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Ivey introduces Gus Malzahn at Public Safety Insurance fund luncheon

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey spoke to members of the Public Safety Insurance Fund in Montgomery on Tuesday.

“It is great to be with you today,” Ivey said. “I am certainly honored to be here for the 17th annual award luncheon with members of the Public Safety insurance fund.”

“Alabama was the first state in the nation to offer a life insurance fund of this kind,” Ivey said. “Thank you for what you are doing and what you continue to do.”

Ivey introduced Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn.

“Gus believes in Auburn the same way that he believes in his players,” Ivey said. “Coach Malzahn carries great pride and joy for the Auburn players and families and also for the great state of Alabama.”

“I am honored to be here,” Malzahn said. “My dad was a deputy sheriff in Cleburne County Texas for 22 years and was an undercover narcotics agent for four years.”

The audience wanted to know who the starting quarterback would be for Auburn in the fall.

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“We have the four guys,” Malzahn said. “They had equal time in the spring, and that was by design. You can’t keep doing that. We have got to narrow it down, and we are close to doing that.”

“We have four guys who can run an offense,” Malzahn said. “It is a matter of picking the right guy to be the starting quarterback. That is the biggest decision I will make this year.”

“Our offensive line struggled some last year,” Malzahn said. “We have six seniors on the offensive line, and five of them are starters. We feel like right now, if you watched our number twos, we have the best depth on the offensive line that I have had since I have been in Auburn.”

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“I am feeling really good about both lines,” Malzahn added. “In this league, it is all about winning up front.”

“Derrick Brown — I really think he could be the first player taken in the draft,” he said. “Rodney Garner I believe is the best defensive line coach in football. We are gong to be good on the front of the defensive side for a long time.”

On the wide receivers, the coach said Seth Williams had an outstanding A-day game, and he’s really expecting the receivers group to be good.

“My biggest concern was the linebacker position coming into spring,” the coach said. “But after the spring, I really think that position is set.”

“We have a real chance to have the best defense in my nine years in Auburn,”. Malzahn added. “It all starts up front.”

“I need to get control of the schedule,” Malzahn added. “We open up with Oregon in Texas Stadium. They have their quarterback back and will be a top 10 team in the country. Last year, we opened with Washington, and they were number four in the country. This year will be the most challenging schedule that we have since I have been at Auburn.”

“I decided to take back over the play calling,” Malzahn said. “At the end of the day, I am a football coach, and it was offense that got me where I am. We are going to go fast and be very aggressive.”

“For the first time, in that bowl game we looked like an Auburn football team,” Malzahn said.

Malzahn praised the Auburn men’s basketball team and coach Bruce Pearl.

“Five years ago he took over a JV team,” Malzahn said. “I got to go to a final four as a fan. That was real special, the run that our basketball team had, I was real proud being an Auburn man.”

Mayor Todd Strange presented Malzahn with the key to the city and a painting by artist Don Sawyer of Aubie.

The Public Safety Insurance Fund is the nation’s first free life insurance program for public safety officers. The organization endows $60,000 worth of life and accidental death benefits to more than 2,500 public safety officers in the River Region of Alabama.

Since the Public Safety Fund was created in 2002, 25 officers have died, and over $500,000 have been paid out of the fund.

Over 2,500 public safety officers in the River Region and Alabama are currently covered including: Montgomery City fire department, police department, corrections officers, bailiffs and special investigators; Montgomery County Sheriffs Deputies and corrections officers; Wetumpka City firefighters and police; Elmore County Sheriffs Deputies; Autauga County Sheriff’s Deputies; Butler County Sheriffs Deputies; Millbrook City firefighters and police; Covington County Sheriffs Deputies; Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources enforcement officers, marine resources and game wardens; Alabama Law Enforcement Agency State Troopers, Marine Police and Capitol Police; the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Public Safety Officers; McKenzie City police; Greenville City police and firefighters and the Georgiana police.

The policy pays $10,000 to the family of a covered officer no matter how, when or where an officer dies. The policy pays an additional $50,000 paid to the family of a covered officer who dies in an accident off duty.

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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Economy

Governor announces auto supplier IAC plans Alabama expansion

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that International Automotive Components Group North America Inc. plans to invest over $55.9 million in expansion projects that will create 182 jobs at two Alabama facilities.

“International Automotive Components is a leading global auto supplier, and I am pleased that this world-class company is growing significantly in Alabama and creating good jobs in Cottondale and Anniston,” Ivey said. “IAC’s growth plans show that Alabama’s dynamic auto industry continues to expand despite today’s challenging environment.”

Nick Skwiat is the executive vice president and president of IAC North America.

“Alabama was the logical choice due to its skilled workforce and proximity to the customer,” Skwiat said. “We are excited to see the continued growth of the automotive industry in Alabama and we plan to grow right along with it. We thank the Governor and Secretary Canfield for their leadership in this sector.”

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County. This facility will produce door panels and overhead systems for original equipment manufacturers. That project will create 119 jobs at the production site in Cottondale.

