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Elections

Eight Alabama sheriffs, police groups from 11 major cities endorse Sessions

Brandon Moseley

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Monday, eight Alabama Sheriffs and representatives from police groups in eleven major American cities held a joint press conference to announce that they are endorsing Jeff Sessions for the U.S. Senate.

Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner said that Sessions has a proven track record of strong support for law enforcement in Alabama.

“Law enforcement officers trust Jeff Sessions because we know that he has our back,” Sheriff Turner said in a statement. “As Senator, Jeff Sessions has gone to bat in Washington to fight for the funding that we need. A good example of that is the National Computer Forensics Institute in Hoover, which has trained hundreds of law enforcement officers right here in Alabama, on how to apprehend and prosecute criminals who are engaging in the human trafficking of children.”

Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego said that Sessions’ background as a prosecutor makes him uniquely qualified to advocate for law enforcement in the U.S. Senate.

“I have known Jeff Sessions for over 30 years. We met when he was a U.S. Attorney down in Mobile prosecuting criminal cases, and I was cutting my teeth as a young narcotics detective in Tuscaloosa,” Sheriff Samaniego said. “Jeff had a backbone of steel, and an unwavering commitment to the law and getting criminals and thugs off the street. Jeff is that same man of character and principle today. I am proud to endorse Jeff Sessions for the U.S. Senate. There is no question in my mind that he is the best qualified person for the job.”

The Alabama Sheriffs who are endorsing Sessions include:

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Ray Norris of Clarke County; Kevin Turner of Madison County; Shannon Oliver of Franklin County; John Samaniego of Shelby County; Jonathon W. Horton of Etowah County; Heath Taylor of Russell County, who also serves as President of the Alabama Sheriffs Association; Billy Murray of St. Clair County; and Don Valenza of Houston County.

Sessions said he was humbled by the support, and ready to fight for law enforcement again in the U.S. Senate

“For far too long, the radical left has used rhetoric that undermines and vilifies law enforcement officers, and we have seen unprecedented violence directed against our sheriffs and police officers, as a culture of disrespect for law enforcement has taken root in some parts of America,” Sessions said. “That has to end. Alabama needs a U.S. Senator who deeply understands the challenges law enforcement faces today, a senator who has proven to be willing to stand up and defend our sheriffs, deputies, and police. My message to law enforcement is this: you do heroic work, you have my thanks, and I will always have your back.”

Bill Partridge, Oxford Police Chief and President of the Alabama Association of Police Chiefs, spoke at the press conference and pointed to Sessions’ experience and track record.

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“The U.S. Senate is a serious job, and police chiefs and sheriffs across Alabama know that we have to have a tough leader in that position, who knows how to get things done for Alabama law enforcement. Jeff Sessions’ door has always been open to Alabama law enforcement officers — whenever there has been a need, he has answered the call, which is why I am proud to support his campaign for the U.S. Senate,” Partridge said. “We need Jeff Sessions back in Washington, fighting for Alabama.”

Police from eleven major American cities were represented at the press conference, endorsing Sessions in his bid for the U.S. Senate.

Edward Mullins is the President of the New York City Sergeants Benevolent Association. He spoke about Sessions’ work as U.S. Attorney General to fight gangs like MS-13 and crackdown on sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.

“As U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions expertly executed President Trump’s directive to restore the rule of law and reduce violent crime,” Mullins said. “Through his words and his actions, Jeff Sessions made it clear to police in every community that the nation’s highest law enforcement official once again had our backs and that we were not the enemy.”

“I cannot envision any other leader who could have so quickly restored the morale of American law enforcement after such a dark period under the previous administration,” Mullins added. “Because of his vigorous pursuit of violent criminals and common sense policies, criminal alien gangs like MS-13 were put on notice that they could no longer spread terror with impunity, as the Justice Department made sweeping arrests of violent gang members, and so-called “sanctuary cities” were held accountable for ignoring Immigration and Customs detainers on violent criminal aliens and releasing them back into our communities.”

Sessions is a recipient of the National Sheriffs Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award; and has been honored as a lifetime honorary member of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.

Stephen Schola with the Police Benevolent Association said that in Sessions tenure as Senator he, “Was the voice for common sense” in the Senate. The previous administration did a number of things at the Justice Department “that encouraged distrust of law enforcement. That led to a spike in ambush attacks on our police officers. Morale was at an all time low.” When Sessions took over he demonstrated that “he had our backs and we were not the enemy.”

Ted Sexton is the retired Sheriff of Tuscaloosa County and a Past President of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association. He also is a former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“My community was devastated by a tornado in 2011,” Sexton said. Sessions had our backs and was committed to supporting us during the recovery. He has a “Long commitment to law enforcement.”

Sessions said that in San Francisco the administration is now referring to persons arrested by police as “clients” rather than criminals.

