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Monday, November 30, 2009

Roby Hosts Grand Opening

Martha Roby, Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, will unveil her new campaign headquarters in Montgomery today at a Grand Opening for supporters, the public and the media. The open house will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. today.

The headquarters will be the central hub for Roby’s campaign for Congress.

Drinks and snacks will be provided, and children and families are invited and encouraged to join the Roby family.

WHO: Martha Roby, Republican candidate for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District

WHAT: Campaign Office Grand Opening

WHEN: November 30, 2009 ~ 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Martha Roby for Congress Headquarters
1876 Zelda Road
Montgomery, Al 36106
(in the Hillwood Festival shopping center)

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks

Mobile Mayor Sam Jones endorses Artur Davis for governor

Two-term Mobile Mayor Sam Jones endorsed U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, in his race to be the next governor of Alabama.
During an event Monday at the Battle House Hotel in Mobile, Jones praised Davis' leadership ability, experience, and vision. The endorsement was Jones' first ever in a statewide campaign, according to Davis' campaign.
"Artur Davis and I share a common approach to leadership," Jones said. "Congressman Davis solves problems by bringing people together across traditional dividing lines like partisanship, race and ideology.
"A vitally important quality that distinguishes Artur Davis from the other candidates in this campaign for governor is his positive vision for the future of Alabama's economy. Artur Davis is not satisfied for our state to lag behind our neighbors any longer, not when we have so much talent and so much potential right here in Alabama."
Jones, a former Mobile County commissioner, was elected the first black mayor of Mobile in 2005 and was reelected unopposed in 2009.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

Mitt Romney endorses Kay Ivey for governor

Former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has endorsed state Treasurer Kay Ivey in her race to be the next governor of Alabama.
She served as state chairwoman of Romney's 2008 presidential campaign.
"I worked closely with Kay when I ran for president," Romney said in a statement. "Having been a governor myself, I know she's got the experience and vision to do a good job. Some candidates may talk about being a conservative, but Kay Ivey is the real thing. I've seen her stay true to her conservative principles as state treasurer, and I know they will guide her as governor of Alabama."
Ivey, a Republican in her second term as state treasurer, said she was honored to receive the endorsement.
"It says a lot when a national figure of Gov. Romney's stature supports my effort to provide Alabamians conservative leadership with effective results. Gov. Romney and I share a passion for making government work better for the people it serves.
"Mitt Romney took office at a time of economic crisis and he turned things around for his state," Ivey said. "I will do the same in Alabama. Mitt Romney was a leader in improving education as governor, and I will be, too."
Ivey is running in a crowded Republican field for governor.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gubernatorial Candidate Johnson says he's received death threats

Associated Press • November 25, 2009

Republican candidate for governor Bill Johnson says several letters that he considers "death threats" have been mailed to his home in Prattville.

Johnson said Tuesday he has turned over the letters to the Prattville Post Office and was told they would be investigated by postal inspectors.

One of the letters is addressed to "Judas Iscariot" and on the envelope includes a photo from the Vietnam War of a man holding a gun to another man's head. Johnson's face has been placed on the image of the man with the gun pointed at his head. Under the picture is the phrase "Say Goodbye To Bill."

Johnson is a former member of Gov. Bob Riley's cabinet and served on the Birmingham City Council.

Monday, November 23, 2009

James Wins Another Straw Poll

Tim James is the leading candidate in a straw poll conducted by the Madison County Republican Men's Club, according to a press release from his campaign.

"I had the privilege of meeting the enthusiastic Republicans of Madison County this morning ," James said in a statement. "I am honored to have their vote."

Earlier this month James, a republican candidate for governor, won a straw poll conducted by the Alabama Chapters of the Campaign for Liberty and the Rainy Day Patriots in Springville.

Of the nearly 250 who attended the Madison County Republican Men's Club's monthly meeting at Huntville's Trinity United Methodist Church, 148 cast ballots.

