By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Republican Party Establishment in Washington has challenged Roy Moore to prove that he is not a sexual predator after five women have come forward saying that they had inappropriate contacts with Moore in the late 1970s.
Moore grew up in rural Gallant, Alabama. He went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Moore served as a Captain of a military police company in the Vietnam War. After his discharge from service, Moore went to the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa.
In 1977, he left the University of Alabama Law School in Tuscaloosa to return home to his native Etowah County as a new attorney and then later as the first deputy assistant district attorney in Etowah County history.
On Wednesday, the Moore campaign released the statements of twelve women who are coming forward as character witnesses for ]Moore. Here are their statements:
Jennie Klingenbeck of Birmingham, previously Gadsden, Alabama, said, “I have known Roy Moore for about forty years. Roy and I briefly dated when I was in my twenties. While I was around Roy, either just the two of us or with other people, he was always a true gentleman treating me with respect and courtesy. I can honestly say that I never have seen or heard any inappropriate remarks or behaviors while he was around me. I believe that Roy lives by his Christian beliefs and is a good man.”
“My name is Jaime Moses and I was born and raised in Gadsden, Alabama. I worked at Uncle Sam’s BBQ (closed now) for 10 years while in my 20’s and waited on Roy Moore and his family. Mr. Moore and his wife were nothing but friendly and respectful. The children were the same, which is a sign of great parenting. He knew many people dining there and spoke and shook hands with everyone. Not once did he make me feel uncomfortable. Working in the food industry can be hard sometimes and Mr. Moore’s kindness to myself and staff did not go unnoticed,” Jaime Moses is a native of Gadsden.
“My first remembrance of Roy Moore was grammar school. He was probably in Jr High school but all of us Gallant kids rode the same bus,” Sharon Lamkin said. “He was always a gentle, kind boy and grew into an even more admirable man. He was my softball coach in my high school days and was always such a kind person, never a mean or hateful word to any of us. Only kindness and utmost respect! Have been friends with all of his family for many, many years. NEVER heard ANY mention of any such behavior in all these years. Have seen him at the local church several times with his knees bowed in prayer at the altar. Takes time to listen to people. Just a wonderful, Christian man in a small rural community. Devoted to family, friends and most of all God. Proud to know him and will continue to support him with our presence and prayers.”
“I have known Roy for over 30 years. I met him in 1984 when he met my sister in church and began dating her,” said Kandi Kisor Smith. “He has always showed honor and dignity. I truly can’t even begin to grasp that people would question his character. He has lived by what he preached since the day I met him.” Kandi Kisor Smith is the sister of Judge Moore’s wife, Kayla.
”I was the receptionist for Roy Moore the first time he was Chief Justice and I am proud of our history,” said Marianne Rhodes. “I saw everything that went on in that office and I’ve never worked for anybody who was more considerate, honest, or kind. We all enjoyed our tenure there. He was always up and above board. If any of these people who are slandering the good name of Roy Moore had ever worked with Judge they would know what a fine person he is. My history with Judge Moore was nothing but pleasurable and this is all upsetting to me.” Marianne Rhodes was the receptionist for Roy Moore during his tenure as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court from 2000 to 2003.
”I feel it my duty to say that I have known Roy Moore since I was a kid. I worked closely with Roy (adjoining offices) when I was 16 years old,” Elaine Conner Watson said. “I went to school half a day and worked at the bank half a day. NEVER did he in any way make me feel uncomfortable, flirt, or make advances towards me. He was always a kind and respectable man. We are still friends to this day and I would put my life in his hands if need be. There is not way that these statements these people are making are true. Someone is getting some hefty perks coming from the lies that are being told. I appreciate and respect everything that Roy has done for our state and citizens.” Elaine Conner Watson is a native of Gadsden, Alabama.
“I have known Roy Moore and his family for over thirty years. I spent a great deal of time as a child with his nieces, who lived in close proximity to Mr. Moore’s residence,” said Amanda Pearce. “There was never a time I felt uncomfortable or witnessed any inappropriate behavior by him . We have attended the same church for over twenty years and I have always had the utmost respect for the life he leads and the principles he stands for.” Amanda Pearce lives in Gadsden, Alabama.
“My name is Doris Mason. I have known Roy Moore for over 50 years. I first met him when I started dating his first cousin, Dennis Mason. Dennis and I married in 1965, eventually had 4 children (3 of whom are girls) and we frequently visited his childhood home prior to our marriage. Roy has been nothing short of a true gentleman toward me, my daughters, and anyone else I have witnessed his interaction with. He spent many evenings in our home around our dinner table. Roy has spent time with all of our children at length and he has always displayed integrity, honesty and impeccable character. It is my belief that the accusations against Roy are completely false! Do I believe that Roy is perfect? Certainly not. No human is. What I do know is that he is a man that I trust and offer my utmost respect to because he has never been anything but respectful towards me and my family!” Doris Mason lives in Attalla, Alabama.
Brenda Parrish said, “I have known Roy Moore for 25 years. Roy has always been a kind, caring and generous Man of God. I have never heard anything bad said about Roy. He is a wonderful spiritual leader to his family and has exceptional character.” Brenda Parrish lives in Gallant, Alabama.
