By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, January 19, Alabama Republican Party Chairman, Terry Lathan, commented on Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders’ campaign rally in downtown Birmingham. He also spoke at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church.
Chairman Lathan said, “Devout socialist Bernie Sanders brought his “2016 Free Stuff Tour” to Alabama on Monday. Senator Sanders “Berned” several hundred homeless people when they were turned away from his rally venue in Birmingham where they normally stay during dangerous freezing temperatures.”
Lathan continued, “Mr. Sanders stated that the American middle class, “Once the envy of this world, has been disappearing. Stifling governmental regulations implemented by the Obama administration are applauded by the Democratic Party. These policies are a heavy burden to families who are already struggling. When businesses are caught in overreaching mandates it directly affects the workers, their incomes and families.”
Chairman Lathan said, “Alabama has no intention to be a part of the ‘free stuff’ manifesto that Senator Sanders embraces. Our citizens demand more freedom from harsh government interventions in our lives. As Margaret Thatcher once wisely said, ‘The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.’ Mr. Sanders seems disconnected to our citizens’ pleas for more fiscal responsibility. Alabamians are not interested in joining hands with a card carrying socialist.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) said to the crowd in Birmingham: “To truly honor Dr. King we must fight to carry out his radical and bold vision for America. He saw the relationship between racism and economics and war. That was his courage.”
An estimated 5,700 filled Boutwell Auditorium, while an estimated 1400 watched on TV in an overflow area. Sanders said, “There must be a mistake. Somebody told me Alabama is a conservative state.”
US Sen. Sanders visited the landmark 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. The senator stopped beside a plain marker along the side of the church commemorating the four girls who were killed in a 1963 bomb blast at the church where King often preached.
Sanders said of King, “The vision he had for the future in many ways remains unfulfilled. If we are serious about remembering his legacy, we will continue the fight for racial justice, economic justice and for a nation in which all people live with dignity. We still have a long way to go.” Sanders also visited the Civil Rights Institute, a museum where he touched the bars of the Birmingham jail cell where Dr. King was once held.
Chairman Terry Lathan was elected Alabama Republican Party Chairman in February of 2015. Lathan was formerly the Chair of the Mobile County Republican Party. A longtime political activist she is married to former ALGOP Financial Chairman Jerry Lathan.
Sen. Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appear to be locked in a fierce contest for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Clinton was the longtime frontrunner, but her candidacy has been hurt by an ongoing Justice Department investigation into whether or not she broke any laws about the handling of classified information while she was the Secretary of State and allegations by Sanders that she is too close to banking interests, many of whom have donated to both her campaign and to the Clinton Foundation. In recent appearances Clinton has attempted to distance herself from the Democratic Party “establishment.”