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Alabama leaders react to the passing of former President George H. W. Bush

Brandon Moseley

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Saturday Alabama and national leaders sent statements mourning the passing of the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush (R).

The Alabama Republican Party released a statement on the death of President Bush Saturday morning.

“The Alabama Republican Party extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of President George H.W. Bush,” ALGOP Chairman Terry Lathan wrote. “Our nation not only mourns a great president, but a great man. As a dedicated husband, father and grandfather, he spent a lifetime proudly caring and supporting those he loved the most.”

“A WWII veteran, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.N. Ambassador and Republican National Committee Chair, the 41st President of our United States dedicated his life to earnestly and courageously serving the American public,” Lathan continued. “We are deeply grateful for the way President George H. W. Bush loved and led America. Now and in the years to come, we will remember President George H.W. Bush and the lasting impact his legacy leaves behind. He truly is a point of light in our country’s history. May his faith in God be a great comfort to his family and all who love him.”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) said, “President George H.W. Bush was a true statesman and patriot who served our country in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later as Congressman, Ambassador, CIA Director, Vice President and President. The honor he showed our people will live on long after today. He was a leader for us all, and his presence will be truly missed. I pray for the Bush Family as they mourn the death of their father, grandfather, great-grandfather and our 41st President.”

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, released said, “President George H.W. Bush was a true American statesman and hero. He dedicated his life to serving the country he loved for more than 70 years. From a young Naval aviator shot down in WWII to Commander-in-Chief, President Bush led our nation with integrity, honor, and measure. Annette and I join all Americans in mourning his passing. His legacy of humility and devotion will never be forgotten.”

U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, said, “I was deeply saddened this morning by the news of President George H.W. Bush’s passing. President Bush served the United States of America throughout his life with honor and dignity, both at war and here at home, as a Navy pilot, a diplomat, and a statesman. He made the most of his 94 years of life and he set an example we should all strive to follow, especially his unwavering dedication to his family and to our country. Louise and I send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Bush family as they grieve the loss of their beloved patriarch.”

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Congressmen Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, said: “George H.W. Bush was an American hero and icon. Throughout his 94 years, he served our nation in so many ways, and he accomplished so much. Despite all of this, I think the life of George H.W. Bush is best summed up in a very simple phrase: he was a good man. May God be with the Bush family and a grateful nation as we mourn and remember a good man and an American hero.”

Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon,R-Monrovia, said, “President George H.W. Bush epitomized all that is great about public service. A man of means who could have lived a life of comfort and relaxation, he chose instead to open himself to the criticism that politics and difficult decisions often bring. Our nation is better off for the service that he gallantly offered both in office and as a veteran of World War II. During his presidency, the Berlin Wall fell, the Iron Curtain was finally parted, and our world became more stable and secure under his watch. President Bush is now reunited with his beloved Barbara and the daughter, Robin, that they lost. History will be kind to him, which is just and deserved.”

Congressman Mike D. Rogers, R-Saks, said on social media, “Sending heartfelt prayers to the Bush family this morning after the passing of President George H.W. Bush. The world lost a great man today who will be remembered for a lifetime of service.”

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Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, said, “The members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus join the rest of the nation and freedom-loving people around the world in mourning the loss of President George H.W. Bush. He will be considered among the greatest of our one-term presidents, and most will agree that our nation would have been spared much drama and turmoil had he been elected to a second term. He was both a gentleman and a gentle man who offered an example for others to follow. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they celebrate 94 years of a life well lived.”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “NASA and the nation mourn the passing of President George Herbert Walker Bush, a leader who was a passionate advocate for space exploration. President Bush is a personal hero of mine and a major inspiration in my life. I remember like yesterday watching the 1992 Republican National Convention, learning of his life of sacrifice, and hearing his whimsical memories of ‘sitting on an aircraft carrier, looking at the stars, and dreaming about a girl named Barbara.’ From being the Navy’s youngest fighter pilot in World War II and being shot down, to his years of public service in Congress, the State Department, CIA, Vice President and President, there was nothing he wouldn’t give for our country and her people.”

