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BCA Releases 2016 Voter Guide

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, March 1, Alabama voters will go to the polls to cast their votes in the 2016 Republican and Democratic primaries.

On Wednesday, February 24, the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) released their list of 2016 endorsed candidates for the primary election cycle.

For US Senate BCA has endorsed incumbent Richard Shelby.  BCA wrote, “As chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and as chairman of the Commerce and Science Subcommittee, Shelby is well-situated to ensure that Alabama has a place at the table when important funding issues are considered.  As a businessman, Senator Shelby also understands what Alabama needs to continue its growth as a manufacturing, technology, and medical science center.”

In Alabama’s First Congressional District, the BCA endorsed the incumbent, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose).  The BCA wrote, “In Congress, Byrne has been a forceful advocate for southwest Alabama priorities like getting a new I-10 bridge built over the Mobile River and maintaining the Navy contracts at the Austal shipyard in Mobile.  Byrne has also worked to hold Washington bureaucrats accountable and to reduce federal spending. Byrne has led the charge to repeal Obamacare and pushed to restore state control over education.”

In the Second Congressional District, BCA also endorses the incumbent, US Representative Martha Roby.  BCS wrote, “Roby is the first representative from Alabama’s Second Congressional District to serve on the House Appropriations Committee. This important committee allows her to simultaneously fight against wasteful earmarks while protecting important government projects in the Second District. In addition to defense and agricultural issues, Roby’s primary areas of focus on the Appropriations Committee are improving the services and efficiencies of the Department of Veterans Affairs and supporting the role of Career and Technical Education in workforce development.”

BCA also endorsed the incumbent in the Third Congressional District: US Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks). The BCA writes, “Rogers continues to vote in favor of legislation that helps cut wasteful spending, balance the budget, and reform the tax code in order to grow our economy and create jobs.  As a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, Rogers was selected to serve as chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. The Subcommittee deals with missile defense and nuclear weapons issues. These are vital issues important to America’s national security and Alabama’s economy.”

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In US House District Four the BCA urges voters to stick with the incumbent: Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) whom BCA describes as, “A staunch supporter of his community and the state of Alabama, Aderholt believes the federal government serves a critical role in assisting state and local projects and economic development. He continues to support pro-growth initiatives that create jobs, strong immigration standards, and robust national security. Aderholt is also a member of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, which has jurisdiction over funding the operation of the federal government. As chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, he supports greater transparency, accountability, and oversight to the appropriations process.”

For State Board of Education District 1 BCA has endorsed incumbent, Matthew Brown.  BCA writes, “In his short tenure on the State Board of Education, Matthew Brown has proven his commitment to workforce development with a focus on local career and technical education programs.  Additionally, he puts a renewed focus on increasing school choice and accountability of taxpayer dollars.  Brown is a graduate of the Cumberland School of Law. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering from Pensacola Christian College.”

In the State Board of Education District 3 race, BCA has endorsed the challenger, Justin Barkley.  BCA wrote, “Justin Barkley is committed to ensuring that every child in Alabama has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education.  He is outspoken on the belief that children shouldn’t be the victim of their zip code and held hostage to an under-performing school. With a focus on expanding workforce development, increasing school choice, reforming teacher tenure, and restoring local control over education decisions, he is not a defender of the status quo.”

Barkley is challenging incumbent Stephanie Bell who has been outspoken for her views that the State’s College and Career Ready Standards, which align with Common Core, are flawed and should be repealed and replaced.

For State Board of Education District 7, BCA is endorsing the incumbent, Jeff Newman.  BCA writes of Newman: “Jeff Newman has proven that he understands that the key to a strong economy is a strong workforce.  He is committed to ensuring that Alabama’s graduates are prepared for their futures, whether it’s college or the workforce.  With more than three decades of experience in education, Newman most recently retired as superintendent of education of the Lamar County School System. Prior to his service as superintendent, he served as an administrator of federal programs, a career technical principal and director, a high school assistant principal, and an agribusiness teacher.”

The Business Council of Alabama is also urging voters to vote “YES” on Amendment One.

BCA justifies that position with: “Currently, Alabama circuit clerks and district attorneys do not have to contribute to their retirement benefits. A YES vote on March 1 to Amendment 1 would create a new retirement plan for all new judges, justices, circuit clerks, and district attorneys elected on or after Nov. 8, 2016.  Voting YES on Amendment 1 will result in major cost savings for the State General Fund over the next 20 to 30 years. It is estimated to save $10 million to $20 million annually by reforming the retirement benefits for these elected officials.”

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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