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Judicial candidates campaign in St. Clair County

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday, several statewide Republican judicial candidates attended the St. Clair County candidate’s forum in Pell City.

Debra Jones is running in a three-way Republican primary for associate justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. She is a judge in Calhoun and clay county.

Jones said, “I would love to serve,” on the Supreme Court.

“I bring 28 years of experience,” Jones said. Jones said that she has been a district attorney.

“I wrote the felony DUI law,” Jones said. “I wrote the sexual torture act. I have sat in every chair in the courtroom. I have experience in appellate court.”

Jones has also been in private practice and when she ran for judge.

“I am the only North Alabama Judge running,” Jones said. “We do not have any representation on the Supreme Court from North Alabama. I want to earn your vote. I am beholden first and foremost to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then to the Constitution, and to you I would love to represent you on the Alabama Supreme Court.”

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Chris McCool is running for Place 2 on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

“I spoke to you in July or August,” McCool said. “This is one of the first places I came to when I announced my candidacy.”

McCool is currently the district attorney in Fayette and Pickens County. McCool also lives on and manages the cattle farm where he grew up and is a pastor.

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“The Lord is concerned in the details of our lives,” McCool said.

McCool said that in 2003 he got a phone call and was told, “Ace and Crump and Arnold were dead.”

The three Fayette police officers were gunned down in their police station. McCool prosecuted their killer and, “He is on death row today because we got it right.”

“The Court of Criminal Appeals hears those sorts of cases on appeals,” McCool said. “It is so important to have someone who has been there. I have been there over 50 times before,” as the prosecutor in a felony jury trial.”

“I grew up on Harold McCool’s farm in Pickens County,” McCool said. “I live and manage that farm today. My children are out of school today and working on the farm today.”

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” McCool said quoting Micah 6:8 from the Bible.

Christy Edwards is running for the Court of Civil Appeals Place 1.

“I grew up on a small cattle farm west of Selma Dallas County,” Edwards said. “Growing up on that farm influenced my life.”

“I am the first person in my family to go to college,” Edwards said. “I graduated from the University of Alabama and received my law degree from Jones School of law.”

“I am in this race because I believe that judges should apply the law as it is written,” Edwards said.

Edwards said that the Court of Civil Appeals hears oversees government regulatory actions. This is important for economic development in this state and especially for state and local government.

“Judge Craig Pittman is retiring,” Edwards said. “My seat is an open seat.”

Bill Cole is running for Place 3 on the Court of Criminal Appeals.

“I served as a Judge in Jefferson County for 12 years,” Cole said. “Before that I did a lot of criminal work as an attorney. I have had a lot of experience doing appeals. “I was a municipal court judge in Morris County before I was a circuit judge. I have heard at least 30 murder or capital murder trials. We have a lot of murders in Jefferson County.”

“The politics of Jefferson County can be very difficult,” Cole said. “There are 40 elected judges in Jefferson County and only three are Republicans. You are blessed with the judges that you have in St. Clair County. I feel I have done a real good job as a judge. At least one person on each appellate court who have served as a judge. There are tough decisions to make as a judge and I have made those decisions before.”

St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor is running for the Court of Criminal Appeals Place One.

“I have been your District Attorney for 14 years,” Minor said. “I have been a career prosecutor for 25 years. I will take our proven conservative values to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.”

“I want to thank my parents for all that they have done for me,” Minor said. “It has been a long year of campaigning. There are four people in my legal career I would like to thank.” Then U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions. He gave me the opportunity to work in his office. Bill Pryor, who was then Alabama Attorney General. Vann Davis, who Minor worked for when Minor was DA. I also want to thank Judge Jim Hill. He has been one of my mentors.”

The major party primaries will be on June 5. Most of the statewide judicial races will be decided in the Republican primaries, unless independents qualify before the deadline.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Merrill gives guidance on straight party, write-in voting

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill issued guidance Wednesday on straight party and write-in voting.

“Voters who wish to vote straight party for all of the Democratic or Republican candidates on their ballot may do so by filling in the bubble next to their party preference at the top of their ballot,” Merrill explained in a statement.

