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England elected first Black Chairman in Alabama Democratic Party history

Brandon Moseley

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State Rep. Christopher England, D-Tuscaloosa, is the new chair of the Alabama Democratic Party.

The reform faction of the State Democratic Executive Committee met at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery to elect the new Alabama Democratic Party chair and vice chair Saturday. England defeated former congressional candidate Tabitha Isner and former candidate for lieutenant governor Will Boyd to become chair.

Former State Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, the first openly LGBT person elected to the Legislature in Alabama, defeated Adia Winfrey for vice chair.

England received 104 votes to Isner’s 63 and Boyd’s 4. Todd received 141 votes to 28 for Winfrey.

England told reporters, “Today, the party evolved.”

“It is a new day in Alabama,” England said. “African American turnout has carried this party.”

England is the first black chairman of either major political party in the history of the state.

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England said that his first concern would be the finances of the party and building staff, “This is a total rebuild.”

England said that “2010 (the election where the voters gave Republicans supermajorities in both Houses of the legislature) was absolutely the worst day of my life.”

England said that he would, “Let them (Republicans) know that things are going to be different now;” but added “It is going to take both parties working together to solve the problems of the state of Alabama.”

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England still has to unite the Democratic Party, as over half of the SDEC were not present on Saturday. Under the new bylaws passed by the reformist faction of the SDEC at their meeting on October 5, it takes just 40 percent of the SDEC to be present for a quorum to be reached so that a meeting can be held.

Reporters were told that the number needed to reach a quorum was just 104 and achieving even that modest number was very much in doubt. Most of the SDEC members present were white. Most Black SDEC members honored the call by Vice Chair for Minority Affairs Joe Reed and boycotted Saturday’s meeting. After 23 minutes the meeting began with just 107 of the original SDEC members present. Neither Chair Nancy Worley or Vice Chair Randy Kelley were present.

Shelby County Democratic Party Chair Carole Marks was elected a Chair Pro Tem.

The SDEC then voted to fill three vacancies on the committee.

The new bylaws require that there be diversity caucuses so the SDEC then filled all of those positions.

The SDEC added 3 Asian and/or Pacific Islanders, two Native Americans, 8 LGBTQ members (5 Black and 3 White, 7 Hispanic members, and 48 youth members to the committee.

Attorney Barry Ragsdale told reporters that 38 of the 48 youth members were Black.

The new SDEC then voted to remove Nancy Worley and Randy Kelley as Chair and Vice Chair. The vote to remove Worley was 172 to 0.

There was a formal moment of celebration over the ouster of Worley.

Ragsdale told the press that the SDEC was not being vindictive by the votes to remove Worley and Kelley; that that was necessary under the rules in order to proceed with the new election.

The three candidates for Chair were: Rep. England, Tabitha Isner, and Rev. Dr. Will Boyd.

England was a late entry into the race for Chair.

“I will be honest with you, I have been campaigning for the office for the last 14 years as the party was collapsing,” Rep. Chris England said. “We have got a lot of people missing in this room. It will be the responsibility of the next chair not only to repair this party; but to repair this state.”

“We need a party that is completely unified and working for the same goals,” Dr. Will Boyd. I have been in this race since February. I ran for Lt. Governor last year and received over 650,000 votes. There has been a lot of disinformation said about me in this campaign. I did not run for President against Barack Obama. “I would have honored to been the doormat that he used to ascend to high office.”

“We now need to focus our energies is to speak to our base and those independent voters who will vote with us on November 3,” Dr. Boyd said. “We have to organize in all 67 counties. On our best day, in our best race, 750,000 people showed up. We are going to need more than that to win in November.”

“There are stalwarts in this party that are not here today,” Isner said. “People I have had words with. I want to be chair of the whole Democratic Party not just half of the Democratic Party.”

Isner said that families have disputes; but they are still family and families can be repaired.”

State Senator Linda-Coleman Madison, D-Birmingham, Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, Rep. Anthony Daniels, and Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Prichard, all were in attendance to support England.

England said that “There will be no stone unturned in regards to rebuilding this party.

“We are going to be transparent,” England said. “You are going to know what is happening. We are going to be competitive. We need to stop the competition from being between the far right and the moderate right.”

Isner was nominated for Vice Chair; but refused the nomination.

