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An interview with Rick Neighbors, who is challenging Congressman Robert Aderholt

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidate Rick Neighbors, center, speaks with people during a campaign event. (VIA RICK NEIGHBORS CAMPAIGN)

Last week, the Alabama Political Reporter sat down with Rick Neighbors, the Democratic nominee in Alabama’s 4th Congressional District, where he is challenging twelve-term incumbent Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, in the Nov. 3 general election.

Neighbors said that he wants to bring a better quality of life for the people of Alabama’s 4th Congressional District.

Neighbors said that accomplishing that goal takes a three-pronged approach: the education of Alabama’s children so that they are qualified for the high-income jobs of tomorrow, job training for Alabama’s existing workforce, and recruiting jobs that pay a good wage to come to Alabama. Neighbors was critical of past economic development projects that lured employers that did not pay a living wage. Those workers have a job, but you are still having to support them with government benefits.

Neighbors is originally from North Carolina. He served three tours in the Vietnam War. After the war, he married a woman from Hackleburg and found employment in the state’s textile industry.

“A young man with no skills could find a good-paying job in those days making $10 an hour,” Neighbors said.

That wage then translated into today’s wages would be making over $60 thousand a year. You can not find those kinds of jobs today.

Neighbors blamed Robert Aderholt’s vote in favor of CAFTA for the loss of the state’s textile industries. “Where are the jobs” they promised, Neighbors said of NAFTA.

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Neighbors decried the poverty rate of the 4th Congressional District and said that many citizens in the district “suffer death from despair,” referring to the high rates of alcoholism and drug abuse. “We have the highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the world,” he said.

Neighbors was also critical of Aderholt’s past support for a plan by a Gadsden defense contractor to use helicopters to stop rocket-propelled grenades from hitting American tanks and ground troops. Neighbors says that from the time the weapon is fired to the time it strikes its target is less than ten seconds. The helicopter would have to identify the RPG that’s been fired and then fly into position to deploy its weapon in the path of the rocket, essentially be dropping a “chain link fence” in the path of the grenade. Neighbors said that the plan would not work and that money should not have been wasted on it.

Neighbors also criticized Aderholt for not being accessible enough and meeting with constituents.

Neighbors said that the people of the 4th Congressional District need rural broadband and that the coronavirus global pandemic has only made that more clear.

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APR said that Aderholt has made rural broadband a central mission. What is wrong with what they are doing?

Neighbors said that it was “piecemeal” and would take decades to spread at this rate. Neighbors said that he preferred making broadband a national priority like the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration did with rural electrification. “There are too many people with their hands out” trying to make a profit off of it, Neighbors said.

Neighbors said that he can’t even do Zoom meetings at his house the connection speed is so slow. He has to go to a friend’s house to participate in a Zoom meeting. How are our kids learning like that?

Neighbors said that the state has never invested enough into education to raise Alabamians out of poverty,

APR asked Neighbors if he believed that he could defeat Aderholt.

“Yes, I do,” Neighbors said. I just have to get my message out in front of the people so they understand that they have a choice.

APR asked Neighbors if he supports term limits.

“I am term-limited,” Neighbors said. “It takes a constitutional amendment. I will support it, but will it pass?”

APR asked: Aderholt is the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee. If the Republicans win control this time or in two years from now, he could be the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Wouldn’t that put him in better position to help the 4th District than you as a freshman member?

“Why hasn’t it helped before,” Neighbors said. “It didn’t help the last time they (Republicans) were in the majority.”

The 4th Congressional District voters will see Neighbors, the Democrat, and Aderholt, the Republican, on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with over nine years at Alabama Political Reporter. During that time he has written 8,297 articles for APR. 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

Alabama Farmers Federation endorses April Weaver for SD14

“I am honored to have the support of the Alabama Farmers Federation,” Weaver said.

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State Senate candidate April Weaver, a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.

The Alabama Farmers Federation is endorsing April Weaver for Alabama Senate District 14, which includes portions of Bibb, Chilton and Shelby counties.

Bibb County Farmers Federation President Ashton Cottingham said: “April Weaver is a proven leader with all the qualifications and experience to represent our best interests in Montgomery. We support her wholeheartedly.”

Chilton County Farmers Federation President Lynn Harrison said: “April is a public servant who knows how to get things done in Montgomery. She will work hard for the people of this district to make sure all of our needs are represented in the Legislature.”

Shelby County Farmers Federation President John DeLoach said: “April has a proven track record of excellent public service. She is a true conservative who will work hard for us and represent our district well in Montgomery.”

A lifelong resident of District 14, Weaver is a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration. She has worked for more than 23 years in hospital management in various roles. Most recently she served as Regional IV Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  

When serving in the House of Representatives, she was the first woman to serve as chairman of the House Health Committee.

“I am honored to have the support of the Alabama Farmers Federation,” said Weaver. “I know the importance that agriculture plays in our state, and I look forward to working with Alabama farmers and all the people of District 14 to make it a better place to work and live.”

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The Alabama Farmers Federation is the state’s largest farm organization with more than 350,000 members. It uses a grassroots approach to select candidates, relying on FarmPAC endorsements from county Federation boards for local elections. 

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Sewell condemns actions, comments by Republican colleagues

Sewell called for Republican colleagues who shared in conspiracy theories over the election to be held accountable.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, during a congressional hearing.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, in a statement to APR on Monday called out some of her Republican colleagues, specifically Congressmen Mo Brooks and Barry Moore, for what she described as their “irresponsible and inflammatory remarks” regarding the election outcome and statements made surrounding the deadly attack of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. 

