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Potential congressional candidate Chris Countryman discusses the issues facing 2nd Congressional District

Brandon Moseley

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Former gubernatorial candidate Chris Countryman is exploring running for the Democratic nomination for the open Second Congressional District.

Countryman agreed to a lengthy interview by the Alabama Political Reporter.

APR: Huntsville, Baldwin County, Lee County and Shelby County have really experienced a lot of economic growth, but the Second Congressional District has been largely stagnant in population, is there something that can be done to boost the economic vitality of the Second district?

Countryman: “I remember when the Sony plant in Houston County shut down in 2010. There were over 300 full time employees that were let go from their jobs, many of them had worked there for over 15 years. I myself even worked there for a short time right when I got out of high school.”

“For many people most of their work experience was centered around Sony, and when Sony closed these individuals struggled to find work with comparative wages,” Countryman continued. “But Sony wasn’t the only company that closed its doors. Other factories all across District 2 shut their doors costing our economies millions of dollars in lost tax revenue; and leaving thousands of workers unemployed not knowing how they would feed themselves or their families.”

“If we are going to succeed then we need to keep up with the rest of the country, and right now, Alabama is failing miserably at providing quality jobs that pay a living wage,” Countryman added. “I would start by bringing jobs that specialize in the clean renewable energy industry to District 2 in order to rebuild the job markets in the areas that need it the most. This would rebuild the population in these areas due to the availability of new sustainable jobs, the industries would produce tangible goods that generates revenue within these areas and this would result in the citizens investing back into their local economy. What we need is a Congressman that is willing to introduce legislation that will successfully address these issues and we need someone who has committed themselves to stand with the people.”

APR: Rural healthcare has been in precipitous decline across the country and that has accelerated since the Affordable Care Act was passed, is there something the federal government can do to lure more young doctors to counties outside of major metropolitan areas?

Countryman: “During my 2018 Alabama gubernatorial campaign I had proposed implementing policies that allow the state to offer incentives to new doctors to take up practice in rural areas. But beyond that comes the importance of improving the infrastructure in these rural areas which is a factor in drawing new medical practices to the rural areas. New doctors and their families often choose the comfort and convenience of the big city because the infrastructure in rural areas doesn’t provide adequate security and safety, access to public transportation for potential patients or medical staff, access to high speed Internet services or a competitive economy that would allow a new medical practice to succeed in rural areas. Infrastructure redevelopment in rural areas would make setting up new medical practices much more desirable to medical professionals.”

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APR: The Second Congressional District is not served at all by the federal government’s Amtrak system. Is there a need to expand rail to Montgomery? Dothan?

Countryman: “Absolutely there is. District 2 has so much opportunity that has yet to be tapped. Jobs can be created and industries can be brought into our district which would create an economic boom that would benefit everyone. However the lack of adequate public transportation options available makes transportation to and from jobs almost impossible for lower income families and individuals, and it becomes even more difficult for them if they need to travel outside of their communities for work or school. Utilizing high speed rail systems as a public transportation option would provide lower income families and individuals, along with professionals from a variety of industries, with employment and education opportunities that will help them succeed in their attempts to pursue the American dream.”

APR: Some Democratic presidential candidates, Marianne Williams for one, has objected to withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Is President Trump being too hasty in withdrawing combat troops from the country and is there anything that Congress can do?

Countryman: “The withdrawal of our troops should be done strategically and responsibly. We need to continue providing an adequate military presence within Afghanistan that will continue training the country’s security forces, monitoring any potential terrorist threats and strategically work towards the withdrawal of troops from the region. While ensuring our troops safety is of utmost importance we cannot forsake our responsibility to ensure that our country and allied forces are also kept safe from rogue regimes and terrorist attacks. Withdrawing too many troops too quickly will result in destabilizing the region opening the country up to potential terrorist attacks as well as allowing terrorist organizations to gain a foothold where they could mobilize forces. This foothold would ultimately lead to a very real and dangerous threat to our national security and to that of our allies.”