The results are as follows:
James - 52
Ivey - 6
Byrne - 38
Moore - 22
Bentley - 10
Johnson - 4
Potts - 1
Undecided - 15

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks

Steckel: 'One's Words and One's Actions Must Match'

Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Carol Steckel said that her Facebook comment exchanges with Alabama Broadband Initiative Kathy Johnson were "in no way a reflection on my thoughts about the quality of her work.'

Johnson and Steckel, both who are appointees of the governor, got into a verbal spat over comments that Johnson posted about Bill Johnson, a Republican candidate for governor.

Steckel said the following in a note from her personal E-mail address Saturday:

"My comments were solely based on she and her husband's constant comments regarding Governor Riley's ethics and integrity. I recall Mr. Johnson saying several times throughout the campaign "you get one of us you get both", well then it appears that when he says "we" he means both himself and his wife and their positions on issues are the same. While we all know the taxpayers pay our salaries, and as a Cabinet officer I take very seriously my obligation to the taxpayers of Alabama, it is the Governor that hires both of us and the Governor that sets the State's policies regarding the work that I do as a Cabinet Officer and that she does as a Gubernatorial staff member. It is only rationalizing to say that she "works for the taxpayers." If she and her husband truly believe Governor Riley is unethical and has no integrity, my only question is why does she still work for him? There comes a point in time that one's words and one's actions must match."

Carol Steckel

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks
Friday, November 20, 2009

Facebook Rumble: Kathy Johnson v. Carol Hermann Steckel

Two of Gov. Bob Riley's employees -- Kathy Johnson, director of the Alabama Broadband Initiative and Medicaid Commissioner Carol Herrmann Steckel -- apparently got into a Facebook war of words sometime between Thursday night and early Friday.

Johnson, attempting to fire up supporters for her husband and Republican candidate for governor Bill Johnson, made a post on her Facebook page to which Steckel apparently objected.

Bill Johnson has been hammering at his former boss, Riley, over a multi-million dollar no-bid contract and has also accused Riley of taking Indian casino gambling money. Riley made Bill Johnson step down from his post as director of the Alabama Department of Community and Economic Affairs when he learned that he intended to run for governor.

Read the exchange from Kathy Johnson's Facebook page:

Kathy Johnson Bill Johnson for honesty, integrity and transparency in state government! Only 7 months until the primary--time to get fired up!!!
8 hours ago · Comment ·Like Unlike · View Feedback (14)Hide Feedback (14)

5 people like this.

Kathy Reynolds
Is your hubby running for office?
4 hours ago

Carol Herrmann Steckel
Honesty and Integrity -- oh please. Anyone but Bill Johnson -- who turned on his mentor and whose partner still works for the Governor. Kathy -- if Governor Riley is as bad as your husband says he is why do you still work for him. What hypocrites you both are.
3 hours ago

Kathy Johnson
Carol, your comments are very rude and hurtful; however, I will be glad to respond. You and I report to the Governor, but we all work for the citizens of Alabama. We are paid by the people of Alabama and our loyalty is to God first, family second and friends/jobs third. Your attack is against me. This is not about me and my work to help the Governor spread access and use of broadband to all residents and businesses of the state. It is a much needed project, especially for our most rural and left behind communities. I am honored the Governor appointed me to work on this critical project and will continue to work toward making a difference despite attacks such as yours.
about an hour ago

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nicrosi announces run for AG

Former federal prosecutor Michel Nicrosi of Daphne has decided to run for attorney general, saying the position needs a prosecutor and not a politician.
The Democrat announced Thursday she has formed a campaign committee.
Nicrosi, a standout in academics and athletics at Montgomery Academy, served 16 years as a federal prosecutor and was chief of the Criminal Division in Alabama's southern district.
"If we want to finally clean up this state and keep our families safe,we don't need another politician as attorney general. We've had plenty of those. We need a prosecutor," she said in a statement. "That's what I’ve been for most of my adult life."
Two prominent Republicans have announced they are running, incumbent Troy King who is vying for his second term and Birmingham lawyer and former lobbyist Luther Strange. Strange beat a field of Republicans in the 2006
Republican primary for lieutenant governor, but lost to Jim Folsom Jr. in the general election.
Giles Perkins, a Birmingham attorney and former executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party, said in October that he would vie for his party's nomination for attorney general.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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ICYMI: Jackson backs off criticism of Davis

