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A Transcript of Gov. Robert Bentley’s 2015 State of the State

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Lieutenant Governor Ivey, Speaker Hubbard, President Marsh, distinguished guests, members of the Alabama Legislature, Chief Justice Moore, members of the Alabama Supreme Court and My Fellow Alabamians.

22 years ago Alabama stunned the world when one of the most advanced auto manufacturers in the world chose our state for its first U-S Assembly plant.

The men and women elected to lead Alabama, so determined to change our state for the better, made a bold move, and never looked back.

They knew they would be questioned and criticized about the unprecedented incentives they offered Mercedes.

And they were.

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Undeterred by critics, our state’s leaders knew that if Alabama was to ever earn the reputation of a great place to do business, they had to make a move.

They knew that if the 4 million Alabamians who elected them would ever have the opportunity for greater economic prosperity they must act.

They knew what needed to be done to change our state and help our people for generations to come.

That pivotal moment in 1993 launched Alabama’s growing and prosperous automobile industry.

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And our state has never been the same since.

In just two decades Alabama would become home not only to Mercedes, but Honda, Hyundai and Toyota and numerous suppliers. Billions of dollars would be invested in our state’s economy. Tens of thousands of hardworking men and women would find well-paying jobs transforming their lives and those of their families.

And the nation would come to see Alabama as a premier model for advanced manufacturing recruitment.

One bold move had a lasting impact on our state.

Last year nearly 1-million automobiles were made by the skilled-hands of hardworking Alabamians.

Our great state produced nearly $6 billion worth of vehicles last year alone.

Since that first Alabama-made SUV rolled off the assembly line 17 years ago, vehicles have remained our State’s number one export.

99 countries today have cars on their roads that are “Made in Alabama”.

Our state is now home to a fast-growing aerospace industry.

Today nearly 400 aerospace companies employ Alabamians.

And next year in Mobile, where we created thousands of jobs, the first Alabama-made Airbus airliner will take off.

We have recruited over 63,000 new, future jobs to this state since 2011.

Alabama’s unemployment rate is at a level this state has not experienced in more than six years.

And our economy supported more jobs than it has since 2008.

Companies worldwide know Alabama is a state willing, ready and very able to work hard to make our state a great place to live and work.

I’ve met these people. I’ve been to their homes. I’ve been to their workplace. I’ve been to their churches, their schools, their Main Streets and their backyards.

And they, like me, want so badly to see Alabama grow and prosper.

In Vernon, Alabama almost the entire town turned out on a sunny day last October to celebrate the opening of K and S Lumber.

With some state resources the town of 2,000 people cleared a field for a future Industrial Park, the Lumber company was the first business to open there.

How many people were getting new jobs at K and S Lumber?

Eleven.

It may not be the largest economic development project in the state, but it is an example of the optimism of our communities and the ability of our State to do whatever it takes to create jobs.

Whether it’s 4,000 jobs at Mercedes, or 11 at K and S Lumber.

Since Alabama won the battle for Mercedes all southeastern states have become much more aggressive in their efforts to compete for jobs.

This year we must pass new legislation that will make sure Alabama remains a leader in recruiting new industry and in helping our existing businesses – both large and small.

And by encouraging investments that lead to greater, future economic opportunities.

To do this we have worked with local economic developers and national experts to help us update and improve the incentives we use to recruit new industries.

This Session we will introduce the Made in Alabama Accelerate Alabama Jobs Incentive Package.  
Our current incentives are 15 years old, out of date and 100 – percent dependent on borrowing money.

This new incentives package will no longer be based solely on debt.

It will increase incentives for new projects that locate in rural areas, like Vernon, Alabama.

It will offer incentives for those who invest in Small Businesses and Start-Ups.

It will provide research and development credits for work done with Alabama-based research centers. And it will provide additional incentives for new wages paid to our Veterans.

The Alabama Legislature has always played a critical role in helping to make sure our state is a leader in economic development, and passing the Accelerate Alabama Economic Incentive Package will ensure Alabama remains a leader.

Passing the Accelerate Alabama Jobs Incentive Package will once again make sure that Alabama leads the nation in the recruitment of high-skilled, well-paying jobs the people of our state need and deserve.

There is nothing more important to our state than job creation. And having students who are college and career ready is one of the critical components of economic development.

The Alabama Workforce Council made up of Alabama’s world-class industry leaders will be important to building and maintaining high quality partnerships between industry, education and workforce training institutions.