“If a voter wishes to vote for any candidate outside of the selected party, however, he or she may do so by filling in the bubble next to the preferred candidate’s name. In doing so, the candidate(s) voted on outside of the voter’s designated party ballot will receive the vote for that particular race.

In addition, if a voter wishes to write-in a candidate, he or she may do so by filling in the bubble next to the box marked ‘Write-in’ and then printing the name of the preferred candidate on the designated line.

Write-in votes must be hand-written and not stamped or otherwise artificially applied to the ballot.”

Sample ballots for the Nov. 3 general election are available online.

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Opinion | For Coach Tub, no thinking required

Joey Kennedy

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Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Has Tommy Tuberville ever had an original thought? It doesn’t sound like it. Coach Tub basically spews Republican talking points and keeps his mouth firmly locked onto Donald Trump. He disrespects Alabama voters so much that he thinks that’s all he needs to do to win a place in the U.S. Senate.

Tuberville recently addressed the St. Clair County Republican Party at its September meeting. As reported by APR, Tuberville is quoted as saying the following, and I’ll offer a short rebuttal. I’m doing this because Tuberville is clearly afraid to death to debate his opponent, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

So here goes:

Tuberville: America is about capitalism, not socialism. I think we are going to decide which direction we are going to go in the next few years.”

Me: We decided which way we were going to go years ago, when the federal government started subsidies for oil and gas companies, farmers and other big industry and business. That, coach, is your so-called “socialism.”

I’m not necessarily opposed to subsidies to boost business, depending on the cause, but I’m not going to let a dimwitted, know-nothing, mediocre, former football coach pretend we don’t already have “socialism” in this country.  

What Tuberville really means is that he’s against “socialism” like Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security or food assistance or health insurance. He’s a millionaire already, so there’s no need for him have empathy for or support a safety net for people who are less fortunate socially and economically. That’s Tuberville’s “socialism,” and the Republican Party’s “socialism,” and Trump’s “socialism.

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That’s a cruel, mean perspective that would cast aside the great majority of Americans for the rich (Tuberville, Trump) and connected and, where Trump is concerned, the fawning.

Tuberville: “I am not a Common Core guy. I believe in regular math. We need to get back to teaching history.”

Me: I would love to ask Coach Tubby, one-on-one, exactly what he thinks “Common Core” is. I’ll guarantee you he can’t explain more than he already has. “I believe in regular math?” There is no other math. It’s math. Does he think there’s a math where 1+1=3? There isn’t one. There are a variety of ways to teach math, but there’s only math, not a “fake” math or a “Republican” math or a “Democratic” math or, God forbid, a “Socialist” math.

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And when Coach Tommy said, “We need to get back to teaching history,” one wonders if he’s ever been into a classroom. We know more than a few of his former players weren’t in many classrooms, if reports are correct. But they always played the game under his uninspired coaching.

Of course schools teach history.

The history Coach T. is talking about is Donald Trump’s “white” history, the one we’ve been teaching in our schools forever. Not real history; you know, the one where the United States was founded as a slave-holding nation, where Native Americans were massacred and starved by the hundreds of thousands, where white supremacy was codified within our laws, where any color but white was subjugated. That history. The history that is finally fading away, so we can really see where we’ve been as a nation—so we know where, as a nation, we need to go.

Tuberville: Tuberville said he supports following the Constitution and appointing a replacement for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.

Me: Well, of course he does. Tuberville doesn’t have an independent thought in his body, and Donnie told him this is what he’s supposed to think. The big question: How much will a Senator Tuberville be able to function as a member of a minority party in the Senate — with no Papa Trump in the White House to tell him what to do?

Both scenarios are real possibilities, if not likelihoods.

There is no question that Doug Jones is far more qualified than Tuberville. Jones can work across the aisle, which will be vitally important if Democrats take control of the Senate. Jones has his own thoughts, which sometimes go against the Democratic Party’s wishes. Jones is independent, smart and represents Alabama well.

Tuberville is a failed football coach who lives in Florida. That’s about it.

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President Donald Trump endorses Barry Moore for Congress

Brandon Moseley

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President Trump and Barry Moore (OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO/JOYCE N. BOGHOSIAN)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed Republican 2nd Congressional District candidate Barry Moore, sharing his endorsement on Twitter.