By Markeshia Ricks • November 20,2009
The Rev. Jesse Jackson struck a conciliatory tone after he verbally revoked U.S. Rep. Artur Davis' status as a black man this week.
In his remarks during a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation reception honoring the 25th anniversary of his presidential race, the Washington, D.C., publication The Hill reported that Jackson said, "We even have blacks voting against the health care bill from Alabama. You can't vote against health care and call yourself a black man."

Davis, a Democratic candidate for governor, was the only member of the caucus who voted against the health care bill.

But instead of firing back at the civil rights icon, Davis took the high road and told The Hill that he admired Jackson "for inspiring the idea that a black politician would not be judged simply as a black leader. The best way to honor Rev. Jackson's legacy is to decline to engage in an argument with him that begins and ends with race."

Nevertheless, Jackson's remarks proved valuable ammunition for state Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks, also a Democratic candidate for governor. The Sparks camp has been working to ensure that the people of Alabama in general and Davis' congressional constituents in Birmingham in particular don't forget how the congressman voted.
An e-mail with a link to the article containing Jackson's remarks went out to a large network of potential Democratic voters within the hour of hitting the Internet.

Recognizing the impact his words might have had on Davis' historic attempt to become Alabama’s first black governor, Jackson toned down his rhetoric.
"I talked to Congressman Artur Davis today to assure him of my abiding admiration of him as a leader who is engaged in a huge challenge," Jackson said in a statement. "I offer no challenge to his integrity as a leader."

Jackson went on to say in the statement that representatives should vote their conscience in the interest of their constituency. But he also noted that there is a growing disparity among the black and poor of the country.

"We desperately need voices and votes," he said. "Among the black and the poor, the infant mortality rate is higher, life expectancy is shorter, poverty is growing and unemployment is highest."

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis is responding to remarks that the Rev. Jesse Jackson made about him during a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation reception.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Operators close White Hall gaming facility

Operators of a gambling facility about 20 miles east of Montgomery decided to close the doors as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, leaving 105 people without a job.
Attorney Joe Espy said he hoped the voluntary closing of the White Hall facility would be temporary and that, hopefully, it would reopen in two weeks. He said the organization that operates the facility, Cornerstone Community Outreach, planned to analyze the machines and ensure they comply with the standards outlined in a Friday decision by the Alabama Supreme Court.
"The White Hall Entertainment Center will re-open for business when the determination has been made that all machines are in compliance," according to a release from Espy's office.
The state's highest court, in a case between operators of the White Hall facility and the governor's task force on illegal gambling, outlined a six-point definition of bingo. Gov. Bob Riley said the machines are slot machines, which are illegal in Alabama, and do not meet the definition of bingo.
The court did not outlaw electronic bingo, but did open the door for the task force to raid the White Hall facility again. The governor's task force raided the facility in March, seizing more than 100 machines and $560,000 in cash.
"In spite of the fact that the ruling by the court was merely preliminary and that Cornerstone is confident that the White Hall bingo operation is legal and constitutional, Cornerstone is unwilling to subject its employees and customers to a repeat of the mistreatment that occurred when the governor's task force raided the facility in March of this year," according to a release from Espy's office.
Espy said the machines and money have not been returned and are the subject of pending litigation.
Jeff Emerson, communications director for Riley, said they did not have a comment about the closing on Wednesday. Attorneys for the facility informed the governor's office about the closing late Wednesday afternoon, he said.
When asked about people losing their jobs, Emerson said "That's illegal activity that is going on (at the White Hall gaming center) and illegal activity should be stopped wherever it happens."
When asked if there would be any help offered to those who lost their job, Emerson said he did not know at the time.
The small community, Espy said, is losing jobs and charitable contributions during the holiday season.
"It"s certainly devastating," he said. "We are confident that we can reopen. The problem is we're just not sure when that is."
Espy said he did not know how much money was going to Cornerstone, but he said about $500,000 had been given to charities to date.
Emerson said casinos are a drain on local communities and the governor's office has seen studies that show that having a casino within 50 miles doubles the rate of compulsive gamblers. Each compulsive gambler, he said, costs society $10,000 in lost productivity, crime or welfare costs.
"Casinos take more than they give," Emerson said.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

