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Hubbard Announces House GOP Leadership

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, January 14, the newly re-elected Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) announced the individual Representatives chosen for leadership positions during the 2015 thru 2018 quadrennium.

(See Leadership Assignments Here.)

Speaker Mike Hubbard said that he was very pleased with the organizational session.  Some changes in the rules were made on the floor that actually made our rules better.  This morning the House adopted the joint rules that came down from the Senate.

Representative Hubbard said in a written statement, “We’ve made tremendous strides over the past four years towards improving education, growing the economy, and protecting the rights and values that Alabamians hold dear.  I am confident that group of legislators will continue to lead our fight and move Alabama forward.  The backgrounds, talents, and proven leadership of each of these individuals makes them uniquely qualified to fill these posts, and I look forward to working with them over the next four years.”

Speaker Hubbard said that four years ago the GOP took control of the House for the first time, intent on moving Alabama forward and reforming state government.  “Four years later we are still the reformers.  We are still ready to move Alabama forward even more.”

Rep. Hubbard said that it was difficult to select Chairmen because there are many talented Republicans.  The Caucus full of driven conservatives and they have put a great deal of thought into selecting their leadership team.  “We make recommendations to the caucus and then bring it to the full caucus.”

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Speaker Hubbard then introduced his House GOP leadership team one by one.

For Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) was unanimously elected.

Hubbard said in a written statement on Facebook, “It was a great honor to swear in Dr. Victor Gaston as the Speaker Pro Tem. He is an invaluable member of our team and a great driver in implementing the conservative reforms that have Alabama heading in the right direction.”

Speaker Pro Tem Gaston said on Facebook, “I was happy that Jean and Hank as well as James and Charlie (Gaston’s family) were with me when the Alabama House of Representatives elected me to be the Speaker Pro Tempore. I’m thankful that many friends in District 100 make it possible for me to hold this position.”

The Speaker then introduced Rep. Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) who returns as House Majority Leader.  Hubbard said that he credits Hammon’s work with why the caucus has been so unified and gotten so much done.

Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) was introduced as the Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. Hubbard said that McCutcheon is respected by both the Republican and Democratic Caucus’s.  “He has done an outstanding job.”

Rep. McCutcheon said in a written statement on Facebook, “Today, I was appointed to serve a second quadrennium as the Rules Committee Chairman in the Alabama House of Representatives. I’m proud to continue to serve the people of my district and the state of Alabama in this capacity. We have tremendous challenges ahead, but I’m confident that our House Leadership Team will continue the bold, conservative reforms that will move our state forward.”

Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) was introduced as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.  Hubbard said, “He is very dedicated and has continued to work throughout the year.”

Hubbard introduced Rep. Steve Clouse as Chairman of the Ways and Mean General Fund Committee.  Hubbard said that Steve Clouse has a very difficult job.  In particularly the first year of the quadrennium.

To head the Agriculture and Forestry Committee Hubbard introduced Rep. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay). Hubbard said that Sessions owns and operates a huge farm in Grand Bay.  His leadership will be a huge boost for our State.

Next was Rep. Howard Sanderford (R-Huntsville) who returns as Chair of the Boards, Agencies, and Commissions Committee.  Hubbard said that Sanderford has done an outstanding job with that Committee.

Hubbard introduced Rep. K. L. Brown (R-Jacksonville) as Chair of the new Children and Senior Advocacy Committee.  Hubbard said he is an, “…outstanding member of the Caucus.  I look forward to working with him.”

Rep. Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) was introduced as the Chair of the Commerce and Small Business Committee. Hubbard said, “As you know we have made it our number one goal that Alabama is the most business friendly state in America.”

Rep. Randy Davis (R-Daphne) was introduced as Chair of the Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee. Hubbard said that Davis has handled these issues with real expertise and is uniquely qualified to do this job.

Rep. Steve McMillan (R-Bay Minette) was introduced as Chair of the County and Municipal Government Committee.  Hubbard told McMillan, “I look forward to serving with you again.”

Rep. Alan Harper (R-Northport) was introduced as Chair of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. Hubbard said that we will see some very important bills go through this committee.

To head the Education Policy Committee Hubbard introduced Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur).  Hubbard said that we needed someone tough to head this committee.  “She is absolutely committed to shaking things up in education.” Rep. Hubbard said there are going to be some controversial issues in this quadrennium.

Hubbard then introduced Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) to head the Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee. Hubbard said that Ball has been a hostage negotiator for the state police and in addition to his role Chairing the Committee he plays an important role in our caucus.

Speaker Hubbard said that Rep. Lesley Vance (R-Phoenix City) will head the Financial Services Committee.  She was not present due to health issues.