“I want the Chair to have the Vice-Chair that he wants,” Isner said and then left.

U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, has long been a critic of Worley and Reed’s leadership. It was Jones who asked the DNC to invalidate the 2018 elections of Worley and Kelley. Jones has been the de facto leader of the reformist faction of the SDEC throughout this effort.

“This is a remarkable day, a historic day,” Jones told reporters.

Reporters asked if the election of England would improve his chances for re-election in 2020.

“Its not just about my election,” Jones said. “Its about every down ballot race.”

Jones said that everything that was passed in the last loyalist SDEC meeting was declared “Null and void by the Democratic National Committee.”

“Alabama is more diverse now than ever in it’s history,” Jones said. “And this reflects that.”

“Alabama needs a functioning two party system,” Jones stated. “It has stagnated under one party rule.”

England has represented Tuscaloosa in the Alabama legislature since 2006. He is age 43 and is employed as a city attorney for Tuscaloosa. His father is not judge, John England.

The Alabama Political Reporter asked Ragsdale if the more than half White composition of the SDEC on Saturday violated the terms of the consent decree that the Democratic Party is under guaranteeing that the composition of the SDEC reflect the electorate that voted Democratic in the last election.

“There is no consent decree in federal court,” Ragsdale told APR.

Ragsdale said that the diversity of the body today is reflective of the state of Alabama and is compliant with the new bylaws and the instructions of the Democratic National Committee.

Chair Nancy Worley released a statement in which she said that Saturday’s elections were not valid.

Worley has sought to block this meeting, which she did not call, from even happening. A Montgomery Judge had granted a restraining order late on Friday afternoon; but that was overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court Friday night.

Joe Reed is still the Vice Chair for minority affairs and the other officers, who also were not present, still hold their positions with the party. Only the Chair and the Vice Chair were removed and replaced. The reform faction of the SDEC also added 71 new members to the SDEC so they now constitute a majority of the committee.

APR asked Dr. Boyd is he would be there as a candidate as well.

Worley and her loyalist faction of the Alabama Democratic Party are still expected to proceed with their own officer elections on November 16.

“Yes, anytime the SDEC meets I will be there,” Boyd said. “Realistically, I came in here expecting that Christopher or Tabitha would get it and I expect that Nancy will get eit there.”

In the coming days, Chair England will attempt to block Chair Worley from accessing party funds and will seek control of the Alabama Democratic Party’s finances and headquarter building in Montgomery.

“I expect a long drawn out fight,” Dr. Boyd told APR. “I wanted to unite the party. It is clear from the people not here, that that is still not there.”

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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Opinion | For Coach Tub, no thinking required

Joey Kennedy

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Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Has Tommy Tuberville ever had an original thought? It doesn’t sound like it. Coach Tub basically spews Republican talking points and keeps his mouth firmly locked onto Donald Trump. He disrespects Alabama voters so much that he thinks that’s all he needs to do to win a place in the U.S. Senate.

Tuberville recently addressed the St. Clair County Republican Party at its September meeting. As reported by APR, Tuberville is quoted as saying the following, and I’ll offer a short rebuttal. I’m doing this because Tuberville is clearly afraid to death to debate his opponent, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

So here goes:

Tuberville: America is about capitalism, not socialism. I think we are going to decide which direction we are going to go in the next few years.”

Me: We decided which way we were going to go years ago, when the federal government started subsidies for oil and gas companies, farmers and other big industry and business. That, coach, is your so-called “socialism.”

I’m not necessarily opposed to subsidies to boost business, depending on the cause, but I’m not going to let a dimwitted, know-nothing, mediocre, former football coach pretend we don’t already have “socialism” in this country.  

What Tuberville really means is that he’s against “socialism” like Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security or food assistance or health insurance. He’s a millionaire already, so there’s no need for him have empathy for or support a safety net for people who are less fortunate socially and economically. That’s Tuberville’s “socialism,” and the Republican Party’s “socialism,” and Trump’s “socialism.

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That’s a cruel, mean perspective that would cast aside the great majority of Americans for the rich (Tuberville, Trump) and connected and, where Trump is concerned, the fawning.

Tuberville: “I am not a Common Core guy. I believe in regular math. We need to get back to teaching history.”

