Montgomery County Commission President Elton Dean announced his candidacy for the office of mayor of Montgomery.
“I’m Elton Dean and I’m proud to announce that I’m running to be Montgomery’s next Mayor. 2019 is going to be the year that we come together to make all of Montgomery a better place to live, work and pray together,” Dean said in a video release. “I want to be the mayor that works to move all of Montgomery forward. No more West Montgomery and East Montgomery. Just all of us working with one goal; to better our entire community, as one team. With your support, we can improve Montgomery.”
Chairman Elton N. Dean, Sr. was first elected to the Montgomery County Commission in 2000. He was elected Vice Chairman in 2004 and has been Commission Chairman since 2009. Dean is married to the former Lillie Hardy and they have three children.
“This city has its share of problems,” Dean said. “I am no stranger to the obstacles we face but this city has a historical foundation built on overcoming obstacles. Montgomery has a history and a spirit of overcoming and moving forward. This is the city where Dr. King gave his Sunday sermons. This is the place where Rosa Parks took her historical stand against injustice.”
“Now, we must all stand together and use that same passion and commitment to build on that foundation for better jobs, better education and a better life for every Montgomery man, woman and child,” Dean continued. “We will work together to build a first-class education system because that is what our students, our teachers and our citizens deserve. I want to work with educators and parents to navigate a path to excellence in our schools. It won’t be easy but we can and we must do it together.”
Dean said the government must put in a plan of action to protect its most vulnerable citizens.
“Our children, our elderly and disabled, and especially our veterans,” Dean said. “Working within our government and with community groups, charities, churches and community service organizations, we can ensure that our most precious citizens are well take care of. I’m Elton Dean and I am asking you to join me in making a better Montgomery together.”
Dean has a diploma from George Washington Carver High School; an associates degree from Selma University; and a bachelor’s degree in business from Alabama State University. Dean also attended the American Real Estate Institute and Western Electric/AT&T/Lucent Technologies Corporate Education Center.
Dean is retired as the manager of Western Electric/AT&T/Lucent technologies; is a former manager of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and the owner of Dean Realty and 21st Century Hair Studio.
Dean has served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Alabama State University; an executive board member of the South Central Alabama Boys and Girls Club; a board bember of the Montgomery Improvement Association; a board member of the Cleveland Avenue YMCA; a board Member of the Kershaw YMCA; a board Member of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival; a member of the Montgomery Chamber Committee of 100; a member of the Central Alabama Community Foundation; the Chairman of Trustee Board and mass choir member at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; the Commissioner of the Central Alabama Amateur Baseball League; and the Commissioner of the Southern League Dixie Youth Baseball.
Secretary of State extends absentee voting for Senate District 26 special election
Secretary of State John Merrill has officially extended the opportunity for anyone concerned about COVID-19 to apply for and cast an absentee ballot for the Senate District 26 special election.
The special primary election for Senate District 26 will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 17. If necessary, a runoff election will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The general election will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
Any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their polling place shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application that is most applicable to that individual.
State law allows the secretary of state to issue absentee voting guidance during declared states of emergency, allowing Merrill to encourage voters to check the box which reads, “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]” unless another box applies.
For the Nov. 17 primary election, the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Thursday, Nov. 12. If delivered by hand, absentee ballots must be returned by Monday, Nov. 16. If delivered by mail, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 16.
Inaugural Alabama Works innovator awards presented
The inaugural AlabamaWorks! Innovator Awards were presented by Gov. Kay Ivey and Deputy Director of Commerce Ed Castile Thursday during the AlabamaWorks! Virtual Conference.
The awards were developed to highlight people and programs across the state that take an innovative approach to solving workforce challenges and help advance Ivey’s Success Plus attainment goal of adding 500,000 highly skilled workers by 2025.
At the time of the inception of the awards, Alabama was unaware of the impact COVID-19 would have on the workforce and although the attainment goal has not changed, our economic and workforce recovery post-COVID-19 will hinge on innovators like those recognized.
“The workforce challenges that we face today are not the same ones that we faced six months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has completely reshaped the workforce landscape,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “The State of Alabama is relying on those who are leading the charge by implementing innovative solutions in their cities, counties and regions to further economic and workforce development.”