The New Chair of the Health Committee will be Rep. April Weaver (R-Brierfield).  Hubbard said, “If it is healthcare she is our go to person.  I can’t think of anyone more qualified to head this committee.”  Weaver is a trained nurse.

Hubbard next introduced Rep. Mike Hill (R-Columbiana) to lead the Insurance Committee.  Hubbard said that Hill has been here a while.  It is important to us that the state hold insurance companies accountable to make sure that we are being fair to constituents.  “Mike provides our leadership team with advice and counsel.”

Rep. Allen Boothe (R-Troy) returns as Chair of the Internal Affairs Committee.  Hubbard said that Boothe, “Has done an outstanding job.”  Boothe is a former police chief.

Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) an attorney will be the Chair of the Judiciary Committee.  Hubbard said that Jones has, “Shown an ability to bring people together.”  The Speaker said, “We have got a problem with prisons.  That will be going through his committee.”  Hubbard said that Rep. Jim Hill (R-Odenville) will be the Vice Chair of the Committee. Hubbard said that Hill through his 20 years of service as a judge knows more about prisons and the justice system than anyone else.

Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton) will Chair the Local Legislation Committee.  Hubbard said that Baker will fully vet the local bills so there are no surprises on the floor.

Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) was introduced as the Chair of the New Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. Speaker Hubbard said, “I don’t think there is any state that is more patriotic than Alabama.  Hubbard said that Moore is universally respected in the legislature.  “He is the most ethical and honest person that I know.”

Hubbard announced that Rep. Randy Wood (R-Anniston) has moved to Chair the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.  Hubbard said, “Randy is a valued leader.  I appreciate him serving in this new role.”

Rep. Mark Tuggle (R-Alexander City) will Chair the State Government Committee.  Hubbard said, “Anything you can justify sending to State government because everything we do is State government….Mark is very tenacious and that is what we needed.”

The Technology and Research Committee will be Chaired by Rep. Phil Williams (R-Monrovia).  Hubbard said that Williams holds 40 patents.  “Carly’s Law went through that committee.”  “He will be playing a very big role.”

Rep. Lynn Greer (R-Rogersville) was introduced as Chair of the Transportation, Utilities, and Infrastructure Committee. Hubbard said of Greer, “When he gets up to say something people stop what they are doing and they listen to him.”

Speaker Hubbard said in a written statement on Facebook, “Honored to stand with the new House Leadership team for the 2014-2018 quadrennium. Together, we are confident in our ability to keep Alabama heading in the right direction by implementing conservative reforms that empower local businesses, ensure children receive a world-class education, and protect our rights from an overreaching federal government.”

In response to media questions, Hubbard said that I don’t think there is any secret that dealing with the prison crisis will be a priority.  “There will not be any easy solutions.”  Hubbard said that he has asked the Governor to present a plan.  It is his job is to send us over his proposal.

Hubbard said however, “I doubt very seriously that the proposal he sends over will be the exact one that comes out (of the legislature).”  Chairman Clouse and his team will have a very difficult job.”

ABC 33/40 News Reporter Lauren Walsh asked Speaker Hubbard is his upcoming trial would interfere with the coming 2015 legislative session.

Speaker Hubbard said, “I have no concern.” 

The embattled Speaker said, ‘You saw in my election that the people in my district have confidence in me.  You saw yesterday that my colleagues in the House have shown their confidence.  99 members of the House voted for me for Speaker, except Rep. Alvin Holmes who voted for himself.’

“I am concentrating on being the Speaker of the House.  In time the truth will come out.”

Speaker Hubbard faces a trial on 23 indictments of ethics law violations in his roles as Speaker of the House and as the former Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.

 

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with six and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook.

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National

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed asks public to stay home for “next few nights” amid protests

Eddie Burkhalter

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Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed at a Monday afternoon press conference asked the public to stay at home for the next few nights, if they can. 

Reed’s words came after peaceful protests in Birmingham turned into a riot early Monday morning. Numerous businesses were burned, and two reporters were attacked. Protests were likely to begin Monday evening, according to accounts on social media. 

“I want you to know that I share your outrage over the killing of George Floyd. I share your anger about the callus action that ended his life,” Reed said. 

But Reed said “we must not further inflict damage upon ourselves and our community in a short-sighted effort to express our understandable frustration and anger.” 

Reed asked that those who can do so “stay at home for the next few nights.” 

“Talk with your family. Talk with your friends. Talk with others about what we can do together for the betterment of each other,” Reed said. 

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin earlier on Monday declared a state of emergency and a city-wide curfew that begins today. 

Moments before Reed spoke, President Donald Trump gave a speech at the White House and said he is an ally of all peaceful protestors and “your president of law and order.” 