Me: I would love to ask Coach Tubby, one-on-one, exactly what he thinks “Common Core” is. I’ll guarantee you he can’t explain more than he already has. “I believe in regular math?” There is no other math. It’s math. Does he think there’s a math where 1+1=3? There isn’t one. There are a variety of ways to teach math, but there’s only math, not a “fake” math or a “Republican” math or a “Democratic” math or, God forbid, a “Socialist” math.

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And when Coach Tommy said, “We need to get back to teaching history,” one wonders if he’s ever been into a classroom. We know more than a few of his former players weren’t in many classrooms, if reports are correct. But they always played the game under his uninspired coaching.

Of course schools teach history.

The history Coach T. is talking about is Donald Trump’s “white” history, the one we’ve been teaching in our schools forever. Not real history; you know, the one where the United States was founded as a slave-holding nation, where Native Americans were massacred and starved by the hundreds of thousands, where white supremacy was codified within our laws, where any color but white was subjugated. That history. The history that is finally fading away, so we can really see where we’ve been as a nation—so we know where, as a nation, we need to go.

Tuberville: Tuberville said he supports following the Constitution and appointing a replacement for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.

Me: Well, of course he does. Tuberville doesn’t have an independent thought in his body, and Donnie told him this is what he’s supposed to think. The big question: How much will a Senator Tuberville be able to function as a member of a minority party in the Senate — with no Papa Trump in the White House to tell him what to do?

Both scenarios are real possibilities, if not likelihoods.

There is no question that Doug Jones is far more qualified than Tuberville. Jones can work across the aisle, which will be vitally important if Democrats take control of the Senate. Jones has his own thoughts, which sometimes go against the Democratic Party’s wishes. Jones is independent, smart and represents Alabama well.

Tuberville is a failed football coach who lives in Florida. That’s about it.

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President Donald Trump endorses Barry Moore for Congress

Brandon Moseley

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President Trump and Barry Moore (OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO/JOYCE N. BOGHOSIAN)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed Republican 2nd Congressional District candidate Barry Moore, sharing his endorsement on Twitter.

In the tweet, the president wrote, “Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) will be a terrific Congressman for Alabama! An early supporter of our #MAGA agenda, he is Strong on Jobs, Life, the Wall, Law & Order, and the Second Amendment. Barry has my Complete and Total Endorsement! #AL02”

Moore met with the president in the White House on Wednesday.

“I’m truly honored to be endorsed for Congress by President Donald J. Trump,” Moore said. “I have never regretted being the first elected official in America to endorse him for president in 2015, and I’m looking forward to working with him in the next Congress during his second term.”

“President Trump has already accomplished so much and kept so many of his campaign promises despite all that the establishment and the Democrats have done to obstruct him, but he knows there’s still lots to be done,” Moore continued. “We must contain and control the COVID pandemic, restore our economy to the pre-pandemic level of growth and prosperity we enjoyed during his first three years in office. We must restore and maintain law and order on our streets and in our cities. We must finish building the wall, and then fix our broken immigration system.”

“We had great meetings at the White House with the president’s domestic policy team,” Moore said. “Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, was also there. We discussed a new health care plan being introduced, economic recovery, trade with China and expansion of opportunity zones in depressed areas. The president has a bright vision for America.”

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“I’m convinced that Donald J. Trump is the president we need to lead us for the next four years, and I hope the people of Alabama’s 2nd District see fit to elect me to work with President Trump as their congressman on Nov. 3,” Moore concluded.

Moore served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018. Moore is a graduate of Auburn University, a veteran, a small business owner, husband and father.

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Moore is running for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District in the Nov. 3 general election. Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama, is not seeking another term. Moore faces Democratic candidate Phyllis Harvey-Hall.

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Jones introduces bill to encourage investments in minority-serving banks

“One of the biggest hurdles for minority entrepreneurs is access to capital,” Jones said.

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones

Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Tuesday introduced legislation that would encourage investments in banks that serve minority communities.

“One of the biggest hurdles for minority entrepreneurs is access to capital,” Jones said in a statement. “That’s why this bill is so important. Increasing access to capital at the banks that serve minority communities will help expand financial opportunities for individuals and business owners in those communities.”

Jones, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, in April urged the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury to support Community Development Financial Institutions and minority-owned banks disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and he threw his support behind more federal funding for small community banks, minority-owned banks and CDFIs during the recent Paycheck Protection Program replenishment.

