Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
Alabama Democrats mourn the passing of Dr. Gregory T. Graves, Secretary of the Alabama Democratic Party. Please join us in extending thoughts and prayers to Dr. Graves' loved ones during this difficult time.
The funeral arrangements for Dr. Graves are as follows:
Family Hour – Friday, May 6th - 6:30 - 7:30pm
Ross-Clayton Funeral Home
1412 Adams Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104
Funeral – Saturday, May 7th – 11:00am
Community Congregational United Church of Christ
3481 South Court Street
Montgomery, AL 36105
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made at ServisFirst Bank for "The Graves Family Fund" (TyJewel Graves College Fund). Donations should be mailed to: ServisFirst Bank, P.O. Box 4189, Montgomery, AL 36103.
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
This past weekend the Alabama College Democrats held their annual convention in Tuscaloosa. A great crowd of future Alabama Democratic leaders was on hand to conduct business and elect a new slate of officers to serve for the next year. Attendees heard from Doug Hoffman, President of Engage Alabama; 6th Judicial Circuit Judge John England; U.S. Senate nominee Ron Crumpton; and Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley.
Congratulations to our College Democrats for an excellent 2016 convention!
New executive board pictured above (L to R): Mike Smith, Nick Osborn, Patrick Fitzgerald, Katie Schafer, Calvin Wilborn, Emily Hale, Chip Brownlee, Colin Mortensen, and Ethan Gregory
Monday, April 4th, 2016
National convention delegation press release: 2016-04-21 Convention Delegation Certification.pdf
PLEO (Party Leader Elected Official) Delegates:
Valvier "Val" Bright (Clinton)
Priscilla P. Dunn (Clinton)
Juandalynn "LeLe" Givan (Clinton)
Grover Dunn (Clinton)
Fred D. Gray (Clinton)
Joe L. Reed (Clinton)
Steven W. Hoyt (Sanders)
Jarralynne Agee (Clinton)
Maudie Bedford (Clinton)
Sherry McClain (Clinton)
Nancy Gardner Sewell (Clinton)
Teresa Smiley (Clinton)
Larisa Thomason (Sanders)
Roger Bedford III (Clinton)
Harry Gilliam (Clinton)
Jim Spearman (Clinton)
Charlie L. Staten (Clinton)
Jeffery McDaniels (Sanders)
Yvette M. Richardson (Clinton)
Sylvia Williams (Sanders)
Julian McPhillips (Clinton)
Warren Davis (Clinton)
Anita McDaniel Brueck (Clinton)
Zack Buckner (Clinton)
Carolyn (CiCi) Culpepper (Clinton)
D. Anthony (Tony) Parker (Sanders)
Virginia Edington (Clinton)
Earl Jones (Clinton)
Friday, March 11th, 2016
Congressional District 1
Vivian Davis Figures (Clinton)
Mary Morris (Clinton)
Napoleon Bracy, Jr. (Clinton)
James E. Buskey (Clinton)
Marcellus N. Parker (Sanders)
Congressional District 2
Janet Y. Buskey (Clinton)
Tyna D. Davis (Clinton)
Beth Sanders (Sanders)
Joe Reed (Clinton)
Steven L. Reed (Clinton)
Congressional District 3
Gwendolyn Harris Brooks (Clinton)
Pat "Patsy" Jones (Clinton)
Johnny Ford (Clinton)
Fred Gray, Jr. (Clinton)
Jesse T. Smith (Sanders)
Congressional District 4
Sue Thompson (Clinton)
Ashley Bryant (Sanders)
Robert Avery (Clinton)
Roger H. Bedford, Jr. (Clinton)
Congressional District 5
Susan C. Brown (Clinton)
Laura Hall (Clinton)
Eddie Sherrod (Clinton)
Patrick Doyle (Sanders)
Congressional District 6
Merika Coleman (Clinton)
Mallory Anderton (Sanders)
Louis Baxley (Clinton)
Congressional District 7
Louise Alexander (Clinton)
Ella B. Bell (Clinton)
Linda Coleman (Clinton)
Shelia Smoot (Clinton)
Sheila D. Tyson (Clinton)
Fred Bell (Clinton)
Earl Hilliard, Jr. (Clinton)
Hank Sanders (Clinton)
Rodger M. Smitherman (Clinton)
The "Uncommitted" presidential category did not reach the 15% threshold in any congressional district. As a result, no uncommitted delegates were elected.
Delegate election results:
Thursday, March 10th, 2016
Click on the links below to view At-Large and Pledged PLEO (Party Leader Elected Official) Delegate Candidates
Qualifying to run as a Pledged PLEO and/or At-Large Delegate ends March 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm.
Monday, March 7th, 2016
Alabama Democrats interested in running as an At-Large Delegate (or Alternate) and/or Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) Delegate may qualify by submitting a Statement of Candidacy with the Alabama Democratic Party by 5:00 p.m. on March 29, 2016.
Eleven At-Large delegates, seven pledged PLEO delegates and four alternates will be selected at a meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee on April 2, 2016. The SDEC meeting will be held at the Crump Senior Center, 1751 Congressman W.L. Dickinson Dr, Montgomery, AL 36109 and will begin at 11:00 a.m. Convention delegates will meet at the Crump Center immediately after the SDEC meeting.
Delegate candidates who previously submitted statements of candidacy do not have to resubmit the form unless they did not indicate that they wanted to be considered for At-Large and/or PLEO, or if they wish to change the presidential candidate that they are pledged to.
The Democratic Party seeks a diverse group of candidates in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, occupation, etc.
Statements of candidacy (with signed pledges of presidential candidate support) may be submitted in person or mailed to the Party office in Montgomery:
Alabama Democratic Party
501 Adams Ave
Montgomery, AL 36104
PDF download: Statement of Candidacy and Pledge of Support
Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
Democrats are heading out to vote all over the state today, and we're counting on voters like you to make your voices heard. The polls are open today from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., so double check your polling place and make a plan to get out and vote.
We are fortunate to have two incredible candidates in Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and you've had the opportunity to hear from both of them on their plans to keep moving America forward. No matter who becomes our nominee, we are going to stand behind them and fight as hard as we can until one of them is the next President of the United States.
Find your polling place at the link below and GO VOTE!
Monday, February 15th, 2016
The Alabama Democratic Party has NOT endorsed a candidate for President in the March 1 Primary. On Saturday, February 13, following the minority caucus' (ADC) Luncheon, WSFA (Channel 12), an affiliate of the Raycom Network, ran a false story that the Party had endorsed Hillary Clinton. Party Chair Nancy Worley called the reporter after she heard the story Saturday evening and asked for a correction. She was assured the story would be taken down and corrected.
Unfortunately other Raycom Network affiliates ran the story on Sunday with the false information. ADC, the Alabama Democratic Conference, or minority caucus chaired by Dr. Joe Reed, endorsed Secretary Clinton; however, the Alabama Democratic Party does not endorse in a Primary Election.
Individuals with concerns about this false story should call Channel 12, a Raycom Affiliate in Montgomery, which originally aired the story at (334) 288-1212.
Monday, February 8th, 2016
The Alabama Democratic Party is deeply saddened by the death of Redding Pitt, current Vice Chair since 2013, and former Chairman, 2001 – 2005. Redding Pitt served as an attorney with the firm of Farris, Riley and Pitt in Birmingham, Alabama, from 2001 until his death. A native of the Tennessee Valley, Redding Pitt was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, 1994 - 2001, and he held various government positions at the federal and state level prior to that appointment.
Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley said, “Redding was an excellent Party Chairman and Vice Chairman, a scholar of history and politics, and a strong supporter of the Democratic Party’s core principles.” “The State Democratic Executive Committee, its officers, as well as Democrats throughout Alabama, offer condolences to his son and extended family. We will never forget his numerous contributions to the Party and to the people of our state,” said Worley.
Friday, January 29th, 2016
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed by President Obama seven years ago today. Named for an Alabama woman who fought back after discovering her male co-workers were paid more for doing the same work, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restored an employee's right to challenge pay discrimination in the workplace.
Alabama Democratic Chairwoman Nancy Worley praised the courage of Ledbetter and said, "The Fair Pay Act was a victory for families, since four out of ten households in our country are headed by females."
Unfortunately, women still earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes, so there is more work to do to achieve fair pay. "Democrats support a strong economy, and equal pay will help strengthen that foundation and grow the middle class," said Worley.
Friday, December 18th, 2015
Please click the link below for the list of certified 2016 Democratic National Convention Delegate candidates.
Friday, November 6th, 2015
Candidates for the March 1, 2016 Democratic Primary Election
Please select the desired office to view the list of qualified Democratic candidates.
Monday, October 26th, 2015
On Saturday, November 7, 2015, you are cordially invited to attend the Alabama Democratic Party’s COUNTY LEADER and CANDIDATE TRAINING, followed by our YELLOW DOG PRESIDENTIAL LUNCHEON, for the SMALL PRICE of $25 per person. The location of the training and luncheon will be the Crump Senior Center, 1751 Congressman Dickinson Dr. (Wetumpka Hwy.), Montgomery, Alabama 36109, and the schedule will be as follows:
9:30 - 10:00 A.M. Registration in Rear Foyer (More parking in the rear)
10:00 - 12:15 P.M. Training (County Leaders and Candidates separate)
Topics include Compliance, Fundraising, Communications,
Digital, Votebuilder, Field Operations, etc.
12:30 - 2:00 P.M. Yellow Dog Presidential Luncheon
James Carville (Confirmed Speaker)
Other Speakers are not confirmed at this date.
All attendees must register and pay $25 per person. There will be NO GENERAL SEATING (everyone will be assigned a table number following receipt of payment. There will be NO STANDING, other than pre-cleared press; therefore, you must register and pay the $25 to attend this event. REGISTRATION and PAYMENT can be made online or via the form linked below, with a check made payable to the Alabama Democratic Party. Mail your registration form and check by Monday, November 2, 2015, to the Alabama Democratic Party, 501 Adams Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104.
NO PAC (Political Action Committee) CHECKS can be accepted by the Alabama Democratic Party; however, you may use an individual, business, or candidate committee check. You should also complete a contribution form, since Federal Law requires political committees to report the name, address, occupation and employer for each person whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.
Make your plans now to be in Montgomery, AL, at the Crump Senior Center, on Saturday, November 7, to learn winning strategies and hear from the Presidential Campaigns. Register NOW!
Monday, September 14th, 2015
The Alabama Democratic Party opened candidate qualifying today for the March 1, 2016 Democratic Primary Election. A steady stream of candidates running for re-election and as first-time candidates brought qualifying papers by the Alabama Democratic Party’s state headquarters at 501 Adams Ave., Montgomery, AL, today. Qualifying will end on November 6, 2015, for all federal, state, and county offices, as well as for Presidential candidates and their Convention Delegates who will be on the March 1 Primary Ballot.
Nancy Worley, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party, said, “We are pleased to see numerous judicial candidates and candidates for District Attorney turn in their qualifying papers today; numerous others called to say they mailed their qualifying papers or plan to bring them to the office this week.”
For more information, including qualifying fees and needed forms, see our Candidate Qualifying web page at http://aldemocrats.org/resource/candidate_qualifying. Individuals interested in running for office at the State and Federal level will qualify with the state party, while those planning to run for county office will qualify with their respective county Democratic Party Chairs. Potential candidates can find a list of County Chairs, including their contact information, on the Party website here.
Monday, September 7th, 2015
Today we celebrate the labor movement in America which has improved our country's economic conditions, fought for higher wages and better working conditions, and opposed child labor, pay discrimination, and many other problems in the workplace and beyond. Let us pause on this Labor Day to thank those who work today, as well as in the past, to make our country strong, to help those in need, and to create strength through unity to improve our lives.
In ancient Greece and Rome, the first labor unions were formed by the skilled artisans and craftsmen who wanted to protect the quality of their goods and services. For example, the sculptors grew tired of pseudo-artists filling holes in their sculptures with wax and selling them as first-rate products at full price; therefore, the skilled artists formed a sculptors' guild or union to guarantee their genuine, quality work. Today, we applaud America's unions for continuing that same principle -- to produce quality, American-made products. Buy American; buy Union.
Enjoy your Labor Day, but remember to honor those for whom the day is named.
Tuesday, September 1st, 2015
Attached below are digital copies of the 2016 Presidential Qualifying form, as well as the 2016 Presidential Petition form, and the 2016 Delegate qualifying form. Completed forms will be accepted during the qualifying period of September 14, 2015 to November 6, 2015.
If you have questions please feel free to call our office at (334) 262-2221.
Monday, August 24th, 2015
The Jefferson County Young Democrats were named Outstanding Local Chapter of the Year at the Young Democrats of America's 2015 National Convention this past weekend in Los Angeles. Congratulations and well done, Jefferson County Young Democrats!
Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
Today, August 18, marks the 95th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, or Women’s Suffrage Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. To mark this occasion, I called Tennessee’s Democratic Party Chairwoman, Mary Mancini, to congratulate Tennessee on being the 36th state to ratify this amendment. Since ratification required three-fourths of the states to vote in the affirmative, the Tennessee Legislature became the final state necessary for passage when it ratified the Women’s Suffrage Amendment by one vote on August 18, 1920.
I told my female colleague and neighboring state Chairperson, "Congratulations on your state’s making it possible for women to achieve equality at the ballot box. As women active in politics, we both appreciate the battles which were fought from 1848, when the idea was first seriously proposed at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, until 1920, when it was ratified."
Unfortunately, Alabama lawmakers fought this amendment and did not vote to ratify it until 1953, long after it was the law of the land. These backward attitudes toward women’s voting in 1920, remind us of some of today’s Republican Presidential candidates who want to turn back the clock on women’s progress.
August 18, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was ratified, and August 26, when the Women’s Suffrage Amendment was certified as law by the U.S. Congress, are both days for celebration. Passage of the 19th Amendment gave women the opportunity to make our voices heard, but we must all register to vote and cast our ballots in every election.
Monday, August 17th, 2015
It is ironic that Alabama's Republican Gov. Robert Bentley refuses to expand Medicaid funding for Alabama, yet today he endorsed Republican Gov. John Kasich for President, a Republican who accepted and praised Medicaid funding expansion for his state.
Gov. Bentley's refusal to expand Medicaid funding for Alabama, and the Republican Legislative supermajority's failure to pass a General Fund Budget after two attempts, shows how out-of-touch the Republican Party is with Alabamians. Alabama's citizens work hard every day and they expect the Republicans who control the Legislature to do likewise and quit spending taxpayer dollars for Special Sessions.
Gov. Bentley should follow the lead of the man he endorsed for President and accept expanded Medicaid funding for Alabama. Democratic lawmakers have long supported this expansion, along with a lottery, to help resolve our state's financial crisis.
Friday, August 14th, 2015
Today marks the 80th Anniversary of the highly utilized Social Security program in the United States of America. Before the passage of Social Security, thousands of older Alabamians were poverty stricken, countless widows had no pensions, and numerous disabled workers had no income. Social Security changed the future for these citizens and gave hope to the hopeless.
Today, over one million Alabamians are the beneficiaries of Social Security, and more than half of those individuals rely on Social Security to provide 50 percent or more of their income. As a result of the 80-year-old Social Security Act, senior citizens can live independently for a longer time, widows are not left destitute, and disabled workers can put food on their tables.
Social Security is a cornerstone of American life, but it is under constant attack by Republicans in Congress and by current Republican Presidential contenders. While Democrats strongly support Social Security, we urge all our lawmakers to be vigilant against attacks on this very beneficial, successful program for eighty years.
Thursday, August 6th, 2015
Fifty years ago, on August 6, 1965, the Voting Rights Act, a piece of legislation supported by both Democrats and Republicans, was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. The Voting Rights Act guaranteed an American citizen’s right to register and vote without obstruction, yet many Republican candidates for President, as well as Republicans in Congress and GOP-led State Legislatures today, support obstacles to voter registration and voting.
The signing of the Voting Rights Act was the culmination of many battles by black, female, youth and other disenfranchised groups to ensure that every voice is heard on Election Day. Today, the fight to protect and advance voting rights continues.