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“But in recent days our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa and others,” Trump said. 

Trump said he was mobilizing the U.S. military to stop the rioting, and that he strongly recommended to governors that they “deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets.” 

If governors don’t get rioting under control, Trump said “I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.” 

Gov. Kay Ivey earlier on Monday announced that she authorized the Alabama National Guard to activate as many as 1,000 guardsmen, but said there was no immediate need to deploy them. Woodfin said in a separate press conference Monday that there was no immediate need for assistance from the Alabama National Guard.

Just as Trump began speaking at the White House, police fired tear gas and advanced on a group of peaceful protestors at Lafeyette Park near the White House, according to video coverage by several news outlets. 

After his speech, Trump left the White House on foot and traveled under heavy security to Lafeyette Park, where he held up a Bible outside St. John’s Church alongside White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany while photographers clicked away.

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Health

Gov. Kay Ivey addresses death of former Auburn coach Pat Dye

Eddie Burkhalter

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via Madison Ogletree / The Auburn Plainsman

Gov. Kay Ivey in a statement Monday expressed sadness over the death of former Auburn head football coach Pat Dye, who died Monday after being hospitalized for kidney problems. He had also been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Dye, 80, was being treated for kidney problems when he tested positive for COVID-19, although he was asymptomatic, his family said at the time. 

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Pat Dye — a great man, coach and member of the Auburn family,” Ivey said. “Not only was he a phenomenal football coach, but an even better person. For years, I have known Pat personally and have always valued his friendship and colorful commentary. He had great takes on both football and life. Coach Dye truly embodied the Auburn spirit. He will be missed not only by the Auburn family, but the entire state of Alabama. War Eagle, Coach. Your life and legacy lives on.”

Ivey graduated from Auburn University, where Dye served as head football coach from 1981 to 1992. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

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Crime

Alabama Democratic Party chair: “Where systemic racism endures there are no winners”

Eddie Burkhalter

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The Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party on Monday called for Alabamians to come together to address systemic racism and inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. 

“I am angry and I am hurt. Unfortunately, I am not shocked,” said state Representative and  Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party Chris England, in a statement. 

“Inequality pervades every facet of our society. Confronting this truth is difficult, especially for those who have never experienced their race as an issue. For Black people, watching George Floyd be killed on camera felt not only horrifying, but familiar. It felt familiar because we know what it is like to be harassed by an officer or made to feel unwelcome in a certain part of town. We know what it is like for our schools, neighborhoods, and economic concerns to be ignored outright,” England continued. 

“I stand with each person who is fighting for the just and fair treatment of every Alabamian. Until ideologies rooted in racism and hate are confronted head-on, communities of color will suffer. Until we expose the lies keeping us divided, communities who do not experience their race as an issue will continue misdirecting their frustrations, and scapegoat communities of color. Where systemic racism endures there are no winners, only losers. 

“Unity demands justice. I call on every Alabamian, especially people of faith, to be on the frontlines of love and compassion. We have not come this far to only come this far.”

Two days of peaceful protests in Birmingham turned violent early Sunday morning, and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin declared a state of emergency and enacted  a city-wide curfew to prevent a repeat of the rioting that saw numerous business burned and at least two reporters attacked.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced the authorization of Alabama National Guard members, but said it was no immediate need to activate them.

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News

Quinton Ross: What should we tell our youth on the death of George Floyd?

Quinton Ross

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The following is Alabama State University President Quinton T. Ross Jr.’s statement in full on the death of George Floyd. 

For the past few days, I, like many others have been viewing through the lens of the media, the reaction of our country to the deplorable and senseless death of yet another defenseless black person at the hands of a white police officer, a tragic mockery to the truth that Black Lives Matter. Similar to other Americans, I am overcome with a range of emotions.

As the father of two sons and as a black man myself, I can assure you that I am furious and deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd, as I am by every senseless killing of black males and females in America. It could have been either of my sons, my brothers, my nephews or nieces, my friends or even one of my students who lay on the ground, pleading for mercy on that horrific day.

Looking into the eyes of my 11-year-old son and trying to help him comprehend what happened and what is happening in our nation, I am cognizant of the fact that I am old enough only to have read about the many civil rights protests and nonviolent demonstrations that have afforded me the opportunities that I have enjoyed during my lifetime.

While I was not an eyewitness to the protests, I do try to paint a picture for my son, drawing from my exposure to many civil rights icons and their recounting of historic events of the past, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the march from Selma to Montgomery, the brutality of law enforcement officers such as Bull Connor and the story of Ruby Bridges. I am emotionally distraught about the stark parallel of our nation’s present state of affairs and our nation’s historical past.

I have been giving thought to this national crisis, especially as it relates to Alabama State University’s rich history and her overwhelming contributions to the advancement of civil rights in the nation.  I am one of thousands of students who have matriculated and emerged from ASU with purpose and a true understanding of social justice and responsibility. At ASU, we learned the importance and the power of the vote.  The call to public service and advocacy was ingrained in our DNA by O’ Mother Dear.

While I attempt to give some sensible explanation to the most recent senseless acts of brutality, I have reflected on my first real encounter with the reality of racist police violence against blacks in America.  It was the spring of 1991, just prior to my senior year in college, and I had just been elected President of the Student Government Association.

This was the time that our nation witnessed Rodney King being brutally beaten by Los Angeles law enforcement officers after he led them on a high-speed chase.  I remember asking myself, “Is this what would happen to me as a black man if I found myself in a similar situation with authorities?”  I vividly recall how the nation erupted into protests because of Rodney King’s mistreatment, just like the protests that have erupted nationally because of the senseless death of George Floyd and others.

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Each incident is similar to the protests that happened across this nation in the 1960s due to social injustice.  As a young student, I was confused and enraged by what I witnessed. I remember the rumbling of unrest within our student body regarding Rodney King. We were all ready to act on our anger and frustration by taking to the streets of Montgomery to let our voices be heard.  Word of our intentions reached our President, the late Dr. C. C. Baker, who later became one of my mentors.

My SGA leadership team and I were summoned to Dr. Baker’s office, and it was there that I learned what social protesting was really all about. It is not about the destruction of property, looting or acting disorderly; it is about banding together peacefully with a common goal, with a purpose and a plan for change.  During the meeting, we discussed our desire to be heard and our passion for change, and emerged with a plan for a peaceful protest on the campus that historically has been a beacon for change—our home, our haven—Alabama State University.

This focusing event allowed me to lead my first press conference. It would be the first time I had ever spoken in front of news cameras. Every news outlet in the city was on campus that day as students gathered with community stakeholders in great numbers. I led the protest with a speech. Students and local elected officials were also able to have their voices heard as the media captured our impassioned sentiments and broadcast the event.  I share this personal experience not only to highlight the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in providing a platform for change, but also to emphasize the need to protest peacefully and with a purpose.

I offer that advice while understanding and even relating to the rage that has been unleashed across the nation by the infection of racism that is more potent than ever in America. Our nation has a new and improved infection of racism when George Floyd can plead for mercy while dying publicly under the force of a racist man’s knee just as his forefathers died publicly hanging from a noose.

There is a new and improved infection of racism when a young man by the name of Michael Brown can hold his hands up in surrender and still be shot to death in broad daylight in Ferguson, Missouri. There is a new and improved infection of racism when a man by the name of Eric Garner in New York City can tell authorities “I can’t breathe” as he is choked to death.

The infection of racism is new and improved when a young man by the name of Trayvon Martin is gunned down in cold blood while walking from the store to his home. Racism is new and improved when Ahmaud Arbery can be gunned down while jogging not far from his home. There is a new and improved infection of racism when Breonna Taylor can be shot and killed by police officers as she lay sleeping in her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. Let us not forget the infection of racism that related to the death of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in a jail cell in Walker County, Texas, after being arrested for a minor traffic stop.

Here in Montgomery, there is a new and improved infection of racism when a man by the name of Greg Gunn, who attended ASU, is chased and killed by a police officer just a few steps from his mother’s front door. Their tragic deaths made headlines, but across this nation and even in this city, we could easily add more names to the rolls of those whose lives have been so tragically cut short with no cell phone cameras to capture their last, painful breaths.

With this in mind, we struggle with the question, “What should we tell our students?” The answer that I offer you is the same that I give to my sons. I ask that you find ways to protest peacefully, including exercising your personal responsibility to register to vote and then go vote, and committing yourself to continuing your education so that you are prepared to emerge as this nation’s next generation of leaders.

I ask that you resist the temptation to channel your anger into destruction; instead, channel your energy into the very thing that disturbs and disrupts those who would oppress you: Education.

Our nonviolent stand proved successful in the past, and I believe it could be the catalyst for real and impactful change today. Let peace be at the core of all of our actions.

While it seems as though remaining calm in the midst of a racist storm is a signal to be disrespected, disregarded and endangered, remember the lives that were lost to get us to this day. Remember the examples of those who were brutally beaten and rose up from that brutality to walk the halls of congress, to become mayors, governors, state legislators and community leaders.

They are the ones upon whose shoulders we stand. Their sacrifices have afforded us the opportunity to stand and take up the mantle of peace, justice and equality for all.

Stay in the fight against injustice my children and my students, with peace, purpose and a plan that saves us from self-destruction and allows us all to “breathe” freely.

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