APR: The U.S. military is still flying B52s that were last built in 1960; is using Ohio class ballistic missile submarines that were launched in the 1980s; and is relying on Minuteman III missiles that were first deployed in 1970. How serious is the concern that our nuclear triad has not been modernized and should this be a national priority?

Countryman: “National security is a very important issue and we shouldn’t get too comfortable in times of peace. While I personally believe that it’s of utmost importance to pursue a diplomatic solution to any conflict, I also believe that we should also be prepared to defend our country should we come under attack. For this reason, we should invest in modernizing our military defenses so long as it is done in a fiscally responsible manner. I will not support any legislation that uses a false propaganda driven rhetoric to get funding for updating our military defenses.”

APR: Is climate change real? And if so, is it practical or even constitutional, for the U.S. government to demand that businesses, farmers and citizens reduce their carbon emissions?

Countryman: “Yes, climate change is a very real and serious issue. Our government has often passed laws to protect others. Take our laws regarding drinking and driving for instance. Our government made driving while under the influence against the law to protect people. Same way with the recent laws that make it illegal to text while driving. How we use our natural resources is no different. If we know that increased carbon emissions are bad on the environment, can cause adverse health effects in people over time, and dramatically effects the overall quality of life of others then by us not taking an active role to reduce carbon emissions we are committing an act of assault against our fellow countryman. So when it comes to what is in the best interest of public health and safety I feel the responsible thing to do is for us to work with business, farmers and citizens to reduce carbon emissions, reduce our carbon footprint and protect our natural resources so that everyone can live healthier lives and so generations to come can do the same.”

APR: The Ivey administration is proposing making a portion of I-10 into a toll road to pay for upgrading existing infrastructure. Do you support using tolling to improve infrastructure in the state such as between I-10 and Dothan. Dothan and Montgomery. widening I-65 between Montgomery and Mobile, or Troy to Columbus?

Countryman: “No I do not support having toll roads for a number of reasons, first it would place the lower class at a disadvantage due to their inability to adequately travel within these areas for work and other reasons.”

“While on the surface it may seem like a good idea to some, toll bridges would end up having a negative impact on our economy and thus keeping many people impoverished,” Countryman added. “Another reason why I am opposed to this idea is because of the amount of congestion causing an increased concern for public health and safety.”

APR: The Trump administration has proposed raising the federal gas tax to pay for a $trillion in infrastructure improvements. Do you support this plan?

Countryman: “I have to be honest with you Brandon. I support parts of the plan, and there are other parts that I don’t. I believe that gas taxes are one of the most effective ways to fund infrastructure redevelopment projects, and it has been widely used as a funding source for such. But given the recklessness in government spending, specifically in regards to how funds designated to be used for infrastructure redevelopment projects have been used in the past, I would want to see some changes take place before I would consider supporting the funding of infrastructure redevelopment projects by raising the gas tax again. First I want to see more transparency when it comes to where and how our infrastructure improvement funds are spent, I would want to see more transparency when it comes to how those funds were spent in the past and I would want to work with my colleagues on formulating cost effective and environmentally friendly ways to improve and redevelop our infrastructure. I have looked into this issue extensively, we are spending way to much money using our current methods of repairing our crumbling infrastructure, especially when there are many more cost effective and environmentally friendly alternatives out there now that last longer and cost less than conventional methods.”

APR: Should the U.S. continue to support Israel or has their treatment of the Palestinians meant that we should sever our close ties with the country?

Countryman: “It’s no secret that Israel is one of our closest allies, which is a relationship that all three of our governments are capable of sharing with one another. It is important that we continue to support Israel’s right to function as a sovereign government while applying the same policy in regards to Palestine. Along with our continued support of Israel we must work at strengthening our relationship with Palestine, and provide diplomatic negotiations between their two governments in order to bridge the divide between them so there can be an environment that promotes tolerance leading to peace. The Palestinians deserves to be treated with the same respect and dignity we have shown Israel. While with the understanding that both the Israeli and the Palestinian governments have made some bad decisions that resulted in both sides suffering harm and damages the road to peace isn’t paved with continued bloodshed it is paved through the carefully mediated negotiations of one’s trusted allies. We must be that ally to both Israel and Palestine if there is to ever be peace in the Middle East.”

