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House District 74 voters go to the polls today

Brandon Moseley

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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.

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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.

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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
g. 15.

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.

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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Elections

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.

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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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Elections

Trump Truck and boat parades this weekend

Brandon Moseley

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Trump boat parade

As Election Day draws near, Alabama Republicans are excited about promoting the re-election of Donald J. Trump as President and the election of Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate. This weekend two pro-President Trump events are happening in the state. There will be a truck parade from Ashland to Phenix City on Saturday sponsored by the Clay County Republican Party, while there will also be a boat parade on Wilson Lake in the Shoals sponsored by the Colbert County Republican Party on Sunday.

The pickup trucks will assemble at the Ashland Industrial Park in Clay County, 8240 Hwy 9, Ashland. There is a pre-departure rally at 10:00 a.m. central standard time. The trucks will depart at 11:00 a.m. and then proceed on a parade route that will take them into the bitterly contested swing state of Georgia. The Trump Pickup Parade will wind through east Alabama and West Georgia traveling through LaGrange and Columbus before concluding near the Alabama/Georgia line in Phenix City, 332 Woodland Drive, Phenix City at approximately 2:00 p.m. central time. Speakers will begin at 3:00. Trump flags will be on sale at the event.

The Phenix Motorsports Park will be hosting what sponsor hope could possibly the world’s largest Pickup Tuck parade in U.S. history that is routing over 50 mile through Georgia in effort to “pickup” President Trump’s numbers in GA.

A number dignitaries have been invited to address the Phenix City rally, including Coach Tuberville. Former State Sen. Shadrack McGill, Trump Victory Finance Committee member former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr., and Paul Wellborn, the President and CEO of the largest Family owned Kitchen Cabinet manufacture in the USA are among the featured speakers who have committed to speak at the event.

Entertainment will be provided by: Charity Bowden, an up and coming country music singer who was the runner up on “The Voice”. Charity will sing ‘I am Proud to be an American’ as well as songs from her Voice performances. The McGill Girls will also perform. The three beautiful and talented sisters will be singing patriotic songs in three part harmony. Geoff Carlisle, a professional DJ will be keeping the crowd pumped with music and entertainment.

Following the speakers and the entertainment there will Trump truck-vs- Joe Bidden truck races down the drag strip for the finale.

The Northwest Alabama boat parade will be on Sunday. The boats will gather at 2:00 p.m. near Turtle Point and then the flotilla will parade around the open waters of Wilson Lake til 3_00 p.m.. There will be a contest for best decorated Trump boats.

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Trump supporters have held a number of large boat parades across the state to show their support for the re-election of Pres. Trump.

Boat parade sponsors say that this parade will be: pro-American, pro-law enforcement, pro-military.

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Elections

Opinion | Doug Jones’s pathway to victory: Substance over lies

Jones said his work in the Senate should prove to the people of the state that party matters less than productivity. 

Josh Moon

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Alabama Sen. Doug Jones speaks during the Democratic National Convention.

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones believes voters will ultimately see through Tommy Tuberville’s lazy campaign and lies, and that enough of them will be moved by his work over the last two years to send him back to D.C. 

Jones’ comments came during a lengthy interview on the Alabama Politics This Week podcast. He also discussed his plans to address some of Alabama’s most pressing issues and also praised Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican.  

But it was Jones’ comments about Alabama voters — and whether too many of them are incapable of moving away from the Republican Party — that were most interesting. Jones still believes there are open-minded voters in the state, and that there isn’t enough attention being paid to polls showing a growing dissatisfaction in Alabama with President Donald Trump. 

“There are a number of things that Donald Trump has done that people (in Alabama) don’t agree with,” Jones said. “There are a number of things that he’s done that’s hurt Alabama and that they’re not OK with. That’s where I come in.”

Jones said his work in the Senate, where he’s sponsored the most bipartisan legislation over the last two years, should prove to the people of the state that party matters less than productivity. 

“I tell everyone, you owe it to yourself to look at every candidate and every issue,” Jones said. “I do that. I’ve been a Democrat all my life but I don’t think that I have ever pulled a straight lever. Because I look at every issue. I will tell you that there have been times that I didn’t vote for people who are Democrats for whatever reason — I just couldn’t do it. I think we owe it to ourselves to do that.”

Jones had the perfect example to drive the point home. 

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“Y’all all know our state auditor, Jim Zeigler? Jim wasn’t always a Republican. Jim’s first runs for office were as a Democrat. 

“I rest my case.”

You can listen to the full interview at the Alabama Politics This Week website, or you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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Trump to visit Pensacola tonight

Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention

Neither presidential candidate is likely to visit Alabama before the general election, as both campaigns accept that Alabama will be certainly in President Donald Trump’s camp on election day no matter what else happens. While Alabama is not a swing state, Georgia and Florida are both in play, and both campaigns are devoting enormous resources there.

Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy. Trump will be just across the Florida-Alabama state line visiting Pensacola and is scheduled to address supporters at the ST Engineering hangar beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The doors open at 4 p.m. and the event begins at 7:00 p.m.

The president’s rally tonight comes right after a visit to Pensacola last week by Second Lady Karen Pence and is one of many Florida campaign events planned for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump arrived in Florida after Thursday’s final presidential debate with Joe Biden. He is scheduled to hold a campaign event in The Villages before traveling to Pensacola. The president will spend the night at his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago and will vote early Saturday.

The vice president will hold rallies in Lakeland and Tallahassee on Saturday. Florida has 27 electoral college votes. It would be very difficult for Trump to get the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win without winning Florida.

Democrats warn that attending a Trump rally could be dangerous due to the coronavirus threat.

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“The last thing Floridians need is for Donald Trump to host more potential superspreader rallies across our state,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement on the rally in Pensacola. “What we do need, however, is a president capable of putting Floridians ahead of his own self-interest and get this pandemic under control.”

Most recent polls have Trump trailing Biden in Florida. Tickets are required to attend the rally.

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