On Tuesday, voters go to the polls to select their state Representative in the House District 74 special election. The District is entirely in Montgomery County.
The Republican nominee is former Montgomery School Board President Charlotte Meadows. The Democratic nominee is former Montgomery NAACP President Rayford Mack (D).
Meadows won the Republican primary runoff election over U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and prominent bankruptcy attorney Michael Fritz.
Both candidates spoke at the ARSEA/APEAL sponsored candidates forum in late summer.
“Montgomery is a great place to live and retire, but I am scared for Montgomery’s future,” Mack said. “We need things to change for future generations to have a great future.”
“If we want our community to grow, we need leaders that will work for the community and not the party or any special interest groups,” Mack said.
Mack outlined an ambitious agenda including expanding the number of professionals who can become school superintendents to people with MBAs and other advanced degrees, establishing apprenticeship programs, high-speed rail, and the creation of a healthcare lottery.
Mack said that a lottery with all of the proceeds dedicated to paying for Medicaid, the Department of Public Health, and Mental Health would free up over $900 million from the state’s general fund budget.
Meadows said that she got involved in local education after managing her husband’s medical practice office and seeing all of the resumes they received from receptionist candidates that could not spell.
“We have really got to start encouraging our young people to come back to Montgomery, but we have to provide opportunities for them,” Meadows said.
Meadows is a former Montgomery School Board President, has worked with Students First where she successfully lobbied the legislature for expanding school choice in Alabama, by passing charter schools legislation. She is currently working with the LEAD Academy, which will give Montgomery parents more choices for their children’s education.
“All of my adult life and most of my childhood was right here in House District 74,” Meadows said.
The state retirees asked about cost of living adjustments for state retirees.
“First you must protect and enhance our current benefit,” Mack said. “Unfunded COLAs would mean that we would have an unfunded liability. To do that we must find new revenue.”
Mack said that he wanted to raise revenue by bringing the film industry to Alabama and by passing his healthcare only lottery, which would free up $908 million in the state budget to do other things.
Meadows said the first we have to “Make sure that the state budget is solvent and sustainable. We have got to make sure that the retirement benefits that you were promised.”
Meadows said that just getting a bonus of $600 at the most by the time you pay taxes on it that is just a couple of meals out. It is not enough for a vacation.
“There are 2,200 state employees in House District 74,” Meadows said. “I do not want to raise taxes, but we need to provide for our employees and our retirees.”
Meadows said that while she does not like a gas tax, the legislature took action so our roads should start improving. Now we have got to address the prison situation and that will be a huge outlay of money.
“Nobody wants to see us treat state prisoners inhumanely,” Meadows said. “The prisons also need to also be a safe place for people to work. Nobody should go to work afraid if they are going to get killed today.”
“I will be a responsive and transparent representative, and I am excited about the opportunity to serve the people of District 74,” Meadows said on her Facebook page. “I hope to earn your support through this campaign, and I hope you’ll check back on our Facebook page for more information and volunteer opportunities.”
Charlotte Meadows has been an advocate for education reform for the past 15 years. Meadows has a degree in accounting from Auburn University and a master’s degree in business from University of South Alabama. She served on the Montgomery school board and has been the outreach director for StudentsFirst, a national education reform non-profit. Meadows is co-owner of her husband’s medical practice where she has been the business manager. They have three children.
Meadows is an outspoken proponent of school choice in Alabama and is co-founder of the new LEAD Academy charter school that opened in Montgomery on Au
Rayford Mack is a native of Mobile, Alabama. He has been married to Dianne Mack since 1993. He attended Toulminville High School in Mobile where he was captain of the varsity football team his junior and senior year.
Mack attended Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas on a football scholarship. His football career ended after just one season due to a back injury. Mack worked in retail sales in the clothing industry in Houston. He completed his degree at the University of South Alabama earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. At the University of South Alabama, he was president of the University of South Alabama Sociological Association and was a member of the Black Student Union Association. He served in the United State Navy from 1978 to 1981 aboard the USS Talbot FFG-4 as radioman and was stationed in Mayport, Florida. Following his discharge, Mack was accepted him into the graduate studies program in Instructional Design at the University of South Alabama.
Mack went to work for the State of Alabama Department of Human Resource in 1987 and retired on May 1, 2016. While employed with the Department of Human Resources he worked as a Social Worker in the eligibility division of Aid to Dependent Children. He transferred to the Elmore County Department of Human Resource in 1990 and worked in the ADC and Child Support Division. The State Department of Human Resource was creating a new unit in 1990 and he was transferred to the IV-E Unit in Division of Family and Children Services. In 1992 he became an auditor/investigator with the Office of Quality Control in the Office of Program Integrity. He returned to the IV-E Unit as a program specialist in 2009 and remained until his retirement in May 2016.
Mack has operated Raymac’s Enterprises, a commercial cleaning service in the Montgomery area since 1995. Since 2011 he has served as the pastor of Mt. Moriah AME Zion Church in Montgomery, Alabama since 2011.
Voters need to remember to bring a valid photo ID with them to the polls.
Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7;00 p.m.
The HD74 legislative seat became vacant when State Rep. Dimitri Polizos (R) passed away from a sudden heart attack in March.
Alabama Forestry Association endorses Tuberville
The Alabama Forestry Association announced Wednesday that the group is endorsing Republican Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville in the upcoming general election.
“We are proud to endorse Tommy Tuberville in the United States Senate race,” said AFA Executive Vice President Chris Isaacson. “He is a conservative with an impressive list of accomplishments, and we know that he will continue that record in his role as U.S. Senator. Tommy knows that decisions made in Washington impact families and businesses and will be an effective voice for the people of Alabama.”
“I am honored to have the endorsement of the Alabama Forestry Association,” Tuberville said. “The AFA is an excellent organization that stands for pro-business policies. Protecting Alabama industry is a key to our state’s success.”