Sparks, Davis Continue to Trade Jabs

The only thing that Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Sparks and U.S. Rep. Artur Davis seem to agree on these days is that they're both Democrats and they both want to be governor.

The two candidates have been attacking each other on their differing stances on health care and education, and it doesn't appear they're going to let up anytime soon.
Davis' campaign is accusing Sparks of "deliberately misleading Alabama voters on his views" about education reform and charter schools.
Sparks has taken a strong stance against charter schools, while Davis is in favor of Alabama having them. The Davis camp points out that Sparks joined Newt Gingrich and the Rev. Al Sharpton in Tuskegee recently as part of the Obama administration's education tour.
Gingrich and Sharpton have joined forces to promote the president's vision for a radical overhaul of education, and part of that vision includes permitting charter schools.
“Ron Sparks proudly touted his participation in President Obama’s education reform tour when he thought it would win him votes, but less than two weeks later he is taking the opposite position and claiming to strongly oppose the President’s signature reforms,” said Davis campaign spokesman Alex Goepfert. “Once again, Ron Sparks is not being honest with Alabama voters about where he stans.
“Artur Davis agrees with President Obama on this issue and Ron Sparks either does not understand President Obama’s charter school proposals or he is once again deliberately misleading voters."
ut the Sparks camp, which has been hammering Davis for voting against the prevailing House health care reform bill in Congress, says Davis has some explaining of his own to do as the only black member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against the bill.
The campaign recently sent out a link to a story from "The Hill" in which the Rev. Jesse Jackson questions Davis' blackness for voting against the health care bill.
"I find it ironic that Artur Davis has time these days to critique Ron's support for educational reform, " said Sparks campaign spokesman Justin Saia. "Perhaps he should focus his efforts instead on answering questions from the voters in his district and Democrats across the state who are appalled by his shameless vote on Barack Obama's health care reform bill.
Saia said he finds it equally amusing that Davis critiques an event that he didn't attend.
"Charter schools are only a part of the President's education reform plan," he said. "Charter schools only affect a minuscule number of our school children while overall reform must address the needs of all of our students. Charter schools are not a silver bullet that will solve our education problems.

"I look forward to hearing specific plans to fund Alabama's depleted education budgets from Artur in the near future," Saia said.
-- posted by Markeshia Ricks
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

AG talks about bingo, relationship with Riley

Attorney General Troy King said there has been a disagreement between him and Gov. Bob Riley, the man who appointed him to his position, over electronic bingo, "but that disagreement ended on Friday."

King is referring to an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that better defined bingo in the state, outlining six criteria.

Riley is claiming the ruling is a victory in his fight against electronic bingo.

The attorney general said the ruling does not state electronic bingo is illegal.

He said he and the governor agree that the law should be enforced and the court's ruling better defines bingo. King sent a letter to district attorneys in the 18 counties in Alabama with constitutional amendments allowing bingo informing them of the court's decision and offering legal advice from his office. He also said that, unless specified in a ruling, that there is a period of 18 days before it becomes effective to allow for appeals.