Sessions said that he has always supported law enforcement over the criminals who break the laws.

Sessions defended “stop and frisk” policies saying that “it can be abused; but it is an effective tool at reducing crime.” Police find drugs and weapons that otherwise would not have been. New York had over 1,100 murders a year; the Rudi Giuliani took over and implemented new more aggressive policing, which “Saved New York.” The numbers dropped to just 300 homicides per year. With stop and frisk felons don’t carry a gun or knife so when they get in a scuffle they don’t kill someone.

Sessions was critical of new changes in policing in New York City under Bill de Blasio and blamed those policies for an uptick in crime in New York.

The Alabama Political Reporter asked if that was responsible for recent Census numbers showing that New York state lost 48,000 people in the last year with 40,000 of those leaving the city.

“I got to tell you whether it is a neighborhood in New York or in Montgomery, if they don’t feel safe, people with the means will leave,” Sessions said. “Crime surges, and people leave that area. People if they have a choice, will not live in a high crime area. You don’t have grocery stories and shopping centers and housing values can drop by half. That particularly impacts the poor.”

Mullins said, “It is more like 90,000.”

“Often when arrests were down it is because politicians are telling police not to arrest people,” Sessions said. “Who suffers the most from crime? It is poorer people. African American and Hispanic people they are the ones who are the victims of crime and suffer the most.”

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

Insiders say former Rep. April Weaver is “frontrunner” for Senate District 14

Multiple GOP insiders say former Alabama State Rep. April Weaver is a frontrunner to replace State Sen. Cam Ward.

Bill Britt

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Former State Rep. April Weaver is now serving in the Trump administration.

The surprise announcement on Tuesday that State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, had been tapped by Gov. Kay Ivey to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles sent the political chattering class into overdrive with speculation of who would replace him in the state Senate.

“April Weaver is a clear frontrunner if she jumps in the race,” said a prominent Republican.

Multiple insiders echoed the same sentiment while asking not to be identified in this report to avoid the appearance of trying to influence party politics.

“I think she’s the top contender should she decide to run,” said another.

Replacing Ward, a third-term Alabama senator representing Senate District 14, requires that Ivey announce a special election to fill the vacant seat.

Weaver was a member of the Alabama House representing the 49th district from 2010 to 2020 when she resigned in May to take a position as regional director for Region IV of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration.

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If elected to the upper chamber, she would be the only Republican woman currently serving in the Senate. There are four women serving in the Senate’s Democratic caucus, all of them Black, while the Republican caucus is dominated by white men.

A career nurse, Weaver, in 2015, became the first woman in state history appointed chair of the House Health Committee. In addition to serving as chair of that committee for five legislative sessions, she also chaired the Shelby County House Delegation and as a member of the Rules, Internal Affairs, and State Government committees.

As a federal employee, Weaver cannot engage in political affairs and had no comment on the rumors.

Upon her appointment by President Donald Trump, she said: “Serving in the Alabama House of Representatives has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to represent the people of House District 49 for the past ten years.”

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She continued, “I am forever grateful for the trust and confidence they have placed in me as their Representative, and I am deeply honored to have been chosen to join the Trump Administration. I am excited to be able to use my skills and experience at a national level during this unprecedented time, and I look forward to supporting President Trump’s initiatives and serving the people of our nation.”

Weaver lives in Senate District 14.

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Elections

Voters once again heading back to the polls in Montgomery

For the sixth time in three years, Democratic voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to select a Democratic nominee.

Josh Moon

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Don’t complain about election fatigue to the voters in Alabama’s 26th senate district. For the sixth time in three years, Democratic voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to select a Democratic nominee.

They will vote at least once more to ultimately fill the seat, and will likely be forced to do so twice more if none of the six candidates receives at least 50 percent of the vote. Should a primary runoff be needed, it will be held on Dec. 15. The general election to fill the seat will be held on March 2. 

The never-ending string of elections for the seat began in late 2017, when former state Sen. Quinton Ross resigned to accept the job as Alabama State University’s president. That began a string of elections won by now former Sen. David Burkette. 

Burkette won three elections in 2017 (a primary, a primary runoff and general election) and two more in 2018 to earn the seat. 

Things did not go well. 

Before he served a day, Burkette suffered a debilitating stroke that left him in a wheelchair. Then, earlier this year, he was indicted on charges of misusing campaign funds. He ultimately reached a plea deal with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office that saw him resign his seat and be charged only with a misdemeanor. 

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And now, the cycle starts all over. 

The six Democrats vying for the position are: Linda Burkette, the wife of David Burkette; current Montgomery Rep. Kirk Hatcher, who recently sponsored the count property tax increase; former longtime Rep. John Knight, who was Burkette’s top foe in the five previous elections; Janet May, the former chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Conference; current state Rep. Tashina Morris; and Deborah Anthony, a retired research analyst who’s never held public office. 