“President Bush’s Space Exploration Initiative helped us to think big and long-term about space,” Bridenstine continued. “His impassioned vision of ‘a journey into tomorrow – a journey to another planet – a manned mission to Mars,’ helped sustain NASA’s early work on the International Space Station, and it still can be felt in our ongoing efforts to send humans farther into the solar system to live and work for extended periods. The President noted it was humanity’s destiny to explore, and America’s destiny to lead. We salute this great American leader, who challenged us to chart a course for the future to benefit all humanity.”

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde said, “This morning, America, and the world, have lost an iconic statesman. As a Congressman, Ambassador, Vice President, and President, George H.W. Bush believed deeply in the power of international cooperation. The arc of his career—from World War II pilot to the President who helped heal divisions at the end of the Cold War—was defined by a commitment to creating a more prosperous and peaceful future for all people. His life’s work is a powerful and timely reminder of what can be achieved when nations work together. My personal condolences and heartfelt sympathies go out to the entire Bush family.”

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said, “George H.W. Bush was a man for all seasons. He was great in his impact, making the world safer and freer. He was great in his character, leading with decency and integrity. A war hero and statesman, the country is inspired by his example.

“Like so many Americans, I admired President Bush not only for how he served, but for how he lived,” Speaker Ryan said. “He took pride in being a family man. The affection he showed for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren was so endearing. His 73 years of marriage to Barbara marks a long and beautiful love story. President Bush best demonstrated the qualities he once described as ‘those little touches of grace and affection and humor that make life sing.’ His life was a hymn of honor. It was in the people’s House where he began his time in public office. In our sadness today, we express our deepest condolences to the Bush family. We give thanks to God for the life of this patriot.”

“President Bush led a great American life, one that combined and personified two of our Nation’s greatest virtues: an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to public service,” President Donald J. Trump (R) said. “Our country will greatly miss his inspiring example. On the day he turned 18, 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, George H.W. Bush volunteered for combat duty in the Second World War. The youngest aviator in United States naval history at the time, he flew 58 combat missions, including one in which, after taking enemy fire, he parachuted from his burning plane into the Pacific Ocean. After the war, he returned home and started a business. In his words, “the big thing” he learned from this endeavor was “the satisfaction of creating jobs.”

“The same unselfish spirit that motivated his business pursuits later inspired him to resume the public service he began as a young man,” Trump continued. “First, as a member of Congress, then as Ambassador to the United Nations, Chief of the United States Liaison Office in China, Director of Central Intelligence, Vice President, and finally President of the United States, George H.W. Bush guided our Nation through the Cold War, to its peaceful and victorious end, and into the decades of prosperity that have followed. Through sound judgment, practical wisdom, and steady leadership, President Bush made safer the second half of a tumultuous and dangerous century.”

President Donald J. Trump (R) has called for a national day of mourning on Wednesday and ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for 30 days following Bush’s death. The New York Stock Exchange has confirmed that they will close for the day to honor President Bush.

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National

Mexico isn’t paying for Trump’s border wall. Alabama is.

Josh Moon

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Looks like Mexico isn’t paying for that “big, beautiful wall” at the southern border. 

Alabama is. 

The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would be diverting more than $260 million of funds originally slated for a Navy ship building operation located in the Port of Mobile and will instead use those funds to construct a portion of Trump’s border wall. 

“I am very concerned about the impact a decision like this could have on communities like Mobile, whose ship-building workforce is second to none,” Alabama Sen. Doug Jones said. “I understand and agree we need to protect our borders, but I can’t understand for the life of me why folks in Mobile would be paying for this wall.”

The money was originally earmarked for Austal Inc., which had been selected by the Navy to build 11 Expeditionary Fast Transport ships. Those EFT ships are designed to provide the Navy with quick, shallow-water transport of both troops and equipment. 

“First and foremost, I support the President’s efforts to build the wall,” Sen. Richard Shelby said. “My strong preference is to do so through a direct appropriation, but Democrats have refused. While I am disappointed that the Department of Defense intends to target important priorities such as the Expeditionary Fast Transport, the Democrats left the President little choice in finding the funds necessary to build the wall. Ultimately, building the wall and providing for our national defense should be our highest priorities.