Over half the states have passed laws to expand access to the ballot, while many other states have passed restrictive voting laws. Fifty years after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, we must recommit to fighting to ensure that every eligible citizen is able to register, that every registered voter is able to vote, and every vote is accurately counted.
Alabama, a state where the battle began to end racial discrimination at the ballot box, must continue its fight for voting rights and join over half of America, by enacting same-day voter registration, early voting, automatic voter registration upon graduation from high school and other progressive ideas.
Voting rights should not be a Democrat vs. Republican issue; voting rights should be a bipartisan commitment to fulfilling the promise of the Voting Rights Act from fifty years ago that every voice be heard on Election Day.
Thursday, July 30th, 2015
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation to establish Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for low-income adults, children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. As Medicare and Medicaid turn 50 years old, millions of Americans have benefitted from these programs which have saved lives, reduced the number of uninsured Americans, helped people live longer, and provided the peace of mind that comes with affordable health care which is available when you need it.
The chances are good that everyone reading or hearing this either has Medicare or Medicaid, or knows someone who has benefitted from these programs. Nearly 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day – that’s more than a quarter million each month who benefit from Medicare and Medicaid. Fifty years later, we sometimes take these programs for granted which provide preventive services such as flu shots and diabetes screenings, or coverage for hospital stays, lab tests, wheelchairs, prescription drugs and more.
It’s easy to forget that before 1966, roughly half of all seniors were uninsured and lived in fear that the high cost of health care would cause them and their families to be poverty stricken. Too few of us remember that not that long ago, far too many disabled people, families with children, pregnant women and low-income working Americans were unable to afford the medical care they needed to stay healthy and productive.
In 2015, fifty years after Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law and transformed the delivery of health care in the United States, millions of Americans now have access to the quality and affordable health care they need to live happy, healthy and productive lives.
Happy Golden Anniversary, Medicare and Medicaid.
Monday, July 20th, 2015
It's official! Candidate qualifying for the 2016 elections will begin on Monday, September 14, 2015 and will continue until Friday, November 6, 2015.
Candidates for the following offices qualify with the state party:
Many more positions are up for election next year. Contact the Alabama Democratic Party or your local county chair. Let us hear from you if you would like to run!
Monday, July 13th, 2015
Please find attached below the 2016 Democtatic National Convention Delegate Selection Plan approved by the State Democratic Executive Committee at the July 11, 2015 meeting.
Thursday, June 11th, 2015
This legislative “work day” is a play day for a pay day! It’s a bad joke, where the punch line is that lawmakers are coming back to be wined and dined by lobbyists, while the taxpayers pay their hotel bills and mileage. All this so that House Republicans can say they worked for 30 days instead of 29. Most Alabamians work far more than that! And unlike our legislature, most Alabamians also finish the job they were hired to do!
For three years, legislators have known this budget crisis was coming. They avoided it from 2012 until now by borrowing almost a half-billion dollars from the state’s savings account. Now that money has run out, and they still can’t come up with solutions. Instead, they are more interested in playing the blame game. But this time they can’t blame Democrats or Obama, so the House Republicans want to blame the Senate Republicans and the Senate Republicans want to blame the House Republicans. The truth is the entire Republican leadership is to blame because none of them did the only job they are required by law to do: pass a General Fund budget!
The people of Alabama deserve better than a “do nothing but blame everyone else” legislature. The people certainly shouldn’t have to foot the bill for this bogus “work day” or the special legislative session we will now have to have because the Republican leadership couldn’t even convince a majority of Republican legislators to support a plan.
Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
Join Young Democrats from across Alabama for READY TO LEAD to focus on building up young people to take the reins and lead Alabama boldly into the 21st century.
Registration includes continental breakfast and lunch. $10 if you pre-register and $20 at the door.
For more information or to register, please visit the Alabama Young Democrats on the web: www.alayoungdems.com.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
UAB Heritage Hall
1401 University Blvd
Birmingham, AL 35233
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Two $500 Marjorie Miller Rooney R. N. Nursing Scholarships for the Spring 2015 semester have been awarded to Jefferson State Community College students Jill Webster of Pell City and Makenzi Jackson of Springville as part of the St. Clair County Democrats’ Community Engagement Initiative.
“Congratulations to Ms. Jackson and Ms. Webster,” said St. Clair County Democratic Party Chairman Herb Kuntz. “We are pleased and honored to partner with Jefferson State to support this great training ground for interested students to pursue a career in nursing.”
“This is our second year to make these scholarships available, and we look forward to continuing the program,” said Kuntz. “These scholarships are unusual in that they are not intended for persons who might qualify for academic scholarships or for scholarships based on their economic status. These scholarships are intended for the motivated students who fall through the scholarship gap.”
Both Jackson and Webster were chosen for the scholarship from a pool of applicants based on need, academic achievement and attitude.
As a further commitment to the St. Clair County students in the Jefferson State Nursing program, two additional $500 continuing scholarships were awarded to Candace Duck of Pell City and Curtis Harris of Springville. Ms. Duck and Mr. Harris were the recipients of the 2014 fall scholarships.
The Marjorie Miller Rooney R. N. Scholarships are part of the St. Clair County Democratic Party’s initiative to engage with the community and extend support in areas to benefit St. Clair County citizens. The scholarships are made available with the understanding and appreciation that a career in nursing fills a tremendous and growing need within the community as well as nationally, and that a career in nursing will provide for a secure and meaningful life for the future.
To be eligible for the scholarships, applicants must be residents of St. Clair County and be accepted into the Jefferson State nursing program. The scholarships are awarded with emphasis on the financial need of the student.
To apply for the scholarship, contact Jefferson State’s Dr. Cristy Daffron at (205) 812-2722.
Pictured above (L to R):
Joyce Parker - Presenter/Member of the St. Clair Co. Democratic Party
Makenzi Jackson - Nursing Student - 2015 Scholarship Recipient
Jill Webster - Nursing Student - 2015 Scholarship Recipient
Melissa Kennedy - Presenter/Member of the St. Clair Co. Democratic Party
Pictured above (L to R):
Curtis Harris - Nursing Student - Continuing Scholarship Recipient
Carol Feeser - Presenter/Member of the St. Clair Co. Democratic Party
Bud Feeser - Presenter/Member of the St. Clair Co. Democratic Party
Candace Duck - Nursing Student -- Continuing Scholarship Recipient
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
Pictured above (L to R): Buck Watson, Hon. Ralph Cook, Gladys Coleman, Jimmy Knight and J. Mason Davis
The Alabama Democratic Party inducted seven new members into its Hall of Fame, Friday, April 10, 2015, in Birmingham, Alabama. New inductees are The Hon. Lucy Baxley, Mrs. Gladys Coleman, The Hon. Ralph Cook, Mr. J. Mason Davis, Mr. James R. “Jimmy” Knight, The Hon. Robert S. Vance (posthumously), and Mr. Herman “Buck” Watson, Jr.
Lucy Baxley, Alabama’s first female Lt. Governor, also served two terms as Treasurer and two terms as President of the Alabama Public Service Commission as a Democrat, in addition to work in county government and a successful real estate career. Mrs. Gladys Coleman, an educator, was the first African-American to serve on the Fairfield Board of Education and has been a community leader and Democratic political activist for over six decades. The Hon. Ralph Cook, current City Attorney for Birmingham, and former Dean and Law Professor at Miles Law School, served as a District Court Judge, Circuit Court Judge, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. Mr. J. Mason Davis, a recognized Alabama attorney for his civil rights work and legal expertise, held numerous local and statewide civic and professional leadership roles and was the long-time Secretary of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama.
Mr. James R. “Jimmy” Knight, practiced law for 53 years in Cullman, Alabama, served in numerous leadership positions with the Alabama Bar Association and Trial Lawyers’ Association and was elected Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, 1981 – 1985. The Hon. Robert S. Vance, inducted posthumously, also served as Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, 1966 – 1977, participated in several landmark legal cases and held a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and later the Eleventh Circuit until his death. Herman “Buck” Watson, Jr. of Huntsville, Alabama, has practiced law for over 50 years, primarily in the area of civil litigation, held numerous offices in the Alabama State Bar Association and Alabama Association for Justice, and is a Democratic leader who worked on numerous local, state and national campaigns.
The 2015 inductees join the 2011 first Hall of Fame inductees, Mr. Stewart Burkhalter, Dr. Paul R. Hubbert, Mrs. Ruth Johnson Owens, Dr. Joe L. Reed, and Justice Janie Shores.
“We are extremely proud to recognize these outstanding Democrats who represent our Party and its principles, to improve the lives of middle-class, working families in Alabama,” said Nancy Worley, Chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party.
Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
You are invited to join the Alabama Democratic Party for the 2015 Hall of Fame Dinner on April 10, 2015.
This year we will honor several dedicated Alabama public servants, including The Honorable Lucy Baxley, Mrs. Gladys Coleman, The Honorable Ralph Cook, Mr. J. Mason Davis, Mr. James R. "Jimmy" Knight, The Honorable Robert S. Vance and Mr. Herman "Buck" Watson, Jr.
April 10, 2015
5:30 p.m. Ticket Pickup and Cash Bar
6:30 p.m. Dinner and Program
Birmingham Marriott Hotel
3590 Grandview Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35243
Individual tickets are $100. Sponsorships and tables are available.
Please fill out the forms below and reserve your tickets or tables today. Make any check(s) payable to "Alabama Democratic Party," and mail to P.O. Box 950, Montgomery, AL 36101. You may also contribute online at 2015 Hall of Fame Dinner.
We look forward to seeing you at the Birmingham Marriott Hotel on April 10th, and we greatly appreciate your support for Alabama Democrats as we work to honor some of our most committed and passionate leaders in Alabama politics.
Friday, March 20th, 2015
We are now almost a third of the way through the legislative session, and the Republicans in the Alabama legislature have still not offered leadership or solutions on the most important issue facing our state: the massive hole in the General Fund budget.
Instead, the Republicans have chosen to push through a legislative agenda that is heavy on pandering and light on substance. Their most significant accomplishment - the charter school bill - does nothing to help failing schools, and, based on every other state's experience, will do little, if anything, to improve education. In fact, history has shown they may very likely lead to millions of dollars in fraud and waste.
By any reasonable assessment, the legislative session so far has been a failure, if for no other reason than the fact that we have wasted so much time and accomplished nothing on the real problems. The Republicans in the Alabama legislature wanted to be in leadership. Now they need to step up and lead.
Nancy Worley is the Chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party. She spent more than 25 years as an educator in the Decatur public school system, and is a former Secretary of State and former president of the Alabama Education Association.
Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Dinner (Dutch treat) and training sessions for our county chairs and local leaders are scheduled by congressional district on the following dates:
March 10, 2015- CD#1 County Chairs/Leaders’ Dinner and Training
Tuesday @Street’s Seafood Restaurant (251) 937-2664
251 Hwy. 31 South, Bay Minette, AL 36507
5:00-6:00 P.M. Registration and ordering
6:00-7:30 P.M. Training
7:30-8:00 P.M. Q/A
March 11, 2015- CD#2 County Chairs/Leaders’ Dinner and Training
Wednesday @Brick Restaurant (334) 566-5382
100 Emma Dr. (Just South of the hospital), Troy, AL 36081
5:00-6:00 P.M. Registration and ordering
6:00-7:30 P.M. Training
7:30-8:00 P.M. Q/A
March 12, 2015- CD#3 County Chairs/Leaders’ Dinner and Training
Thursday @ The Ark Restaurant (205) 405-7237
13030 Hwy. 78 (off I-20), Riverside, AL 35135
5:00-6:00 P.M. Registration and ordering
6:00-7:30 P.M. Training
7:30-8:00 P.M. Q/A
March 14, 2015- CD#6 and CD#7 County Chairs/Leaders’ Lunch/Training
Saturday Olive Garden Restaurant (205) 750-0321
2100 McFarland Blvd. E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
11:00A.M.-12:00 P.M. Registration and ordering
12:00-1:30 P.M. Training
1:30-2:00 P.M. Q/A
March 16, 2015- CD#4 and CD#5 County Chairs/Leaders’ Dinner/Training
Monday Minnie Lee’s Hometown Diner (256) 353-0040
3227 Pt. Mallard Pkwy. (off I-65), Decatur, AL 35603
5:00-6:00 P.M. Registration and ordering
6:00-7:30 P.M. Training
7:30-8:00 P.M. Q/A
March 21, 2015- “Make Up Day” Training
Saturday @ADP Headquarters (334) 262-2221
501 Adams Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104
10:00 A.M.-10:30 A.M. Registration
10:30 A.M.-12:00 P.M. Training
12:00 P.M.-12:30 P.M. Q/A
Hope to see you there!
Friday, February 27th, 2015
Mark your calendars and get ready to come to Birmingham for a statewide dinner on April 10th. More information coming soon. See you there!
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
Thinking about running for office in 2016? Contact the Alabama Democratic Party Chair or your local county chair.
Candidates for the following offices qualify with the state party:
Many other positions are up for election next year. Let us hear from you if you would like to run!
Friday, February 7th, 2014
The following lists of qualified candidates is subject to additions, deletions and changes. In addition, the list is UNOFFICIAL until after certification to the Secretary of State.
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
The Alabama Democratic Party expresses its condolences to the family of Barbara Bobo, Democratic leader from Lamar County. Bobo was the long-time publisher of the WEST ALABAMA GAZETTE, and was an avid University of Alabama fan and loyal Democrat. Bobo served many years on the State Democratic Executive Committee, was Party Chair in Lamar County, and was a delegate to several Democratic Conventions.
Barbara Bobo will be missed by all who knew her. Her smile was radiant, her enthusiasm infectious, and her knowledge and wit abundant.
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
Congratulations to House Minority Leader Craig Ford who presided over the recent overflow crowd at the Alabama House Democratic Caucus Awards Dinner. Recipients of awards were as follows:
Rep. Darrio Melton and Rep. Elaine Beech - Legislators of the Year
Rep. Thomas Jackson - James Buskey Leadership Award
Interns Callie Wallace, Desire Kafunda, and Antron Johnson - Recognition of Service Awards
Sunday, May 26th, 2013
The Alabama Democratic Party congratulates Adline Clarke, Alabama's newest House of Representatives member.
Rep. Clarke said in a written statement, “For over three decades, I have had the honor and privilege of serving the Mobile community as a newspaper journalist, entrepreneur, agency administrator, and as a community volunteer. Representing you in District 97 would be an extension of my decades of service to a host of community service organizations, including Sickle Cell Disease Association, the YWCA, Mercy Medical, and Senior Citizens Services.”
Clarke said on Facebook, “The story of my life is I have stepped up and accepted challenges as they've been placed before me.”
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Chair Nancy Worley has called for a special meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama on Saturday, June 1, 2013.
More details will be announced here as they are finalized.
An Excel spreadsheet of the SDEC members and their addresses can be found here:
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
Recent inflammatory remarks made by Representative Joseph Mitchell do not represent the values of Alabama Democrats. As far as the Alabama Democratic Party is concerned, Representative Mitchell stands alone in this matter and speaks only for himself. The level of discourse in our Legislature and by our Legislators has been diminished and the Alabama Democratic Party deplores any rhetoric that divides the people of Alabama.
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
Just a couple of weeks after the Republican Supermajority in the Alabama Senate violated the Alabama Open Meetings Act by pulling a bait and switch in a back room deal aimed at harming public schools, Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey closed out the week before Spring Break by violating the Alabama Constitution.
The Constitution calls for a minimum of 18 members to be present in the Senate to begin conducting business. Despite having 22 members (a supermajority), the Republicans can’t seem to get their act together. On Tuesday, only 16 members answered the roll call (two short of a quorum). The Lieutenant Governor opened the Senate anyway.
Democrats have no control over what time the Senate decides to begin conducting business and Democrats were present and ready to get to work.