According to a press release from Jones’s office, the bill would attract investments to those financial institutions by changing rules to allow “minority-owned banks, community banks with under $10 billion in deposits” and CDFIs to accept brokered deposits, or investments with high interest rates, thereby bolstering those institutions and encourage them to invest and lend in their communities.

It would also allow low-income and minority credit unions to access the National Credit Union Administration’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.

“Commonwealth National Bank would like to thank Senator Jones for his leadership in introducing the Minority Depository Institution and Community Bank Deposit Access Act. As a small Alabama home grown institution, this proposal will allow us to accept needed deposits without the current limitations that hinder our ability to better serve the historically underserved communities that our institutions were created to serve. We support your efforts and encourage you to keep fighting the good fight for all of America,” said Sidney King, president and CEO of Commonwealth National Bank, in a statement.

“The Minority Depository Institution and Community Bank Deposit Access Act is a welcomed first step in helping Minority Depository Institutions like our National Bankers Association member banks develop the kinds of national deposit networks that allow our institutions to compete for deposits with larger banks and to better meet the credit needs of the communities we serve. The National Bankers Association commends Senator Jones’ leadership on this issue, and we look forward to continuing to engage with him on the ultimate passage of this proposal,” said Kenneth Kelly, chairman of the National Bankers Association, in a statement.

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A recent report by the Brookings Institute highlighted problems minority-owned businesses had accessing federal COVID-19 relief aid from PPP loans. Researchers found that it took seven days longer for small businesses with paid employees in majority Black zip codes to receive PPP loans, compared to majority-white communities. That gap grew to three weeks for non-employer minority-owned small businesses, the report notes.

The report also states that while minority-owned small businesses, many of which are unbanked or under banked, get approximately 80 percent of their loans from financial technology companies and online lending companies, fintechs weren’t allowed under federal law to issue PPP loans until April 14.

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Tuberville campaign: Democrats’ criticism on Hurricane Sally was false

Brandon Moseley

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Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Alabama Democratic Party executive Director Wade Perry last week released a statement criticizing GOP Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville for being silent on Hurricane Sally. In response, Tuberville’s campaign manager, Paul Shashy, slammed the ADP, saying that their statement was untrue.

Shashy pointed to a recording from a radio interview with Jack Campbell on 93.1 FM in Montgomery that Tuberville made the morning after Hurricane Sally.

“Before we go any farther I want to say this, our prayers go out to the people down south, because I am telling you, we don’t really understand what they are going through,” Tuberville said. “I went through a hurricane when I was down in Miami coaching. We went through Hurricane Andrew and it was devastating for months.”

“I have talked with some mayors there. I have called them. I actually just texted them,” Tuberville said. “They are real busy. I want to let them know that we are here for them. I would go down there and work if I could; but I probably would just be in the way.”

“People are now going in from the power companies, the National Guard these people going in checking houses that are flooded,” Tuberville continued. “I have got people down there whose homes are gone. They literally washed them out.”

“It was kind of like Michael a couple of years ago, the one that hit Panama City,” Tuberville said. “Right before it gets to the land it picked up speed. It went from a one to a two. The wind is a problem, but it is really the rain that gets you in a hurricane. They got a double punch from that.”

“People don’t realize this, but it really is the county commissioners who are really in charge, and they get it all going along with the mayors, and they also have an emergency person in charge who works along with the commission,” Tuberville explained. “This is not their first rodeo down there. They know what is coming. You can’t prevent it. You just hope people get out of harm’s way.”

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“There are actually more people killed after it,” Tuberville warned. “They get out too early. They try to do too much. They get on a roof and fall off. You have got to be careful.”

Hurricane Sally came ashore before dawn on Wednesday on Sept. 16 as a category two hurricane near Gulf Shores. FEMA and President Donald Trump have declared Baldwin, Escambia and Mobile Counties a disaster area.

Tuberville is a former college football coach, best known for his tenure as the Auburn University head coach. Tuberville also had stops as the head coach of Ole Miss, Texas Tech and Cincinnati as well as stops as defensive coordinator at Miami and Texas A&M.

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Tuberville is challenging incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, in the Nov. 3 general election. Republicans are hopeful that Tuberville can unseat Jones, the only Democrat currently holding a statewide office in the state of Alabama.

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