This is not exactly true. The 2020 Federal Budget included $1.37 billion in funding for the wall — a total agreed upon by Congress last year after tense budget negotiations. 

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To date, Trump’s wall has cost American taxpayers — who are footing the entire bill for this project, despite Trump’s promises — more than $400 million and is projected to exceed more than $11 billion at its current rate. 

Thus far, only about 110 miles of border wall has been built, and nearly all of that is replacement of the border structures that were in place. 

The goal was to erect a border wall covering the majority of an 864-mile zone that the administration deemed a priority. So far, zero miles of that zone have been completed, and the entire project has faced a number of setbacks. Most troubling is the fact that nearly half of that zone consists of privately owned lands in Texas, and the landowners have refused to sell. 

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However, the Trump administration is moving forward, continuing to push money into the project. And the search for additional funding has been almost as controversial as the project itself, with the Trump administration taking heat for pulling money from a variety of projects, including the improvement of base housing around the country. 

And now, Alabama stands to lose hundreds of millions. 

“The (transport ship) is responsible for hundreds of good-paying jobs in South Alabama, but I am even more concerned about the impact this decision has on our men and women in uniform and our national security,” Jones said. “This decision puts Alabama jobs on the line and it is going to make us less safe by denying our troops the resources they need to stay safe and fulfill their missions.”

Immigration experts also question the effectiveness of the wall on illegal immigration, and most national security experts agree that it will have little effect on the nation’s overall. 

The overwhelming majority of undocumented workers in the U.S. don’t enter through the southern border. Additionally, despite constant rhetoric from Republicans and from Trump that terrorists are crossing the Mexican border, a CATO Institute study in 2018 found that of the seven terrorism suspects apprehended in the U.S. after entering the country illegally, none crossed the southern border. Instead, they entered through Canada.

 

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National

Jones joins bipartisan vote to approve Iran war powers resolution

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Thursday joined a bipartisan vote to require  President Donald Trump to seek Congressional approval before taking further military action against Iran. 

“Before a President can lead us into war, he or she must first earn the support of the American people and also fulfill their solemn constitutional obligation to seek approval from Congress,” Jones said in a statement Thursday. “While the President has the power to protect Americans in the case of an imminent attack, that authority does not extend to committing our service members to long-term hostilities unilaterally. This resolution sends a strong message that we will follow the Constitution and we will not send our troops into harm’s way without the serious consideration and consent of the Congress.”

Jones, a member of the the Senate Armed Services Committee, co-sponsored the legislation, which passed after a 55 to 45 vote, but the move was largely symbolic, as it failed to pass with the required two-thirds vote to prevent a presidential veto, which Trump has promised. 

The vote to limit Trump’s ability to wage war with Iran came almost six weeks after Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and nine others. 

The drone strike, which Trump ordered without first getting approval from Congress, resulted in a retaliatory missile attack by Iran on Iraqi-U.S. occupied bases that left more than 100 American soldiers with traumatic brain injuries from the concussive blasts. 

In a rare break, eight Republican senators broke from their party to vote with Democrats to approve the effort. Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Todd Young of Indiana, Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky all voted in favor of limiting Trump’s power to engage in war with Iran. 

On Wednesday, a day before the Senate vote, Trump urged Republicans to vote against the measure in a tweet.  

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“It is very important for our Country’s SECURITY that the United States Senate not vote for the Iran War Powers Resolution. We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness. Americans overwhelmingly support our attack on terrorist Soleimani,” Trump’s tweet reads. “If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal. The Democrats are only doing this as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party. Don’t let it happen!”

 

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Elections

John Merrill elected Chair of Republican Secretaries of State Committee

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At this year’s annual National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Winter Conference, Secretary of State John H. Merrill had the privilege of meeting with the Republican Secretaries of State Committee (RSSC), where he was then elected by his 28 other peers to lead the delegation as its Chair.

“At our meeting in Washington, we solidified our goals for the upcoming term and identified new ways in which we can better ourselves as Secretaries of State. Our chief objective is to protect the integrity and credibility of the elections process in every state.” emphasized Secretary Merrill.