APR: Should we overthrow the Maduro regime in Venezuela?

Countryman: “There is a huge difference between a government that implements a variety of social programs to assist its citizens and a government that uses those social programs as a way to mislead it’s citizens in order to rise to power in order to set up an authoritarian dictatorship. Every form of government has the potential to be corrupted and infuriated by con artists looking for ways to syphon money off the backs of the working class. If you don’t believe me then just look at our current government. It is filled with these types of crooks that need to pack their bags.”

“I say all that because much of what we hear in regards to what happens in other countries is made up of some facts, some propaganda and carefully implemented lies in order to push a certain belief that the powers that be want the people to subscribe to,” Countryman continued. “That’s one significant reason why, when the choice to intervene on another country’s behalf is decided, that the decision be made intelligently and responsibly. This type of decision isn’t one that should be left up to one person’s opinion or judgment. It should be a carefully evaluated decision that is discussed among our elected officials before a final decision is made.”

APR: Can we balance the federal budget? And should we raise the retirement age to receive entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (the chief drivers of the budget deficit) to balance the budget?

Countryman: “Yes, it is possible to balance the federal budget if and when we put restrictions into play on the amount of government spending on unnecessary programs and departments. We have way too much revenue being used to fund the pork filled bills that come out of Washington. I understand that each senator and each congressman have needs within their districts but there’s a difference between what is necessary and needed verses that which they merely want.”

“As far as Social Security, along with other entitlements, raising the retirement age is the worst thing we could do,” Countryman said. “Many citizens have worked all their life paying into the system so that they will be able to live comfortably when they become unable to work. What we need to do is crack down on the abusive misuse of our government resources. Although the entitlements you mention do contribute to the deficit, they are not the only factors that dictate the amount of debt our country has. What has to be done is for the congress and Senate to sit down and systematically pour through the budgets of our entitlement programs, carefully examine other departments spending budgets and then start the process to reallocate funds from areas of government where tax dollars are being wasted and apply those tax dollars to our entitlement programs.”

APR: Should immigrants be eligible for federal benefits like Social Security, Medicare, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance, SSI, unemployment, student loans and Medicaid?

Countryman: “I believe that any immigrant who works in their community, here in our country, who receives income on which they pay taxes have a right to certain benefits. If they are here working, on a work visa or otherwise, and they have income tax withheld then they are contributing to the system and are entitled to the same benefits as anyone else who contributes to the system through the taxes they pay.”

“As far as humanitarian efforts I believe that we have a moral obligation to assist those who seek refuge and safety within our borders, and that some level of assistance is needed and justified when it comes to ensuring that those immigrants to our country are treated with respect, dignity and that we make every effort to contribute to their health and safety while offering them a pathway to citizenship,” Countryman explained. “However if an immigrant is here illegally, with no intentions on becoming a citizen of our country or contributing to the system through the payment of taxes, they should not be eligible to receive benefits from the government. This of course does not excuse us from having to treat them with respect and dignity and allow them due process when deciding the best possible option to eliminating the problem of illegal immigration into our country.”

APR: Would you support a ban on semi-automatic rifles and shotguns (sometimes called an assault weapons ban) or is such a ban unconstitutional under the Second Amendment?

Countryman: “First let me be clear. I believe in common sense laws. Laws are meant to protect our fellow countryman. Just because the 2nd Amendment is interpreted by many to grant citizens the right to own a firearm doesn’t mean that it should be interpreted to allow citizens the unbridled right to own or possess just any type of firearm. For example, we allow citizens to buy and possess fireworks, which are classified as explosive devices, but we don’t allow the citizens to just walk around with hand grenades or dynamite. There is something called common sense when it comes to writing laws, interpreting laws and enforcing laws. That’s why I believe in common sense gun laws.”

“I am generally not opposed to allowing law abiding citizens who are of sound mind to own standard shotguns, rifles or handguns that they use for sport or personal protection,” Countryman added. “I am however, strongly opposed to citizens being allowed to possess or own assault styled weapons, similar to those used by our military and law enforcement; and I would support a ban on those types of assault weapons. But I do need to point out the importance of working with law enforcement agencies to develop more effective training programs that focus on de-escalation techniques, more oversight into the law enforcement agencies to prevent corruption. Also implement the use of more non-lethal weapons that can be used to stop or subdue aggressively violent and dangerous individuals. Deadly force should only be someone’s very last defensive option, and only after all other options have been evaluated and exhausted.”

“I have a new website up where anyone can go to learn a little more about me and my platform,” Countryman concluded. “Plus on the welcome page there’s a short survey that allows visitors to share what issues are important to them and how well of a job they feel our elected officials are doing. This survey will help me know what issues are the most important to them and will allow me the opportunity to better serve them in any upcoming political endeavors. Everyone can check my page out by visiting, www.rethink-alabama.com. I can also be reached by email at [email protected]

Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, is not seeking a sixth term in Congress.

The major party primaries will be held on March 3.

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Elections

Alabama Republicans upset with Jones’ “no” vote on coronavirus stimulus bill

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Republican leaders on Monday condemned U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’ procedural vote to prevent the coronavirus stimulus bill from coming to a vote.

On Sunday, Democrats blocked action on the comprehensive stimulus package — the third of the legislative response to the coronavirus outbreak. The bill is still being negotiated and the vote was not a vote on whether to pass a final version of the stimulus package.

“I voted against it yesterday because I wanted to make a point,” Jones said. “We had lost the negotiating and bipartisan progress for about 24 hours. And I felt very strongly that we need to get that progress back. So I voted no on a procedural motion to proceed, and guess what happened, they got down to negotiating, and in the last 24 hours, more progress has been made in the last 24 hours and than there was in the 24 hours before that.”

By Monday, Jones decided to vote yes another similar procedural vote, a vote to move forward with the legislative process but said that does not mean he will vote for the final product if changes aren’t made.

“We need to get the clock ticking,” Jones said. “We have got to get this thing moving. I felt it very important to tell my leader as well as leader McConnell that we need to get it together.”

But Republicans in the state are not happy with Jones’s procedural vote. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said, “This is not the time for politics.”

“Senator Doug Jones needs to follow the example of Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo – who has put his political differences aside and is working across the aisle with President Trump during this crisis – instead of being Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s partisan puppet,” Lathan said in a statement. “His NO vote Sunday night has had serious ramifications on the people of Alabama and our country. The Democrats helped craft this emergency unprecedented legislation and then, like Charlie Brown and the football, yanked away desperately needed help for America.”

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The deal was originally negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi. Democrats had agreed, but the deal had been held up last week by conservative Republicans balking at the price tag – all of this will be paid for with deficit spending and no plan to pay any of it back in the foreseeable future.

The Republican position in the Senate was weakened further when Republican Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, announced he was infected with the novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, though he is showing no symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

46,148 Americans have been confirmed as having the virus. The virus has killed 582 Americans, 140 of them on Monday alone.

“Doug Jones has let the majority of our state down in an uncertain time,” Lathan said. “We needed him – and he ignored us AGAIN. “

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, voted in favor of ending debate and bringing the stimulus bill to a vote.

“Thank you to President Trump and Senator Richard Shelby for putting America and Alabama first,” Lathan concluded. “We continue to lift our leaders up in prayer as their burdens and decisions weigh heavy.”

Republican Senate candidate Jeff Sessions said, “I’ve seen this play before too many times. Just as the Senate was ready to pass a bi-partisan bill providing support for American workers… Senator Chuck Schumer & House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blew it up at the last minute, trying to add unrelated spending to a bill with already too much spending. Amazingly, Pelosi wants to use this time of crisis to breath new life into the Green New Deal!”

Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said, “America is at war with an enemy we can’t see, and we currently have no weapon that can kill it. To win this war against the Coronavirus, salvage the U.S. economy, and provide needed financial help to millions of Americans, Doug Jones and other Senate Democrats are going to have to put their partisanship and hatred of President Trump aside and support a bipartisan stimulus package. Now is the time to work together as Americans first and save the partisan political battles for when this crisis is resolved.”

