By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Politcal Reporter
On Monday, October 31, 2016 David J. Putman (D) spoke to The Alabama Political Reporter (APR) about his campaign for Congress in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.
APR asked Putman why he was running for Congress.
Putman said that he decided to run for Congress became he was aware pretty early that if he didn’t there wouldn’t be a challenger in the Sixth District and, “We need to have options.”
Putman said that he views the Sixth Congressional District as two districts. My part of Jefferson and Shelby county one type of community and then I have got four counties around that are much more rural the people are farther apart. It takes a different approach.
APR asked Putman about how difficult has it been to raise money as a Democratic challenger in a conservative district.
Putman said, “I went into this knowing that raising money was going to be very very difficult.” Putman said that he has run a low budget. hard working campaign. I was not going to spend my time on the phone asking people for money. I have gotten some, but the campaign is mostly self-funded
Putman said that he had some television ads running til the election; but that TV is limited because so many people tape their shows and don’t even see the ads any more. Phone banks used to be the thing, but nobody answers the phone now. “Yard signs still work. I spent yesterday putting out signs.”
APR asked: The Sixth District is one of the most conservative districts in the entire country. It went big for Romney and McCain and will almost certainly go heavily for Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D) on election day. How do you convince those Trump voters to split their ticket to vote for you?
Putman replied, “I feel like I have ideas I have got solutions to the big problems.” “I do recognize that it is a big Republican area. I am not running for or against the people running for President. I am running for Congress. Gary palmer is not doing a good job. He has not done anything for the people in the Sixth District. He has not brought jobs. He has not brought government investment. He is not able to work with the leadership in Congress. He has no influence. He can’t get anything done and he doesn’t seem to care.”
Putman says that he has the ability to bring people to the table to address the real problems; while Palmer represents just one faction of his own party. Putman said that Palmer’s own Republican leadership doesn’t like him.
Putman said that he did not understand what Palmer was doing in the campaign. He is not advertising on television. He is not putting up a lot of signs.
APR suggested that Rep. Palmer could be holding his campaign dollars to donate to other Republican Congressmen to grow his own influence there.
Putman replied, “I would think so but he hasn’t done that yet. He is hoarding his money.”
APR asked Putman about military spending and fighting ISOS.
Putman said, “It is important that we keep a very strong military and we have.” “We are doing the right thing in Iraq to try to drive ISIL out.” Iraqi forces with U.S. help are on the edge of Mosul preparing to retake the city. Putman expressed confidence that in the short term the President’s strategy will drive ISIS/ISIL out of Iraq; but long term: “I have great doubts I don’t see a long term solution.”
Putman said that we have to reduce ISIS numbers over there and their attractiveness to people over here. “Hillary will do a good job of that.”
Putman said that he spent a lot of years with Alabama Power Company and the Southern Company working with companies. His focus in Congress would be making sure that the people are well represented in Congress.
APR asked: Back when Ben Erdreich represented the Sixth District it consisted of all of Jefferson County. Since then the Seventh District was extended from Tuscaloosa to take Bessemer and most of Birmingham dividing Jefferson County into one mostly Black congressional district that includes much of the Black Belt, part of Tuscaloosa, Selma and even part of Montgomery. The Sixth meanwhile is the suburban and rural parts of Jefferson County along with Shelby, Blount and some rural counties.
Putman said, “That one was encouraged by the Justice Department to provide one majority minority district. I would like to get to a point in life where that is not important but we are not there yet.”
APR said that Alabama and the Sixth District have lost a lot of coal jobs due to the President’s energy policy. Should we reverse that?
Putnam said that Palmer doesn’t believe global climate change exists. As an engineer and looking at the science it is a real thing. “It is an obligation for all of us to do our part to reduce global climate change.”
Putnam said that we there are going to be winners and losers with the changing energy policies. We need to keep the coal miners from becoming big losers. We need to reemploy coal miners using the skills they have through federal funding to restore the strip mines and fill the mine shafts left by the coal industry. We would be doing good for the land and employing the coal miners. We need to take care of this generation of coal miners. Put them to work restoring the ground, restoring the land, plant pine trees on there to take CO2 out of the air.