Merrill will be working alongside Vice Chair Frank LaRose, Ohio’s Secretary of State.

“Secretary LaRose is a proven leader among our colleagues at NASS. He has made significant progress in securing the state of elections in Ohio, and I am excited to continue our work together to ensure our colleagues are up-to-date with important information and aware of new ways in which we can protect the integrity of the electoral process,” stated Merrill.

In their commitment to maintaining fair and secure elections that are inclusive of all eligible citizens, the Republican Secretaries of State Committee will continue to work to modernize the systems in which Americans use each and every day, as well as cut down on all forms of voter fraud.

“Our Republican secretaries of state are second to none,” said RSLC President Austin Chambers. “Secretaries Merrill and LaRose are brilliant leaders who will play a key role in getting Republicans elected to secretary of state offices in every corner of the country. We are thankful for their willingness to lead and know they will have an enormous positive impact on this year’s elections.

 

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Elections

Buttigieg’s campaign announces Dixon, Rice will lead on the ground efforts in Alabama

Brandon Moseley

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Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announced that starting on Monday, Stephenie Dixon and Matthew Rice will lead the Buttigieg campaign’s on-the-ground efforts in Alabama.

The Alabama presidential primary is less than three weeks away and the 38 year-old South Bend, Indiana Mayor is locked in a tight race with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) after Iowa and New Hampshire. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) is in third. Former New York City and mega billionaire Michael Bloomberg skipped the early states and is pouring millions of his own money into the race. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) are struggling to resurrect their campaigns after disappointing finishes in the first two contest. Bloomberg and Sanders both been actively organizing in Alabama.

“We are building the campaign that will not only win this nomination but will defeat Donald Trump in November,” said Samantha Steelman, Pete for America Organizing Director for Super Tuesday States. “To compete in all the states on Super Tuesday, you need a massive network of grassroots volunteers. For months, we have had a team that has been building that organization by harnessing the energy and grassroots momentum behind Pete and turning it into real organizing work. This ramp up will provide more staff and resources to train, resource, and guide our 25,000 volunteers in Super Tuesday states that will push our campaign across the finish line on March 3rd.”

Dixon and Rice have been tasked with helping further resource and train grassroots volunteer networks in Alabama’s seven congressional districts who have shared Pete’s message across the state since last year.

Buttigieg has visited Alabama already but the Pete for America campaign has not announced another Alabama visit. Buttigieg will make five upcoming trips in the next two weeks that will take Mayor Buttigieg to Super Tuesday states: California, Colorado, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

The campaign has also announced a six-figure digital buy in several Super Tuesday states.

Buttigieg’s campaign claims that their message of belonging has inspired a grassroots campaign across the country. The campaign has built up volunteer leadership teams that are working in every single congressional district in all Super Tuesday states. Buttigieg’s volunteer-led teams are already hosting events and recruiting more volunteers for door knocking, phone banks, and other volunteer action in Super Tuesday states.

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In addition to staff on the ground, Pete for America is also activating and ramping up activity in coalition groups like Students for Pete and Veterans & Military Community for Pete. The campaign has over 80 Students for Pete chapters in Super Tuesday states including Troy University and Jefferson State Community College, to name a few. Chapter leaders have been trained on all aspects of the campaign, including digital organizing, field, and policy advocacy. As part of this ramp-up, Pete for America is engaging student groups to have organizing meetings to welcome new staff. Veterans & Military Community for Pete has more than 1,600 active members in Super Tuesday states that will ramp up organizing activities as well.

Pete for America is also organizing online in Alabama. The campaign has over 150 digital captains, with a presence in every Super Tuesday state who are engaging supporters and bringing them into its relational organizing program. The campaign’s digital Welcome teams and Local teams will be finding and identifying new supporters online, welcoming them into the Pete community, and then connecting them to local resources both online and on the ground to get involved – translating online support to offline action.

Buttigieg is a veteran and if elected would be the youngest President in American history. He would also be the first openly gay president.

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The Alabama presidential primary is March 3.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination for President will face incumbent President Donald J. Trump (R) on November 3.

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