"If and when this decision becomes final, new substantive law will be in effect in Alabama defining what constitutes bingo in our state," King wrote. "As the chief law officers of your local jurisdictions, you hold the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance within your district for this and other laws. I am confident you will do so."
Riley has pushed King and district attorneys to begin enforcing the ruling, but King said that was premature because it is not final.

King and Riley differed on whether electronic bingo was legal in the state. King believed state law did not prohibit electronic bingo. He said his opinion, unlike that of the court, does not carry the weight of the law.

"We have a whole new test," King said. "It doesn't matter what I thought a week ago."

King does not believe the situation has been resolved.

"This is not the final answer," he said.

The attorney general also questioned the constitutionality of the governor's task force on illegal gaming and the issue of separation of powers. He said the governor appointed a supernumerary district attorney to command the task force that essentially has the same power as the attorney general to go into other counties and prosecute cases.

Much has been made of the disagreement between Riley and his former legal adviser.

"The governor is still my friend," King said Tuesday.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

Bedford responds to "slush fund" comments

State Sen. Roger Bedford released a statement on Tuesday in response to reports in the Birmingham News and comments from Republicans leaders.

The following is his statement:

"I have already asked the Department of Public Examiners to conduct an audit, and I look forward to sharing the results of that audit with everyone concerned. I believe in transparency and accountability. That is why I put in the law that these funds are to be audited. The people of my district deserve to see how this money is used. What they will find is that 100 percent of these tax dollars go the people of my district for important projects without any overhead expenses like salaries or staffs. In fact, we have saved a majority of the money to offset anticipated losses from proration at the State level. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish with these tax dollars. These monies have and will continue to help the people of our district."

Bedford went on to criticize House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard's business relationship with Auburn University

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

Republicans demand investigation into "slush funds"

Republican leaders in the Alabama House and Senate are requesting expedited audits of "slush funds" controlled by Democratic legislators and asking that any irregularities be forwarded on to federal prosecutors, the Alabama Ethics Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service.
Senate Minority Leader Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, and House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said they were concerned about funds identified in a recent report by the Birmingham News that were directed to two non-profits following enabling legislation in 2006. The entities have received about $800,000 in state coal severance tax funds and the Democratic lawmakers have not produced any accounting for the spending of the funds.
"No one seems to know how the money was used, who received it or even who really controls its use," Waggoner said.
The legislation directed funds to the entities, which did not exist and were created five months later, from the coal severance tax. The legislation also required the audit of the Marion County Community Development Association, Inc., and the West Alabama Development Association of Fayette County, Inc.
Chief Examiner Ron Jones told the News in a follow-up article that the entities would be audited. He said the audits would begin between now and the end of the year.
Powerful state Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and state Rep. Mike Millican, D-Hamilton, incorporated the Marion County Community Development Association Inc., according to state records.
Bedford, state Rep. William Thigpen, D-Fayette, and Fayette County Probate Judge William Oswalt incorporated the West Alabama Development Association of Fayette County, Inc.
Bedford and Millican did not return calls from the News. The address on record for the Marion County Community Development Association is Millican's personal residence in Hamilton.
Thigpen told the newspaper that the Fayette County group had given money to schools, volunteer fire departments and other projects.
There is also no evidence that the non-profits filed for tax exempt status from the IRS.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen
Monday, November 16, 2009

Riley sends threatening letters to gaming commissions

Gov. Bob Riley has sent a letter to gaming commissions in other states informing them of a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling on electronic bingo machines and stating "we intend to prosecute violations of our law to the fullest extent."

After the Friday decision from the state's highest court, Riley sent the letter to the gaming commissions of Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arizona. His intention, according to a release from his office, is to urge the "commissions to make sure the gambling machine manufacturers they regulate cease all illegal activity in Alabama."

"The Supreme Court's ruling is crystal clear. All these so-called electronic bingo machines are illegal in Alabama and it's time for them to go," Riley said. "We warned the gambling commissions and the slot machine manufacturers almost a year ago that these machines are illegal, so the Supreme Court's ruling can't be a surprise to them. It certainly isn't to us.