Putman said that his focus in Congress would be on: fighting economic inequality, term limits, and gun safety not gun control.
The election is on November 8.
Alabama DHR announces grants providing temporary assistance for stabilizing child care
The Alabama Department of Human Resources announced on Friday a new grant program to provide assistance to licensed child care providers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Temporary Assistance for Stabilizing Child Care, or TASCC, grant program’s purpose is to stabilize the number of child care providers that are open and providing services, as well as encourage providers to reopen.
DHR is now accepting applications for TASCC grants. The deadline to apply is August 7, 2020. The total grant amounts will be based on each provider’s daytime licensed capacity with a base rate of $300 per child.
To be eligible for a grant, licensed providers must be open or plan to reopen no later than August 17, 2020, and continue to remain open for a period of one year from the date of receiving the grant award. As of this week, 1,306 of Alabama’s 2,448 child care facilities were open in the state.
“We are proud to offer this program as a support and an incentive to an important sector of our economy. These grants will give the support many providers need to reopen and assist those already open,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “This program is going to be vital for our child care numbers to reach the level required to provide adequate services as parents return to work. We have already made significant strides in reopening facilities over the past several months; in April only 14 percent were open while now 53 percent are open.”
These grants will provide support for paying employees, purchasing classroom materials, providing meals, purchasing cleaning supplies, providing tuition relief for families, as well as other facility expenses.
DHR recommends child care providers read all guidance prior to submitting a TASCC application. Child care providers need to complete the application to determine the estimated grant amount. Grant applications will be processed as they are received and grants awarded once approved.
An online fillable application is available for the TASCC grant at www.dhr.alabama.gov/child-care/. The application must include an Alabama STAARS Vendor Code in order to be processed. For questions regarding the application, please email DHR at [email protected].
Gov. Ivey awards grant for new system to aid child abuse victims
Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded a $375,000 grant to establish a statewide network that will ensure that victims of child abuse receive immediate and professional medical care and other assistance.
The grant will enable the Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pediatrics to collaborate with the Alabama Network of Children Advocacy Centers in creating the Child Abuse Medical System.
“Child abuse is a horrendous crime that robs children of their youth and can negatively affect their future if victims do not receive the proper professional assistance,” Ivey said. “I am thankful for this network that will ensure children get the professional attention they need and deserve.”
The medical system will be a coordinated statewide resource that includes pediatric physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and other medical professionals along with specialized sexual assault nurse examiners.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant.
“ADECA is pleased to join with Gov. Ivey and those dedicated people who are part of the Child Abuse Medical System to support these children at a time they need it most,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell.
Ivey notified Tom Shufflebarger, CEO of Children’s of Alabama, that the grant had been approved.
ADECA manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.
U.S. Attorney Jay Town announces resignation
Jay Town, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, on Friday announced his resignation and plans to work at a Huntsville defense contractor and cybersecurity solutions company.
Town’s resignation will be effective Wednesday, July 15, according to a press release.
“After much thoughtful prayer and great personal consideration, I have made the decision to resign as the United States Attorney of the Northern District of Alabama. I have tendered my resignation to Attorney General William Barr. General Barr expressed his gratitude for my service to the Department of Justice and to the Northern District and, despite having hoped I would continue in my role, understood and respected my decision,” Town said in a statement.
“I am extremely grateful to President Trump, to whom I also tendered a letter, for his special trust and confidence in me to serve as the U.S. Attorney. It was an honor to be a part of this Administration with an unrivaled class of United States Attorneys from around the nation. I will forever remain thankful to those who supported my nomination and my tenure as the U.S. Attorney,” Town continued.
Town said his job with the unnamed Huntsville defense contractor and cybersecurity solutions company is to begin later this year, and the company is to announce his position “in a few weeks.”
