Connect with us

Guest Columnists

When politicians perpetuate the death penalty against the will of the people

Stephen Cooper



By Stephen Cooper and Rory Fleming
Progressive Alabamians faced an election night last year that was by turns terrifying and soul-crushing, but also, when it comes to criminal justice reform, vaguely hopeful. While many were unsurprised by Trump’s victory in the presidential contest, there were, nevertheless, several heartening changes in the selection of the state’s powerful district attorneys. Sadly, however, stand-in Governor Kay Ivey’s recent appointment of Mike Anderton as Jefferson County District Attorney – an appointment that smacks of politics trumping the expressed will of the people – may undo much of the momentum reformists had worked to build.
States have differing procedures for replacing a DA who leaves for reasons that can span from assuming a higher office to being ousted due to criminal conduct. In New York, like in Alabama, the governor can appoint a replacement. For example, Kathleen Rice was a DA in Long Island from 2006 to 2014, when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; she was replaced by Madeline Singas, her top deputy. Though New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had the legal right to choose someone else, he decided to retain Singas in the role. By contrast, in California, DAs who leave in the middle of their term are replaced by county commissioners, and in Pennsylvania, a board of local judges makes the decision.
These replacement procedures and the outcomes they yield are critical because, as criminal justice experts routinely emphasize, it is elected head prosecutors on the local level who are responsible for the vast majority of discretionary choices in the criminal justice system; this includes, for example, deciding who gets charged, and, with what crimes, and also, who faces the death penalty. Moreover, whether deserved or not, because of their high-profile jobs, district attorneys are often considered paragons of their community and their position is frequently a launching pad for higher political office. Many prominent members of Congress from both parties are former DAs; Senator Kamala Harris (in San Francisco, California) and U.S. Rep. Daniel Donovan (in Staten Island, New York) are just two recent examples.
Precisely because of their awesome, mostly unfettered power, the election of new state district attorneys can be an incubator for populist change. Unfortunately, in many areas throughout the country, people’s views on the need for justice reform have outpaced those held by their local DA. In part, this is because these races are often misunderstood or ignored. Last year, 72 percent of prosecutor races were unopposed. But in Contra Costa County, California earlier this year, county commissioners revamped the DA’s office by appointing Diane Becton, a former judge who has since participated in events hosted by a coalition of forward-thinking prosecutors called “Fair and Just Prosecution.” Refreshingly, Becton is the first African-American and first woman to become district attorney in the office’s roughly 160-year history. Becton’s appointment was only possible because former DA Mark Peterson resigned after pleading guilty to felony perjury (relating to his misuse of $66,000 in campaign funds). First elected district attorney in 2010, then re-elected unopposed four years later, Peterson was a staunch foe of criminal justice reform. He vigorously campaigned in favor of a terribly flawed ballot initiative (Prop. 66) that he ghoulishly and fraudulently advertised would “speed up” executions by claiming it would ensure all death penalty appeals are heard within five years. (The California Supreme Court has since struck this provision down as unconstitutional.) Furthermore, Peterson disagreed with his county’s voters on ballot initiatives to fix the state’s onerous three-strikes law (the same law that sent a man to prison for 50 years to life in prison for stealing $153 of videotapes), to change some felonies to misdemeanors (Prop. 47), and to broaden parole access and stop prosecuting kids as adults (Prop. 57). And finally, on top of all that, foreshadowing the winds of change perhaps, Peterson is a Republican, in a county where 69 percent of voters picked Hillary Clinton for President in 2016, and 68 percent of voters chose Governor Jerry Brown in 2014.
Echoing what happened in Contra Costa County, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Board of Judges chose Kelley Hodge, the city’s first black woman DA who had experience as an assistant public defender, after R. Seth Williams was sentenced to five years in federal prison for corruption. The board turned down former DA Lynne Abraham; Abraham’s checkered record includes putting over 100 people on death row, opining that black people were responsible for 85 percent of the city’s crime, and remarking after observing her first execution that it was “a nonevent” for her. Fortunately for Alabamians, Abraham has not indicated any future plans to pick up and move to Alabama, because with these credentials, dubious as they are, she’d undoubtedly be the apple of Kay Ivey’s cold and calculating eye. Unfortunately, Ivey still has Mike Anderton to call upon. And that’s every bit as bad.