“Because Kay Ivey can’t count and Del Marsh and his members don’t seem to have respect for the taxpayers, an entire legislative day was wasted in the Alabama Senate this week,” said Alabama Democrats Chair, Mark Kennedy. “We have so many difficult issues to tackle, yet the Republican Supermajority and Kay Ivey squandered one of our only 30 legislative days this session, wasting thousands of dollars of taxpayer’s money. The Republican Supermajority needs to stop trying to conduct business behind closed doors.”
Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
Is there a doctor in the house to expand Medicaid for Alabama?
Is there a doctor in the house? I know, I know-it has become such a hackneyed expression that is almost cliché. We’ve all heard that phrase a million times on television, in movies, and even in cartoons. Audiences wait with anticipation because they know soon the doctor will step into the breach and offer some assistance to the person in need. For the moment, our physicians get to play the hero.
But when it comes to Medicaid in Alabama, that hasn’t happened. I remain hopeful that our senior “doctor in the state house,” Governor (and doctor) Robert Bentley, will have a change of heart and embrace the unique opportunity we have to help all Alabamians obtain access to health care under the recently adopted federal Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, offers states a chance to expand Medicaid to cover the working poor – those who work every day, but can’t afford private insurance and make too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid. What sort of incomes are we talking about? Families making about $31,000, and individuals making $15,000. And if you think that doesn’t apply to many of our friends and neighbors, you’d be wrong – Alabama has around 300,000 people who would qualify.
It sounds expensive doesn’t it? Health care in America usually is. That’s why so many haven’t been able to afford it. However, the ACA allows for full federal funding to cover all newly eligible Medicaid recipients for three years, with the state eventually picking up a very small share of that amount beginning in 2017. One UAB study says for our $771 million seven year investment, Alabama will receive almost $12 billion from the federal government. We’d collect over $15 from the feds for each dollar we spend to provide health care to Alabamians who currently can’t afford it.
The same study says Alabama will see $20 billion in related private sector growth and another $1.7 billion in state tax revenue. So, not only would we improve health care, but we’d provide economic growth to the state at the same time.
Of course, we can continue to ignore this opportunity. We can say “no thanks” to the billions in federal dollars and private sector growth. We can disregard the very real health care gap faced by hard working men and women across Alabama. It’s worth considering, though, that Alabamians continue to pay federal taxes each April just like citizens of every other state, but with one big difference – other states will see millions of their federal tax dollars coming back to make their states healthier places to live, and we won’t.
There are a lot of numbers here. I suppose the promise of billions in federal assistance sort of makes that approach to the debate inevitable. Balancing dollars and cents are the kind of budgetary concerns we all face in Montgomery each day. But we would make a genuine mistake if we failed to realize this discussion is less about numbers and more about people.
Expanding Medicaid is about that lady who has been on her feet for hours and kept refilling my cup of coffee with a smile as I chatted on my cell phone. Expanding Medicaid is about the guy who helped rebuild your back deck in the July sun without complaining because he took pride in his work. Expanding Medicaid is about the weary fellow covered in grease who listened with patience as you recreated the noise your engine has been making and then spent three hours with his head under your hood trying to decode the problem. Alabamians like these mentioned and so many more work hard every day. Their contributions are essential. They, in short, deserve to have health care just like you and me.
So, now we know who we’re talking about, that there’s a lot of folks impacted, and that the money is available to do the job. We even have the instrument to start the ball rolling with Alabama Senate Bill 259.
I’m not even going to bother to ask if there’s a doctor in the house. I’ll just say to my colleagues in the Legislature and our Governor, we need you to be the difference. Medical degree or no, Alabama needs you to step forward and be a hero.
Senator Priscilla Dunn is a Democrat from Bessemer. She served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 1998 until 2009 when she was elected to the Alabama State Senate.
Friday, March 8th, 2013
Last Thursday marked the end of February which is a month that has been deemed an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of African Americans in this state and nation. It is my contention that these achievements cannot be narrowed to one day, one week or one month, but they are woven into the very fiber of American history. While we have come a long way, the actions in the Alabama Senate last Thursday are a constant reminder of how far we still have to go as it relates to diminishing the idea of supremacy and strengthening the idea of equality among all people.
I was born in Mobile, Alabama around the time the Civil Rights Movement had achieved great gains. My family moved to Michigan when I was young. My youth denied me the privilege of experiencing firsthand the moments that defined the movement: Brown vs. Education, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, the March from Selma to Montgomery, and the signing of the Voting Rights Act. As a benefactor of all of history’s past, I could only read about those events in books, learn about them in school, or talk about them with the people who were there, but their lesson was not hard to understand.
Still, I wondered why the majority did not want blacks, a much smaller segment of the population, to have access to the same level of education, have a fair chance at well paying jobs, or have the right to vote. What harm could we, a minority then and now, do? The answer turned out to be very simple: maintaining the majority’s authority and power. Giving those of us in the minority the right to participate as equals would inevitably bring into question and harm their supremacy; denying us the right to participate as equals would show that the majority’s supremacy was unquestionable. Thus, we were denied that right. And make no mistake, we would still be denied that right but for the actions of many brave men and women, some of whom history remembers and some of whom history does not, but to each of whom we owe great thanks.
However, as the actions of my Republican colleagues consistently represents, we clearly have a long way to go before we rid ourselves of that hateful mentality. The Republican Party has a supermajority in the Alabama State Senate. They can pass virtually any piece of legislation at any time, including the “School Flexibility” bill that passed last Thursday, with 22 solid Republican votes. Despite the fact that the Republican majority had the votes on this bill, the Republicans decided to result to deceitful tactics and remove democracy from the legislative process to pass another bill. The “School Flexibility” bill, that so many supported, was originally an 8-paged bill. However, the bill that the Republican majority passed on Thursday grew to 28 pages, with a new name “The Alabama Accountability Act”, in conference committee and contained many added provisions to which the original bill’s supporters did not agree and could not support. Unfortunately, the Senate minority and Democratic members of the conference committee were never given a chance to read the new bill and were essentially denied the right to object to it. The Republican majority set the rules for the conference committee, and they broke those rules to pass a bill that they did not want the public to see because they knew at its heart it was not about improving education for the children of Alabama.
Why pull a bait-and-switch in conference committee? Why mislead so many people and break your own rules to do it? Why deny us the chance to read the new bill and debate it? The answer is, again, very simple: the majority has all the authority and all the power. It did not matter to them that I was elected, just like each and every one of them, to serve my district in the State Senate and was not given the equal respect I deserved under the rules. The blatant refusal to recognize me reminded me of one of my favorite books “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. It was clear that I was invisible to the Senate’s presiding officer. It did not matter that my concerns were not only legitimate, but also widespread. It did not matter that there are rules to govern committee processes and Senate floor procedures. It did not matter that I was right to question both the majority’s abuse of the process, the reason why an 8-page bill had grown to 28 pages behind closed doors, and why we were passing a bill that no one had a chance to read. Their supremacy is unquestionable and the rules, even their own, do not apply when they are ill fitted to the Republican majority’s agenda.
I am proud of being an Alabama State Senator an opportunity afforded to me by our history’s past. However, while much has changed, it is also evident that the belief of supremacy by the majority lives. The actions of the majority in the Alabama Senate last Thursday just reaffirms that the fight for justice and equality must continue. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “When your belief is strong and your purpose just, no obstacle can stand in your way”. Therefore, I pledge that I will continue to serve my district, and the whole State of Alabama, with this in mind.
Senator Quinton Ross is a Democrat from Montgomery. He has served in the Alabama State Senate since 2002.
Monday, March 4th, 2013
If there was any doubt that the Republican leadership in Montgomery is waging a war on public education in Alabama, those doubts were put to rest last week.
By passing the so-called school “Accountability Act,” and doing so in the way that they did it, the Republicans in the Alabama legislature broke two of their campaign promises from 2010.
But before we get into the process of how this bill was passed, let’s look at the bill itself and see just how destructive it is.
There has already been a great deal said about the flexibility part of the bill, so I will focus on the new parts that were added into the bill at the last minute.
The new version of the bill includes two new and expensive provisions. First, it creates a tax credit to help families with children in failing schools pay for private school education. This tax credit would come out to around $3,500 per child.
The problem is, the cheapest private schools cost over $4,000 a year, and some cost as much as $20,000 a year. In fact, the average cost to send your child to private school in Alabama is around $10,000 a year, so this tax credit is not nearly enough for these families.
To help offset the additional expense, the Republicans are creating a scholarship program, which is capped at $25 million.
But here’s the thing, not only is this not enough to send a child to a private school, every dollar devoted to these tax credits and the scholarship program is taken out of the education budget, meaning our already cash-strapped schools will be facing major budget cuts starting this year.
But it goes beyond that.
Schools receive funding based on the number of students who attend. So if a failing school has a mass exodus or even a sizeable exodus of students, that school will lose even more funding. And that means these schools, which are already considered failing, will have to layoff teachers and support personnel, cut back funding or eliminate entirely extracurricular programs like athletics, and cut funding for textbooks, computers, and field trips.
Now how is that supposed to help a failing school?
This bill is a disaster for our state. But what is equally scary is the way it was rammed through the legislature.
Every bill has to pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate before the governor can sign the bill into law. When one of those two bodies changes the bill, the other chamber must accept those changes or a “conference committee” must be formed to work out the differences and send the mediated version back to each chamber for a vote.
But that did not happen last Thursday. When the conference committee met, the Republicans immediately left and went into a closed room. When they returned, they brought with them a bill that was more than three-times longer than the original version and included the tax credit and several other provisions that were not in the original bill.
This new bill was quickly rammed through the conference committee and then sent to the House and Senate where it was only allowed one hour of debate. Until then, nobody had seen this bill or knew anything about it. Ultimately, it passed with only 51 votes.
But legislators were not the only ones kept in the dark. The governor and legislative leaders also kept the state school superintendent and the Association of School Boards out of the loop.
In Gov. Bentley’s own words, he said he kept his education advisors out of the loop because, “I think they did oppose it…I think the conscious decision to not include them was to pass the bill.”
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, went on to add, “The truth is we did not have the votes to pass the bill the way it came out of the House.”
I have never heard of a governor intentionally keeping his own education advisors out of the loop because he knew they would oppose his bill! I doubt the governor would want a teacher telling him how to practice medicine. So he should be listening to teachers on all education issues.
But now we know their true intentions. It started with targeting teachers and support personnel. Then they went after school budgets. But with this bill, the Republicans in Montgomery are systematically trying to dismantle our public schools.
In 2010, the Republicans ran on a platform that said they would support our schools and bring open and honest government back to Montgomery. This week, they broke both of those promises.
Monday, March 4th, 2013
Last week, in what can only be described as the worst example of our legislative process, the Alabama State Senate passed the School Flexibility Act.
Set aside the disrespect and lack of statesmanship that was directed toward Democratic Senators, and you simply have a bad piece of legislation that was forced down Alabama's throat. The bill, originally only 8 pages, was drastically altered after Republican Senators and Representatives met in a closed-door meeting, tacking on page after page of new language that no one - including state finance and state education officials - had seen.
Now that the dust has settled, and the Senate floor shouting matches have ceased, Alabama is now faced with a law that sends your tax dollars to private schools, limits a teacher's ability to retain tenure, and (according to the State Board of Education) has "significant negative financial implications" to public schools.
What happened last week in the State Senate represents the worst of our political process. While our Senate Democratic Caucus fought hard to defend the voices of teachers, students, and citizens across Alabama, the Republican super-majority shut them down and forced a law upon this State that had only been read by a select few Republican leaders.
The Alabama Democratic Party needs your help - we need you to contribute so that in 2014 we can kill the super-majority and ensure that what happened last night never happens again. We've targeted the races we need to win and talked with promising potential candidates, but now is the time to make the rubber meet the road. We need your help now more than ever.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
As a rural pharmacist who runs a small business, I am a part of the healthcare delivery system. I dispense prescriptions to people in all walks of life, race, creed and colors. I serve those covered under Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. I know what people go through to make sure they have the drugs they need. Many of them juggle payments for bills and food for their families with paying for the drugs and procedures they need. The expansion of Medicaid in our state would mostly cover those who work hard and pay their taxes, but are not provided insurance through their jobs, and cannot afford to buy single policy coverage. Please do not trick yourself into thinking that everyone comes from the same background and circumstances as you do.
It is time for straight talk about political implications hurting the people of the state of Alabama. I am referring to the recent decision by Gov. Bentley to not accept the federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – colloquially known as “Obamacare.”
The reason for government is to help those caught in the web of circumstances beyond their control. While the PPACA’s main thrust is cost control, and to prevent people from being punished for things beyond their control – being a woman, or having a pre-existing condition – it is also an economic boon to states which have not seen budget shortfalls like this since The Great Depression.
In a study conducted by The University of Alabama Birmingham School of Public Health David Becker and Michael Morrisey, both healthcare economists say the state could see a $1 Billion boon in new tax revenue.
Under the federal law, dubbed Obamacare, the federal government will cover 100 percent of health care expenditures from 2014 through 2016. During these first years of the program, Alabama would be responsible for a share of the administrative costs of the expansion. The federal matching rate declines after 2016, falling to gradually to 90 percent in 2020. As a result, the annual costs to the state increase from $39 million in 2014 to $222 million in 2020 for a total over the years of $771 million.
The federal expenditure during that time would be an additional $11.7 billion more on Medicaid in the state.
"While this is a substantial increase in federal spending, it is new income flowing into Alabama," Becker said, in the UAB press release. "Moreover, when physicians, hospital employees, pharmacists and other employees in the health care sector receive these new dollars, they spend them on gasoline and groceries and clothes. This second-round spending generates additional economic activity."
Read that last part again. The federal government will give us $11.7 Billion while the state’s share is $771 million. Just the increased economic activity will bring in $1 billion in taxes. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and while we all pay federal income taxes, we should also all get something back from it. I hear Republicans whine every day about federal funding for studies to protect horned frogs, or for National Public Radio. Here is a chance for federal money to make a direct impact on the health and welfare of our citizens while injecting money into our economy, and we’re turning it down?
After riding a wave of discontent and fear resulting from the drawn out debate and fear-mongering over what is contained in the PPACA/”Obamacare” legislation, my esteemed Republican colleagues hold all levers of governance in our state and make moves in lockstep to stifle dissenting voices and ideas.
They also seek to curry favor with the Tea Party – a group of nihilist know-nothings who will not be satisfied until our entire system of governance is burned down, and all incumbents are removed from office. To let the decisions of our state and the impact on our economy be affected by such a group is insanity bordering on criminality.
I believe in my heart that Robert Bentley is a good man. We served together in the state House of Representatives for 8 years before I moved up to the Senate, and he became our Governor. He is also a medical doctor bound by the strictures of The Hippocratic Oath. It would seem to me that he would want to expand coverage to all of our states’ citizens if doing so was economically feasible. So either the decision is raw political calculation – The Governor doesn’t want a Tea Party challenger to his re-election campaign in 2014, hard-heartedness, or incompetence.
At the recent hearings on fixing Medicaid, it was revealed that in addition to an unknown $80 million hole in the Medicaid Budget during FY 2013, the State Medicaid Agency has said they do not have the infrastructure in place to accept the money, or to disburse it to the people who would be covered. A state agency not tracking it’s budget and unable to perform the service for which it was created should be a major scandal – but it seems no one wants to upset the Republicans’ apple cart.
In September, the leadership of the Senate, House and the Governor put forth an Amendment to allow the citizens to vote on transferring $437M from the Alabama Oil and Gas Trust Fund – a fund established to keep the state’s money from Oil and Gas deposits in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of this amendment was to shore up the budgets of Medicaid and Corrections. The citizens passed this Amendment, and I campaigned for it and personally voted for it. It is the right thing to do to shore up our state Medicaid funds, especially considering Alabama has the least amount of Medicaid coverage allowable by law. It seems to me that some of that money could go toward fixing the infrastructure needed to accept this vital money.
As a small town pharmacist and independent businessman, I see every day that healthcare affects all aspects of Alabama life. It affects every citizen, every region, and every county, city and town. Giving working people basic health care coverage while pumping money all across our state at a 90% Federal-10% state match is a no brainer. I hope those with their hands on the levers of power have a change of heart.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Tonight the President dedicated our nation to a renewed entrepreneurial spirit. He issued a bipartisan call to renew our commitment to the American Dream. He challenged us saying, "A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs—that must be the North Star that guides our efforts."
The President's call for a national commitment to early childhood education should be welcome news to Alabamians. Hardly any state stands to benefit more from quality, universal pre-K more than Alabama. Our state desperately needs the investments proposed by the President in manufacturing, clean energy, infrastructure and education that will grow our economy and expand our middle class—the engine of our economic growth.
The President has called loud and clear for us to rededicate ourselves to the expansion of opportunity for all Americans. Let everyone here in Alabama work together to move forward, not back.
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
House Democrats announced today their legislative agenda to put Alabama “back on track” in 2013 by addressing critical needs in job security, education, Medicaid, and the Alabama Trust Fund.
Putting the Trust Fund and Medicaid Back on Track
House Democrats are proposing legislation that will increase the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products by $1. The increase is expected to generate $227 million annually in new revenue. The bill, if passed in a statewide referendum vote, will require all funds from the tax be allocated to the Alabama Trust Fund until the $437 million borrowed from the constitutional amendment passed last year is paid back in full with interest. The Trust Fund must be paid back within six years. After the Trust Fund has been paid back, all revenue generated from the tax would be appropriated to the General Fund Budget exclusively for Alabama’s Medicaid Program.
Putting Job Creation Back on Track
Alabama’s unemployment rate is still over 7 percent, with more than 152,000 Alabamians reporting they are out of work. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and are responsible for 84 percent of the jobs in Alabama.
House Democrats are proposing a job creation bill that supports small businesses by creating a tax credit that will be paid for by repealing a tax loophole that is currently only offered to multinational corporations.
Getting Education Back on Track
House Democrats are introducing a series of bills designed to address several needs in our public schools.
Pay Raise for Educators
House Democrats are sponsoring legislation that will provide a 10 percent cost-of-living pay increase for teachers and support personnel over the next three years. The bill would offer a 5 percent raise during the first year, followed by a 2.5 percent raise in the second and third years.
Democrats are also sponsoring legislation that will give a 10 percent pay increase to state employees and education and state retirees.
School Resource Officers
School safety must be a priority in 2013. The best way we can increase school safety is to put resource officer in each of Alabama’s 1,475 public schools.
The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates that it would cost $50 million annually to hire, train, and equip a resource officer in each of Alabama’s public schools. House Democrats are proposing legislation that will provide half of the funding for those costs to any public school that wants to hire a resource office. The expense, estimated to cost $25 million annually, would be paid for by a state lottery.
A state lottery can raise $250 million annually for our children’s education. The lottery bill proposed by House Democrats will allocate the revenue generated from the lottery for three purposes:
· To increase the per diem given to teachers for classroom supplies from $300 to $1,000
· To provide the $25 million needed each year to fund the resource officer program
· To provide scholarships to A/B Honor Roll Students for tuition and fees at any Alabama university, college, or technical school.
Our state government made a commitment to the PACT participants that we would provide their children with an education. Today, Democrats are keeping that promise.
House Democrats are proposing legislation that would take 84 percent of the funds in the PACT program and distribute them to Alabama’s colleges and universities based on the percentage of PACT students they admit on average. In exchange for this money for their endowments, the schools would be required to waive all tuition and fees for PACT students.
PACT participants will not notify the school that they are a PACT participant until after they have been accepted, and the schools cannot ask applicants if they are PACT participants. The schools also will be prohibited from dismissing or expelling PACT participants for any reason other than the standard reasons for dismissing or expelling a student.
The remaining 16 percent of funds left in the account would used to provide payments for students who go to private or out-of-state schools, for refunds to participants who request a refund, and to cover administrative costs.
Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes
House Democrats are sponsoring a series of bills that would raise a minimum of $58 million annually for Alabama’s schools by closing certain corporate tax loopholes that allow multinational corporations like ExxonMobil to pay little or no state income taxes. It is unfair that small business owners in Alabama have to pay these taxes while their multinational competitors are allowed to avoid them. House Democrats will level the playing field and bring desperately needed revenue to the Education Trust Fund.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
All the rhetoric in the world wouldn’t be enough to hide the truth from Alabamians. The truth is that Governor Bentley continues to fail to lead our state and, worse, his party—which has made clear that partisan politics will continue to come before the most pressing issues facing Alabama.
As a result of his failure to lead, it’s clear that we are now facing yet another session dominated by extreme legislation targeting women, children, the poor and the elderly and policies aimed at lining the pockets of Republican fat cat donors.
Tonight, its more clear than ever that Alabama needs a Governor and leadership in the State House that cares about the future of the state—not just upcoming elections and ensuring money making opportunities for a select few.
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Funeral arrangements for Senator Hinton Mitchem are as follows:
Friday, Jan 25th: Visitation at Adams Funeral Home in Albertville from 3:00 to 8:00 pm
Saturday, Jan 26th: Funeral at Moss Service Funeral Home at 2:00 pm with open visitation up until the funeral hour
Addresses for both locations are below:
Adams Funeral Home
6906 U.S. Hwy 431, Albertville AL
Moss Service Funeral Home
1901 2nd Ave NW, Cullman,AL35055
Monday, January 7th, 2013
In the middle of some of the worst economic times this state has ever seen, Republican Ag Commissioner John McMillan, has stooped to a new low by making up "Confidential Assistant" position to be filled by, none other than Mr. Youtube Sensation himself, Dale Peterson.
Apparently, Mr. Peterson is more than willing to join the ranks of individuals he once described as "thugs and criminals." The annual salary of over $70,000, though, likely made the pill needed to jump on the bandwagon pretty easy to swallow.
Folks, we can't sit idly by and watch this type of blatant political posturing by elected officials. I'm sure John McMillan will appreciate Dale's advice as a "Confidential Assistant;" but the fact is, there are too many Alabamians out there worrying about finding, or keeping, a job of their own for the head of the Ag Department to go around making up positions just to clear the field of 2014 opponents. Hasn't Dale done enough to make Alabama the laughing stock of the entire country?
If the actions of John McMillan are indicative of what the Alabama Republican Party is all about, the people of Alabama won't stand for it. In the words of Dale Peterson, himself, "We're better than that!"
Sign up and contribute $10 a month to help us make sure that we send them packing in 2014. Only if we prepare now can we be ready to compete when the time comes.
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
Despite the best effort of far-right Republicans in Congress, including Representatives Bonner, Roby, Rogers, Brooks, Aderholt and Bachus, hardworking families and small businesses across Alabama and the country will start out the New Year protected from steep tax increases.
Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, these hardworking middle class families and small business owners will not face higher tax rates and, as a result, our nation’s economy will continue down the path to recovery.
With that said, it is an absolute disgrace that Alabama's far-right members of Congress brought our country to the very brink of another financial crisis for political purposes and then had the nerve to not only vote against hardworking families and small businesses but also to vote for a pay raise for themselves.
We will make it a mission to ensure that when Representatives Bonner, Roby, Rogers, Brooks, Aderholt and Bachus face the voters in 2014, the people who elected them will know that their representatives put their own pocketbooks ahead of the best interest of the country.
Thursday, December 27th, 2012
The State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama will be conducting interviews in Montgomery on January 4, 2013 for any person interested in being recommended for an appointment in the next Obama/Biden Administration.
“We are thrilled to be in a position to make recommendations to the President regarding the best people to serve in federal positions in Alabama for the next four years,” said Executive Director, Bradley Davidson. “It is important for the President to receive input from leaders in Alabama regarding those he intends to appoint to various positions in his administration, and we intend to have those recommendations on the President's desk the day he is sworn in."
Any person wishing to be considered for recommendation by the Alabama Democratic Presidential Advisory Council should submit their resume and cover letter stipulating which federal position they are seeking to email@example.com by 5:00 PM, Wednesday, January 2, 2013. Interviews will be scheduled immediately and conducted on Friday or Saturday, January 4-5 in Montgomery.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
Today, Judge Mark Kennedy, Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, officially opened the qualifying period for the House District 97 Special Election.
Any person wishing to qualify as a Democrat in this Special Election must submit their Declaration of Candidacy, Appointment of Principle Campaign Committee, and qualifying fee no later than Monday, January 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM.
House District 97 encompasses a portion of central Mobile County. Should anyone have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Alabama Democratic Party office at (334) 262-2221
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
Senator Roger Bedford's Thoughts on Expanding Medicaid
As the holidays are upon us, most people choose to celebrate the true reason for the season through performing acts of generosity for their fellow man and showing compassion to their neighbor. But, even with all of the kindness in the air, there are others that take the “bah humbug” approach to the season—which is exactly what happened when Governor Bentley announced that the expansion of Medicaid will be denied to hundreds of thousands of Alabamians. I hope that Governor Bentley will take the time to reexamine this issue by looking to the past, the present and the future, just like Scrooge, and he will realize for so many reasons that the State of Alabama simply cannot afford to turn down the expansion of Medicaid.
Governor Bentley’s argument that “the state cannot afford to expand Medicaid” is the same exact argument that former Republican Governor Fob James and Governor Bob Riley made against the creation and expansion of children’s health insurance in Alabama. Despite those arguments, Democrats, who were in the majority in the past, were able to see the big picture and create one of the most successful—and cost-effective—health insurance programs for children in the country.
The bad news today is that Democrats are no longer in a position to override these objections and expand Medicaid. However, the good news is that Governor Bentley and the Republican supermajority still have time to change their minds and expand Medicaid to improve the health of our citizens and an infusion of economic activity in our state.
Medicaid must be expanded because Alabamians desperately need access to health care. The expansion would enroll over 350,000 Alabamians in Medicaid. Today, Alabama ranks fourth in diabetes diagnosis, has the second lowest life expectancy, is second in heart disease related deaths and has the third highest infant mortality rate in the nation. Expanding Medicaid would change these statistics and, more importantly, save lives.
The cost of expanding Medicaid to the state of Alabama is diminutive compared to the amount of money that the state would receive in federal matching dollars. A recent study by the Kaiser Foundation estimates that, minus the estimated savings in uncompensated care, the state would pay $569 million over ten years to expand Medicaid. For that estimated cost—the state would receive over $14 billion dollars from the federal government in matching dollars during the same period of time. In addition, the federal government would pay for 100 % of the Medicaid expansion during the first three years and gradually decreasing that down to pay 90 cents on the dollar after ten years. No rational investor would turn down these types of returns.
The economic benefits of infusing $14 billion dollars into the state’s economy are endless. As UAB noted in their recent study, Medicaid expansion will generate $20 billion in economic activity, which will add $1.7 billion in tax revenue to Alabama coffers from 2014 to 2020. Doctors, pediatricians, dentists, and pharmacists would have 350,000 new customers, which is a tremendous economic engine for our economy. These federal dollars and new patients would translate into the creation of new jobs and increased tax revenue for the state. In addition, many uninsured, working Alabamians would gain health coverage, which generates a healthier, more productive work force and economy.
The taxpayers, hospitals and doctors, who currently bear the cost for treating those who cannot afford health insurance, would be provided some relief should Medicaid be expanded. According to the Kaiser Foundation, the State of Alabama will save $512 million in uncompensated care costs, and payments to hospitals would increase by $2.7 billion over ten years. In addition, the state will realize an untold amount of savings because we can all agree that having access to preventative care proves to be much more cost-effective than the uninsured showing up in the emergency room needing acute care.
Finally, if Medicaid is not expanded, nearly 228,000 people in Alabama, who live below 100% of the federal poverty line, will not qualify for Medicaid and will not qualify for subsidies to purchase health insurance through an exchange. Due to the way the law is written, literally, the poorest, uninsured adults in Alabama will be those very individuals who will be left with less and will not benefit from the new healthcare law.Again, the cost of expansion to the state of Alabama is modest compared to the net gains that we stand to earn. This is especially true with Medicaid expansion costing the state zero dollars for the first three years. Because Governor Bentley is a doctor, he should understand, more than anyone else, what we will lose if we do not expand Medicaid. Therefore, I pray that the Governor will take the time during this season of reflection and compassion to reconsider his decision that will leave approximately 228,000 Alabamians without health coverage and force the state of Alabama to lose out on billions of dollarsin revenue.
If you feel as I do, please call Governor Bentley at 334-242-7100 to show your support for expanding Medicaid.
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Let's finish 2012 strong by electing Beth McGlaugh to House District 30 (Etowah and St. Clair Counties)!
Click here to sign up to make calls in her district - it doesn't matter if you have time for even one call - every bit of effort helps!
Monday, November 26th, 2012
I have been very disappointed to read that Gov. Bentley has chosen to hand over control of the state’s health insurance exchange to the federal government. Federal law requires the state to set up an insurance exchange. Because the governor has refused to follow the law, the federal government is going to set up the exchange anyway and without any input from the people of Alabama.
Gov. Bentley was originally a supporter of setting up a health insurance exchange. He even set up a commission to study implementing the exchange and asked three companies for proposals about how they would set up the exchange. But Gov. Bentley has flip-flopped on the exchanges, and now says he opposes them.
When Gov. Bentley announced his reversal, he said he changed his mind because the exchange would not be run by the states and because we could not afford the $50 million he estimates it would cost to set up the exchange.
But just this Summer, the Governor and his staff were referring to that $50 million as “free money” because it would come from the federal government – tax dollars that we already paid and would actually be getting back.
So what changed? The facts are the same. The health insurance exchange will be implemented as required by federal law. Alabamians will continue to pay for it with our federal tax dollars.
What has the governor accomplished by his stance?
The only thing the governor has accomplished is to take away our chance to be in control of the exchange. And for what? This choice isn’t in the state’s best interests. It doesn’t protect the state’s rights or stop the exchanges from being created. This choice is about playing politics, plain and simple.
It is also very disappointing that the governor has refused to expand the state’s Medicaid program. The expansion would have been almost completely paid for by the federal government, and the state would have had the option to back out of it at any time if we were not able to continue paying our part for it. We are leaving millions of dollars on the table, but more importantly we are leaving thousands of Alabamians without healthcare.
The governor’s decisions have not been in the best interests of the people of Alabama. Instead, the governor is playing politics so he can appear like he is fighting Obamacare, when all he has really done is turn over these crucial decisions to the federal government and lost an opportunity to get our federal tax dollars back.
The people of Alabama deserve more than political games. If we can get our tax dollars back and take some control over how the Affordable Care Act will be implemented in Alabama, then we should jump at that chance. But the governor has chosen to surrender our control and send our tax dollars to other states that will expand their Medicaid programs and create insurance exchanges using our tax dollars. Gov. Bentley made the wrong choice.
Monday, November 12th, 2012
Over 90 years ago yesterday, at the 11th hour, on the 11th day, in the 11th month, World War I came to an end with the signing of the Armistice. The historical significance of that day is, of course, profound. But what yesterday and today - Veterans Day - marks a salute to those who have ever put on the uniform of our military - whether in war or in peace - and stood in the breach to defend our American way of life. Everyone from the Minutemen who fought for our independence, to the men and women currently serving our military abroad - we pause today to say "thank you." Thank you answering that call to service and assuming the risks and making immeasurable sacrifices on our behalf. What these brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen have given us is beyond our ability to repay.
Each November 11th, our words can never do justice to how much we appreciate what our service men and women - those who made it home, and those who did not - have given us. We stand together on this day and think of those who still walk among us, and remember those who only exist in our memories. We all know that the debt we owe our veterans can never be repaid, but that we still must try so that their sacrifices can live on in our hearts.
Peggy and I, our sons Burns and US Army Captain Leigh Kennedy, and all Americans salute you.
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Yesterday, Americans embraced building a bright future for all, instead of for just a few, and rejected the ugly politics of division. It is a great victory not just for Democrats but for us all.
Bill Armistead has been saying for months that Alabama Republicans were focused on a strategy “from the court house to the White House”. They failed. Democrats came out on top in many of the local races that the Republicans targeted, and Alabama Democrats still maintain a majority of local offices in Alabama. Despite the efforts of Richard Shelby and Governor Bentley, Democrats held the Probate Judge’s office in Tuscaloosa County right in Governor Bentley’s back yard, and Democrats swept every Republican in Jefferson County out of office. Armistead’s Battleground Patriots program of sending volunteers to battleground states didn’t stop the President and Vice President from being re-elected handily and it didn’t stop Democrats from picking up seats in both chambers of Congress.
