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Doug Jones says that Worley has “caused a rift” within the Alabama Democratic Party

Brandon Moseley

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The Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee met Saturday in Montgomery at the call of Chairwoman Nancy Worley and passed bylaws counter to instructions from the Democratic National Committee on a narrow 80 to 73 vote. U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, warned that Worley’s action have put the state party in danger of losing delegates to the national convention.

“Once again, Nancy Worley and the Alabama Democratic Party leadership have blatantly disregarded the DNC’s directives and put the state party in danger of losing delegates and representation at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee,” Jones said in a statement. “Not only have they caused a rift within the party, they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees, ran a meeting that was a parliamentary disaster and thwarted efforts to create a more inclusive, diverse and transparent state party. The DNC-approved bylaws that were passed on October 5th are the only legitimate operational bylaws and will bring new leadership and much-needed young and diverse membership into the party.”

Jones has been highly critical of Worley and the leadership of the Alabama Democratic Party. He faces re-election for his Senate seat in 2020.

The SDEC had met one week earlier at the call of the members. At the October 5 meeting reform-minded SDEC members passed new bylaws as demanded by the DNC. Worley urged members to boycott that Oct. 5 meeting. Despite this, a quorum was achieved. At Saturday’s meeting, a second set of bylaws were passed not in agreement with the ones being forced on the ADP by the DNC. DNC Chairman Tom Perez warned Worley and the DNC not to reject the Oct. 5 bylaws changes, but they did it anyway.

The Worley led faction of the SDEC also filled vacancies on the SDEC, again in defiance of orders from Perez and the DNC.

The DNC is threatening not to recognize the Alabama delegation at the Democratic Presidential Nominating Convention next year if the SDEC did noes comply with the DNC’s orders.

“At this point, we can’t control whether we do or don’t get to send delegates to the national convention,” Tabitha Isner told APR. “The damage may be done. My focus is on ensuring the Alabama Democratic Party moves forward and does not split apart.”

Isner is challenging Worley for the position of chair of the ADP. Isner was the Democratic nominee for the 2nd Congressional District in 2018.

The reform faction of the SDEC is rejecting the bylaws passed at the Oct. 12 meeting.

“The ADP has one set of bylaws, as adopted on October 5. The meeting called today by Nancy Worley was a circus masquerading as parliamentary procedure, and ran afoul of clearly laid out instructions by the DNC and the Alabama Democratic Party’s own members,” Beth Clayton told APR. “The Chair was unable to provide consistent interpretation of the rules and offered little to no insight into her plans to move the Party forward. On the other hand, the majority of SDEC members who met on October 5 have a clear vision and a path to return ADP to relevance. I have no doubt this will ultimately result in judicial intervention, but I hope the Chairwoman has the good sense to bow out now for the sake of the Party—or at the least, that Dr. Reed has the clarity to realize he needs to cut her loose or risk losing everything he’s worked his career to build. Chairwoman Worley’s refusal to back down is putting our ability to participate in the DNC Convention in jeopardy—which would effectively deny a vote to the same Alabama Democrats she’s claiming to protect. Not to mention this fiasco has cost the Party approximately $200,000 in legal fees, which could have been spent helping elect Democrats up and down the ballot. This is not a time to divide the Party over petty power plays—this is a time to work together as one Alabama to re-elect Doug Jones and build a bench for the future of the Party. Nancy needs to step aside so the Party can elect an effective chair at the next meeting and begin cleaning up the mess she’s made.”

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Beth Clayton is an attorney, a Democratic strategist, and a Voice of Alabama contributor.

State Representative Christopher John England (D-Tuscaloosa) argued against this course of action by the SDEC but was voted down by Worley and her supporters.

The DNC demanded bylaws passed on Oct. 5 would guarantee seats on the SDEC for young Democrats, Latinos, Asians, the LGBTQ community and other minorities that the DNC claims are under-represented now. Worley and Alabama Democratic Party Vice-Chair for Minority Affairs Joe Reed rejected the new bylaws arguing that they would under-represent Blacks, who are overwhelmingly the Alabama Democratic Party’s most loyal and reliable voting base.