Rep. Barry Moore, R-Alabama, on Sunday had his personal Twitter account suspended, and then he deleted his account, after two tweets he made regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol drew criticism. 

“Wow we have more arrests for stealing a podium on January 6th than we do for stealing an election on November 3rd. Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Detroit, would be places I recommend you start; there is video evidence of these crimes as well! #ElectionIntegrityMatters,” Moore tweeted on Saturday. 

Before his account was suspended and deleted, Moore also tweeted in reference to the death of Ashli Babbit, 35, who was shot by a Capitol Police officer when she tried to crawl through a broken window inside the Capitol during the siege.

“@mtgreenee @NARAL I understand it was a black officer that shot the white female veteran . You know that doesn’t fit the narrative,” Moore tweeted Saturday. The tweet has since been deleted, but it has been archived by Pro Publica’s Politwoops project.

At least five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, have been killed related to the siege. Another Capitol Hill police officer, Howard Liebengood, who responded to the attack, died Saturday off duty, marking the second Capitol Police officer death since Wednesday. Police did not release his cause of death.

“Since Wednesday’s violent assault at the U.S. Capitol, I have been repeatedly asked my thoughts about the actions and comments of my Alabama colleagues, especially Rep. Mo Brooks and now Rep. Barry Moore,” Sewell said in a statement to APR on Monday. “While the Alabama congressional delegation has had a history of civility, if not congeniality, irrespective of political party, I cannot let the irresponsible and inflammatory remarks of some of my colleagues go unanswered.”

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She went on to say:

“It’s not okay for elected officials to continue to peddle lies and conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud and an allegedly-stolen presidential election.  President-Elect Biden won the election. There are simply no credible allegations of fraud, and upwards of 60 cases filed alleging problems with the election have been heard and dismissed by the courts. There are Trump appointed U.S. Attorneys throughout the country who were authorized by former Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate and prosecute allegations of fraud. Not one case has been filed by any of these Trump appointees.

“It is not okay for my congressional colleagues to use their public platform to incite Americans to overturn our election, storm the U.S. Capitol or assault our democracy. It’s called an insurrection and such seditious behavior must have consequences.  

“It’s not okay to use racial overtones to further spread deceptive narratives that perpetuate the lie that caused last week’s violent events. 

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“Such lawmakers must be held accountable. Their words and actions do matter and their complicity in inciting the vicious attack on our democracy must not go unchecked. I am deeply and personally offended by the outrageous comments and every Alabamian that believes in our democracy should be, too.”

Sewell was forced to shelter inside the Capitol after Trump supporters stormed the building, prompting the evacuation of some and a barricading of others as police tried to get control of an out-of-control siege.

Moore didn’t answer APR‘s questions Sunday about those tweets directly, but his chief of staff sent APR a statement from Moore on Sunday afternoon. 

“Lawlessness is not the answer to our nation’s problems, and every person who acts unlawfully is responsible for their own actions and should be held accountable to the full extent of the law, whether that’s Black Lives Matter, Antifa or Wednesday’s rioters,” Moore said in the statement. 

Brooks was an early supporter of challenging the certification of election results, an action that pleased President Donald Trump and his allies seeking to overturn the election, and spoke to the crowd gathered near the Capitol before the attack. 

“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” Brooks yelled into his microphone. After the riots began, Brooks tweeted an unfounded rumor alleging it was antifa who started the rioting.

The day after the attack, Brooks told an Alabama conservative talk radio host that he had no regrets over his speech prior to the violence, according to The Intercept, telling the host that there was “mounting evidence of fascist antifa’s involvement in all of this.” 

The Federal Bureau of Investigations said on Friday that there was no evidence of antifa aiding pro-Trump supporters in the deadly attack. 

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Elections

ALGOP announces qualifying dates for HD73 special election

Qualifying will open online Monday, Jan. 18, and close Jan. 26 at 5 p.m.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Republican Party announced qualifying dates for the special election in Alabama House District 73. Information on the qualifying process is available on the ALGOP website.

Qualifying will open online Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. CT. It will close on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, at 5 p.m. People interested in qualifying should contact ALGOP Executive Director Reed Phillips.

Anyone who needs to qualify in-person may do so at Alabama Republican Party headquarters in Hoover. The office is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, excluding federal holidays.

The vacancy in House District 73 occurred following the election of Rep. Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo, to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. House District 73 is located in Shelby County.

The Special Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, if more than one candidate qualifies. If no candidate gets a 50 percent plus one majority in the primary, a primary runoff election will be held on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

The special general election will be held on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Helena Councilwoman Leigh Hulsey has already announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination in HD73.

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Elections

Leigh Hulsey announces bid to represent State House District 73

The seat became vacant when Rep. Matt Fridy was sworn in on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

Brandon Moseley

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The Alabama Statehouse (CHIP BROWNLEE/APR)

Helena Councilwoman Leigh Hulsey on Tuesday announced that she is running as a Republican for the Alabama House of Representatives District 73 in Shelby County in the special election set by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Hulsey currently serves as president pro tempore for the City Council in Helena. She has served on the Helena City Council since 2008. Hulsey also serves as the council liaison for the Helena Parks and Recreation and Police departments. In addition to her experience on the Helena City Council, Hulsey is the owner at CrossFit Alabaster.

“I will use my conservative, pro-business values to bring about real change to our state and District 73,” Hulsey said.

If elected, Hulsey would represent Alabaster, Helena, Montevallo and Pelham. The special primary election for District 73 will be Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

House District 73 became vacant when Rep. Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo, was sworn in on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

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