Given how close last night’s results were, it is amazing to think that only two months ago Judge Bob Vance was not even contemplating a run for statewide office. We greatly appreciate him stepping up and running for this important position and anticipate that he will continue to be an important voice as one of the state's most respected judges. We also salute Lucy Baxley’s sixteen years of service in statewide office. Twinkle Cavanaugh will not get a bigger office, a bigger staff, or more responsibilities when she switches her nameplate at the Public Service Commission, but Bill Armistead may feel vindicated for being so badly embarrassed by Lucy Baxley in the 2002 Lt. Governor’s debate.
The closeness of last night’s results should also be a wakeup call for state Republicans. The people of Alabama are not happy that instead of doing the job they were sent to Montgomery to do, Republican leaders have abdicated their responsibilities and focused their time and energy on petty politics and political games.
Today I start focusing on 2014. We will study the Alabama electoral map, be strategic in what we do and invite all Alabamians to join us as we continue to rebuild the Alabama Democratic Party.
Judge Mark Kennedy
Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
A lot of folks have told me recently that you would need a law degree to determine what some of the constitutional amendments that will appear on next Tuesday’s ballot mean. Well, I have a law degree and I still find some of them confusing. After doing our homework, here is how Peggy and I voted on the amendments when we voted absentee last week. I took no position on the amendments that were specific to just one county.
Amendment 1 – YES
Amendment 2 – YES
Amendment 4 – NO
Amendment 6 – NO
Amendment 7 – NO
Amendment 8 – NO
Amendment 9 – NO RECOMMENDATION
Amendment 10 – NO RECOMMENDATION
Don't forget the back of your ballot next Tuesday. Below, I've explained how I made my decisions on which amdendments I would support and which ones I would oppose. These amendments are important. And remeber, if you're a Democrat and you don't vote on Tuesday...you're a Republican, plain and simple.
One more week to the finish line,
I'll try to tell you what these amendments do in plain English:
Reauthorizes the state’s Forever Wild program for another 20 years. Forever Wild is our extremely successful public lands program and is responsible for the preservation of thousands of acres of land for conservation, hunting and fishing, and recreation.
Raises the state’s debt ceiling. Right now, the state is allowed to issue bonds up to $350 million. This amendment will increase the bond limit to $750 million. This is another example of the Republican Supermajority’s unwillingness to raise revenue, putting the responsibility on the backs of voters in Alabama to fund state government. Most importantly, if the amendment fails and there are fewer funds to recruit industry, I imagine the Republican Supermajority and Governor Bentley could try again to raid the Education Trust Fund. While we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul here, Peggy and I held our noses and voted “YES” in order to protect our classrooms, teachers, state employees, and those who depend on public services from further cuts.
This one is tricky. At first glance, who wouldn’t be for it? Ridding the constitution of racist and Jim Crow language is something we’re for. While federal court orders have made most of the language inoperative, ridding ourselves of this stain in our state’s constitution should be a no-brainer. But…the Republicans in the legislature are trying to pull the wool over our eyes in a very cynical way. If you vote “YES” on this amendment you will be voting to affirm that children in Alabama have no right to a public education. In 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down segregated schools, Alabama added Amendment 111 to our state constitution. Amendment 111 has three paragraphs: the first eliminated the right to a public education, the second helped start private segregation academies, and the third demanded the segregation of students. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down amendment 111, but it still embarrassingly remains in the state constitution. We tried to eliminate Amendment 111 altogether in 2004, but the attempt failed. The legislature took up the cause again this past year, but the Republican Supermajority decided to only take out the third paragraph and leave the other two in place. If we vote “YES”, we will be reaffirming paragraphs one and two. Why didn’t the Republicans bring up a clean bill that got rid of all of Amendment 111? After their attempts at charter schools, their attacks on teachers, and attempts to raid the Education Trust Fund, you can only imagine what they’re up to.
This amendment is a slap in the face to the President of the United States. It basically says that the federal government cannot mandate citizens to purchase health insurance. The Supreme Court has already upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, so this amendment would be just another superfluous addition to our constitution.
This one sounds great. Who isn’t for a secret ballot? The trick is that the amendment adds “employee representation” to the types of elections covered under the secret ballot provision. This is a frontal assault on organized labor and an attempt to get rid of “card check”. Card check is an organizing method where in order for workers to unionize, more than half of workers in a given company must sign a card saying they want to be represented by a union. Since card check is not a secret ballot, this type of union organizing would be prohibited if the amendment passes. The Alabama AFL-CIO rightly says that the measure would give companies more control over an already corporate-dominated system in which workers who want to form unions are harassed, intimidated and threatened by their bosses. We need to stand with our brothers and sisters in organized labor and vote “NO”.
This is a back door pay increase for legislators and another reminder that they haven’t voted to repeal the 62% pay raise that the Republican Supermajority campaigned so hard against in 2010. The amendment pegs legislators’ pay to the average household income in Alabama while also increasing their travel and overnight expenses. The Republican leadership should keep their promises from the 2010 campaign, not give themselves a back door pay raise when they can’t even balance the state’s budget.
Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
Dear Fellow Democrats,
When you spend you entire life in the world of politics, sometimes the longest walk home is from your mailbox to the kitchen table. Monday, October 29th, was one of those days. Mixed among a utility bill, a church bulletin and three advertisements, was a large-sized, four-color mailer from the Alabama Republican Party. At first, I was amused at the thought of the postage it cost to send a political flyer to the wife of the Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, but then I read what it said.
On one side was a picture of a screaming mob and on the flip, a picture of a group of white men with a large photo of President Barack Obama imposed on top. And there it was, a slogan that was made famous by my father, Governor George Wallace, when in 1962, he rose to power on the wings of hate and fear using a mantra for racism that would become his trademark, “Stand up for Alabama”. Those words became the coded call to arms to whites in Alabama and throughout the south to protect the culture and values of racism and segregation.
As a child, I stood on the backs of flatbed trucks decked with red white and blue bunting and confederate flags and witnessed the power of the politics of rage that engulfed crowds as they chanted “Stand up for Alabama”.
And after all those years, it is hard to conceive that while my father came to terms with his past on his own road to Jericho and sought forgiveness from those he harmed, the Alabama Republican Party has reached back into history and has become what my father ultimately denounced.
The 21st Century version of “Stand Up for Alabama” should be a proclamation of inclusion, a hope for the end of economic discrimination, a call for the protection of the rights of those that have no voice, and a commitment to a future where honest conversation and the exchange of ideas douses the flames of hatred and exclusion.
Often it is not what is said that is important but rather it is what is not said that marks the character and heart of a person or a political party. The George Wallace of 1962 did not have to be explicit in his political rhetoric of racism because the phrase “Stand up for Alabama” said it all.
There is no question that our President is African American. But for those that may have doubt, refer them to the leadership of the Republican Party. They will be more than happy to remind you.
I encourage you all to go to the polls today and to stand up for what is right about Alabama, and that is clearly not the vision offered by the leadership in the Alabama Republican Party.
Peggy Wallace Kennedy
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
By Ralph Burke
Member, Alabama House of Representatives 1983-1998
Although the GOP leadership in Montgomery claim that reducing the 62% legislative pay increase was not included in the “Handshake With Alabama” as they campaigned in 2010, many (if not all) used it as their number one issue to take control of the Legislature. After the GOP failed in 2011 to adopt a resolution that would allow them to keep that campaign promise, they came up with a concocted Constitutional Amendment that basically shirked their promise and gave it to the voters. How courageous.
Legislative pay is confusing and you almost have to experience it to understand. I served in the Alabama House of Representatives 1983-98 from DeKalb County.
What does this amendment do? Not much of anything. Presently, Legislators in Alabama make $4,174 monthly or $50,088 annually plus $50 three days each week they are in session. It varies annually depending on several factors. This is from the Alabama Senate home page.
Amendment 8 sets legislative pay at the median Alabama household income annually AND (and this is the big AND) allows reimbursement of “expenses in the same amounts and manner as expenses are allowed under law for state employees generally”. If the amendment passes, Legislators will get mileage and “actual” expenses in the performance of their duties.
Let’s break it down. The median household income in Alabama is $42,081 (2006-10: US Census Bureau) – that becomes their base pay. Under the “actual expenses” provision they will get to add mileage and lodging every week during a Legislative session – presently they do not get mileage or lodging reimbursement.
Here is what the total annual compensation would look like in the district I once represented: $42,081, base pay; 366 round trip miles @ 55.5 cents per mile X 15 trips to Montgomery (if no special sessions) = $$3,046.95; lodging at $300.00 weekly X 15 weeks (again, if no special sessions) = $4,500. Add it all up = $49,627.95 a WHOPPING savings of $460.05 to the taxpayer. And these are just minimums – it would probably end up being a pay increase!!!
There is so much more to discuss, but space does not permit, however one practical example. When I served, hotels in Montgomery competed for our business and gave special rates plus many of the members would share a room to save costs. When the hotels figure out Legislators get actual expenses the competition will cease and they will charge regular rates. Bunking with a roommate will stop – why not? The taxpayers are footing the bill now.
From a practical standpoint, this is a bad proposal. The GOP wants it to fail, then they can say, “We tried.” I don’t think they got the message. Vote NO, AND THEN TELL THEM TO FIX IT! And, do what you said you would. They blame their Democratic counterparts for passing the original raise on a voice vote. The real truth is, they could have already repealed it the same way. Where’s your supermajority now?
Member, Alabama House of Representatives 1983-98
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
“Voters across the state are coming to the conclusion that voting the straight Democratic ticket results in their vote not counting for President Obama and Vice-President Biden,” said Kennedy. “It would appear that there is an underground effort to confuse voters across Alabama; making them think that if they want to support the President they should only vote for him and not vote for the rest of the Democratic ticket. We believe that this is a deliberate effort by Republicans in Alabama to hurt statewide and county-level Democratic candidates”.
In emails to party leadership and supporters today Kennedy urged voters to ignore anyone telling them that their vote for the President wouldn’t count if they voted for the straight Democratic ticket. “They’ve got it wrong,” said Kennedy. “One dot does it all. Voting the straight Democratic ticket means you are casting your vote for President Obama and Vice President Biden in addition to your county officials and judges.”
Kennedy also urged anyone being told otherwise, especially by an elected official or staff person in a county courthouse or elections office, to immediately contact the Alabama Democratic Party at 1-800-995-6474 to report the activity. “Anyone deliberately trying to confuse or intimidate voters will be held accountable by the Democratic Party to the fullest extent of the law,” vowed Kennedy.
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
The old adage “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” perfectly sums up Amendment 4, on the ballot this Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The text on the general election ballot says Amendment 4 will remove racist language in the state constitution that requires schools to be segregated. It is true the amendment will remove some very nasty and sad racist language. What the ballot language does not say is that Amendment 4 will also reaffirm some of the most racist and sad parts of the state constitution at the same time. The good intentions of some who want to get rid of our racist past have now created a situation where voters could actually reaffirm some of the worst aspects of our state constitution.
If you vote “yes” on Amendment 4, you will be voting to affirm this statement: "...nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at the public expense." You read that right, voting “yes” on Amendment 4 means you affirm that children do not have the right to an education in Alabama.
To understand how we got to this backward place, where an amendment says one thing and does another, you need to know a little history and a lesson in how the statehouse works.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation in education was unconstitutional in the landmark decision of Brown vs. Board of Education. The following year, as a response to the decision, the Alabama Legislature and voters approved Amendment 111 to the state constitution.
There are three paragraphs in Amendment 111. The first eliminated the longstanding right to an education, the second facilitated the founding of private segregation academies, and the third demanded the segregation of students. The thinking went if Alabama was forced to integrate, then the state would blow up the public school system, as it existed then.
Amendment 111 was found to violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by the Supreme Court and was never implemented. It has been sitting there in the state constitution as an empty relic of racial strife and discrimination.
Back in 2004, a measure went before voters to eliminate the three paragraphs of Amendment 111. But after Judge Roy Moore and other conspiracy theorists wrongly said it was a back door attempt at raising taxes through the courts, it went down in a narrow defeat to the embarrassment of us all.
The taxation issue is ridiculous. The judiciary does not control taxes or set budgets, and the state Supreme Court has stated it would never try and do so.
Last year, another measure was before the Legislature that would have eliminated all three paragraphs of Amendment 111. But after some last minute maneuvering by the Republican supermajority, only the last paragraph was struck and the first two were left intact. That is why when voters say “yes” to Amendment 4, they will in fact be voting to reaffirm that children have no right to an education in Alabama. We know now the old 1950s language means nothing, but it is potentially very dangerous if voters reaffirm there is no right to an education in 2012.
I believe Alabama children must have the right to a public education. As it turns out, so do the vast majority of Alabamians with a recent statewide poll showing 92 percent believe children should have the right to an education at the public expense.
It is only common sense – children need to go to school because our state will rise or fall on how well we educate them. Who would question that children should have the right to an education? Yet, that is exactly what we’ll be doing if we vote “yes”.
If the Republicans who control the Legislature are serious about eliminating racist language, they will bring up a clean bill that gets rid of all three paragraphs and that finally rids us of that ugly relic of Alabama history. If they don’t, then something else may be at issue.
I strongly encourage every voter who cares about children and education to vote “NO” on Amendment 4.
We’ve already got enough bad paving stones in our antiquated and ridiculous state constitution.
Friday, October 26th, 2012
With Election Day less than two weeks away, it's up to everyone to ensure that we have everything in line before we go vote that straight Democratic ticket. Today is the absolute last day to register to vote. If you've put off registering yourself, or someone else, until today - head to your local library, board of registrars' office, or driver's licence office to fill out and submit a voter registration form. These forms are also available on the Alabama Secretary of State's website. REMEMBER: If you have moved or changed your name, you must re-register! We have too many good incumbent officeholders and candidates around the state to not ensure every Democrat is registered to vote.
If you're intending to vote absentee, the deadline for that application is Thursday, November 1st. These ballots must either be hand delivered or postmarked by Monday, November 5th.
I also encourage you all to contact your local county chair and sign-up as a poll watcher volunteer. We have no doubt the Alabama Republican Party will do everything they can to suppress our vote, so contact your county chair and help ensure a fair and honest election.
Should you have any questions, or need any guidance, please contact the Alabama Secretary of State's Voter Hotline at 1-800-274-8683, or call our office at (334) 262-2221.
Register to vote, or register a friend or family member TODAY. Too many have fought to ensure everyone's right to vote. Let us honor their legacy by registering and voting on November 6th!
Also, we're hosting an Election Night Watch Party here in Montgomery. Come join us and let's stand together as we watch our national, state, and local candidates cross the finish line on Tuesday, November 6th!
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
Last night, America saw its Commander-in-Chief, and someone else who isn't quite ready to be Commander-in-Chief. President Obama's domination of the debate wasn't just because Mitt Romney failed the test every time by being unclear, uncertain, and unsteady; but instead because the President outlined a clear vision that can make America safer and secure our country's leadership around the world. In fact, by the end of the debate, after Mittens endorsed the President's foreign policy leadership, we here at the Party were unsure as to whether or not he was auditioning to be Secretary of State!
Folks, we have serious issues facing our country, and we need serious leadership to handle them - and no campaign talking point Mitt Romney can dish out can convince us of anything other than he's just not fit to lead. The President deserves our support so that our country can secure the rights of women, honor our veterans, and move us forward, not back. While the Alabama Republican Party has been sending smear sheets to every mailbox in the state, our volunteers have been dispatched to battleground states, making thousands of phone calls to ensure that the progress we've made the last four years will not have been in vain.