The recipients are visionaries, outside-of-the-box thinkers and problem solvers. The programs test boundaries, explore new opportunities and reach deeper to bring about change. “It is important to recognize these leaders of innovation and to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the citizens, communities and industries of Alabama,” said Ed Castile, deputy director of commerce and AIDT director. “Their innovative approach to workforce development will be key to opening doors, breaking barriers and propelling Alabamians forward.”
The recipients of the first-ever AlabamaWorks Innovator Awards are as follows:
Region 1 – North AlabamaWorks – Beth Brumley, Colbert County Schools
Beth Brumley built the Health Science Program for Colbert County Schools from the ground up by using her experience in the healthcare field to provide critical, real-world skills to her students. She developed key relationships within the healthcare community to provide her students enhanced learning opportunities and exposure, which resulted in increased demand for program graduates. Beth was also named the 2020 National New Teacher of the Year through the Association for Career and Technical Education. By bridging the gap between education and employer, Beth has created a formula for success that positively impacts the workforce.
Region 2 – East AlabamaWorks – The Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement (SAFE)
SAFE has been a model for supportive services to empower individuals and families while fostering positive and healthy development of the community for nearly 25 years. In their program, SAFE combines occupational and employability skills to help job seekers be ready to enter the workforce regardless of barriers they may have faced in the past. Their dedication to providing practical solutions to modern problems is a testament to their heart for service and passion for helping their community and region.
Region 3 – West AlabamaWorks – Dr. Mike Daria, Superintendent Tuscaloosa City Schools
Dr. Daria has played a crucial role in the success of West Alabama’s workforce development by fostering important relationships between industry and education. His leadership has focused on increased Career Technical Education (CTE) enrollment, supporting local Worlds of Work events and the Educator Workforce Academy. Dr. Daria’s emphasis on the importance of identifying career pathways for the students in his district and then providing viable opportunities for students to take those paths, make him invaluable to West Alabama.
Region 4 – Central Six AlabamaWorks – Ed Farm
Ed Farm is the signature program of TechAlabama that focuses on encouraging children and adults to discover and pursue STEM careers. Ed Farm has a vision for a world full of invention, led by citizens who have been equipped with the necessary tools to fill or create the careers of the future. Through equipping educators and communities with innovative tools, strategies and programs they are able to support active learning for all students. With three signature tracks, Ed Farm is poised to help increase educational equity and improve learning outcomes through technology all while preparing the future tech workforce.
Region 5 – Central AlabamaWorks – Tiger Mochas, Auburn City Schools
Tiger Mochas is a collaborative effort between special education students, FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) members and peer volunteers at Auburn High School. This student-led organization is serving up a lot more than hot cups of coffee to their peers because through their work, students are provided meaningful, hands-on work experience that teaches important functional, social and daily living skills. Graduates of the program leave with not only work and employability skills, but in-demand soft skills that will help them succeed in life and work.
Region 6 – Southeast AlabamaWorks – WeeCat Industries
WeeCat Industries uses a simulated workplace model to meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce. WeeCat saw an opportunity to begin teaching work ethics and employability skills as early as preschool, and rose to the challenge. Their students clock into work, run an assembly line, fill orders, check invoices, meet production quota, interview for new positions and implement quality control all while earning a “paycheck” to be spent at the WeeCat Store before they can even spell the word “school”. WeeCat Industries places invaluable skills at a crucial age in development which will shape the future of the workforce.
Region 7 – SAWDC AlabamaWorks – Ed Bushaw
Ed Bushaw with the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce researched and developed initiatives to address the region’s workforce supply to meet the needs of the growing hospitality and tourism industry in his region. His collaborative efforts with business and industry officials resulted in the development of the first Hospitality and Tourism registered apprenticeship program in Alabama. Apprentices receive classroom instruction as well as valuable real-world experience within the hospitality and tourism industry and finish the program with a credential that can be used to advance their career. Ed’s ability to adapt to the needs of industry and implement programs that address those needs are vital to the continued success of southwest Alabama.
Jones gets “F” rating from anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is criticizing Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, for receiving an “F” rating this week from the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion rights group that supports candidates who oppose abortion.
The organization gave Jones a failing grade because they said that Jones has voted against almost every “critical piece of pro-life legislation” offered in the Senate since he took office.
“Anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones’ pro-abortion record and opposition to pro-life legislation shows just how blatantly he disregards the values of Alabamians,” said NRSC spokesperson Paige Lindgren. “Alabama deserves a Senator that is a vocal supporter of the pro-life movement and willing to stand up for their conservative values in Congress.”