Former Montgomery City Councilman William Green is the only Republican running and will face the ultimate winner in March. 

Barring a shift in the universe, the winner of the Democratic primary will ultimately win the seat. Burkette received about 80 percent of the vote in his general election wins. 

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Elections

Opinion | A question for Alabama Republican voters

You won last Tuesday. But let me ask you this: What did you win? 

Josh Moon

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Let’s chat, Republican voters. Now that the election is over and emotions have returned to just short of a five-alarm fire, I’d like to lay a few things out for you. Things just to consider. Things that maybe you’ll carry with you in the future. And then, I have a question for you.

Let’s begin here: You won last Tuesday. Convincingly. 

No two ways about it, the Republican candidates in this state mostly crushed their Democratic competition, a few statehouse races in Dem strongholds notwithstanding. In the all-important statewide race at the top of this state’s ticket — Sen. Doug Jones vs. Republican Tommy Tuberville — there was a convincing Tuberville win. 

So, congratulations. 

But let me ask you this: What did you win? 

Not, “what did the party win,” but what did you win personally? These elections aren’t about the team winning. They’re about public representation that best reflects your interests and values. 

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That’s what a representative government is about, right? Electing people who will go to D.C. or Montgomery or your local courthouse and get the things done that are important to you. 

So, did you get that? 

Well, let’s take a look. 

According to a 2018 Public Affairs Research Council study completed in Alabama, these were the top five issues for state voters: 1. Public education, 2. Healthcare, 3. Government corruption and ethics, 4. Mental health and substance abuse, and 5. Poverty. 

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Obviously, a few things have happened since then, so I think it’s safe to say we can include the economy and global health crises in the top seven. 

And I also know from the campaign ads and constant comments on social media sites that replacing justices on the Supreme Court (mostly in an effort to overturn the legalization of abortion) is high on the list. In fact, it was most often the single topic listed by voters and the single reason many said they were voting against Jones. 

So, there’s your list of important issues. Did your elected officials have a plan to address any of those things?

In short, no. I checked. And you can too. 

Go to the websites for Tuberville, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Mike Rogers, Barry Moore and Jerry Carl — those are the U.S. senator and representatives elected in Alabama last week — and see if you can locate their specific plans for any of those things. 

Hell, half of them don’t even list education — your No. 1 priority — on their websites. 

On your No. 2 issue, healthcare, the responses are so laughably stupid, it’s frankly hard to believe that adults wrote them. Every single one of them wants to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” None of them specify exactly what they plan to replace it with.  

Let me put that another way: They want to take healthcare away from hundreds of thousands of Alabamians, in the middle of a pandemic, and just hope that insurance companies and hospitals behave appropriately and don’t mistreat anyone.  

Let’s be real here. These guys got elected because they’re on the R team, and because you’ve been led to believe that the most important vote that can be cast is one for the people who will choose our next Supreme Court justice. 

And you believe that because you have the misguided notion that the Supreme Court will one day overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortions, which will magically eliminate all abortions. You also believe the high court will do other things, like repeal Obamacare or overturn precedent allowing gay marriage. 

Bad news: None of those things are going to happen. Just this week, the court, despite a 6-3 conservative majority, sent strong signals that the latest attempt to kill Obamacare will be unsuccessful. 

In June, the court upheld an opinion that blocked a Louisiana law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals before they can perform an abortion. The law was designed to limit abortion clinics in the state. 

In October, the court declined to even hear the case of a former Kentucky clerk who was jailed for failing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Now, we could get into the technical legal reasons behind those decisions, but they all essentially boil down to this: The rulings in the major cases on abortion, Obamacare and gay marriage weren’t made flippantly. And once they were made, they became precedent for the court and incredibly hard to overturn.  

But don’t take my word for it. Go read the opinions in the cases I mentioned. Read the analysis from legal scholars. Read the words of the justices. 

And when you finish, ask yourself this: If these conservative judges are going to behave like responsible judges then what exactly am I getting out of all these Republican votes? 

Our schools are in bad shape. Our health care system is failing. We’re going to have to open a new prison just for convicted Republican lawmakers and elected officials at the rate we’re going. We’re at the top of the charts on poverty. And we have one of the highest death rates in the world for COVID. 

What else do we need to fail at before you’ll consider voting for someone who has some idea what they plan to do? No, really, I’m asking.

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Congress

Gov. Kay Ivey meets with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl

Carl won his seat to the U.S. House in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District garnering 61 percent of the votes.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey meets with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday met with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl, to discuss the current hurricane season and trade policy, Ivey’s office said in a statement. 

“The governor looks forward to working together with Congressman Carl for the people of Alabama’s 1st district,” the statement read. 

Carl, a Republican and a Mobile County Commissioner, won his seat to the U.S. House in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District garnering 61 percent of the votes.

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