"This ruling has statewide authority. It references every bingo amendment in Alabama and provides a clear and precise definition of bingo that applies to every county," the governor said. "What we've told the commissions is they need to make sure the manufacturers that operate under their jurisdiction are complying with the law in Alabama."

The Alabama Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, did not strike down electronic bingo in Alabama, but did clarify the definition of bingo and did overrule a preliminary injunction that kept Riley's task force on illegal gaming from raiding the facility in White Hall again. The opinion stated there was little chance that the charity that operates the facility could convince the court that the machines seized there were legal bingo machines.

Riley's task force seized more than 100 machines and more than $560,000 in a raid at the White Hall Resort and Entertainment Center along U.S. 80, about 20 miles west of Montgomery.

Riley is claiming a victory as the ruling, although not final, defines bingo and demonstrates the "so-called electronic bingo machines" are slot machines that are not legal in Alabama.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Byrne proposes measures to help vets

Republican Bradley Byrne used the Veteran's Day observance to push for legislation that would make members of the military, reserves and Alabama National Guard who return to their homes here after completing active duty deployment outside of the United States eligible for a proposed real estate tax credit.
The tax credit is part of Byrne's Operation Giving Back, a plan he said he would implement as governor to bolster state serves and support for veterans. He said the plan would be a top priority if he was elected.
The initiatives Byrne has included in the program so far are:

to provide an additional homestead exemption tax credit for U.S. military personnel, reservists and Alabama National Guard members who return to their Alabama homes after having been deployed on active duty outside the United States;

to provide resources to supplement the $300 burial allowance provided to qualifying veterans by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs; and

to convene an expert Advisory Council on Serving Those Who Have Served to assess existing programs for veterans, study 'best practices' in other states for possible replication in Alabama, conduct town hall listening posts to hear straight from the voices of our veterans, and recommend ways the state can better meet the real needs of today's active duty personnel and veterans.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

James wins conservative straw poll

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James won a straw poll in Springville, according to a release from his campaign.
The gubernatorial candidate forum was co-hosted by the Alabama chapters of the Campaign for Liberty and Rainy Day Patriots. About 200 people from throughout the state attended the forum.
At the end of Monday's candidate forum, attendees were asked to cast their ballots. Organizers did not give numbers, according to the campaign, but they announced James "was the clear winner."
"I am delighted in the straw poll results, as these are people representing concerned citizens from throughout Alabama," James said in a statement. "The Tea Party movement across Alabama and America is due to the energy of these people who came out on a dark and stormy night to hear candidates, ask questions and discuss important issues. I am honored to have their vote of support."
James is a Greenville businessman and son of former Gov. Fob James.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bright one of most vulnerable congressmen

Many publications that focus on national politics and campaigns have noted that they expect Democratic freshman U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright to have to fight to keep his seat in Congress.
In the last week, Roll Call listed the 10 most vulnerable members of the U.S. House during the 2010 election. Most of the congressmen on the list are Democratic freshman, including Bright.
Bright became the first Democrat to represent the 2nd Congressional District since the 1960s after claiming a narrow victory a year ago. He won by less than 1 percent. With voters in the district favoring Republican presidential nominee John McCain by 26 points in 2008, Bright is considered one of the most vulnerable candidates as he runs again in the conservative district.
Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby, a Republican, is the only major-party candidate so far to announce she is running against Bright. National Republicans, as the Roll Call article points out, consider Roby a top recruit.
Nine of the 10 most vulnerable members on the list are Democrats.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

GOP launches video, campaign attacking Democrats on corruption

A year ahead of the 2010 general election, the Alabama Republican Party on Tuesday launched the last leg of its fight to take control of the Alabama Legislature and other offices with a video attacking corruption by Democrats in Alabama.

People can view the video by clicking on the following link:

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen