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Alabama Democrats hold forum in Gardendale

Monday, Alabama Democrats held a general election campaign kickoff event at the Gardendale Civic Center. Approximately 250 people were present at the event hoping to kick off a Democratic campaign effort that they hope will lead to a “Blue Wave” election on November 6 up and down the ballot.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter “Walt” Maddox (D) is the Democratic nominee for Governor of Alabama.

Maddox was introduced by former Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks (D). Sparks was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2010.

“One of my greatest regrets is that we did not work hard to elect you as governor in 2010. You would have made a great governor, Ron,” Maddox said.

“This is an exciting time in Alabama.” Maddox said that when Lyndon B. Johnson became President he said we are going to pass the Civil Rights Act. His advisors all said. Don’t do that. If you will do nothing you will be elected next year. Johnson said, ““What good is the Presidency if you don’t do anything with it? What good is the governorship if you don’t do anything with it?”

Maddox said: We are going to pass the Alabama education lottery. We are going to regain our moral standing by offering mental health services to the people that need it.

“We are going to expand Medicaid to save our rural hospitals,” Maddox said. “We are on the right side of history. It is not right versus left; but right versus wrong.”

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Maddox was critical of the 1901 Constitution; but said that as he is a pragmatist, replacing the Constitution will have to wait for his second term.

Maddox said that he has challenged his opponent, incumbent Governor Kay Ivey (R), to four debates.

Dr. Will Boyd (D) is the pastor of the Missionary Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals and the Democratic nomine for Lt. Governor.

“We need everyone’s Blue Wave so we can take Alabama back,” Boyd said. “We have some important issues on the table. Alabama has 900,000 people in poverty, 300,000 of them are children.”

We could have a high-speed rail system connecting people across the county and across the state, but we keep leaving transportation dollars on the table, Boyd said. We need to expand Medicaid. “We need prison reform because we have a disproportionate share of African Americans in prison.”

Boyd ran for U.S. Senate in 2017; but lost the Democratic primary to Doug Jones. He was also the Democratic nominee for the Fifth Congressional District; but lost the general election to incumbent Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville).

“We can’t throw tomatoes at the TV and say ‘dump Trump’,” Boyd said. We need to be out in the street burning up shoe leather knocking on doors to elect Democrats this fall.

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“We are not the party that believes in conservatism,” Dr. Boyd said. “Conservatism got us thirty years of trickle down economics.” “If we were not on TV, I would say that we have been GOPeed on.”

Boyd told the Alabama Political Reporter that he is challenging his opponent, Will Ainsworth, to six debates.

Jefferson County Judge Robert “Bob” Vance Jr. (D) is running for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

“I have had the honor of being one of the circuit judges in Jefferson County for sixteen years,” Vance said. “In that time I have been involved in a lot of elections. In all that time this is the first time that I have been to a Democratic event in Gardendale. That is progress.”

Vance said that many of the prisoners in the jails and the prisons are suffering from mental health and drug abuse problems. Until they get the help that they need, the problems in this state will not go away.

“We are so tired of the politics of hate, of divisiveness, of politicians trying to pit that group against this group for their own political gain,” Vance said. “The people of Alabama are starting to understand that. Look at the election of Doug Jones.”

“What does the Chief Justice do?” Vance said. “Why should you care?” The Chief Justice is the Chief Administrator of the Alabama Court system. Whenever there is a problem in any court in the state, ultimately the buck stops there at the Chief Justice.

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Vance said that Roy Moore was the opposite of what a judge should be and that his opponent, Tom Parker is just as bad.

Danner Kline is best known for leading the effort to end regulations on craft beer. Kline is running for U.S. Representative for the Sixth Congressional District. The Sixth District is currently represented by Gary Palmer (R-Hoover). Kline lives in Vestavia Hills.

“This is the most impressive slate of Democratic candidates we have had in decades,” Kline said. “I am very excited for the matchup that we have at the top and that is Walt Maddox running against Kay Ivey.”

“With your help we are going to kick Gary Palmer out of Congress,” Kline said. The only thing that Gary Palmer have voted on that passed was a tax cut plan that gave a tax cut to millionaires and billionaires and did not help a single person in this room.

Heather Milam said, “I am proud to be your next Secretary of State.” I am running for this office because we must make it easier to vote. Number two we need to strengthen and support our voter files. My opponent was in Russian observing their free and fair elections. I don’t think that is OK.

Milam is running against incumbent Secretary John Merrill (R).

Donna Smalley is running for the Alabama Supreme Court.

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Smalley said that everybody who is running for judge will tell you that they will be fair but you as a voter need to look beyond that.

“You should vote for me because: Number one I have the most experience. I have practiced law for forty years,” Smalley said. My opponent was two years old when I began. I have practiced in a variety of areas of the law in both the federal and state court systems; while my opponent has been primarily a lobbyist. Second Alabama has a widespread corruption problem. My opponent has defended Mike Hubbard. Third I have done a lot of mediation

Karie Powell is running for the Alabama Public Service Commission.

“I am running because we need transparency at the Public Service Commission,” Powell said. “The Public Service Commission holds rate meetings in secret. Other states have formal rate hearing. Alabama has not had a formal hearing since 1982.”

“Alabama Power has the highest return on equity, profits, of any utility company in the country,” Powell continued. “Alabamians pay the second highest residential utility rates in the country. You are being ripped off.”

Powell said that she is for repealing the fee on home solar customers, which she calls a tax.

Veronica R. Johnson is running for House District 51.

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“One of my biggest platform issues is Pre-K,” Johnson said. “Our Pre-K program is the best in the nation but only 28 percent of the children in Alabama get Pre-K.” “With Pre-K there is a $7 return for every dollar invested.

“I am a juvenile probation officer,” Johnson said. Prison reform is very important. “We need to adequately equip our prison guards to protects themselves as well as the other prisoners and we have not been doing that.”
Alabama is becoming a car manufacturing Mecca; but we are not producing enough workers to fill all of these jobs,” Johnson added. “We are having to pull from out of state. We need more vocational education in high schools so Alabamians can fill those jobs.”

“We need to expand Medicaid,” Johnson said. Johnson said that District 51 is a purple district.

Danny Carr is running Jefferson County District Attorney. He is currently the Chief Deputy District Attorney and was previously the interim district attorney. He is running against Gov. Ivey appointee, Mike Anderton (R).

“I was removed because I am a Democrat,” Carr said. “In November this blue wave will ride throughout our state, through our county, and our city. Montgomery will not decide who we elect.”

Mark Pettway is running for Sheriff of Jefferson County against incumbent Mike Hale (R).

“I have over 26 years of law enforcement experience including 18 years in the Sheriffs Department,” Pettway said. “I want to be Sheriff because I care. I care about the children and the teachers while they are in school. I want an environment where teachers are able to teach in a safe environment and not carry a gun.”

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“I care about criminal justice reform,” Pettway said. “We are going to stop the revolving door.” “When they leave the jail we will make sure that they have opportunities waiting for them.”

The general election will be November 6.

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



We will see in less than five weeks. 


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