IAC also plans to invest $21.6 million at its manufacturing facility located in the former Fort McClellan in Anniston. That East Alabama project will create another 63 jobs.

This project builds on a milestone 2014 expansion that doubled the size of the Calhoun County facility. There IAC manufactures automotive interior components and systems. Key components produced at the Anniston plant include door panels, trim systems and instrument panels for original equipment manufacturers.

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IAC Group is a leading global supplier of innovative and sustainable instrument panels, consoles, door panels, overhead systems, bumper fascias and exterior ornamentation for original equipment manufacturers.

IAC is headquartered in Luxembourg and has more than 18,000 employees at 67 locations in 17 countries. The company operates manufacturing facilities in eight U.S. states.

“With operations around the globe, IAC is the kind of high-performance company that we want in Alabama’s auto supply chain to help fuel sustainable growth,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “We look forward to working with IAC and facilitating its future growth in this strategic industrial sector.”

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Danielle Winningham is the executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.

“International Automotive Components is a valued part of Tuscaloosa County’s automotive sector,” Winningham said. “We are grateful for IAC’s investment in our community and the career opportunities available to our area workforce as a result of their investment.”

“The City of Anniston is excited that IAC has made the decision to expand here. I have enjoyed working with the leadership at IAC, the Calhoun County EDC, and the state of Alabama to get this project finalized,” said Anniston Mayor Jack Draper. “This is even further evidence that Anniston is indeed open for business.”

Only Michigan has more automobile manufacturing jobs than the state of Alabama. Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, Polaris, Toyota and soon Mazda all have major automobile assembly plants in the state of Alabama.

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Courts

Aderholt fully supports Barrett’s confirmation process

Confirmation hearings began last week and a vote on her confirmation is expected in the next week just days before the general election.

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Robert Aderholt

Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, updated his constituents on the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Aderholt said, “I do support her fully and I know she will defend life, protect the Constitution, and uphold our freedoms.”

Confirmation hearings began last week and a vote on her confirmation is expected in the next week just days before the general election.

“Senate Democrats are not seriously questioning Judge Barrett on her credentials, instead they have decided to attack her character and her beliefs,” Aderholt said. “I am disappointed to see this unfold on the national stage, but I think Judge Barrett stood strong and did well during this first week of hearings.”

“While I do not have a vote in her confirmation process, I do support her fully and I know she will defend life, protect the Constitution, and uphold our freedoms when she is officially sworn in as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court,” Aderholt said.

Barrett is a Notre Dame graduate, has served on the U.S. Seventh Court of Appeals and is a former clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“I clerked for Justice Scalia more than 20 years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate,” Barrett said. “His judicial philosophy is mine, too: A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

Barrett vowed to keep an open mind on any matter that comes before the court, though Democrats fear she is prepared to overturn Supreme Court precedent on abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act.

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That the Republican controlled committee will recommend that Barrett be confirmed appears certain. A vote to confirm Barrett to the nation’s highest court by the full Senate could occur just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

President Donald Trump has been the president of the United States for less than four years but if Barrett is confirmed, then he will have selected one third of the U.S. Supreme Court. Barrett fills a place created by the death of the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.

Aderholt is in his 12th term representing Alabama’s 4th Congressional District. He faces Democratic nominee Rick Neighbors in the Nov. 3 general election.

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Economy

New unemployment claims increased last week

More people joined the unemployment rolls last week than the week before.

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 8,581 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, up from 7,732 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. 

Of the claims filed between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10, there were 3,125 related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s 36 percent, compared to 51 percent the previous week.

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Economy

Governor announces $1.5 million grant to expand job training at Bevill State Community College

The expanded facility will help train people in welding and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and other trades. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey and the Appalachian Regional Commission this week announced a $1.5 million grant to renovate and expand a training facility at Bevill State Community College. 

The expanded facility will help train people in welding and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and other trades. 

“Alabamians are eager to work, and we are eager for them to find jobs that will allow them to earn a good living,” Ivey said in a statement. “These funds will help more Alabamians answer the call to the state’s increasing demand for jobs in these fields. I am thankful for our partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the assistance they have provided in helping us respond to in-demand issues.”

The grant comes from Appalachian Regional Commission’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative, which targets areas affected by the closing of coal mining and coal-related industries, according to a press release from Ivey’s office. 

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.

“This grant is a shot in the arm for an Alabama economy that has maintained its poise during the cessation of coal industries and then the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” ADECA director Kenneth Boswell said in a statement. “ADECA is pleased to join with Gov. Ivey, ARC, Bevill State Community College and many other partners in this life-changing program.”

Dr. Chris Cox, Bevill State interim president, said the program will allow for scholarships for workers who lost jobs in coal-related industries.

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“This rapid training center expansion will help establish a career pipeline to support local manufacturing industries, will serve to diversify the region’s economy and will increase post-secondary students’ access to advanced training and completion of industry-recognized certifications,” Cox said in a statement.

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