“The Attorney General of the United States will announce my replacement in the coming days or weeks,” Town said in the release.
Town has served in his position since confirmation by the U.S. Senate in August 2017. Prior to that appointment, Town was a prosecutor in the Madison County District Attorney’s office from 2005 until 2017.
Attorney General William Barr in a statement Friday offered gratitude for Town’s three years of service.
“Jay’s leadership in his District has been immense. His contributions to the Department of Justice have been extensive, especially his work on the China Initiative and most recently as a Working Group Chair on the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. I appreciate his service to our nation and to the Justice Department, and I wish him the very best,” Barr said in a statement.
The U.S. Justice Department in April 2019 notified Gov. Kay Ivey that the department’s lengthy investigation into the state’s prisons for men found systemic problems of violence, sexual assaults, drugs and corruption which are likely violations of the inmates’ Constitutional protections from cruel and unusual punishment.
Town’s office leads the discussions between the U.S Department of Justice and the state on the prison conditions.
Problems with violence, deaths and drugs in Alabama’s overcrowded, understaffed prisons have not markedly improved in the year’s since the U.S. Department of Justice released its report.
Alabama’s daily COVID-19 deaths second highest since start of pandemic
In the past two weeks the state recorded 190 coronavirus deaths, a 38 percent increase from the previous two weeks.
Alabama saw 35 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, the second highest daily number of deaths since the pandemic began.
The previous record daily high was May 12, when the state recorded 37 coronavirus deaths. Prior to that, the high was on April 22, when Alabama saw 35 deaths from the virus. In the past two weeks the state recorded 190 coronavirus deaths, a 38 percent increase from the previous two weeks.
While cases have been surging since mid-June, deaths have largely remained stable. Deaths are considered a lagging indicator, meaning that it takes longer for deaths to begin rising after cases and hospitalizations begin rising.
“The fact that we’re seeing these sharp increases and hospitalization in cases over the past week or two is really concerning,” said UAB expert Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom earlier this week. “And we expect, given the lag that we know there is between cases and hospitalization — about a two-week lag, and a three-week lag between cases and deaths — that we’re on a part of the curve that we just don’t want to be on in our state.”
It’s unclear whether this new rise in deaths will become a trend, or whether it is a one-day anomaly, but the 14-day average of deaths per day is now nearly as high as the previous peak on May 14 — weeks after the state hit its first “peak” in cases per day in late April. The previous high of the 14-day average of deaths per day was 16 on May 14. The average is now at 14 deaths per day, on average.
The uptick in deaths comes after days of record-high new daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The state added 1,304 new COVID-19 cases Friday, down from Thursday’s record-high of 2,164, but the trend of rising daily cases has continued largely unabated since early June.
The 14-day average of daily tests was at an all-time high Friday, at 8,125, which was 308 more tests than the previous high, set Wednesday. The percent of tests that were positive also increased, however, so the new cases can’t be attributed solely to more testing.
The 14-day average of the percent positivity was 14.22 on Friday. Excluding Thursday’s figure, because the Alabama Department of Public Health didn’t publish total tests administered on Thursday, which threw off percent positive figures, Friday’s 14-day average was the highest it’s been since the beginning of the pandemic.
There were a few higher 14-day average percent positivity days in April, but those numbers were skewed as well, because ADPH wasn’t able to collect all testing data from commercial labs during that time period.
Along with surging new cases, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Thursday was higher than it’s been since the beginning of the pandemic. On Thursday 1,125 coronavirus patients were being treated in state hospitals, which was the fifth straight day of record current hospitalizations.
UAB Hospital’s COVID-19 Intensive care units were nearing their existing capacity earlier this week. The hospital has both a COVID ICU and a COVID acute care unit designated to keep patients separated from those who don’t have the virus, but it has more space in other non-COVID units should it need to add additional bed space.
Hospitals in Madison County this week are also seeing a surge of COVID-19 patients. Paul Finley, the mayor of the city of Madison, told reporters Wednesday that local hospitals were reporting record numbers.