In February the DNC invalidated the 2018 elections of Worley and Vice-Chair Randy Kelley. New elections and bylaws changes were ordered for April 18. The ADP leadership ignored that deadline and a second deadline set for July 2018. In August the DNC revoked Worley and Kelley’s credentials at the DNC. Worley told her critics at the DNC to “Go to Hell.”

At the Oct. 5 meeting, the reform faction of the SDEC set a date of November 2 for the SDEC to meet and vote on new leadership. The Worley faction of the SDEC also set a date for the SDEC to hold elections, but their date is Nov. 16.

Worley announced that she is running for another term as ADP Chair.
Isner and former Lt. Gov. candidate Dr. Will Boyd are also running for ADP Chair.

APR asked SDEC member Carl Carter of Moody if there will be two competing Alabama Democratic Parties by the end of November.

Carter replied: “In 1945, a farmer in Colorado cut off the head of a chicken, but the bird refused to die. For 18 months, Miracle Mike the Headless Chicken toured with his owner, earning thousands in admission. Sometimes, even when everybody knows how the story will end, it takes a while for the chicken to run down.”

(Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group’s Mike Cason contributed to this report.)

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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Faith in Action Alabama calls on law enforcement to protect voters from harassment

“In these harrowing days it is incumbent upon all of us as citizens and you and your colleagues as law enforcement professionals to do all we can to maintain this right secured by so much courage and sacrifice.”

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Nine clergy members from across the state have signed an open letter calling on local and state law enforcement to protect voters against intimidation and harassment at the polls.

The clergy are leaders in Faith in Action Alabama, a regional association of Christian congregations affiliated with the national group Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the country. It seeks to address a range of issues like gun violence, health care, immigration and voting rights.

This is their letter:

Across our country and here in Alabama, it is being seen that citizens are turning out in record numbers to vote early and by absentee ballots. It is very heartening to see so many of our fellow citizens energized and committed to exercising that most fundamental and critical duty of citizenship, the use of their franchise.  As servant leaders of an ecumenical association of nearly 2,000 faith communities across our state we are certainly encouraging our congregants to fulfill this duty either through early, absentee or day of election voting. For us this is not only part of our civic duty, but as people of faith obligation as well.

Unfortunately, it it also largely known that there are forces in our country that are actively, publicly and fervently at work to suppress the votes of some of our fellow citizens. We write to implore you to use the full authority of your office and department to ensure that those who seek to vote, especially on November 3, 2020 are not assailed or intimidated by illegal harassment in their polling places. We believe these threats are pervasive enough and real enough that proactive measures should be in place as citizens come to vote throughout that day. The strong, visible presence of uniformed legitimate law officers will hopefully prevent any attempts at confrontation or intimidation and violence.

The history of our state is marked by the efforts of tens of thousands of Alabamians who marched, protested, brought legal actions, shed their blood and some even gave their lives that every citizen of this state might have full and free access to the ballot box. In these harrowing days it is incumbent upon all of us as citizens and you and your colleagues as law enforcement professionals to do all we can to maintain this right secured by so much courage and sacrifice.

Please be assured of our prayers for you and the men and women of your department who have the awesome responsibility of providing public safety and equal protection under the law for every Alabamian. If we, the members of Faith in Action Alabama’s Clergy Leadership Team, can be of assistance please do not hesitate to call upon us.

Sincerely,

Rev. Jeremiah Chester, St. Mark Baptist Church, Huntsville

Rev. David Frazier, Sr., Revelation Missionary Baptist Church, Mobile, and Moderator, Mobile Baptist Sunlight Association

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Bishop Russell Kendrick, Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast

Bishop Seth O. Lartey, Alabama-Florida Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

President Melvin Owens, Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention

Bishop Harry L. Seawright, Ninth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Dr. A.B. Sutton, Jr., Living Stones Temple, Fultondale

Father Manuel Williams, C.R., Resurrection Catholic Missions of the South, Montgomery

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Some conservatives oppose Amendment 2

An Alabama Law Institute Committee composed of legislators, judges and lawyers met in secret away from the press and public over 19 months conducting a comprehensive review of Article VI.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

A number of prominent conservative voices in the state of Alabama are urging voters to vote no on Amendment 2 on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Amendments 2 and 3 are a rewrite of the state constitutional reforms championed by former Chief Justice Howell Heflin in 1973.

An Alabama Law Institute Committee composed of legislators, judges and lawyers met in secret away from the press and public over 19 months, conducting a comprehensive review of Article VI since Heflin’s revisions were approved in Amendment No. 328 in 1973.

The resulting Amendment 2 is one of the most controversial constitutional amendments brought forward by the Republican-controlled Alabama Legislature since Gov. Bob Riley’s controversial Amendment 1 in 2003, which would have raised taxes by over a $1 billion. That was voted down by the voters, and conservatives are asking voters to similarly reject Amendment 2.

Alabama Eagle Forum is urging citizen to vote no on Amendment 2.

Amendment 2 is a complete rewrite of what is an already complicated portion of the Alabama Constitution, and it does many things. One of these is that it strips the power of the Legislature to impeach a judge.

Under current law, the Alabama House of Representatives can bring articles of impeachment against a sitting judge. If the House impeaches, the Senate sits in trial and decides whether the judge has acted improperly and is guilty of what the House has charged them with.

This closely parallels the U.S. Constitution. Amendment 2 would change all of that and instead the only power in state government who can discipline judges would be the Judicial Inquiry Commission, which brings charges against judges, and the Court of the Judiciary, which determines guilt and punishments.

The Alabama Legislature has not impeached anyone in over a hundred years. Amendment 2 would take the power of impeaching members of the judiciary away from future legislatures.

Former Chief Justice Roy Moore opposes Amendment 2 and explained that stripping the Legislature of the power to discipline a judge for cause takes away a powerful check on the judiciary and violates the principle of checks and balances between the three branches of government. Moore also objected to giving more power to the unelected Judicial Inquiry Commission.

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Moore, like Eagle Forum, also strongly objected to taking the chief justice’s power to appoint his own administrative director of the Alabama Court System and instead gives it to the full Supreme Court.

The chief justice is the elected head of the Alabama Court System, but under Amendment 2, he or she would not be able to hire their own administrator but would be forced to work with an administrator chosen by the Supreme Court as a whole.

The current administrative director of the Alabama Court System is Rich Hobson, who was appointed by Chief Justice Tom Parker. Hobson is in his third tenure as administrative director of the Alabama Court System. The previous two times he was appointed by Moore.

When Moore was effectively removed by the Court of the Judiciary his replacement as chief justice fired Hobson.

If Amendment 2 passes, the associate justices could overrule Chief Justice Tom Parker, fire Hobson and replace him with someone of their choosing.

This situation would also apply to Democrats. The last Democrat elected to the role of chief justice was Sue Bell Cobb in 2006. Cobb was able to appoint her own administrative director of the Alabama Court System, but under Amendment 2, the administrative director of the Alabama Court System would have been someone suitable to the Republican associate justices, who could simply outvote the chief justice.

Moore called this move a “power grab” by the associate justices.

“Amendment 2 is really an anti-democratic and anti-Tom Parker amendment,” Foundation for Moral Law staff attorney Matt Clark said. “It is anti-democratic because it removes the people’s main check on the judicial branch, which is impeachment. Instead, it provides that only the Judicial Inquiry Commission, over which the people have no control, may remove a judge from office. It is also designed to strip Chief Justice Parker of his power as the administrative head of the judicial branch to choose his right-hand man for carrying out the judicial branch’s administrative role.”

Eagle Forum also had a number of other objections to the extremely long and complicated Amendment 2, including that it takes away the power of the lieutenant governor to make JIC appointments and gives them to the governor.

The Alabama Constables Association has also come out strongly against Amendment 2, arguing that it would write the funding mechanism for their position completely out of the state constitution.