And I want to thank the members of this council for helping to prepare Alabama’s workers for high-wage, high-demand careers.

Last fall we announced a statewide effort to assist small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.

Small businesses create three out of four jobs.

There are approximately 400,000 small businesses in Alabama, and in 2011, over 5,000 jobs were created by our small businesses.

Last fall we launched the Alabama Small Business Commission, and Atlas Alabama, which help identify all resources available to small businesses, and bring them under one roof.

The Commission, made up solely of small business owners, will encourage innovation, promote policies to help new business start-ups, and allow small businesses to give state government ideas and suggestions to help their businesses grow.

Our people need the opportunity for good jobs, and our young children must have the opportunity to get a strong foundation for learning.

I want every child in the state of Alabama to have the opportunity to get a quality First Class Pre-K Education.

Our First Class Pre-K program is one of the best state-run programs in the country.

Last fall in Alabama more than 7,000 4-year-olds across the state were given the opportunity to go to preschool for free.

For the eighth year in a row, Alabama’s First Class Voluntary Pre-K program is one of only five in the country that met all the quality benchmarks set out by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

We must continue to expand our Pre-K program because it makes a real difference in the lives and the education of Alabama’s children.

Last year, children who attended our First Class Pre-K program were less likely to fail a grade in school, and across all grades, they consistently scored higher in reading and in math than those who did not attend.

Yet only 12% of Four-year-olds in Alabama have access to First Class Volunteer Pre K.

That is why once again we must continue to increase funding as we continue to expand this opportunity.

I want every parent to know, that at the end of my term, there will be a First Class Pre-K classroom available for their child.

We will also embark on a program to make our people healthier.

In the coming days I will, through Executive Order, create the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force, a panel of 30 experts which will bring me recommendations on how we can improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare for our people.

Alabama faces major problems with chronic conditions.

Many of our health issues are related to lifestyle choices, poverty and access to quality healthcare.

We must take real steps to reverse the troubling health trends in our state.

We have already begun this process by reforming Alabama’s Medicaid system.

As we try to get our people off Medicaid and into private payment programs through job creation we must realize that our hospitals, especially in rural areas, are dependent on Medicaid to survive.

We are establishing Regional Care Organizations and will focus on improved outcomes for patients to help lower costs and better manage the health care services given to those served by Medicaid.

But we cannot allow Federal bureaucracy, and the extremely flawed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to derail our efforts to make sure Alabamians have good quality healthcare, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

We know the Healthcare needs in Alabama, and we intend to create solutions that are specific to the needs of Alabama’s people.

As a Conservative Leader, there are three things that are important to me.

Upholding the rule of law, using our state resources wisely and efficiently and preserving the autonomy of state government.

In Alabama, the problems that have plagued our prison system for decades has put those principles at risk.

The rule of law must be observed and those who break the law should be held accountable for their actions.

The blunt facts are alarming. Alabama’s state-operated prison facilities — the most overcrowded in the United States — are operating at more than 195-percent capacity.

We have been forced to rely on short-term fixes that have proven costly, dangerous and disorganized.

The result has been an overall increasingly inefficient system.

That is why over the past year, Alabama lawmakers, leaders in the criminal justice system, local and state judges, district attorneys, victims’ rights groups, and many others have collaborated as part of the Prison Reform Task Force to develop a new plan to reform our prison system.

It won’t be easy and it certainly won’t be cheap.

But we cannot ignore and under-fund what is an alarming and dangerous problem that must be addressed.

As leaders of this state, chosen by the people we serve, we are elected to fix problems, not pass them on to someone else, to a future generation.

The problems we must tackle may have been decades in the making, but it is up to us to solve them today.

We must have the insight to recognize what HAS to be done, and the willingness, the desire, the courage, the boldness to do it.

We have seen this for the last four years as together we have worked to make our government run more efficiently, to reduce spending and to save the hard-earned tax dollars of the people of this state.

Four years ago I stood before you at this podium and said “Alabama state government must live within its means. We must do a better job of prioritizing our resources to get the most out of our state expenditures.”

That’s exactly what we’ve done.

And this Legislature has been leading the way.

Together we took on the challenge of a state budget propped up with federal stimulus dollars that camouflaged the excessive spending, the waste and the inefficiencies that drained our badly needed resources.

We cut.

We trimmed.