In the tweet, the president wrote, “Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) will be a terrific Congressman for Alabama! An early supporter of our #MAGA agenda, he is Strong on Jobs, Life, the Wall, Law & Order, and the Second Amendment. Barry has my Complete and Total Endorsement! #AL02”

Moore met with the president in the White House on Wednesday.

“I’m truly honored to be endorsed for Congress by President Donald J. Trump,” Moore said. “I have never regretted being the first elected official in America to endorse him for president in 2015, and I’m looking forward to working with him in the next Congress during his second term.”

“President Trump has already accomplished so much and kept so many of his campaign promises despite all that the establishment and the Democrats have done to obstruct him, but he knows there’s still lots to be done,” Moore continued. “We must contain and control the COVID pandemic, restore our economy to the pre-pandemic level of growth and prosperity we enjoyed during his first three years in office. We must restore and maintain law and order on our streets and in our cities. We must finish building the wall, and then fix our broken immigration system.”

“We had great meetings at the White House with the president’s domestic policy team,” Moore said. “Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, was also there. We discussed a new health care plan being introduced, economic recovery, trade with China and expansion of opportunity zones in depressed areas. The president has a bright vision for America.”

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“I’m convinced that Donald J. Trump is the president we need to lead us for the next four years, and I hope the people of Alabama’s 2nd District see fit to elect me to work with President Trump as their congressman on Nov. 3,” Moore concluded.

Moore served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018. Moore is a graduate of Auburn University, a veteran, a small business owner, husband and father.

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Moore is running for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District in the Nov. 3 general election. Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama, is not seeking another term. Moore faces Democratic candidate Phyllis Harvey-Hall.

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Jones introduces bill to encourage investments in minority-serving banks

“One of the biggest hurdles for minority entrepreneurs is access to capital,” Jones said.

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones

Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Tuesday introduced legislation that would encourage investments in banks that serve minority communities.

“One of the biggest hurdles for minority entrepreneurs is access to capital,” Jones said in a statement. “That’s why this bill is so important. Increasing access to capital at the banks that serve minority communities will help expand financial opportunities for individuals and business owners in those communities.”

Jones, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, in April urged the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury to support Community Development Financial Institutions and minority-owned banks disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and he threw his support behind more federal funding for small community banks, minority-owned banks and CDFIs during the recent Paycheck Protection Program replenishment.

According to a press release from Jones’s office, the bill would attract investments to those financial institutions by changing rules to allow “minority-owned banks, community banks with under $10 billion in deposits” and CDFIs to accept brokered deposits, or investments with high interest rates, thereby bolstering those institutions and encourage them to invest and lend in their communities.

It would also allow low-income and minority credit unions to access the National Credit Union Administration’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.

“Commonwealth National Bank would like to thank Senator Jones for his leadership in introducing the Minority Depository Institution and Community Bank Deposit Access Act. As a small Alabama home grown institution, this proposal will allow us to accept needed deposits without the current limitations that hinder our ability to better serve the historically underserved communities that our institutions were created to serve. We support your efforts and encourage you to keep fighting the good fight for all of America,” said Sidney King, president and CEO of Commonwealth National Bank, in a statement.

“The Minority Depository Institution and Community Bank Deposit Access Act is a welcomed first step in helping Minority Depository Institutions like our National Bankers Association member banks develop the kinds of national deposit networks that allow our institutions to compete for deposits with larger banks and to better meet the credit needs of the communities we serve. The National Bankers Association commends Senator Jones’ leadership on this issue, and we look forward to continuing to engage with him on the ultimate passage of this proposal,” said Kenneth Kelly, chairman of the National Bankers Association, in a statement.

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A recent report by the Brookings Institute highlighted problems minority-owned businesses had accessing federal COVID-19 relief aid from PPP loans. Researchers found that it took seven days longer for small businesses with paid employees in majority Black zip codes to receive PPP loans, compared to majority-white communities. That gap grew to three weeks for non-employer minority-owned small businesses, the report notes.

The report also states that while minority-owned small businesses, many of which are unbanked or under banked, get approximately 80 percent of their loans from financial technology companies and online lending companies, fintechs weren’t allowed under federal law to issue PPP loans until April 14.

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