“My name is Angie Johnson. We have known Roy Moore and his family for more than 25 years. His son was coached on a ball team by my husband ..a team player alongside my son. Roy also helped with coaching the team. My husband and I have been guests in his home, in his office in Gadsden as well as Montgomery. I am acquaintances with several members of Roy’s family. I have never known Roy to exhibit anything other than appropriate behavior during our times together. Further I was raised and lived in Gadsden all of my 50+ years and I have never been aware of any of the incidents that have been spoken of about Roy. I worked in a fast food establishment that Roy frequented during the time period in question. Again …no behavior exhibited other than respect and mannerful…during that time Roy had written and recorded a 45 record which he brought over and gifted to my mother. I do not understand waiting years and years to make accusations unless there are political or monetary gains to be made. It is a sad day when someone can take a person’s character and attempt to discredit them by making accusations that cannot be proven. How quick everyone is to take the position of judge, juror, and executioner. What if the shoe was on the other foot? I would never condone sexual harassment against anyone if proven.” Angie Johnson is a native of Gadsden, Alabama.
“My name is Linda Whitt. I had the pleasure of meeting Roy Moore around 15 years ago. He is related to my husband’s brother-in-law. I have never known Roy to be anything other than a gentleman. With that being said, it saddens me that there are those who seek to tarnish the reputation of a good man.” Linda Whitt lives in Duck Springs, Alabama.
“I have known Roy Moore all my life,” said Jennifer Price from Gallant, Alabama. “He is one of the most godly men I’ve even known. I would trust him with my life and I could call on him for anything and I know he’d be there. He’s a wonderful husband, father and granddaddy and loves his family dearly.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 the Moore campaign was presenting information to the Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee as well as the press to try to refute the charges and establish that the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice is indeed a man of good character and not a serial abuser of underage women as his detractors now claim.
Moore said in a statement. “I am suffering the same treatment other Republicans have had to endure. A month prior to the general election for U.S. Senate in Alabama, I have been attacked by the Washington Post and other liberal media in a desperate attempt to smear my character and defeat my campaign.”
On Wednesday, two more women came forward with allegations about inappropriate conduct from Moore bringing the total now to seven. These two, then employed in the Gadsden Mall, said that Moore in his early 30s often came to their store and one of them said that she went on a date either before or after her eighteenth birthday. Moore kissed her too hard. After that she did not want to have anything to do with him. The Washington Post said that these two women came forward after reading their Thursday reporting.
Moore easily defeated U.S. Sen. Luther Strange in the Republican primary runoff election on September 26. Moore was cruising to an easy victory over former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in the December 12 primary; until the Washington Post unveiled their claims about Moore’s alleged dating indiscretions that allegedly occurred in Etowah County in the period after Moore returned home. Moore left Etowah County in 1982 after losing a race to become the District Attorney. Moore pursued careers as a kickboxer and professional cowboy. After Moore returned home he married his wife Kayla. They have four children and five grandchildren. All the allegations thus far are confined to that period between his time at the University of Alabama and his leaving the county after losing a race for District Attorney.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., have called on Moore to stand aside and let the Republican Party run a write in candidate for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions.
Tuberville calls for term limits, balanced budget and lobbying reform
Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.
Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville’s campaign began emphasizing key structural reforms that the Republican nominee hopes to advance if elected to the U.S. Senate including congressional term limits, withholding lawmakers’ paychecks unless a balanced budget is passed and a ban on former officials becoming lobbyists.
“Only an outsider like me can help President Trump drain the Swamp, and any of the proposals outlined in this ad will begin the process of pulling the plug,” Tuberville said in a statement. “Doug Jones has had his chance, and he failed our state, so now it’s time to elect a senator who will work to fundamentally change the way that Washington operates.”
Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.
“You know Washington politicians could learn a lot from the folks in small town Alabama, but Doug Jones … he’s too liberal to teach them,” Tuberville added.
Polls consistently show that term limits are popular with people across both political parties, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that imposing term limits would be adding a qualification to be a member of Congress and that can only be done by constitutional amendment.
It is an unspoken truth that when Americans send someone to Congress they never come back. They either keep getting re-elected like Alabama’s own Sen. Richard Shelby, who is in his sixth term in the Senate after four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, they may become lobbyists getting paid to influence their colleagues on behalf of corporations, foreign governments or some well funded non-government organization.
Tuberville said he would ban that practice.
A balanced budget amendment almost passed in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.
Since that failure, Congress has increasingly passed bigger and bigger budget deficits. The U.S. government borrowed more money during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s presidency than the government had borrowed in the first 224 years of the country combined.
President Barack Obama followed and the TARP program propped up the post-Great Recession economy. Rather than cutting the deficit, President Donald Trump invested billions in the military and a tax cut without cutting domestic spending. The 2020 coronavirus crisis has further grown the budget.
The government has borrowed trillions to prop up the economy and provide stimulus while investing billions into medical research and treating the virus victims. Congress is currently debating a fifth stimulus package that would add more to the deficit.
Both a balanced budget amendment and a term limits amendment would have to be ratified by the states if passed by Congress. Tuberville is challenging incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.
House passes General Fund Budget
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.
The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”
Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.
The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.
Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.
Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.
The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.
Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.
The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.
Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.
The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.
In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.
SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.
Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”
State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”
The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.
The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.
The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.
The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.
Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.
SB185 passed 101-0.
Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.
Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1 for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.
SB215 passed the House 87-0.
The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.
State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.
SB231 passed 87-2.
The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.
The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.
The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.
Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.
Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.
Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.
Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday
By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.
Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.
Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.
The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.
Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.
Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.
Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.
Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.
Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.
Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.
The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.
Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.
It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.
Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor
By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.
The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.
Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.
Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.
Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.
- Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)
Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.
Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.
The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.
Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.