“Constables are not taxpayer-funded, they are largely voluntary Peace Officers,” said Jefferson County Constable Jonathan Barbee. “The fees they collect from their duties as Officers of the Courts allow them to support the expenses of the office such as vehicles, uniforms, and equipment. Amendment 2 also deletes the language protecting how Constables are paid by private court fees, leaving it in question for the appointed Administrator to decide.”

In Alabama, constables are elected peace officers and act in many of the same ways as do sheriff’s deputies. They’re able to make arrests, serve court papers and provide security for parades, funerals and other functions.

Amendment 2 was sponsored by State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur.

Voters need to remember to vote on the constitutional amendments. Amendment 2 is extremely long and complicated so voters should probably read it and know how they are going to vote before going to the polls.

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FarmPAC endorses congressional candidate Barry Moore

“I’m pleased that FarmPAC has seen fit to endorse me in this election,” Moore said.

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidate Barry Moore (VIA MOORE CAMPAIGN)

Republican congressional candidate Barry Moore thanked the Alabama Farmers Federation political action committee, FarmPAC, for endorsing Moore in next week’s 2nd Congressional District general election race.

“I’ve always been proud of the fact that I grew up on a farm,” Moore said. “Farm life teaches you to respect God’s good earth and everything in it. It taught me the value of hard work, and that not everything, like the weather, will always go the way you want it to no matter what you do or how hard you work. That’s something I think a lot of people these days could do with learning.”

“I’m pleased that FarmPAC has seen fit to endorse me in this election,” Moore said. “I’ll continue to be a strong supporter of our farmers and all the businesses that support and rely on them, just like I’ve always been. District 2 is an agricultural district first and foremost, and we can’t forget that.”

“I look forward to working in the next Congress to support Alabama’s farmers and agribusiness by making it easier for them to access new markets and new technologies,” Moore added. “We also need to make sure they aren’t weighed down by excessive regulations and have the backing they need from Washington to compete globally. I have every confidence that, given a chance, Alabama’s farmers can compete with anyone, anywhere. My job in Congress will be to make sure they have that chance.”

A full list of FarmPAC’s endorsements is available here. FarmPAC previously endorsed Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman in the Republican primary, but he was bested by Moore in a Republican primary runoff.

Moore faces Democratic nominee Phyllis Harvey-Hall for the open seat.

Moore is a veteran, small businessman, husband, and father of four from Enterprise. Moore and his wife, Heather, own a waste management business in Enterprise. Moore was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama, is retiring from Congress after five terms.

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Jones to attend Auburn student forum, Tuberville hasn’t yet responded to invitation

Jones has agreed to attend the forum, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, right.

The College Democrats at Auburn University and the College Republicans at Auburn University have asked U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and his Republican opponent, Tommy Tuberville, to attend a student forum on Wednesday.

“We are excited to invite the candidates running for our U.S. Senate seat and provide this opportunity for any Auburn student to hear directly from them, and we hope it will inform our student bodies’ decisions with the November 3rd election only days away,” said Carsten Grove, president of the College Democrats at Auburn University, in a statement.

Jones has agreed to attend the forum, Auburn University College Democrats confirmed for APR on Sunday, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend. The student organization  was still awaiting a response from Tuberville’s campaign.

Jones has for months requested Tuberville join him in a debate, but Tuberville has declined.

“AUCR takes great pleasure in coming together with AUCD to co-host the Alabama Senate candidates in this forum. We are looking forward to a very informative and constructive event,” said Lydia Maxwell, president of the College Republicans at Auburn University.

Dr. Ryan Williamson, assistant professor of political science, is to emcee the forum, which will be open to all Auburn University students in the Mell Classroom Building at 6 p.m., according to a press release from the College Democrats at Auburn University.

Students will be permitted 30 seconds to ask a question of either candidate, and each candidate will have two minutes to answer, according to the release.

Capacity at the forum will be limited and precautions taken due to COVID-19. Any student with an Auburn ID is welcome and attendance will be first come, first served.

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