The president, with bipartisan support from Congress and the governors, issued recommendations that led states to shut down their schools and most businesses beginning a week and a half ago.

The question for most business owners now is will they make payroll or just lay off their workers. Mnuchin’s deal included loans that small businesses would not have to pay back if they used it to make payroll and pay overhead. It also included cash payments for Americans. The average family of four would receive about $3,000 under the plan.

“We need to get the money into the economy now. If we do that, we think we can stabilize the economy,” Mnuchin said on Sunday. “I think the president has every expectation that this is going to look a lot better four or eight weeks from now.”

“This isn’t the financial crisis that’s going to go on for years,” Mnuchin added. “We’re going to do whatever we need to do to win this war.”

Former State Representative and Member of the National Trump/Victory Finance Committee Perry Hooper said that he is confident the Coronavirus Stimulus Legislation will pass.

“One of the most important parts of the Bill is addressing the needs of Small Business and the employees,” Hooper told the Alabama Political Reporter. “Small Business is the backbone of America. Any Republican or any Democrat would be insane voting against the Trump Stimulus Legislation.”

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Hightower campaign accuses Carl of trying to politicize a national crisis

Brandon Moseley

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Bill Hightower’s congressional campaign Monday responded to charges from Jerry Carl that they were running campaign ads during the COVID-19 crisis. The campaign said that they have already pulled their political advertising and accused Carl of trying to politicize a national crisis.

“Bill Hightower has not been airing ads for nearly a week now,” said Hightower campaign senior strategist Matt Beynon. “Once it became clear that the run-off would be postponed, we stopped airing ads. So Carl is shouting about something that isn’t happening and he should be ashamed of himself for trying to politicize a national crisis. Carl lied in his ads about Bill Hightower and he’s continuing to lie about Bill Hightower, this time by trying to use a national emergency to his political advantage. It’s shameful.”

Beynon was responding to a story by the Alabama Political Reporter in which Carl chastised Hightower for not pulling his campaign commercials.

“Shamefully, Bill Hightower has decided to continue his deceitful television commercials that are nothing more than lies,” Carl said. “Apparently, he would rather put himself above the health of our community. At a time when our country must come together, Bill Hightower is continuing to tear our country apart.”

“Bill, it’s time to put politics aside and hit pause on the campaign,” Carl added. “There will be a time and place for politics, but right now, it’s time to help our neighbors. I call on Bill Hightower’s campaign to immediately end all paid advertising that is still running on television and focus on what’s important right now – helping our community through this pandemic.”

A source close to the Hightower campaign told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Jerry Carl cracks me up. He went up with an ad FILLED with lies and pounded Bill for ten days, but when Bill responds he wants the ads pulled and is using the crisis for it. Our paid advertising has been down for days now.”

Jerry Carl is a Mobile County Commissioner, while Bill Hightower is a businessman and former state senator. The two of them are running for the Republican nomination in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. Incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, is not seeking another term in Congress.

The Republican primary runoff was supposed to be on March 31 but due to the growing COVID-19 global pandemic, that has been postponed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to July 14.

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The eventual Republican nominee will face the winner of the Democratic party runoff in the November 3 general election. Kiani Gardner is running against James Averhart for the Democratic nomination.

As of press time, there have been 196 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama. Hardest his is Jefferson cases where there have been 86 confirmed cases. They are followed by Shelby County with 22, Madison County with 21, 19 Lee, 9 Tuscaloosa 6 Elmore, 4 Montgomery, 3 St. Clair, 3 Walker, 3 Lauderdale, 3 Baldwin, 2 Mobile, 2 Chambers, 2 Calhoun, and 2 in Cullman County. Marion, Washington, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Franklin, and Houston Counties all have one case thus far. There have been no confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Alabama.

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Jerry Carl “upset” that Hightower is still running ads

Brandon Moseley

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Jerry Carl, a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, has said he is suspending advertising due to the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 is an often fatal illness caused by a novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City China late in 2019. Carl called on his Republican primary opponent former State Senator Bill Hightower to do the same.