With that, we'd like to invite all of you to our Election Night Watch Party here in Montgomery! Along with the President, we have candidates across the state we want to cheer on to the finish line, and we hope you'll be a part. Tickets are going fast, though, so be sure act now. Join us in Montgomery and let us all stand together. We're in the home-stretch, guys - it's only fitting that we stand in unity to usher our candidates, both nationally and locally, on to victory
Monday, October 15th, 2012
With only 22 days until the election, it's apparent that the Alabama Republican Party will grasp at every straw they can to try and undermine our President and insult the intelligence of Alabamians. We were informed today that the Birthers are at it again--this time suing Secretary of State, Beth Chapman, over the President's citizenship and attempting to keep him off the ballot. It wasn't enough that the Alabama Democratic Party has gone to court three (yes, three) times with these fools and come out on top. Three courtroom victories would be enough for any sane person, but when you produce hate-spewing videos like this, it's pretty clear we're dealing with folks who are a few cards short of a full deck.
Bill Armistead made national news recently as the first state party Republican Chairman to embrace a video from the lunatic fringe. The video claims that the President of the United States is a communist who actively worked with minorities to intentionally cause the housing crisis in 2008. This summer, a member of the ALGOP state committee went before their officers and tried to get them to endorse the idea that the President is some sort of covert agent. Seven officers of the ALGOP voted with the tin foil hatters including national committeeman, Paul Reynolds, and national committeewoman, Bettye Fine Collins. The leader of the birther movement in Alabama graciously provided us with a reenactment of the distinguished proceedings. Yes, these people are certifiable.
Instead of having a legitimate discussion with me about the issues, Chairman Bill Armistead and his lieutenants resort to tactics that bring about the worst in our nature. I've got news for Mr. Armistead, the people of Alabama know and deserve better! We will not allow the politics of the petty deter us--we're gearing up to send volunteers to the battleground state of Florida and we're going to help win this thing. Sign up here to visit Florida and help deliver a victory for the President.
The election is in 22 days. It's important that we all keep the momentum going and our eyes on the prize. Can you contribute $22 to help us pay our legal fees as we once again go to court to put a stop to this craziness? As the Vice President said last week, their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. Pitch in $22 to help us make it known in court.
Thursday, October 4th, 2012
“Jerry Fielding’s first act as a Republican Senator was to stand in front of a room full of people and lie,” said Alabama Democratic Party Chairman, Mark Kennedy, earlier today.
Fielding held a press conference this morning at the State House in Montgomery to declare the switch that Kennedy announced earlier in the week. When asked by a reporter whether or not the Republican supermajority had made any promises to Fielding to entice him to switch, Fielding emphatically rejected the notion. “That’s not true,” said Kennedy. “It’s my understanding and seemingly common knowledge around the State House that Fielding was promised a position as Vice Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee if he switched parties.”
Kennedy claimed that more of Fielding’s statements this morning were untrue but the lies are harder to prove. Fielding’s assertions that he hadn’t decided whether or not to run for re-election in 2014 and that the redrawing of his legislative district—making it decidedly more Republican in its makeup—had nothing to do with his decision. “That’s laughable on its face,” said Kennedy. “This has everything to do with redistricting and the fact that Jerry Fielding was targeted for elimination by the Republican supermajority unless he switched parties.”
“I’m interested to see how Senator Fielding operates in this next legislative session. The Republicans welcomed him today with open arms, but he voted against nearly every major Republican piece of legislation during his two years in the Senate. My guess is that he’ll be a pretty miserable member of the Republican caucus. Especially when the Republicans run one of their own in the Primary Election in two years.”
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
There’s been a lot of hype running up to tonight’s big Presidential debate. For the first time, an estimated 60 million or more Americans will tune in and watch President Obama and Mitt Romney share the same stage. It should be interesting.
At tonight’s debate, the President will keep sharing his specific vision for moving America forward while Mitt Romney appears poised to continue hiding any specifics from voters. As he did in Charlotte, the President will continue his conversation with the American people about his concrete plans to restore middle-class security, create jobs, and build an economy that works for all of us. From what we’ve heard from the Romney camp, Mittens plans to keep hiding any specific details behind distortions and a lot of “zingers” he’s been practicing for weeks. Just this morning one of Romney’s top advisors said that it’s hard to get into specifics at a debate. I thought that was what debates were all about. Talk about lowering expectations.
Mitt Romney is relying on lies, distortion, and zingers because he knows what voters do—the Romney/Ryan plan is bad for the middle class.
Romney keeps trying to peddle a five-point plan that the middle class isn’t buying. Whether he’s talking about energy, small businesses, education, trade, the deficit, jobs, taxes, or healthcare, Mitt’s math just doesn’t add up. I sat in Charlotte last month and watched President Clinton sum up the shortcomings of the Romney/Ryan plan with one word…arithmetic. The middle class is tired of waiting for specifics from Mittens, so tonight he will lie about the President’s record, distort his own, and continue trying to peddle a sham.
Tonight, President Obama will discuss his specific, concrete plans to move us forward—like creating a million new manufacturing jobs, doubling our exports, cutting our oil imports in half, and reducing the deficit in a balanced way that protects the middle class.
I hope you’ll join me tonight and support our President.
There are also scores of good Democrats on the November 6th ballot. Bob Vance and Lucy Baxley are both tied or leading in the polls. Please help us get out the vote by making a contribution today.
Monday, October 1st, 2012
Alabama Democratic Party Chairman, Mark Kennedy, announced today that Democratic State Senator, Jerry Fielding, intends to switch parties and caucus with the Republican supermajority. Senator Fielding’s announcement is expected tomorrow.
Fielding was elected to the Senate in 2010 and represents parts of Calhoun, Coosa, Elmore, and Talladega counties. Before being elected to the Senate as a Democrat, Senator Fielding served for 26 years as a District and Circuit Court Judge. Fielding was first appointed to the bench by Democratic Governor George Wallace and won re-election and served for almost three decades on the bench as a Democrat.
“I’ve known Jerry Fielding for more than 20 years, and I’ve never known him to be anything but a man of principle and a good Democrat,” said Chairman Kennedy. “I find it hard to believe that Jerry would turn his back on his Party and the people who have elected him time and time again. While the matter of choosing a political party is a personal prerogative, it is disingenuous and unfair to voters for officials to unexpectedly announce a party switch halfway through the term they were elected to serve.”
Kennedy added, “I have a pretty good idea of what Jerry Fielding intends to tell the voters tomorrow. He’ll say he’s not leaving the Democratic Party—the Democratic Party left him, or some other tired cliché. The bottom line is that Jerry Fielding buckled under the pressure of the Republican supermajority that is out to drive every white Democrat out of office. The redistricting plan passed by the Republican supermajority is intended to make white Democrats in the legislature extinct, and Jerry Fielding must have decided that serving part time in the legislature is more important to him than principle or the Party that has had his back for almost 30 years.”
“I’ll be interested to see who the Republicans run against Jerry in the 2014 Primary Election,” said Kennedy. “I can guarantee you that whatever promises the Republicans have made to Senator Fielding won’t hold up.”
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
In 1992, the economy was the top issue on every voter’s mind. Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign captured that sentiment when they coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Twenty years later, it’s still the economy.
Last week, it was reported that Alabama’s unemployment rate has risen for the fourth consecutive month. From April through August, the state’s unemployment rate rose from 7.2 percent to 8.5 percent.
There are now 183,000 Alabamians who are unemployed. And that doesn’t include the people who want to work but have given up hope and ended their job search or moved to a different state.
Alabama’s working families are taking it on the chin, and they want to know why things aren’t getting better.
States and cities across this country are creating jobs by investing in their infrastructure (which creates jobs immediately for the short-term) and investing in education (which helps recruit jobs and prepares the workforce for long-term economic growth).
But not Alabama.
In Alabama, the Republican Supermajority in Montgomery passed the Rolling Reserve Act that unnecessarily cut $150 million from our children’s education. The Republicans also cut hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative and the Reading Initiative, and cut almost 90 percent of teacher recruitment incentives.
Then last week, the voters of Alabama passed a constitutional amendment to allow the government to borrow $437 million from the state’s savings account. We were told that this money was necessary to save public employee jobs (such as teachers, law enforcement, etc.) and to avoid cuts to Medicaid.
The very next day after the amendment was passed, the governor announced that his plan to make the budget solvent was to push as many as 5,000 public employees (again, we’re talking about teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and others) into an early retirement. And the state health officer, Dr. Don Williamson, announced that even with the amendment passing, he will still have to cut between $20 million and $40 million from Medicaid just to live within next year’s budget.
So if we aren’t investing in our people, then what are we doing to create jobs?
There were two primary job creation plans proposed in the last legislative session. Democrats proposed a bill that would have created a small business loans program. This program would have given loans to small, start-up companies that promised to pay the money back and create at least five new jobs (we included an enforcement mechanism to make sure that the jobs were created). But the Democrats’ bill was never brought up for a vote or even allowed to come out of committee.
The Republicans’ major job creation legislation was a plan to allow certain corporations to keep their employees’ state income taxes in the hope that these companies would then use that money to create more jobs. This plan had some serious flaws. It would have deprived our schools of even more revenue. It also did not require a single job be created in exchange for the benefit. In the end, the bill failed in the Senate.
Our state is headed on the wrong path. The unemployment numbers prove that. The Republicans in Montgomery seem more interested in investing in the “job creators” than they are in investing in the workers who do the jobs. If we do not start investing in our people, we will not be able to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and get our economy back on track.
Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
A recently released video of Mitt Romney speaking at a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton Florida reveals that Mitt Romney has given up on Mideast peace and half of America…specifically Alabama.
During the primary campaign, he said that he was “not concerned” about the very poor. He bragged that his wife drives a “couple of Cadillacs” (complete with their own elevator). He built a career on what his Republican opponents call vulture capitalism.
Back in May when he was among friends, Mittens mused from his multimillionaire bubble that, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what”. This 47 percent of America believes that, “They are victims…who believe that they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. So my job is not to worry about those people”.
I confess to feeling entitled to housing and food myself, so call me a class warrior. I guess it’s a miracle that I’m able to get out of bed each morning without the President turning down my sheets.
Let me try to get a few facts through Mittens’ beautiful head of hair (each comb furrow so pronounced and shiny):
So who are these filthy freeloaders? Is he talking about Iraq war veterans mooching off of the V.A.? Retirement community residents scamming us by cashing their social security checks? College students fleecing America with their lefty Pell grants and student loans?
Conservative columnist David Brooks put it this way:
"The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees…The people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor."
And which state is one of the worst offenders according to Mittens’ logic? Alabama. We are the fifth worst offender to be exact. Of all 50 states, Alabama ranks fifth in the number of tax filers who owe no income tax. So, Mitt’s job is not to worry about us. I officially call on Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, Governor Robert Bentley, Chairman Bill Armistead, and every other Republican official who has endorsed Romney to publically disavow their support for him since he obviously has so little concern for us.
Let’s not forget that Mitt Romney pays so little in taxes that he has to hide his money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. The man who uses every trick in the book to pay no taxes has only shown us one year of tax returns despite forcing his running mate, Paul Ryan, to disclose 10 years of returns and despite his father setting the gold standard by releasing 12 years of returns.
What’s really concerning is that Mittens continues to bash the President for engaging in class warfare and dividing the country. At the fundraiser where he was caught on tape he even said that, “The thing I find most disappointing about this president is his attack of one America against another America.” I guess Mittens doesn’t remember Sarah Palin’s description in 2008 of the "real America" and I guess he’s a clueless hypocrite.
On election night in 2008 I sat with friends and watched a young Senator make history and deliver the following remarks:
"To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president, too."
I am proud to support President Obama and I’m glad to know that Mitt Romney has given up on Alabama. It makes my job a little easier.
Sign up here to help re-elect our President.
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Alabama Democratic Party Chairman, Mark Kennedy, responded this evening to the passage of the constitutional amendment that will move $437 million from the state savings account to the General Fund budget over the next three years:
“The people of Alabama have not only saved countless friends and neighbors from losing jobs and the most basic services but have also saved the Republican legislative supermajority from a catastrophic mess.
After over a hundred years of Democrats getting the job done and making tough decisions on behalf of all Alabamians, it took only two years for the Republican supermajority in the legislature to bring the state to the brink of a financial catastrophe—threatening countless seniors and vulnerable Alabamians with losing the most basic of care, literally putting lives in jeopardy.
It is an absolute disgrace that rather than simply doing the only job they are constitutionally mandated to do, Republican legislators not only shirked their responsibility but gave the people of Alabama only two options—to see their neighbors suffer or to see the state’s savings account depleted.
Thankfully, the people of Alabama stepped up to the plate and made an incredibly tough decision—no doubt one they will clearly remember next time they vote for who they trust with the voter’s finances.”
Monday, September 17th, 2012
We heard a lot of anecdotal evidence during the March primaries of poll workers in various counties demanding a photo ID to vote. As you know, the only way Republicans are going to be able to win the Presidential election is to steal it by suppressing the votes that make up President Obama’s coalition.
Never afraid to shy away from craven political hackery, the Alabama Republican Supermajority in the Legislature passed a photo ID bill for Alabama similar to the ones you are seeing challenged in states like Pennsylvania.
One important thing to note: the photo ID requirement does not go into effect in Alabama until the June 2014 Primary Election.
We need you to test the vote during tomorrow’s referendum on Amendment One.
When you go to the polls, you can use the following to identify yourself and cast your ballot:
One of the following:
Note: These items can be the original document (license, card, etc.) or a photocopy of the document.
If a poll worker challenges you for providing one of these forms of ID to vote, please give us a call immediately at:
We will gladly have a conversation with your Probate Judge and will be documenting efforts at voter suppression throughout the day.
Friday, September 14th, 2012
On Tuesday, the people of Alabama will have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that will impact every state agency. The outcome of Tuesday’s vote will affect our hospitals, nursing homes, law enforcement, prisons, the court system, etc. Most importantly, the outcome of Tuesday’s vote will affect everyone in the state of Alabama. Tuesday’s vote is critical.
What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass for our local hospitals and all the healthcare service providers around the state to continue to offer the services our community requires. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass to avoid the collapse of Alabama’s Medicaid system. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass for our correctional facilities to continue operating and to avoid the release of prisoners into our communities. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass to ensure that our court system continues to function and our district attorneys have the resources to investigate and prosecute crimes.
While some people think that a little collateral damage is acceptable during a budget crisis, if this amendment fails, the damage will be disastrous. Many of our local hospitals could be compelled to close their doors, while many of our seniors could be forced out of our local nursing homes. The doctors who currently care for us and our families may be required to relocate in order make a decent living. Make no mistake about it, if the amendment fails, the affects to healthcare across our state will will be drastic. When this happens, it won’t matter if your insurance card says “Blue Cross Blue Shield” or even “Medicare”, there may not be anyone there to care for you.
Beyond the impact on healthcare, one of the leading economists in our state says that the failure of the amendment will cost the state more than 10,000 jobs. These are real jobs that Alabama families depend on today. Make no mistake about it, thousands of jobs will be lost across our state that will disproportionately hit middle-class families the hardest.
Finally, if the amendment fails, an unbalanced budget will go into effect on October 1, all the while, the Supermajority in Montgomery has no Plan B.
Thus, I encourage those who oppose the amendment to consider the consequences of it failing. Consider what is at stake. Consider the reality.
On Tuesday, the citizens of Alabama will be asked to make a very important decision—a decision that will affect the future our state, as we know it. On Tuesday, as a citizen of Alabama, I will be voting “YES.”
Senator Marc Keahey has served in the Alabama Senate since 2009. Senator Keahey represents southwest Alabama, including Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, and Washington counties.
Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Next Tuesday, September 18th, the people of Alabama will go to the polls to vote on a constitutional amendment that will have a major impact on every state agency. The constitutional amendment will directly affect the health and safety of Alabama families, as well as the future of economic development in this state. If passed, this referendum will keep tens of thousands of hard-working Alabamians on the job.
What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass for our local hospitals and all the healthcare service providers around the state to continue to offer the services our community requires. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass to avoid the collapse of Alabama’s Medicaid system. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass for our correctional facilities to continue operating and to avoid the release of prisoners into our communities. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass to ensure that our court system continues to function and our district attorneys have the resources to investigate and prosecute crimes.
If the amendment fails next Tuesday, Alabamians could face some of the deepest across-the-board cuts we have ever seen. Make no mistake about it, if this amendment fails, our healthcare system will not be the same because the same services may not be available, the same doctors may not continue to work here, and our hospitals and clinics may be forced to completely change how we conduct business and deliver services. Make no mistake about it, funding for dialysis, prescription medications for adults, critical transportation for children, and in-home care would all be greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. Make no mistake about it, hospitals, doctors’ offices and health clinics may be forced to cut staff or close altogether and the elderly would be forced out of nursing homes onto the street.
Make no mistake about it, thousands of jobs will be lost across our state that will disproportionately hit middle-class families the hardest. The only way we can avoid these disastrous results, is if the constitutional amendment passes.
I agree that the Republican supermajority should have put in the bill that the money borrowed must be paid back. Unfortunately, they chose not to. However, we cannot allow the right-wing Tea party to destroy the healthcare system in Alabama. For critics of the amendment who say that a better solution exists, there is no other plan. If the amendment fails, the Governor has said that there is not a Plan B, and we will have no other option but to slash and burn the state budget. We must come together as one state to pass this amendment.
Therefore, on September 18th, the citizens of Alabama will be asked to make a very important decision—a decision that will affect the future our state as we know it. For the sake of our communities and the health and well being of our people and Alabama’s most vulnerable citizens, please vote “YES” on September 18th.
Senator Roger Bedford is a Democrat from Russellville. He has served in the Alabama Senate since 1982. In 2010, Senator Bedford was elected Senate Minority Leader by the Senate Democratic Caucus.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Judge Robert Vance will stand as the Democratic Party’s candidate for Chief Justice this November.
"We are thrilled that Judge Vance has stepped forward and will be our candidate for Chief Justice this November,” said Mark Kennedy, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party. “Judge Vance is an incredibly well respected judge who will serve us proudly in the upcoming election and, most importantly, serve all the people of Alabama on the court."
Judge Robert Vance was the only candidate to qualify to run for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court following the previous candidate being disqualified by the Party’s Executive Board late last week.
Over the past decade, Judge Vance has become one of the most respected jurists in the state while serving as a civil circuit court judge in Jefferson County. Prior to this, Judge Vance practiced law with the Birmingham firm of Johnston, Barton, Proctor, & Powell, L.L.P. and clerked for Hon. Tom McGee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a graduate of Princeton University (1982) and the University of Virginia School of Law (1985). He lives in Birmingham with his wife, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Joyce Vance, and their four children.
“The people of Alabama can feel confident that Judge Vance would lead the court with the rule of law in mind rather than politics,” said Kennedy. “We are proud he is our candidate and the people of Alabama will be proud to have him as Chief Justice.”
Friday, August 17th, 2012
"It is the decision of the State Executive Committee that Mr. Lyon clearly violated the state party's by-laws and this, along with his increasingly erratic behavior, have undermined his ability to stand as a candidate for the Democratic Party."
On Monday August 13, 2012, the State Democratic Party sent Lyon a letter outlining a series of increasingly disturbing behavior that violated the Party's bylaws and the canons of judicial ethics including an apparent inability to conduct himself in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and an apparent inability to maintain the decorum and temperance befitting the office of Chief Justice.
In accordance to the same by-laws, Chairman Kennedy called for a meeting of the State Executive Board to take up the matter. This afternoon a five-member subcommittee of the Board met and voted to disqualify Lyon. The group also set next steps to ensure the Party would be represented in this race in November.
"It is disappointing that this close to the election process we find ourselves without a candidate for Chief Justice, but are hopeful that we will soon have a truly qualified candidate and future Chief Justice," said Kennedy.
The Party will open a qualifying period for potential replacement candidates. The qualifying period will open Monday, August 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM and close Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at noon. If no candidate qualifies during the qualifying period, there will be no Democratic nominee for Chief Justice. If only one candidate qualifies, that candidate will become the Democratic nominee. If more than one candidate qualifies, ballots will be mailed on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 to the full membership of the State Democratic Executive Committee. Ballots will be due on Monday, August 27, 2012 by 5:00 PM to the Democratic Party Headquarters.
Thursday, August 16th, 2012
“In a press release from the RNC today, Chairman Reince Priebus stated that Artur Davis will give voice to ‘frustration and disappointment’ at the Republican Convention in Tampa. Actually, his disappointment has nothing to do with the job President Obama has done and everything to do with Artur simply being a sore loser.
The only part of the electorate Artur Davis is giving a voice to are former candidates who lost their races and then go on to blame it on everyone but themselves.
With that said, between his penchant for changing his Party and positions regularly, and for not taking responsibility for his own actions, Artur Davis seems a great addition to the Romney Campaign.”
Saturday, August 11th, 2012
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: The Go Back Team
In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the theory that budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy will somehow deliver a stronger economy. The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education. His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.
The Romney-Ryan top-down budget plan would weaken the economy:
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney both support trillions in budget-busting tax cuts for millionaires paid for with tax hikes on the middle class and deep cuts in education and other investments needed to improve our economy. Ryan’s extreme budget plan, which Mitt Romney has embraced, would make deep spending cuts now to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, which would weaken the recovery and cost the economy jobs.
The Romney-Ryan plan would end Medicare as we know it:
The Romney-Ryan extreme budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program that would increase seniors’ health costs by $6,350 a year. Ryan has also proposed a plan that would have privatized Social Security, subjecting seniors’ retirement security to the whims of the stock market.
The Romney Ryan plan would raise taxes on the middle class and cut taxes for the wealthy:
The Romney-Ryan extreme budget includes a tax “reform” plan that would make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and give millionaires an additional tax cut worth more than $250,000 a year. Paying for these tax cuts for the most fortunate families would require higher taxes on the middle class, gutting investments in our future, and ending Medicare as we know it.
The Romney Ryan plan would gut middle-class investments:
To pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest, Paul Ryan would gut investments critical to middle-class security. This includes cutting Pell Grant scholarships for nearly 10 million students; kicking 200,000 kids out of Head Start; significantly cutting clean energy investments, which would make America more dependent on foreign oil; and would even cut investments in veterans’ health care by 19 percent.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Montgomery, Ala. – Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy responded this afternoon to allegations concerning Harry Lyon, the Democratic Party’s nominee for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice.
“The allegations made against Mr. Lyon are serious. We assure Alabama Democrats and voters across the state that we are taking the allegations seriously and have already begun the process of ensuring they are reviewed in a thorough, proper, and timely manner,” said Chairman Kennedy. “The law is the law and it is important, in our judicial races above all others, that our candidates respect and follow it.”
The complaint argues Mr. Lyon should be disqualified as the Alabama Democratic Party’s (ADP) nominee because he is in violation of Alabama campaign finance laws, specifically the Fair Campaign Practices Act. The ADP also received a copy of a similar complaint made to the state Republican Party that outlines how several GOP judicial nominees have also failed to comply with the same state law.
“I urge Chairman Armistead to take the allegations against the Republican Party’s nominees as seriously as we are. No one is above the law and we must come together to demonstrate to voters that we take the law and their trust in us seriously,” said Kennedy.
The Alabama Democratic Party will call a special meeting of its State Executive Committee in the near future to take up the matter in order to ensure it is addressed and resolved in a timely manner.
Monday, August 6th, 2012
Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy offered a few remarks on the sentencing of Governor Don Siegelman this afternoon:
“Today is a sad day for Governor Don Siegelman, his family, and our state as a whole.
Multiple charges have been thrown out of this case. Attorneys General and political officials around the country have raised serious questions about the few remaining charges—questions which remain unanswered after this sentencing.
The Democratic Party of Alabama’s thoughts and prayers are with Governor Siegelman and his family.”
Friday, July 27th, 2012
By Darrell Turner
Our recently ended legislative session ended without so much as a news worthy byline informing Alabama’s citizens what really took place in Montgomery. I must have been talking to myself all these months, because masses of people seem to A) don’t care or B) don’t know that we have been dragged under the bus.
It has not soaked in yet how much harm fellow Alabamians have done to our people and our economy. Our super majority Republican legislature eliminated 17 VA offices across Alabama, (with more closures likely to follow).
When our vets got blindsided it became painfully clear to me that our poor, our seniors, and our needy children didn’t stand a chance with these guys. The GOP controlled legislature drastically cut the state’s mental health budget. Those irresponsible cuts CLOSED 4 of the 6 mental health facilities that serve people in every county of this state, Democrats and Republicans, alike. The GOP controlled legislature also eliminated the “Department of Children’s Affairs”. While they were on a roll they also cut the “Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention” budget by over 79%. (Remember the poor children)?
The just mentioned cuts were only the opening act. Those shameless people that call themselves representatives tore at the heart strings of every family in this state when they left Montgomery with the Medicaid budget in limbo. More than 109,000 of Alabama’s seniors and more than 618,000 Alabama children that depend on Medicaid services will have to wait until a constitutional amendment is voted on this fall to know for sure that help will continue to be provided. What this means in Cleburne County and the 66 other counties is that if the amendment fails, (is voted down) seniors would likely be kicked out of nursing homes, and children would lose state sponsored health care. Additionally, hospitals would close, and lifesaving treatments like dialysis, will be eliminated.
The importance of the amendment is twofold. It must pass to provide money to the Medicaid program. Passage of the amendment allows the general fund to receive $163 million dollars from a trust fund, to be used for Medicaid payments that were unfunded by our legislature. Failure to pass would cause an immediate Medicaid budget prora-tion of 12% across the board, leaving a $72 million dollars shortfall. Alabama is required by law to fund Medicaid at a minimum of $602 million dollars, or our state LOSES all federal matching money. That is the time that voters will know what they did, but it will be too late to do anything about it at that time... Our super majority republican legislators knew when they tucked and ran that a reckoning day would come. If only we the people had known.
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
Last week, Mrs. Peggy Wallace Kennedy had the historic honor of introducing our First Lady at her event in Birmingham. Below are her remarks.
It is truly a privilege to be here with my fellow Alabamians, gathered here today to welcome America's First Lady to our state. Mrs. Obama, Alabama Democrats remain committed to the President’s vision for moving America forward as he continues to build a nation where "justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."
In June of 1963, the governor of Alabama traveled to Tuscaloosa and stood in the schoolhouse door to promote the politics of segregation and discrimination. Today, his daughter stands in Birmingham, in a much different Alabama, to welcome as an honored guest our First Lady, a woman of grace, courage and strength.
Mrs. Obama, as a child who grew up in the Governor’s mansion, I cannot fully express what it has meant to me to watch you and your husband set such a positive example for America’s parents. The clear devotion you and he both share for your two beautiful daughters is the single best example of true American family values.
From the moment I first heard the President’s message of hope and promise, I believed that he would bring about a refreshed America, vibrant with renewed energy and enthusiasm for a new way forward. My husband and I were vocal supporters of the President when he began his first Presidential race in 2007, and today, as I look back and compare the America that he was elected to lead to the America that we have today, I say, "Job well done!"
Mrs. Obama, I am the mother of an American soldier, who has served his country in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a decorated officer who is honored to serve your husband, his Commander in Chief. And, I am thankful to you for your unwavering support for the families that pray daily for their loved ones’ safe return.
I am also the mother of a college student, who is graduating in August. Armed with his diploma, he will face uncertainty as he seeks employment, but because of the Affordable Care Act there will be no uncertainty regarding his right to be protected under his family's health insurance as he finds his way.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for all that you have done to help strengthen this nation and for blessing us by visiting our state. Would all of you gathered here now join me in welcoming the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama."
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
Senseless violence is just that: senseless. As the days go by, healing continues for some and starts for others. Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the victims, their families and the community of Aurora, Colorado.
Monday, July 16th, 2012
Beth Clayton, native of Birmingham, Alabama and student at Auburn University, will speak on young Democrats’ involvement in political activities at 7 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at Homestead Village located at 924 Plantation Blvd., Fairhope, AL 36532.
In 2009, Clayton became involved with the College Democrats of America which led her and another student to re-charter and recruit more than 30 members for Auburn University's College Democrats.
Clayton also was instrumental in reestablishing the Alabama College Democrats, a federation linking chapters of College Democrats from around Alabama. In her tenure as President, eight new chapters have been added from universities and community colleges across the state.
Recognized in July 2011 as a “Rising Star” in Washington, DC by College Democrats of America, Clayton was named in August 2011 as Southeast Regional Director for College Democrats of America, which allows her to work directly with seven southeastern states and Puerto Rico.
"Getting young people involved in the political process is crucial. New energy and young ideas refresh and strengthen the party," Clayton says. Judge Mark Kennedy, Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, made youth organizing one of his top five priorities. Clayton says she's happy to take on this facet of Kennedy's plan.
Clayton is a senior scheduled to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Auburn University in December. Thereafter, Clayton plans to attend law school and continue her work with College Democrats of America and the Alabama Democratic Party.
This program is sponsored by the Eastern Shore Democrats. Admission is free and open to the public. For further information, contact Dr. William Thompson at (251) 423-5306.
Thursday, July 12th, 2012
U.S. Representative Martha Roby has filed an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill intended to halt food stamp assistance to anyone who cannot prove their American citizenship through documentation. The piece of legislation would require everyone in a household to prove their citizenship before anyone in the household is eligible to receive food stamps, meaning that many American citizens will no longer be able to receive nutrition assistance merely because they live with someone who is undocumented.
Rather than seeking out new sources of revenue in order to feed America’s hungry, Republicans in the House of Representatives have resorted to increasingly underhanded and shady means to cover the $16 billion dollars in cuts to the food stamp program. This and other amendments to the Farm Bill seek to drastically reduce the number of people who can receive food stamps, many times affecting the very Americans who need assistance the most.
Roby claims that her initiative will cut down on the number of undocumented immigrants receiving or benefiting from food stamps. However, over 86% of children of undocumented immigrants are American citizens by virtue of being born on American soil; per Roby’s amendment, undocumented parents of American citizens can no longer procure food stamps for their children. Furthermore, American citizens living in households with those who cannot prove citizenship would no longer be eligible to receive food stamps. Because of Roby’s amendment, an estimated 4.5 million American children living in mixed-legal status households stand to lose access to nutrition assistance. Our children cannot afford this cut.
“I am ashamed that this amendment comes from someone who has pledged to protect the interests of all Alabamians.” said Judge Mark Kennedy (Chairman, Alabama Democratic Party) in response to Roby’s action. “The concern here is obviously not to ensure that only American citizens are receiving food stamp benefits, but to cover the shortcomings of the Republicans’ short sighted, ham fisted budget cuts. This move will literally take food out of the mouths of millions of hungry children and families across our country.”
Monday, July 9th, 2012
We as a country took two great steps forward last week, both reducing discrimination against Latino Americans and ensuring that every American can now afford healthcare. Unfortunately, Alabama’s Republicans are doing all they can to undo our progress. Republicans across the state are supporting three particular efforts which will harm our state: opting out of Obamacare, eliminating the open primary, and requiring government issued identification for everyone who wants to vote.
If the Republican supermajority follows through with its plan to opt out of the Affordable Care Act, they will be stealing health insurance from 1.2 million Alabamians who will be able to afford it for the first time. It simply does not make sense for Alabama, one of the states poised to gain the most from Obamacare, would opt out and let other states reap the benefits.
Furthermore, the Republican Party Executive Committee backed a resolution last week to limit those able to vote in a primary to people officially registered with a party. This is bad news for democracy. This will alienate every independent in our state from the political process and drive down participation in a state known for its poor election turnout.
More alarming still is the Republican-backed initiative to require voter IDs in order to vote in Alabama elections. Republicans claim this will cut down on in-person voter fraud. In reality, studies show that in-person voter fraud is literally less common than UFO sightings or being struck by lightning. Consider a similar piece of legislation recently passed by Pennsylvania’s majority Republican state legislature. The Pennsylvania law required every voter in the state to hold a Department of Transportation ID, meaning that those without are denied their constitutional right to vote. While voter ID laws disproportionately affect Democratic voting blocs, they also cut out a significant number of poor and working class Republican voters, meaning that Republicans in Alabama are willing to disenfranchise many of their own voters solely for political gain.