To understand why, what you need to know is: Jefferson County, Alabama consists of two criminal court jurisdictions; there’s Birmingham itself, and there’s the much smaller Bessemer, which lies outside of the city. In the 2016 election, Bill Veitch, a Republican incumbent district attorney, was defeated by Lynneice Washington, then a black municipal judge in Bessemer. Washington is now Alabama’s first black female head prosecutor since achieving statehood in 1819. While not as monumental or historic, progressive change also took place in the Birmingham district, where Charles Todd Henderson bested former District Attorney Brandon Falls. According to a report by Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, Falls helped make Jefferson County one of the less than one percent of counties nationally that sent five or more people to death row between 2010 and 2015.
While DAs like Falls have to sign off on office decisions to seek the death penalty, their approval is easily secured by line prosecutors in Alabama – prosecutors who have been called out by scholars and courts alike for their often overzealous, at times absurd, conduct at trial. Mike Anderton knows this all too well. He has personally obtained at least four death sentences, at times showing scant regard for legal ethics and human dignity. Perhaps most infamously, he wrongfully put an innocent man named Montez Spradley on death row, and denied paying his girlfriend to frame him. But documents from the Jefferson County DA’s office say otherwise; the woman was paid $5,000 from a “private fund” run through Anderton’s office, and another $5,000 from the governor’s office. Anderton has also said that a man with an IQ score of 56 was “faking” his intellectual disability to avoid death row, and he obtained a death sentence for an 18-year-old – a sentence that was later commuted to life without parole because of prosecutorial misconduct.
In 2016, Birmingham voters decided they’d had enough. They did not want a man like Anderton in charge when they voted for Charles Todd Henderson, the Democrat who defeated former DA Falls. Henderson, like the Bessemer district’s new DA, is “personally opposed” to capital punishment. Talking to reporters in November, he indicated that his office would engage in greater scrutiny in ensuring that the death penalty is only sought in the most heinous cases. Specifically, Henderson declared that it was “not going to be my routine policy to seek the death penalty in every capital murder case,” citing Jeffrey Dahmer as his death penalty poster child. (Dahmer was a serial killer who killed and ate body parts of 17 boys and men.)
Unfortunately for local voters, they did not know Henderson committed acts that would later see him convicted of felony perjury. He was charged just before taking office, long after news of the election had left people’s minds. That made Danny Carr, Henderson’s chief deputy, the “acting” DA. While he has not made public statements like Henderson’s about disfavoring the death penalty, Carr nevertheless cut a rare, progressive figure as a black Democrat DA in Alabama. But Alabama law permitted Gov. Ivey to appoint a new head prosecutor after Henderson was convicted. And so, despite impassioned pleas from prominent politicians and other members of the Birmingham community for her to keep Carr in the position he’d occupied for almost a year, Ivey chose Anderton, a Republican.
Ivey has made no secret of her partisanship – or her willingness to play along – irrespective of the negative optics. Having opined that “we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on things like the Supreme Court justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions,” Ivey even endorsed Roy Moore for U.S. Senate, despite Moore being accused, among other outrages, of molesting a 14-year-old girl. (Oddly contrasting with Ivey’s embrace of the Senate candidate who has been accused of serious lascivious crimes, her “tough on crime” ideology recently led to her support for the leasing of private prisons, instead of reconsidering Alabama’s harsh sentencing schemes.)
Anderton, Gov. Ivey’s choice for Birmingham’s DA in lieu of Democrat Danny Carr, is better suited for an order of permanent disbarment than the role of top prosecutor. That’s likely how some high court judges in Oklahoma would rule, if Anderton practiced in their jurisdiction. In 2013, former Oklahoma City prosecutor Brad Miller got a 180-day suspension of his law license because of “egregious” prosecutorial misconduct leading to overturned convictions in a death penalty case. Justice Stephen Taylor on the Oklahoma Supreme Court wrote that “no attorney should ever commit [similar] ‘reprehensible’ conduct in death penalty (or any other) litigation.” Like Anderton, Miller worked for yet another elected prosecutor notorious for his death penalty zeal, Oklahoma County District Attorney “Cowboy” Bob Macy.
But since the discipline of prosecutors for committing misconduct is very rare – and exponentially so in Alabama – it is up to other elected leaders in government to keep the bad apples in line. Certainly, they are not supposed to reward them with promotions over other qualified candidates more representative of the will of the people. Voters, therefore, must hold Governor Ivey accountable for her bad choices in 2018. And hopefully, at the same time, Alabamians will send a strong message to DA Anderton – and to all of Alabama’s wayward prosecutors – that lawbreaking and unethical officials are no longer welcome in their state. While Carr is not the DA Birmingham chose in 2016, he is more capable of reflecting its values and its priorities than Anderton. And most importantly, he follows the law.
Rory Fleming is a Minnesota attorney and an alumnus of the Fair Punishment Project, a joint initiative of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice and its Criminal Justice Institute. He tweets from @RoryFleming8A.
Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California. Follow him on Twitter at @SteveCooperEsq.

Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California. Follow him on Twitter @SteveCooperEsq


Guest Columnists

Opinion | State senators should remove Del Marsh from leadership

“Del Marsh has left the governor and the members of the Alabama Senate with no choice but to remove him from his positions on the COVID-19 task force and as leader of the Alabama Senate,” former State Rep. Craig Ford writes.

Craig Ford



Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh during a 2018 Senate committee hearing. (SAMUEL MATTISON/APR)

I couldn’t believe it when I saw State Senator Del Marsh, R-Anniston, the leader of the Alabama Senate, say he wants to see more people get the coronavirus!

During an interview with CBS42 News, Sen. Marsh was asked if he was concerned about the growing number of confirmed cases of people infected with COVID-19 in Alabama. His response was, and these are his exact words, “I’m not as concerned so much as the number of cases, in fact, quite honestly, I want to see more people because we start reaching an immunity as more people have it and get through it.”

The next day Sen. Marsh made a weak attempt to walk back his comments by saying he “chose his words poorly.” But he didn’t apologize, and he stood by his claim that he wants to see us get to herd immunity.

First, we don’t know if herd immunity is even possible with COVID-19. Doctors, medical researchers and public health experts have all contested the idea of herd immunity and say that even if it is possible it will be a long way off (medical professionals at Johns Hopkins University say it’s not possible for it to happen in 2020).

To reach herd immunity, somewhere between 60 percent and 90 percent of the population will have to be infected with the disease. Right now in Alabama, we are only around 1 percent.

For us to reach a 60 percent infection rate and potentially get to herd immunity, a minimum of 2,941,911 people in Alabama will have to contract COVID-19. Assuming the death rate stays the same as it is now (roughly 2 percent), it would mean that 58, 838 people would have to die for us to get to herd immunity, and that’s assuming it’s even possible.

But even if herd immunity is possible, our elected leaders should never wish for people to get sick with any disease, let alone one that is killing people!

Public Service Announcement

And for Sen. Marsh to attempt to justify his cruel and ignorant comments as merely choosing his words poorly is almost as offensive and disrespectful as the comments themselves!

Any decent human being with a conscience or sense of moral values would apologize and offer their resignation immediately. But Del Marsh’s pride won’t allow him to admit he is wrong or apologize for anything, even for wishing illness and death on the people of Alabama.

Sen. Marsh’s words show what is in his heart and in his head. And what is in his heart and in his head is clearly not in line with the thinking of medical professionals or the values and best interests of the people of Alabama.


For ten years, Sen. Marsh has run the Alabama Senate as the Senate pro tempore. And because he holds that position he also sits on the governor’s COVID-19 task force. Clearly he has no business being in either position, and I encourage Gov. Ivey to remove him from the COVID-19 task force immediately.

It is also time for the members of the Alabama Senate to demand Sen. Marsh’s resignation. If he refuses then senators must call for a vote of no confidence and remove him by force.

Senators cannot stay silent on this. Staying silent is the same as condoning what he said.

As a resident of Etowah County, I specifically call on our state senator, Andrew Jones, R-Centre, to step up and demand Del Marsh’s resignation. He is the only voice we have in the State Senate, and it is his responsibility now to use that voice. I would also encourage him to sponsor a resolution in the State Senate censoring Sen. Marsh for his thoughtless and heartless comments.

I never thought I would live to see the day when an elected official would openly express his or her desire to see the people of our state and our country get sick with a virus, especially one that could kill them! Worse is that Sen. Marsh won’t admit he is wrong or apologize for what he said.

Del Marsh’s words are a disgrace and a potential death wish for every single person in Alabama, not to mention a slap in the face of those who already have died from COVID-19 and their families.

Del Marsh has left the governor and the members of the Alabama Senate with no choice but to remove him from his positions on the COVID-19 task force and as leader of the Alabama Senate.

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | Sessions’ anti-animal protection record

Marty Irby



Former Sen. Jeff Sessions during a hearing on Capitol Hill. (VIA CSPAN)

Jeff Sessions has had a long career in politics and countless opportunities to demonstrate opposition to cruelty to animals. Yet, in 20 years in the Senate, it’s hard to put your arms around a single positive thing he did. Sure, Alabama is an agricultural state, with a rich tradition of hunting, but we’re not talking about those things.  We’re talking basic decency when it comes to treating the least among us and showing mercy for God’s creation.

The first political campaign I ever volunteered to work on was Sessions’ first bid for the U.S. Senate in 1996. I liked so much about him and his pledges, but boy, did I learn that caring for animals was not part of his worldview.  I grew up in the horse industry, showing horses and competing, and I understood from a very young age that most Alabamians are connected to animals, especially those of us who grew up in rural areas.

One type of cruelty that Republicans and Democrats took on during the two decades that Sessions served in the Senate was dogfighting and cockfighting.  But, surprisingly, they didn’t find an ally in Sessions. During the 107th Congress, Republican Senator and large-animal veterinarian Wayne Allard attracted nearly two thirds of the Senate on his bill (S. 345) to close the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that allowed interstate shipment of fighting birds, but Sessions was an opponent. And in the 108th Congress, he failed to cosponsor the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (S. 736) to establish felony-level penalties for dogfighting and cockfighting. In the 109th and 110th Congresses, Sessions failed to support animal fighting legislation (S. 382 and S. 261) to establish federal level penalties for dog and cockfighting. And in the 112thCongress, Sessions was among a handful of Senators who voted against efforts to make it a crime to attend a dogfight or cockfight or to bring a child to such a spectacle (Roll Call Vote # 154).

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby supported the prohibition on attending animal fights, and later, Sessions’ successor, Doug Jones, co-sponsored legislation to ban animal fighting everywhere in the U.S. – the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement (PACE) Act – a provision included in the 2018 Farm bill, with six of seven of Alabama’s U.S. Representatives favoring the anti-animal fighting language.  President Trump signed that provision into law, and it took effect in December 2019.

Sessions has been hostile to other reforms, opposing an amendment to the 2005 Farm Bill to stop horse slaughter by prohibiting the use of tax dollars to fund USDA inspection of horse slaughterhouses.

Sessions voted to table an amendment to the 2000 Interior Appropriations bill to prohibit the use of funds  to authorize, permit, administer, or promote the use of any jawed leghold trap or neck snare in any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Animals trapped by these devices, which sometimes ensnare family pets or endangered species, suffer crushed bones, gangrene, and starvation.

Sessions failed to support reforms to stop the abuse of cows too sick or injured to walk and then dragged into slaughterhouses, putting consumers at risk of consuming diseased animals. Just months after Congress failed to address the matter, the USDA determined a cow slaughtered in Washington state had Mad Cow Disease. That cow was a “downer,” and if the ban on slaughtering “downers” had been in place, it would have never been dragged into the slaughterhouse and created a global food safety panic. This was the first finding of a cow with this disease in the U.S., and in response, more than 80 nations closed their markets to U.S. beef imports, causing a loss to the cattle industry in excess of $10 billion.

Public Service Announcement

And in the 113th, 114th, and 115th Congresses, Sessions failed to support the Republican-led Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, an amendment to the Horse Protection Act of 1970 that would ensure the protection of the Alabama’s official state Racking Horse whose world grand champion is crowned in Priceville each year.

As a native Alabamian, and a life-long Republican who cares about animals, I got turned off to my political hero when he showed such a hard heart toward animals. Whether hunters or non-hunters, farmers or just consumers, most every Alabamian I know cares about animals.  It’s a shame that Jeff Sessions didn’t figure that out about Alabamians in his long tenure in Washington. Alabamians should step up against animal abuse and send an electoral verdict that cruelty is never acceptable.

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | Solving Alabama’s unemployment crisis is a matter of patriotism

Craig Ford



Patriotism is at the top of my mind these days as we prepare for this weekend’s Fourth of July celebrations. I feel a great sense of pride in our nation, even though I often disagree with political leaders at various levels of government.

You can love your country and love many things about your country but still see problems and areas where we can do better as a city, state or nation. And one of the areas where we seem to be struggling here in Alabama is with our unemployment situation.

No one in leadership could have predicted that the coronavirus would hit us the way that it has, and our leaders have struggled to balance the need to keep our people healthy with the need to keep our economy running.

It’s a difficult balance, and while the numbers of new infections of the coronavirus keep going up and keep getting media attention, we are also seeing our unemployment benefits being stretched to the max.

The Alabama Department of Labor is understaffed and overwhelmed by the flood of people filing for unemployment benefits. The Department’s employees are making a heroic effort to make sure that those with legitimate needs are getting the help they need to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. But even so, the unemployed have to wait for hours just to get a ticket that would allow them to speak with an employee and file a claim for their benefits.

But what’s even more concerning is the fact that the state’s unemployment fund is on track to become financially insolvent by the end of the summer. If that happens, then the state will have no choice but to borrow more money from the federal government.

Of course, everyone’s hope is that this coronavirus will begin to slow down, a vaccine will be invented, and business will be able to return to normal. Most people don’t want to rely on government checks to survive and would much rather get back to work as soon as possible.

Public Service Announcement

But for now, at least, the economy is recovering slowly and our unemployment rate, while improving, is still over 6 percent. And that means that, even with borrowed federal money and the recently announced federal extended benefits program, Alabama is still in trouble and our unemployment funds are still in a dangerous situation.

As bad as the situation is, there is a possible solution that our state leaders can and should be considering, if they can get past their current bickering.

The federal government has already sent funding through the CARES Act to help the state battle the coronavirus. Most of that money should be going to providing healthcare services, such as testing for COVID-19, and personal protection equipment like masks and gloves for healthcare workers and employees in essential industries.


However, there’s no reason why some of that money can’t also go towards our unemployment program to help those who are out of work because of the coronavirus.

If some state leaders think they can use up to $200 million of that money to build a new State House, then why can’t they use that money to keep Alabama families fed and housed for a few more weeks?

As the legislative session came to an end a few weeks ago, lawmakers and the governor went to war with each other over how to spend that money. Instead of fighting over pet projects, they should be putting that money into Alabama’s families to help them survive this crisis.

The Fourth of July is all about patriotism, and there’s nothing more patriotic that solving our unemployment crisis and helping Alabama families get back on their feet.

Craig Ford is the owner of Ford Insurance Agency and the Gadsden Messenger. He represented Gadsden and Etowah County in the Alabama House of Representatives for 18 years.

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | Gov. Ivey: This is our time, Alabama

Gov. Kay Ivey



In a few days, America will celebrate her 244th birthday. Traditionally, many towns and cities around the country light up the night with fireworks and music festivals. In 1776, John Adams predicted that Independence Day would be “celebrated by succeeding generations” with “pomp and circumstance…bonfires and illuminations.”

However, largely because of COVID-19, this year’s observance of our country’s birth will likely be a bit more subdued than previous years. While unfortunate, this is certainly understandable.

Today – and very likely in the days that will follow – instead of talking about what unites us as one nation – other conversations will occur that are, quite frankly, a bit more difficult and challenging. 

My personal hope – and prayer – for this year’s 4th of July is that the marvel of our great country – how we started, what we’ve had to overcome, what we’ve accomplished and where we are going – isn’t lost on any of us.

We are all searching for “a more perfect union” during these trying and demanding days.