Lungren added that, “In February, Jones laughed when asked if he would support the Pain Capable Protection Act, a bill that would ban late-term abortions. He later voted NO on the same bill when it came to the Senate floor.”
The Republican candidate challenging Jones, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, has been endorsed by National Right to Life.
“National Right to Life is pleased to endorse Tommy Tuberville for election to the U.S. Senate,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “Tommy Tuberville supports compassionate proposals to safeguard unborn children and their mothers from the pain of abortion.”
The voters of Alabama in 2018 voted to outlaw abortions in the state in an amendment to the state constitution, and the state Legislature in 2019 essentially outlawed abortions. However, federal law and Supreme Court precedent make those measures unenforceable.
“Tommy Tuberville will work to ensure all innocent human life is protected and he is committed to strengthening a culture of life throughout the nation and in the U.S. Senate,” said Tobias. “As a coach, Tommy Tuberville knows the hard work that goes into achieving victory and we look forward to working with him to win greater protections for the most vulnerable in our society.”
Tuberville is a former Auburn University head football coach. He has coached the University of Mississippi, Texas Tech University and the University of Cincinnati.
Jones is a former U.S. attorney. He has had many years in private practice as an attorney. After law school, Jones was an aide to then-U.S. Sen. Howell Heflin, D-Alabama.
Jones defeated former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in a December 2017 special election.
The Alabama Senate race is the closest-watched race in the state in the Nov. 3 general election.
Faith and labor partnership launched on Birmingham bombing anniversary
The bomb that ripped through the 16th Street Baptist Church 57 years ago was a predictable result of the social divisions of the early 1960s, and the nation is experiencing a similarly dangerous level of polarization now, said two prominent rights advocates who led a virtual ceremony on Tuesday commemorating the infamous event.
Rev. William Barber, who heads the nonprofit Repairers of the Breach and the Poor People’s Campaign, joined Richard Trumka, president of the country’s largest federation of unions, at the church to announce a formal partnership to work for social, racial and economic justice.
Trumka said the labor movement honors the bombing’s four young victims: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Carol Denise McNair.
“But our debt to this community is greater than that,” he said. “On the day the Ku Klux Klan set off the bomb, parts of the labor movement were racially segregated, including in Birmingham. The divisions and hatred that landowners and employers had been sowing since the founding of this country infected our own movement. So when the AFL-CIO fought for the passage of the Civil Rights Act, they were fighting to end discrimination and racism not just by employers, but by our own unions, our own institutions. We were fighting to change ourselves.”
With deep divisions again threatening American lives and democracy, Barber said, it is time for communities of faith to join with other groups struggling for fundamental rights in pursuit of a more perfect vision of the country.
There have always been attempts to defend a status quo that favors some over many others, willing to commit heinous violence to enforce it, he said.
“But we must remember these brutal acts were in violent response to the movement that had been achieved: The first citywide desegregation campaign in the South,” Barber said. “And it happened because faith and labor came together. Faith and labor and moral leaders and poor people came together.”
The killings were perpetrated after the movement had multiple successes by extremists who wanted to go backwards, he said. The achievement of basic rights by some was perceived as a threat to the “peace of Southern society and American society as a whole,” he said, and similar sentiments are being stoked today.
Barber said that the Civil Rights movement is too often talked about exclusively through a Black lens, although that was not the message of its leaders at the time. They emphasized the shared interests of poor people of all ethnicities, and of all marginalized communities.
“In some ways, we’re returning to what is. We’re not building so much new, but we’re embracing what has always been the necessary embrace in times of national crisis, around justice and around fundamental civil rights and economic rights,” he said.
Barber said the issues transcend President Donald Trump and the tribal state of American politics. He said that he meets people around the country of various ideologies who are dismayed with the way things are.
“What people are starting to realize is that those who push and support racist voter suppression, like Trump — it may be targeted at Black people, but the people who use those tactics to get elected, once they get elected they block living wages, they block union rights, they block health care,” Barber said.
He used Alabama as a prime example, with its majority of poor and uninsured people being white. The officials who promote policies that amount to voter suppression or who rally support with dog-whistle racism advance their agendas with lies, he said.
“Something that my grandmother taught me is if you scratch a liar, you find a thief,” Barber said.