Tuberville recently won the Republican nomination after a primary season that was extended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuberville is a native of Arkansas and a graduate of Southern Arkansas University. He held a number of assistant coaching positions, including defensive coordinator at Texas A&M and the University of Miami where he won a national championship.
Tuberville has been a head coach at Mississippi, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati. In his nine years at Auburn University, the team appeared in eight consecutive bowl games. His 2004 team won the SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl.
Tuberville coached that team to a perfect 13 to 0 season.
Tuberville has been married to his wife Suzanne since 1991. They have two sons and live in Auburn.
Tuberville is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in the Nov. 3 general election.
Jones campaign says Tuberville is not taking the pandemic seriously
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones’ re-election campaign released a statement critical of Republican Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville, suggesting that he is not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously enough.
“The Washington Post reported today that the stock market plummeted after jobless claims climbed last week by 1.4 million and the economy shrank by 9.5 percent — the biggest decline in most of our lifetimes,” the Jones campaign wrote. “While economists are worried about the permanent damage COVID-19 will do to the economy, and public health experts are pleading for people to abide by state and local mask orders, Tommy Tuberville ‘snickers’ in response to questions about flouting public health orders while in DC to raise campaign cash. The people of Alabama need to know that Tuberville is not taking the pandemic seriously, raising serious questions about how he would handle this crisis if elected.”
The Washington Post reported that “Tuberville is fundraising and holding in-person meetings in Washington this week, defying orders from D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) that visitors from Alabama and other coronavirus hot spots quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.”
“Tuberville spent at least some of his time at the Trump International Hotel, according to a photo posted to Facebook by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) showing the two men in the hotel lobby on Tuesday night,” the media reports stated. “Neither man was masked.”
Tuberville told AL.com that he has been called “everything in the world” so the last week is nothing new.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday the former Auburn coach broke Washington D.C. policy requiring “non-essential” visitors from states with high coronavirus case counts to self-quarantine for 14 days when he attended fundraising meetings in the city this week. In addition, a photo of Tuberville with Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Arkansas, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington showed neither man wearing a face covering.
Tuberville addressed the controversy in comments to the Alabama Republican Executive Committee on Saturday. Tuberville said that he followed all the rules and wore his mask everywhere he went. When he was at events he would take his mask off to dine and people would come over to his table to shake his hand and get their picture taken. The press has seized on those moments to attack him, he claimed.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has killed 707,158 people worldwide including 160,833 Americans since it first was discovered in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in late 2019. Absent an effective treatment or a vaccine, social distancing and masks are the only tools that we have to slow the spread of the virus.
The Tuberville-Jones race for U.S. Senate is going to have an important role in whether or not Republicans are able to hold on to their narrow Senate majority.
Tuberville is an Arkansas native. He is best known for his tenure as Auburn University’s head football coach, which includes an undefeated and untied team that won the SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl. He also coached at Texas Tech, Cincinnati and Mississippi.
The general election is Nov. 3. Tuberville has been endorsed by President Donald Trump.
Jones campaign director blasts Tuberville for saying $600 “too much” for out-of-work Alabamians
The communications director for U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’s re-election campaign on Wednesday called out Tommy Tuberville for saying that $600 in emergency unemployment aid was too much for Alabamians.
“Tommy Tuberville once again proves he’s out of touch with Alabama. When he ‘resigned’ from his job as a football coach he took a $5.1 million payout for himself. To this day, he receives $800 a week in State Retirement funds for a coaching job he ‘quit’ in 2008,” said Owen Kilmer, communications Director for Jones’s Senate campaign, in a statement Wednesday.
“But he says $600 in emergency benefits is ‘way too much’ for people in Alabama who lost their jobs in this crisis through no fault of their own. Tuberville says $600 is ‘way too much’ to help people put food on the table and pay utilities,” Kilmer continued. “No wonder, when asked about how to handle this crisis, he said ‘I wouldn’t have a clue.’ It’s true. He doesn’t.”
Tuberville, the Republican Senate nominee, is trying to unseat Jones in the November general election. Jones has called the former Auburn football coach and first-time political candidate an “unprepared hyper-partisan.”
Mimi Penhale, Russell Bedsole advance to GOP runoff in HD49
Republican voters in House District 49 went to the polls Tuesday to nominate their next representative. Miriam “Mimi” Penhale and Russell Bedsole received the most votes and will advance on to the special Republican primary runoff scheduled for Sept. 1.
“What an incredible day!” Bedsole said. “Thank you friends and family for your love, support, and prayers. We had a great showing today and we are on to a runoff. Looking forward to getting back out and winning this thing on September 1st.”
“THANK YOU Bibb, Chilton and Shelby County!” Penhale said on social media. “I’m looking forward to earning your vote, again, on September 1 in the runoff.”
The election was very tight between the two. Mimi Penhale received 829 votes, or 31.4 percent of the votes. Russell Bedsole received 919 votes, or 34.8 percent.
The rest of the votes was split among the other four candidates. James Dean received less than 1 percent, Chuck Martin received 24.3 percent, Jackson McNeely received 2.16 percent and Donna Strong received 6.71 percent.
There were 2,639 votes cast on Tuesday. Voter turnout was 8.88 percent.
Bedsole serves on the Alabaster City Council, Pemhale is the director of the Shelby County Legislative office.
The eventual winner of the Republican nomination will face Democrat Cheryl Patton in the special general election on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
The vacancy in House District 49 was created when State Rep. April Weaver, R-Briarfield, announced her resignation to accept an appointment as a regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services.
House District 49 consists of portions of Bibb, Shelby and Chilton Counties. The winner will serve the remainder of Weaver’s term, which ends in late 2022.