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Joe Arpaio will be speaking in Sylacauga this month

Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio will be the keynote speaker at the Alabama Patriots Dinner on Sept. 26 in Sylacauga.

Arpaio earned national and international media attention during his 24 year tenure as the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio was recognized as “America’s toughest sheriff.” Arpaio fed prisoner bologna sandwiches for 50 cents a meal, dressed the prisoners in pink and created a tent jail rather that release prisoners.

Maricopa County has a population of over 4.3 million people. Its population is 88 percent of the population of the whole state of Alabama. Arizona, while a bigger area than Alabama, has just 15 counties. Maricopa County has more than four times the population of the next largest county, Pima. The county with the smallest population is Greenlee with just 9,483 people.

Arpaio gained national fame beginning in 2005 with his ‘illegal alien roundups.’ In 2012 the Department of Justice under Eric Holder sued Arpaio and Maricopa County for racial profiling. A federal judge issued a summary judgement favorable to the DOJ. In 2017 a federal judge found Arpaio in criminal contempt of the ruling. A month later President Donald J. Trump (R) issued a presidential pardon for Arpaio.

In 2016 Arpaio was defeated for re-election by Democrat Paul Penzone, whom Arpaio had beaten four years earlier. In 2018 Arpaio was a Republican candidate for the Republican nomination for Senator from Arizona. Arpaio ultimately lost the nomination to Congresswoman Martha McSally. McSally went on to lose the General election to Kyrsten Sinema. The seat has previously been held by Republican Jeff Flake, who did not run again after losing GOP support due to a long, very public feud with Pres. Trump.

Critics have accused ‘Sheriff Joe’ of racial profiling, mistreating prisoners, mishandling funds and targeting his political opponents. Supporters applaud Arpaio for getting tough on crime, making life tough on his prisoners, for combatting illegal immigration and for his candor and outspoken views.

Arpaio has announced that he is running for Sheriff of Maricopa County again in 2020. On Thursday, Flake endorsed Penzone saying that he was ‘choosing county over party.’

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Arpaio is 87 and has worked in law enforcement for 55 years.

The event will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There will be a reception for VIPs at 5:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Talladega County Republican Party and will be held at the J. Craig Smith Community Center at 2 West 8th Street; Sylacauga, AL 35150.

Tickets are still available. Special VIP seating that includes admission to the reception with Sheriff Joe are only $100. General admission seats can be purchased for just $40.

To order tickets go to:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alabama-patriots-dinner-with-sheriff-joe-arpaio-tickets-66717713477?aff=ebdshpsearchautocomplete

The deadline to purchase your tickets is September 19.

For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Talladega County Republican Party Chairwoman Gina Grant at 256-404-5074.

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

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