We closed.

We consolidated.

We did without.

We made sacrifices.

We asked our state agencies to do more with less, our schools to make choices between teachers and textbooks.

Four years later the results are remarkable.

The size of state government has shrunk by 12- percent.

We’ve reformed Medicaid, consolidated the state’s Law Enforcement agencies and overhauled our Information Technology system.

We’ve passed a balanced budget each year.

And we’ve saved the Alabama taxpayer over 1-point-2 Billion dollars annually.

And still today – four years later- it is not enough.

We have a $264 million combined shortfall in our General Fund and Education Budgets.

Our state is in debt.

We owe Millions to the Federal Government.

We owe Millions to the Bank.

We owe Millions to our taxpayers by way of a borrowed-out Rainy Day Fund.

As the men and women elected and accountable to the hard-working taxpayers we must give them a more Efficient, Effective and Accountable government.

Because of our debt, and because there is no growth money going into our General Fund, we cannot adequately pay for and provide the basic essential services to our people.

We must break the cycle of draining our savings accounts to prop up the General Fund.

We must break the cycle of borrowing from our Education Fund to prop up the General Fund.

We must break the cycle of budget shortfalls – year after year.

We must do what every family in Alabama does everyday – Live within our means and manage our finances wisely.

And we must have adequate means.

If we are to solve our financial problems for future generations of Alabamians we must act today.

Like the hardworking people of this state, I want more for Alabama than just maintaining the status quo. I believe we all do.

When I was elected to this office, I began serving my time as Governor with an 8-year, long-term plan to serve our people, to solve our problems and to create opportunities for better education and well-paying jobs.

We made those deep cuts and have saved billions.

And we will never stop working to make sure state government lives within its means.

And we will continue to grow our economy with well-paying, highly skilled  jobs.

Now, as we look to the future, we must take the steps necessary to help get our state out of debt and find secure financial footing.

Revenue must increase.

There must be growth money in the State’s General Fund.

The budget I will send you contains specific solutions.

If we are to pay our debts, cover the shortfall and create a stream of growth revenue for our stagnant General Fund we must look to increase our revenue.

We must look at all sources, and tax fairly.

I’ve been a Conservative Republican my entire life, and tax increases are not my ideal solution.

Taxes should be fair among all people. It is unfair for certain groups to be taxed for goods and services while others are not taxed for those same goods and services.

If Alabama families have to pay their fair share of taxes, so should large national and international corporations.

Almost two-thirds of the corporations operating in Alabama paid ZERO income tax.

Of the 3,000 Fortune 500 corporate tax returns filed in Alabama, almost 58-percent paid no income tax to our state.

By requiring combined reporting, we will eliminate that loophole.

The budget I will send you will contain 8 separate tax increase proposals – which are fair and necessary – for a total of $541 million in estimated increased revenue.

We must also free up funding so that our Legislature can better manage where the money goes.

Ninety-one percent of all state revenues for both budgets are already earmarked.

Alabama has the highest percentage of earmarks in the country, by a huge margin.

I will propose we unearmark some of those funds so that we can better determine the needs of our state and steer the taxpayer dollars where they will be best used.

The plan I am proposing will replace the funds that we unearmark and create more money in the Education Trust Fund.

The results will be an estimated $250-300 million more for K-12 Education, the State’s 2 Year systems and Higher Education.

The problems we now face have been years, even decades in the making.

We cannot put off solving these problems anymore.

We cannot cut our way out of this.

There is nothing more conservative than paying your debts and getting your financial house in order.

And by keeping spending at a reasonable level we will actually save money, and potentially create a surplus in the General Fund in future years.

The problems we face not may not have been ours to make, but they are now ours to fix.

We must continue to create opportunities for better education and better jobs and a better way of life for our people.

By 2020, a quarter of a million Service Men and Women will be exiting the military and returning to America’s communities.

In Alabama the Unemployment Rate for Veterans is at 7-percent.

Through our newly created Alabama Veterans Network we will work to make sure our Veterans are able are to find the jobs they need and deserve.

Through ALAVETNET we will introduce legislation that gives an employer tax credit for hiring any unemployed Veteran.

We will do everything we can to serve the men and women who have risked their lives for our freedom.

This year we will also introduce legislation that will give Alabama’s Foster Children tuition scholarships to our state’s public 2-year colleges and universities.

