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Bentley Gives Vague Outline of Second Term Agenda

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Monday, January 19, newly re-elected Alabama Governor Robert Bentley told hundreds of family, friends, fellow elected officials, supporters, and well-wishers gathered in front of Alabama’s historic capital building for his inauguration that, “The people of this State won’t back down from a challenge. Not in the fight for civil rights, not in defending our nation’s Freedoms, not in the after math of devastating natural disasters. And as Leaders of this State, neither will we. And as your Governor, neither will I. We will face our challenges head on.”

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) administered the oath of office to Bentley, then the popular Governor began his inauguration speech.

Gov. Bentley said, “My Fellow Alabamians: Today marks a new day in our State’s history. It’s the dawn of a new year and a new time for Alabama. I want to thank you for choosing to spend this special day with me, and with your distinguished Constitutional officers as we embark on a new chapter in the great history of our State. As we each take the oath of office this day may we always be mindful of the promise we make to you- the people who elected us. You have entrusted us to serve you and all the citizens of this State with honesty and integrity, and with humility.”

Gov. Bentley continued, “We have sworn to uphold the Constitutions of both of our Great State and our Great Nation, to diligently carry out the duties of the Office to which we have been elected. I want you to know it is with great reverence that I honor the trust you have placed in me, as your Governor, and in Dianne as your First Lady.”

Bentley thank God for the opportunity to serve the people of Alabama and said that each morning is a new gift.

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The Governor celebrated the achievements of his first term, “Unemployment has dropped to its lowest level since 2008. Tens of thousands of people are working today, who didn’t have a job four years ago. Towns and communities that have been without new major industry for decades now have new jobs, new opportunities and new hope. Our government is running more effectively and more efficiently. We have saved you, the taxpayers over $1.2 Billion dollars annually. Each one of our 67 counties is seeing opportunities for greater economic development because we created and embarked on the largest road and bridge repair project this state has ever seen. And we have given life-changing opportunities for children by expanding our top ranked voluntary Pre K program to thousands of preschoolers.”

The Governor warned however against complacency, “We can never allow ourselves to be satisfied with past achievements. We cannot rest on our laurels. In the Book of Isaiah, the prophet tells the Children of Israel in Chapter 43, ‘Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See! I am doing a new thing.’ If we are continually looking behind, focused on our past – whether good or bad – we can’t see where we are going in our future. Past victories, and past failures have no bearing now on our future endeavors.”

Gov. Bentley said, “We must focus on what lies ahead if we are going to tackle the tough issues that face our State…There are no easy solutions, the decisions we must choose as your state leaders will be tough. But we will do what’s right and what’s best for our beloved State and our people.”

Gov. Bentley warned, “We face a budget shortfall that rises into the hundreds of millions of dollars. We must remedy the problems that have plagued our prison system for decades. And we must work to improve the well-being of our people by making healthcare more accessible and affordable for everyone.” The Governor did not include any details of what he is planning or how he hopes to achieve all of this.

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Governor Bentley also promised to, “Continue working hard every day to make sure anyone in Alabama who needs a job will have a job. We will keep working to create jobs so Alabama reaches full employment. We will focus on the needs of the thousands of small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy, knowing that it’s not just larger industries that are the ones helping to put Alabama back to work. We will train up a highly skilled workforce and give our people every opportunity for a well-paying job. And to those who have fought for our freedoms and served our country, our State and our communities with courage, we will show our gratitude to our Veterans by helping them find work.”

Gov. Bentley promised that, “At the end of the next four years we will be able to tell every parent in Alabama, there is a Pre-K classroom available for your child.” Again the popular Governor did not present much detail as to how all this would be accomplished in such a short period time or who would have to pay for it.

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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Health

Vaccines should protect against mutated strains of coronavirus

Public health experts say it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Multiple vaccines for COVID-19 are in clinical trials, and one has already applied for emergency use authorization, but how good will those vaccines be against a mutating coronavirus? A UAB doctor says they’ll do just fine. 

Dr. Rachael Lee, UAB’s hospital epidemiologist, told reporters earlier this week that there have been small genetic mutations in COVID-19. What researchers are seeing in the virus here is slightly different than what’s seen in the virus in China, she said. 

“But luckily the way that these vaccines have been created, specifically the mRNA vaccines, is an area that is the same for all of these viruses,” Lee said, referring to the new type of vaccine known as mRNA, which uses genetic material, rather than a weakened or inactive germ, to trigger an immune response. 

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration is to review the drug company Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 10. Pfizer’s vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, as is a vaccine produced by the drug maker Moderna, which is expected to also soon apply for emergency use approval. 

