures small businesses impacted by Hurricanes Sally and Laura can benefit from loan forgiveness for COVID-19 relief programs.” 

“Alabama’s Main Street businesses have struggled already during the pandemic, and Hurricane Sally is yet another devastating hit. This legislation will cut through government red tape and allow forgiveness of business loans received as part of our CARES legislation as they continue to re-open and re-build. It is one way we can help them survive these compounding disasters and continue to serve our communities and create jobs,” Jones continued. 

To qualify under the program, impacted businesses would have to provide their lenders with a form stating they used the loans as intended in order to receive loan forgiveness. The Small Business Administration would have the authority to review and audit forgiven loans, according to the release. 

Alabama businesses received $6.2 billion in PPP loans, which closed at the end of Aug. 8. As of that time, there had been a total of 41,243 EIDL loans totaling $1.84 billion issued to small businesses in Alabama.

Jones in May called for increased guidance and loan forgiveness for small businesses that applied for PPP loans.

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In April, he supported legislation to replenish PPP funds and gave additional relief to Alabama’s small businesses. Jones also introduced legislation in May to fund payrolls of eligible businesses to help business owners cover workers’ wages during the pandemic.

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