“With the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) throughout Alabama and the uncertainty of the March 31st election now up in the air, I am suspending all paid advertising for my campaign,” Carl said. “I urge Bill Hightower and outside groups supporting or opposing either candidate to put politics aside and do the same at this delicate time. Although this is an important election, focusing on the health and safety of our friends, family, and neighbors is of the utmost importance. There will be a proper time to resume campaign advertising in the future, but for now, we need to focus on mitigating the effects of this virus in our communities and throughout our great nation.”

Following that statement, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey moved the primary runoffs back to July 14.

After Hightower and his supporting groups did not pull the ads, Carl chastised Hightower over not following Carl’s example.

“Yesterday, our campaign urged Bill Hightower and all other groups supporting candidates in this race to immediately suspend all paid campaign advertising so that the public can focus on the health and safety of their friends and families,” Carl said. “Since that time, the City of Mobile, as well as Mobile County, have declared states of emergency. And, our election on March 31st is in limbo as state officials are working through whether or not to postpone the runoff election. Restaurants are being forced to shut down. Schools are canceled. And our workers are being asked to stay home.”

“Shamefully, Bill Hightower has decided to continue his deceitful television commercials that are nothing more than lies,” Carl continued. Apparently, he would rather put himself above the health of our community. At a time when our country must come together, Bill Hightower is continuing to tear our country apart.”

“Bill, it’s time to put politics aside and hit pause on the campaign,” Carl added. “There will be a time and place for politics, but right now, it’s time to help our neighbors. I call on Bill Hightower’s campaign to immediately end all paid advertising that is still running on television and focus on what’s important right now – helping our community through this pandemic.”

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As of press time, Alabama has 157 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Jefferson County has 71 cases, Shelby 17, Madison 16, Lee 16, Tuscaloosa 7, Elmore 6, St. Clair 3, Montgomery 3, Cullman 2, Lauderdale 2, Baldwin 2, Mobile 2, and Chambers 2. Jackson, Calhoun, Walker, Talladega, Limestone, Washington, Marion, and Lamar Counties all have 1 confirmed case. There are still no official deaths; but there are reports of deaths where COVID-19 is suspected of having playing a role.

The winner of the Republican primary runoff will face the winner of the Democratic primary runoff on November 3.

 

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Elections

Reaction to postponement of primary runoffs

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill announced that the Alabama primary runoff elections will be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, due to spread of COVID-19.

Here is some reaction from state officials and candidates.

“We support the administration’s prudent measures and decisions to protect Alabamians,” said Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan. “While these are concerning and unknown times, we appreciate our leaders implementing a safe atmosphere for our probate and election officials, poll workers, campaigns, candidates and voters. The old saying ‘better safe than sorry’ is truly applicable in these unknown circumstances.”

“Since President Trump’s declaration of National Emergency, our campaign has prepared for the potential postponement of the Alabama Republican run-off election for the 1st Congressional District,” said former State Senator Bill Hightower. “President Trump and his Administration have provided strong leadership in issuing guidance to states about the importance of public health vigilance during the coronavirus outbreak. This announcement is simply one more step in accordance with those recommendations.”

“On Sunday the CDC recommended canceling or postponing events or gatherings of more than 50 people,” said Republican Second Congressional District candidate Barry Moore. “Today the White House asked people not to gather in groups of more than 10 for the next 15 days, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to follow these guidelines, so most of our face to face events will be canceled for now. This is just common sense, not a reason to panic. We’ve already moved away from handshakes, so not holding political events where our supporters might be at risk of getting sick is the smart thing, the right thing to do.”

“I know that Governor Ivey has considered the health of Alabamians and that she has focused on their best interests in making her decision,” said Republican Senate candidate former Sen. Jeff Sessions. “The safety and health of Alabamians must take precedence. I am confident that Secretary of State John Merrill and Circuit Clerks across the state, in consultation with public health officials, will work hard to ensure a safe and orderly runoff election on July 14th. It is important that every voter’s voice has a fair chance to be heard, whether the vote is cast via an absentee ballot, or at the ballot box on election day.”

“I am glad that our elected officials are finally taking the threat of this virus seriously,” said Democratic First Congressional District candidate Kiani Gardner. “This decision, in conjunction with our success in expanding absentee ballot access to ALL Alabamians (without excuse) during the pandemic, is a big step towards ensuring that Alabamians can simultaneously protect their health and their right to vote.”

“I understand Governor Ivey’s decision to postpone the runoff and join her in encouraging all Alabamians to stay safe, be kind, and follow all guidelines related to the Coronavirus,” said Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville. “I pray that the current health crisis will be brought under control and that lives will be saved.”

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“President Trump has taken bold steps that no other President would have taken to ensure our safety,” said Republican First Congressional District candidate and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl. “This is just more evidence that we need to not only re-elect President Trump but to also flip the House Red!”

“As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the country, our government has taken action to protect every citizen,” said Republican Second Congressional District candidate Jeff Coleman. “Now, that means postponing our run-off election until July 14th when it is safe for every Alabamian to make it to the polls. Stay tuned for more news.”

“We applaud the governor for looking out for the safety of all Alabamians, especially our senior citizens, poll workers, and those most at risk for the Coronavirus,” said Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Beth Kellum (R) who is running for re-election. “First and foremost, we want everyone to have the right to vote and to be able to do so safely. As announced this morning, the run-off election will now be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. We encourage everyone to go ahead and request an absentee ballot. Additionally, please look at CDC’s website for the most up-to-date information regarding procedures for COVID-19.”

“Many of you are aware that Governor Ivey announced that the primary election will be postponed until July 14, 2020,” said Democratic First Congressional District candidate James Averhart. “We should also receive guidance from the Secretary of State informing citizens that we will be allowed to vote absentee starting today, and until July 13, 2020. I’ve presented guidance to our campaign staff and they are committed to managing expectation. Until further notification, our staff will be tele-working and staying engaged with current events on all levels.”

“We intend to maintain our vigorous campaign up until the last day, even as we are careful to do so in a manner that puts the health and safety of the public first,” Sessions said. “It will be very difficult for Tommy Tuberville to hide from debates for four months. He will have to conquer his fears, and face me and the voters.”

“We’ve had a great social media presence during this campaign, and we’re going to ramp that up,” Moore said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of live streams on Facebook so people can still get to know Barry Moore and where I stand on the issues without risking their health.”

“My campaign is maintaining our position of suspended face-to-face events,” said Gardner. “But, we continue our work of keeping the citizens of South Alabama informed, engaged, and connected throughout this trying time. So, mark you calendars for July 14, apply for your absentee ballot, wash your hands, and stay at home. We will weather this storm together, Alabama!”

“America has faced daunting challenges in the past, but one of the characteristics that has made our nation uniquely exceptional is our resiliency and ability to overcome what is put in front of us,” said Hightower. “This includes the coronavirus. We must all be mindful to heed the President’s direction, and take appropriate precautions with all social interactions. Together we will overcome this challenge as well.”

“During this unprecedented time in history, we are praying for our nation and all Alabamians who have been impacted,” said Judge Kellum. “Now is the time for us all to do our part to be one nation and one Alabama.”

“Fellow citizens, I hope all is well and you are following safety guidance from our city, state and federal officials as it pertains to COVID-19,” said Averhart. “This pandemic is real and has fatal consequences if we don’t take care of ourselves and our fellow man. Now more than ever, we must remember that we are ALL in this together. Please be mindful to:- Wash your hands, Practice #SocialDistancing, Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, Call the doctor if you’re sick.”

“We ask all to be in deep prayer for our president, state leaders, candidates, their families and our fellow citizens,” said Lathan. “We also lift up our health care workers, first responders and those who keep our nation and state safe. This opportunity of working together will showcase our great state’s resilience with a focus on our fellow Alabamians’ safety and health. Americans are tenacious and tough people who have risen to many trying times and we have no doubt that we will all rise together again in this chapter of our nation’s and state’s history.”

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