Over the past several weeks, our nation has been having one of those painful, yet overdue, discussions about the subject of race.

The mere mention of race often makes some people uncomfortable, even though it is a topic that has been around since the beginning of time.

Public Service Announcement

Nationally, a conversation about race brings with it the opportunity where even friends can disagree on solutions; it also can be a catalyst to help total strangers find common ground and see things eye-to-eye with someone they previously did not even know.

Here in Alabama, conversations about race are often set against a backdrop of our state’s long – and at times – ugly history on the subject.

No one can say that America’s history hasn’t had its own share of darkness, pain and suffering.


But with challenge always comes opportunity. 

For instance, Montgomery is both the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the cradle of the Confederacy. What a contrast for our Capital City.

The fact is our entire state has, in many ways, played a central role in the ever-evolving story of America and how our wonderful country has, itself, changed and progressed through the years.

Ever since the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, thousands of Alabamians – of all races, young and old – have taken to the streets of our largest cities and smallest towns in protest to demand change and to seek justice.

These frustrations are understandable. 

Change often comes too slowly for some and too quickly for others. As only the second female to be elected governor of our state in more than 200 years, I can attest to this. 

Most of us recognize that our views on issues such as race relations tend to grow out of our own background and experiences. But, fortunately, our views can change and broaden as we talk and learn from each other.

As a nation, we believe that all people are created equal in their own rights as citizens, but we also know that making this ideal a reality is still a challenge for us.

Even with the election of America’s first African American president 12 years ago, racial, economic and social barriers continue to exist throughout our country. This just happens to be our time in history to ensure we are building on the progress of the past, as we take steps forward on what has proven to be a long, difficult journey.

Folks, the fact is we need to have real discussions – as an Alabama family. No one should be under the false illusion that simply renaming a building or pulling a monument down, in and of itself, will completely fix systemic discrimination.

Back in January, I invited a group of 65 prominent African American leaders – from all throughout Alabama – to meet with me in Montgomery to begin having a dialogue on issues that truly matter to our African American community in this state. This dedicated group – known as Alabama United – is helping to bring some very legitimate concerns and issues to the table for both conversation and action.

As an example, Alabama will continue to support law enforcement that is sensitive to the communities in which they serve. We have thousands of dedicated men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our state every single day. But we can – and must – make certain that our state’s policies and procedures reflect the legitimate concerns that many citizens have about these important issues.

I am confident all these conversations – and hopefully many more – will lead to a host of inspirational ideas that will lead to a more informed debate and enactment of sound public policy. 

We must develop ways to advance all communities that lack access to good schools, jobs, and other opportunities. As governor, I will continue to make education and achieving a good job a priority – it distresses me that some of our rural areas and inner cities face some of the greatest challenges in education.

There are other critical issues that must be addressed, and I will continue to look for solutions along with you.

Everyone knows government cannot solve these problems alone. Some of the greatest solutions will come from private citizens as well as businesses, higher education, churches and foundations. Together, we can all be a part of supporting and building more inclusive communities.

In other words, solving these problems comes from leaning on the principles that make us who we are – our faith – which is embodied in the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

My beliefs on how to treat people were shaped in Wilcox County and my faith was developed at the Camden Baptist Church. 

The bible tells us over and over that our number one goal is to love God with all of one’s heart and then to love our neighbor as we love our self. That is what I strive to do every day.

When anyone feels forgotten and marginalized, compassion compels us to embrace, assist and share in their suffering. We must not let race divide us. We must grow and advance together.

Being informed by our past, let us now carefully examine our future and work towards positive change. Together, we can envision an Alabama where all her people truly live up to the greatness within our grasp. We cannot change the past or erase our history… But we can build a future that values the worth of each and every citizen.

So, in closing, my hope and prayer for our country as we pause to celebrate America’s 244th birthday, is that we make the most of this moment.

As for our state, let’s make this a time to heal, to commit ourselves to finding consensus, not conflict, and to show the rest of the nation how far we have come, even as we have further to go. 

These first steps – just as we are beginning our third century as a state – may be our most important steps yet.

This is our time, Alabama. May God continue to bless each of you and the great state of Alabama.

Continue Reading



The V Podcast