Fostering hope will offer children currently or formerly in Alabama’s Foster Care System the opportunity to get a college education.

By meeting certain requirements foster children who may not ever attend college will be given the opportunity for a better future.

Since 2011 our First Lady has been a voice for victims of domestic violence and their children.

This Session you will see Dianne in the State House pushing powerful legislation for Domestic Violence victims and their families. This legislation will modernize our current laws, expand victim services and strengthen victim protection.

We must defend the women, men and children who are going through this dangerous cycle of violence within their own homes.

I hope you will join with me and members of my Administration in our proud support of Dianne in her effort to protect Alabama families from domestic violence.

Everyday when I wake up, I thank God for the opportunity He’s given me to serve the people of this state.

And I am grateful for the privilege and the honor of serving the absolute greatest, hardest working, loving, caring and toughest people in the world – the people who make up this great state – the people who proudly call themselves Alabamians.

One thing I have always known about our people, and it has proven true during my time in office – They do not back down from a challenge.

Not when they are fighting for their basic civil rights, not in defending our nation’s Freedoms and not in the aftermath of Natural Disasters.

And as Leaders of this State, neither will we.

We will not settle.

We cannot settle for just barely getting by…

The people deserve better than that.

I’ve had the privilege to travel to every county and every corner of Alabama over the last four years, and most of you have been there with me.

I’m proud of Alabama.

I’m proud to be you Governor.

And I know you are proud to serve this state as well.

If there’s one thing I learned very early on, it’s that you can always count on the people of this state to work hard and do what we have to do to make this state better.

The night I was Re-elected as your Governor I promised the people that we will face our challenges head on.

We will work with both parties, across the aisle, to make our state better.

Because that’s what our people do – they work together – and that’s what they expect us to do.

Two decades ago, the men and women elected to serve our people dared to dream big.

They wanted our state to be even better, they wanted an economically strong state where our people had opportunities like never before.

They made a choice, and they forever changed the economic landscape in Alabama.

And they proved that one bold move, in the face of skepticism and even criticism, can forever change the course of our State.

It is time we change course.

It is time we lead our great state and the great men and women who sent us here.

It’s time for a bold move.

God Bless you All. And may God continue to bless the Great State of Alabama.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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“We’re not going to get a do-over:” Alabama health officer on Thanksgiving and COVID-19

There were 1,427 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alabama on Monday, the most since Aug. 11.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris on Monday pleaded with the public to avoid gatherings over Thanksgiving as COVID-19 continues to surge in Alabama and hospitals statewide are filling with coronavirus patients. 

“We don’t want this to be the last ever Thanksgiving for someone in your family, like your parents or your grandparents,” Harris said during a press conference Monday. 

Harris said Alabama’s numbers aren’t headed in the right direction and more than 230,000 Alabamians — roughly 4 percent of the state’s population — have been infected by the coronavirus. 

“We are adding a couple of thousand new cases a day, at least, that we are aware,” Harris said. “This is a time for people to be vigilant. This is a time to be careful and to think about what you’re going to be doing.” 

Alabama added 1,574 new coronavirus cases on Monday, and the state’s 14-day average for new daily cases was at a record high 2,087. In the last two weeks, the state has added 29,223 cases, the most cases in any two week period since the pandemic arrived in Alabama in March.

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There were 1,427 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alabama on Monday. The last time so many were hospitalized in the state was on Aug. 11, during Alabama’s summer surge. 

Harris said that he and his wife will be staying home for Thanksgiving instead of having his family’s regular large, intergenerational gathering. What happens with Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers over Thanksgiving will impact what the state’s December holiday and Christmas season will look like, Harris said. 

“Are we gonna be here a month from now trying to have the same conversation? I really, really hope not,” Harris said. 

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Dr. Mary McIntyre, the Alabama Department of Public Health’s chief medical officer, said during the briefing that her home usually sees between 15 and 20 family members arriving for Thanksgiving. They’ve limited this year’s Thanksgiving to three additional people from out of their household, for a total of seven people, she said.

Everyone must wear masks and have temperatures checked at the door, she said. 

Everyone will be seated six feet from one another and a Zoom video conference will be set up for those family members who won’t be attending in person, McIntyre said. They’ll use disposable plates, cups and utensils and have the ability, weather permitting, to eat outdoors.

“If we want to live to see another Thanksgiving, and I do, that it may mean stepping back this Thanksgiving and really limiting the number of people, and some of the things that we do,” McIntyre said. “Now is not the time to get out to do Black Friday shopping.” 

Dr. Kierstin Kennedy, UAB’s chief of hospital medicine, in a separate press briefing Monday echoed concern over the possibility of spikes following Thanksgiving and Christmas if the public doesn’t do what’s needed to keep themselves and others safe.

“We are very much worried about the potential spike in numbers. We’ve also seen some of our own staff getting sick,” Kennedy said. “And unfortunately that’s not been at work. It’s been because we are just like you. We’re tired. We’re lonely. We want to try to socialize, and some of us have let our guards down and, as a result, have gotten sick.”

Kennedy said while there’s is concern over future spikes following the upcoming holidays “there is a way for all of us to help prevent that from happening.”

Kennedy said when Gov. Kay Ivey first issued her statewide mask order and social distancing requirements, the public masked up, businesses enforced the orders, and coronavirus numbers improved.

“It didn’t get nearly as bad as we thought, and we are really hopeful that the community is going to come together and do that again for us,” Kennedy said. “Because it’s more than just not having enough space for the COVID patients. It’s also those patients who do not have COVID that have other conditions. They rely on us for routine care, and we want to make sure that we’re available to provide that.”

Kenedy said UAB has an incredible group of staff members, who’ve proven themselves to be quite resilient, but that “the group is tired.”

“We’ve been doing this every single day since March, and so as you can imagine, people are very tired. It’s very emotional, especially as we see younger patients getting sick with this and getting sick in ways that we weren’t expecting,” she said.

Harris again urged the public to make smart decisions that will help slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re not going to get a do-over on this,” Harris said. “This is a big national holiday, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and our numbers are worse than they have ever been during this entire response. Please be careful. Please be safe. And please try to take care of those people who are most vulnerable.”

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Health

Governor allocates $3.6 million in CARES Act funds to food banks

The money is to go to the nonprofit Alabama Food Bank Association, which will administer the funds.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced that $3.6 million in federal CARES Act money will be used to reimburse food banks for COVID-19-related expenses. 

“Alabama is a state where neighbors help neighbors, even in the most difficult times,” Ivey said in a statement. “The Coronavirus pandemic presented significant challenges around the world, as well as here at home in our own state. Food banks in communities across Alabama have been a lifeline for those in need, and I am proud to be able to put these funds toward the Alabama Feeding Initiative. I have told Alabamians that I remain committed to getting these CARES Act funds into the hands of those who need it.”

The funds are to go to the nonprofit Alabama Food Bank Association, according to the memorandum of understanding. The association will administer the funds to eight participating food banks across the state, which can be reimbursed for the following: 

  • The purchase of food, packaging and related supplies to meet increased demand.
  • operational expenses, including fuel and maintenance, incurred due to handling a higher amount for food, as well as open-air distribution events. 
  • Rental costs of storage space and vehicles to handle increased volumes of food. 
  • To purchase PPE, screening equipment and decontamination services to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Unless Congress extends the deadline, Alabama and other states have until Dec. 30 to spend CARES Act funds or the money reverts back to the federal government. Ivey has just under $1 billion left to spend before the deadline.

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Education

Alabama Education Association, Board of Medical Examiners meet over excuses to break COVID-19 quarantines

Prior to the meeting, the AEA on Nov. 5 threatened legal action against the board over the matter. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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Officials with the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners met on Thursday to discuss a concern the association has with doctors who write excuses to allow students to return to school before their mandated COVID-19 quarantine periods expire.

At the meeting between Theron Stokes, associate executive director of the Alabama Education Association, and William Perkins, executive director of the Alabama State Board of Medical Examiners, Stokes learned that the board wasn’t aware of the problem, the AEA said in a press release. 

“Both groups agreed to set up a meeting with educational and medical organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Alabama,” the AEA said in the release. “A meeting should be held before the end of the year and will allow the AEA and the Board of Medical Examiners, as well as other educational and medical organizations, to review existing guidelines issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and ensure conformity in following those guidelines.” 

In a letter to Perkins on Thursday, Stokes wrote that it was AEA’s understanding that the board was aware of the problem, but he wrote that during their meeting he became aware that neither the board nor Perkins was aware of the problem. 

“It was not the intent of AEA to cause any unnecessary problems for you, the doctors you represent, or your organization regarding this matter,” Stokes wrote. 

Prior to the meeting, the AEA on Nov. 5 threatened legal action against the board over the matter. 

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“It is our firm belief that there exists no medical scenario under which these students could be written out of quarantine and that to do so is violative of ADPH and CDC quarantine recommendations,” Stokes wrote in the Nov. 5 letter. 

Stokes in his recent letter notes that both agreed in the meeting to bring together representatives of the other organizations to come up with a uniform procedure for following state and federal guidelines. 

“I agree with your plan to conduct this meeting and finalize our goals before the holidays,” Stokes wrote.

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Legislature

Caravan to honor the life of longtime State Rep. Alvin Holmes

The caravan is being organized by community activists Ja’Mel Brown and William Boyd.

Brandon Moseley

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There is a car ride caravan honoring the life and service of Rep. Alvin Holmes in Montgomery at 2 p.m. Monday. The caravan is being organized by community activists Ja’Mel Brown and William Boyd.

On Saturday, Holmes passed away at age 81. He was born in 1939 into a very segregated Montgomery and spent his life battling in favor of civil rights causes. He was one of the first Black state representatives to serve in the Alabama Legislature after implementation of the Voting Rights Act.

There had been Black legislators during Reconstruction in the 1870s, but Jim Crow segregation during much of the 20th Century had effectively disenfranchised millions of Black Alabamians for generations.

Holmes served in the Alabama House of Representatives, representing House District 78 from 1974 to 2018. Holmes participated in the civil rights movement. He was a professor and a real estate broker.

The chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, released a statement mourning Holmes’s passing.

“Representative Alvin Holmes was a great Democrat and a fighter,” England said. “He stood on the frontlines of the fight for civil rights and was willing to sacrifice everything in his fight for justice for all. He not only had a long and distinguished career as a civil rights leader, but also as a member of the Legislature, serving his constituents faithfully and dutifully for 44 years. Alabama has lost a giant, whose wit, intelligence, fearlessness, selfless determination, and leadership will be sorely missed. My prayers are with his friends, family, and colleagues.”

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State Rep. Kirk Hatcher, D-Montgomery, fondly remembered Holmes, whom he defeated in the 2018 Democratic primary.

“Today we lost a dedicated warrior for social justice. Representative Alvin Holmes was a true public servant,” Hatcher said. “What an amazing legacy he has left us! He could always be seen waging the good fight for equality in all aspects of state government and beyond. His public service is legendary and without peer.”

“In recent years, I am profoundly grateful for the grace he showed me in his willingness to share with me his blueprint for effectively serving our people—and by extension the larger community,” Hatcher said. “Today, my fervent prayers are with his beloved daughter Veronica, her precious mom (and his best friend), as well as other cherished members of his family and friends as they mourn his passing. I humbly join the many voices who offer a sincere ‘Thank You’ to Mr. Alvin Holmes for his dedicated service to our Montgomery community and our state. ‘May angels sing thee to thy rest.’”

State Rep. Tashina Morris, D-Montgomery, also fondly remembered Holmes.

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“Sending Prayers to The Holmes family,” Morris said. “Alvin Holmes was the epitome of greatness working for his people!! May you Rest Well !!!”

Republican insider and former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr. also served with Holmes in the Alabama House of Representatives and the Montgomery legislative delegation.

“I served with Alvin for 20 years in the Alabama Legislature,” Hooper said. “We often disagreed on the issues, but even after a heated floor debate, we could shake hands at the end of the day. I always considered him a friend. He loved Montgomery and he was a great representative of his district and its issues. He was always willing to go the extra mile for one of his constituents. When I served as Chairman of the Contract Review Committee, he was one of the committee’s most conscientious members. He was always questioning contracts so he could be assured that the contract represented a good use of taxpayer’s dollars which as Chairman I greatly appreciated. He was one of a kind pioneer in the Alabama Legislature and will be sorely missed.”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill served with Holmes in the Alabama House of Representatives prior to his election as secretary of state.

“I just learned that former State Rep. Alvin Holmes passed away today,” Merrill said on social media. “I enjoyed the privilege of serving with him from 2010-14. There was never a dull moment whenever he was in the Chamber. I appreciated him for his candor & for his desire to work on behalf of his constituents!”

Holmes was a member of the Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Montgomery Improvement Association, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Alabama Southern Christian Leadership Conference Board, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He has one daughter, Veronica.

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