“I think that is incredibly good news, that even though we may see some slight mutations,  we should have a vaccine that should cover all of those different mutations,” Lee said. 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found in a recent study, published in the journal Science, that COVID-19 has mutated in ways that make it spread much more easily, but the mutation may also make it more susceptible to vaccines. 

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In a separate study, researchers with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation found that while most vaccines were modeled after an earlier strain of COVID-19, they found no evidence that the vaccines wouldn’t provide the same immunity response for the new, more dominant strain. 

“This brings the world one step closer to a safe and effective vaccine to protect people and save lives,” said CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall, according to Science Daily

While it may not be long before vaccines begin to be shipped to states, public health experts warn it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public. Scarce supplies at first will be allocated for those at greatest risk, including health care workers who are regularly exposed to coronavirus patients, and the elderly and ill. 

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, speaking to APR last week, urged the public to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing for many more months, as the department works to make the vaccines more widely available.

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“Just because the first shots are rolling out doesn’t mean it’s time to stop doing everything we’ve been trying to get people to do for months. It’s not going to be widely available for a little while,” Harris said.

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Tuberville looks forward to public service “probably for the rest of my life”

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

Brandon Moseley

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Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville during an interview with Sean Spicer on Newsmax.

U.S. Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, told Newsmax’s Sean Spicer that he looks forward to the opportunity to give back to this country.

“After winning this and after being up here a couple of weeks and seeing how much of a difference we have made just to this point in the Senate has been gratifying,” Tuberville said. “I look forward to doing public service probably for the rest of my life.”

Tuberville said that he was 18 years old when the Vietnam War was coming to a close and then got into coaching so never served in the military and looks forward to the opportunity to give back to the country.

“As I went around the state of Alabama for those two years though I learned the respect of the people and how much that they want this country to remain the United States of America that we know and grew up in to go by the Constitution and those things. As I went through the campaign I got more and more fond of that I want to give back,” Tuberville said.

“I never served, I never gave back, but God was so good to me and my wife my family,” Tuberville said. “Giving back means so much to me after I was given so much for many, many years.”

Tuberville said that education will be a priority for him, getting education back to fundamentals like reading, writing, history and math. Tuberville said that unless the country gets back to fundamentals in education, “This country is not going to make it. We have got to get back to fundamentals and we are getting farther and farther every day.”

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Tuberville was the only Republican on Nov. 3 to defeat an incumbent Senate Democrat when he unseated Sen. Doug Jones.

“I want to be the voice for the people of Alabama,” Tuberville explained. “The previous Senator was a voice for his party, the Democratic party.”

Tuberville, a career college football coach, reiterated his position that we should play sports and send kids back to school despite the coronavirus global pandemic.

“I think we are doing a lot better in sports than we are doing in a lot of other areas,” Tuberville said. “I was keeping my fingers crossed back in August that we would let our young kids go play high school sports, number one, and then we get into college sports. There are so many people throwing negatives on why we should not do that. But I can tell you, you can see many more positives if we go back to school and we play sports. It’s important that we attack this virus as it has been attacking us. If it gives us an inch, we gotta take it.”

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Tuberville reiterated his opposition to shutting down restaurants, schools and businesses to fight the virus.

“We have to get back to everyday life,” Tuberville said. “You can’t keep shutting people down. Freedom is a power that we have. A power that we have earned because of our forefathers. We can’t give that up.”

Tuberville is an Arkansas native. He was the head football coach at Auburn University where he won an SEC championship, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. Prior to that, he was a national championship defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. He was also the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

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National

UAB cancels third game

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The UAB Department of Athletics on Thursday announced that it is canceling its final home game of the season. UAB was scheduled to play Southern Mississippi on Friday at Legion Field, but the game was canceled due to continuing problems with COVID-19.

UAB has said that it will “continue to work with Conference USA on the remaining regular-season schedule.”

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

UAB currently has a record of just four wins and three losses.

A win at Rice would guarantee the Blazers a winning season, but in this COVID altered season, a four and three or four and four record is probably good enough to be bowl eligible.

Southern Miss has had a dreadful season. They are two and seven and have two remaining games, against UTEP and Florida Atlantic. Both of those games were postponed from earlier in the season.

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Unless the season is extended a week to the 19th, there is no way for UAB and Southern Miss to make up the canceled game.

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Official state Christmas tree was delivered

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

Brandon Moseley

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The 2016 state Christmas tree in front of the state Capitol.

Alabama’s official Christmas Tree was delivered to the state Capitol this week.

This year’s tree was donated by Robbins Taylor Sr. It is an Eastern Red Cedar that was grown in Letohatchee, Alabama.

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

The tree will be adorned with lights and decorations ahead of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4. Gov. Ivey’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Capitol in Montgomery.

Alabama became the first state in the nation to make Christmas an official government holiday in 1836. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

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