Republican leadership in Alabama is doing immeasurable harm to our state’s economy and system of governance. They have shown time and time again that rather than having the best interest of every Alabamian in mind, Alabama’s Republicans care only about pursuing their own selfish agendas. If we continue to let them have their way with our state, the results could be catastrophic.
Thursday, July 5th, 2012
The Republican supermajority-led 2012 Alabama Legislative Session finished up at the end of May and the reviews are in: virtually every major media outlet in the state has declared the 2012 legislative session to be an unmitigated disaster.
Despite the fact that a number of “pro jobs” bills were passed this session, Alabama’s economy has been in a recession for the past year and is not showing any real signs of recovery. Furthermore, the often trumpeted jobless rate has jumped back up in recent months to 7.4%. Like the overall economy, the jobless rate does not appear to be trending towards improvement anytime soon.
Furthermore, the GOP drastically cut the state’s mental health budget, closing four of the state’s six mental health facilities and pushing their current patients onto the streets where they will likely not get the care they need. Democrats fought off further cuts, but the damage has already been done.
Chief among the failures of the Republican supermajority was their inability to pass a responsible budget for the next year. The Birmingham News stated that our legislators “stitched together a General Fund budget uglier than Frankenstein's monster.” a huge portion of the budget is entirely unfunded, unless voters decide on September 18th to remove money from the Alabama Trust Fund in order to keep the state running. The GOP has left it up to the state’s voters to bail the legislature out of its fiscal mismanagement.
In the wake of this travesty of a session, Mike Hubbard has decided to go on a book tour. His book, which describes the Republicans “storming the state house” in 2010, seems to leave out any mention of the relentless attacks that they have made against Alabama’s hard-working families in the last two legislative sessions. It’s shocking that a state leader would be so irresponsible, spending countless hours writing a novel and then going on a nationwide tour while Alabama is in such dire economic conditions.
Clearly, we cannot trust Republican legislators to make the right choices for Alabama.
Thursday, July 5th, 2012
The Alabama Democratic Party (ADP) is seeking a media savvy professional to run an aggressive communications office.
The Communications Director is responsible for developing and implementing the communications effort for the ADP on the local, state, regional and national level. The main goals of this effort are to maximize public exposure of the Party and gain public and political support for its mission and policy goals – specifically targeting the Party’s base constituency, donors, state electorate, policy makers, other advocates and the media. The Communications Director must be an accomplished communicator with excellent writing, critical thinking and oral skills, have a broad knowledge of the news media, politics, policy, and government and a passion for social justice.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following:
• Leading and managing the creation of a comprehensive strategic communications strategy to maximize public exposure of the Party and gain public and political support for its mission and policy goals
• Developing and implementing media strategies targeting both traditional mainstream media as well as online and new media and develop relationships with bloggers, television bookers, print reporters, columnists, editorial staff, and communications staff of allied organizations
• Executing rapid response effort
• Developing and managing the Party’s messaging efforts
• Writing and disseminating of press releases, op-ed pieces, newsletters, feature articles, fact sheets, etc
• Organizing news conferences, media briefings, and teleconferences
• Coordinating regular updates to key political allies, donors, and other constituencies
Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree and two years or more of political communications experience, including knowledge of and experience working with news media and online media. Journalism experience and basic knowledge of film editing are also desired. Relocation to Montgomery, Alabama is required.
Salary is commensurate with experience. To be considered for the position, please email a cover letter, resume, and two writing samples to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, June 28th, 2012
"In a week full of historic rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States, the court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act will have the widest impact on the most Americans of any in recent history. Make no mistake: this is a great step forward for our country.
The Obama administration has shown remarkable foresight with this historic piece of legislation, addressing a pressing problem that individual states have refused to deal with. President Obama has made it clear that his priorities include both the well being of every American as well as the fiscal future of our country. Not only will the Affordable Care Act reduce the deficit by over $100 billion, studies have shown that repealing the law will actually add to the deficit by approximately $50 billion.
It is unfortunate that Alabama’s Republican leaders oppose an initiative which will enormously benefit hundreds of thousands of Alabamians. Governor Bentley has already put out a statement today, saying “this law must be repealed.” I cannot disagree more. Over one million Alabamians have found themselves uninsured at some point in the past two years. With this law, each and every one of them will now have affordable access to healthcare. The irony of the Republican outcry against this law should not go unnoticed, as the Republican supermajority in the Alabama legislature has passed the buck on health issues time and time again.
This is a great day for both our state and our country. Every Alabamian can now rest easy knowing they can afford the healthcare they need and deserve."
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
This Friday night, the Alabama Republican Party is hosting its “Patriot's Dinner” in an attempt to rally support from donors. The dinner’s keynote speaker is Florida Republican Rep. Allen West, a top-notch neoconservative demagogue who finds his way into headlines each week with a new ridiculous statement. Let’s look at a few of his infamous incidents and try to figure out why AL GOP Chairman Bill Armistead recently wrote “there's no way for me to really get across in an email how excited I am about this” about West’s appearance.
Earlier this year, while speaking at a town hall meeting, West boldly claimed that "there are about 78 or 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party. The frightening part is that this quote isn’t even taken out of context. From the transcript, this was his response when the moderator asked, "What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialist?"
While speaking at a meeting for a rightwing women’s group, West spoke at length about his desire for the United States to be more like the ancient, militarized city-state of Sparta.Oddly enough, the last politician to liken his vision to Sparta was none other than Adolf Hitler. The Spartans ran a militaristic, totalitarian state that practiced eugenics by murdering children that seemed weak or sickly.
At the same meeting, West continued to display obscene amounts of old-school sexism, exclaiming, “Women… have been neutering American men… We are not going to have our men become subservient… [or] the debt will continue to grow.” It’s not clear why West thinks that enforcing outdated gender roles is the key to controlling our fiscal future, but it wouldn’t be the first time that West’s completely baseless claims went unchallenged.
Here, West rallies support by telling Democratic leaders to “take your message of equality of achievement… and get the hell out of the United States of America.” It should be common knowledge by now that the Republicans are against any notion of equality, even if it hurts almost all of their own constituents. However, it’s rare for an actual Republican leader to come out and vehemently reject equality of achievement. Note that West makes no mention of redistribution or welfare, but simply lashes out at the idea of everyone having equal opportunities.
West was forced to retire by the United States Army lest he receive a dishonorable discharge. After he ordered the unauthorized kidnapping and violent interrogation of a civilian Iraqi police officer, he placed the detainee’s head in a sand barrel and fired a bullet into it, narrowly missing the civilian in an attempt to gain information on an “assassination” plot that was found to never have existed. After an investigation conducted by the United States Army, West was charged with violation of two articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He was forced to resign, or he would have had to face even more serious forms of punishment. Yes, that’s right. The Alabama Republican Party is letting a man that was very nearly court-martialed host their “Patriot’s Dinner.” This gaffe has gone far beyond just hypocrisy. If the Republicans actually relate to the nonsense espoused by radicals like Allen West, the Grand Ole Party is in a sadly delusional state of affairs.
Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
By Mark Kennedy
I realize that many folks on the national political scene may not follow Alabama politics very closely and that drama equals ratings. However, even with those caveats the hype that has been manufactured around Artur Davis' latest shout for attention is somewhat baffling, given the ex-Alabamian’s history of blowing with the wind.
Here’s a quick refresher on our dearly departed representative’s record:
First, Artur Davis lost his last campaign in Alabama because he lost his credibility with Democratic voters in the state.
Davis is one of the few politicians today who could compete with Mitt Romney for the title of Flip Flopper in Chief. He was so focused on winning and positioning himself for a general election campaign, he didn't stand for anything anymore. He bowed to any special interest he thought would lead him to the governor's mansion in Montgomery.
Then, when the state's Democrats (black and white) resoundingly rejected him as their nominee for governor, he had a temper tantrum. He attacked the Democratic Party's nominee in the Montgomery Advertiser, asserting that any party that didn't want an unprincipled chameleon as their candidate is doomed.
Now he has announced he doesn't support President Obama and the national media is portraying it as some big shock. As political expert Donna Brazile pointed out right after his interview on CNN yesterday, Artur looks like he is vying for a speaking slot at the Republican Convention.
Well, the RNC can have him. As for Virginia, y'all shouldn't worry too much. When he doesn't win, he will be on to the next state. I hear there is a mayoral seat coming up soon in Wasilla. We can only hope.
Monday, June 18th, 2012
On the eve of Flag Day, one disservice towards a citizen of Alabama was righted by the Alabama Democratic Party.
In August of last year, Army Sergeant First Class James Blake Jr. wrote to Governor Dr. Bentley asking for an Alabama state flag to fly in Afghanistan, where he was deployed on his fifth tour of duty. In his letter, Blake wrote that the flag "would surely make our stay here feel more like home, a home back in Bama that we all talk about almost daily."
Governor Dr. Bentley shockingly denied the request, stating that the governor’s office had a long-standing policy against giving out state flags to individuals. The governor was soon caught in his negligence, however, as former Governors Bob Riley and Don Siegelman both vouched that soldiers had always been given state flags during their terms. Governor Siegelman even “recalled Guard departure ceremonies in which entire units were given Alabama flags.”
When Sergeant Blake received the response from Bentley’s office, he wrote that he felt “abandoned by a home state that I am proud to be from."
In a small ceremony at the Alabama Democratic Party headquarters, party chairman Judge Mark Kennedy presented Sergeant Blake and his family with the state’s flag. Blake had returned from his service only a few days prior to the ceremony, where he was thanked for his service after a brief visit with the staff.
Judge Kennedy remarked on the situation, “I’m just glad that Sergeant Blake has been properly honored. As the father of a serviceman, I have nothing but respect and pride for the brave Alabamians that defend our country every day.”
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
This Thursday, Americans will celebrate Flag Day, a day where we as a country reflect on the meaning of the American flag and all of the sacrifices it symbolizes. Flag Day is one of many patriotic holidays we’ll celebrate this summer, as Memorial Day and D-Day have just passed and July 4th is just around the corner.
In a recent piece sent to Republicans around the state, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead paid unconvincing lip-service to America’s veterans. Armistead touts that one of the Republican Party’s highest principles is to pay homage to our men and women in uniform. Looking at what Alabama’s Republican leaders have done for veterans this session, Armistead’s words ring hollow. Last week it was announced that 17 Veteran’s Affairs offices around the state will permanently close their doors because of funding cuts imposed upon them by the Republican supermajority in the legislature. By the end of this summer, 13 Alabama National Guard armories will have faced a similar fate in the last year for the same reason. Last year, Governor Bentley made headlines when he denied a deployed Alabamian soldier’s request for an Alabama flag to fly in Afghanistan. Through these and other Republican transgressions, it is clear that the lofty words that Armistead and his peers use are nothing but shallow political pandering.
At the end of Armistead’s piece, he takes the opportunity to advertise the Alabama Republican Party’s “Patriot Dinner,” a fundraiser to be held next week in Montgomery. The keynote speaker of the “Patriot Dinner” is Florida Congressman Allen West, a neo-conservative Representative with a reputation for making headlines with his outlandish antics
Other state Republican parties are also soon holding their annual fundraising dinners, with such respected guests as Marco Rubio in South Carolina, Scott Walker in Georgia, and Dan Quayle in Arizona. While other states are receiving high-profile Republican icons, Alabama gets a second-rate Joe McCarthy impressionist who called 80 members of Congress “card-carrying Communists” earlier this year. This was shortly after he publicly exclaimed his desire for President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Reid to “get the hell out of the United States of America.” These are just a few of West’s countless political gaffes that were at first shocking, then laughable, and now have become the pitiful ravings of a fear-mongering political pundit.
If this is what the Alabama Republican Party considers “patriotism,” then it is clear that Armistead and other Republican leaders are out of touch with the reality of our men and women in uniform. If you look at the legislative record, it is clear that the party most concerned about the rights and wellbeing of our veterans is not the one making all the hollow noise.
Thursday, June 7th, 2012
MONTGOMERY, AL -- The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Tuesday that Alabama has been in a recession since 2011. The organization, which is responsible for monitoring the health of state level economies, stated that Alabama’s economy shrunk by 0.8% in the year after the Republican supermajority assumed control of the Alabama Legislature. This ties Alabama with Mississippi for the greatest decline in economic output in The South, second worst in the country. Only Wyoming, a state with a population less than the Birmingham metro area, fared worse.
This report highlights the discrepancies between Republican talking points and the reality for millions of Alabamians. Republicans have been boasting for over a year that the Alabama economy has been improving, citing a declining unemployment rate. These rates are based on complicated formulas that only take into account individuals who have been unemployed for fewer than 18 months. Those who have been unable to find work within the time frame are no longer counted in the unemployment rate. It also does not account for those who have simply stopped looking for employment as a result of the dismal job market. Lastly, the rate ignores the thousands of disillusioned workers who have left Alabama in search of work in another state.
The Republican supermajority boasts about a series of “jobs bills” designed to “improve the economy” and “create jobs.” The facts highlight the irony behind the supposedly “pro-jobs” agenda Speaker Hubbard and his counterparts in the legislature have promoted. The reality is that fewer and fewer Alabamians are finding it possible to live, work, and raise a family under the grim conditions created by the passage of impractical, reckless legislation.
Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy stated, “It has been over a year since the Republican supermajority stormed the statehouse. Yet, the only storm Alabamians have felt is a hurricane destroying their livelihoods, washing away opportunities in an already weak economy. If we continue to let the Republican supermajority to go unchallenged, manipulating those they exploit, Alabama will remain entrenched at the bottom of the economic ladder.”
Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
The Republicans relentless attack on the rights of women continued this week as legislators in Washington took aim at women in the workplace. A bill that would open the pathways for women to end their struggle against pay discrimination was blocked by Senate Republicans. Alabama’s own Senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, voted against this bill, drawing a clear line in the sand that they do not share the same values as those from their home state.
In 2009, women scored a victory when President Obama passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, named after Alabama’s own Lilly Ledbetter. Ms. Ledbetter worked for Goodyear Tire in Gadsden for almost 20 years, earning less pay than her male counterparts while performing the same tasks. The school-yard bully tactics used by the Republican Party are typical in their crusade to suppress the rights and voices of hard working women in this country.
The Republicans have shown time and time again that women’s rights are not a priority; but instead a burden to their agenda. Senators Sessions and Shelby, apparently, care nothing for hard working women in our state.
Stand with Lilly Ledbetter and the rights of women by becoming a monthly donor to the Alabama Democratic Party today. With your help, we will send a loud message that the Republicans won’t succeed in suppressing the rights of women in Alabama.
Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
By Marc Keahey
Less than one week after we honored the men and women who died in service to our country, seventeen veterans service offices were closed around the state. Three of the offices closed are located in the southwest Alabama counties of Baldwin, Washington, and Wilcox.
The main function of these VA offices was to help eligible veterans navigate the system and apply for benefits they are entitled to receive. At a time when so many soldiers are returning from the Middle East, and the thousands of service-men and women of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam are aging C our veterans are relying on these services more now than ever before.
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) cited severe funding cuts as the reason that the offices were not able to remain operational. The Supermajority in the legislature failed to fund veterans’ services at a level that would allow the department to provide the proper support that these men and women deserve. In 2012, the ADVA received 15 percent less funding than the previous year. Sadly, under the 2013 General Fund Budget recently passed in Montgomery, the ADVA will receive an additional 34 percent cut in funding. The forced closure of these VA offices is nothing short of an injustice to our veterans.
In addition to Veterans Affairs, the Alabama Military Department, which funds the Alabama National Guard, was cut 22 percent in the same 2013 General Fund Budget, representing over $2 million in cuts compared to this budget year. Similar to the ADVA, these budget cuts have forced the Alabama National Guard to close eleven National Guard armories around the state within the last year and plans to close two more before September. Two of the armories closed were located in Grove Hill and Thomasville. Many neighbors and friends, who have been based out of these armories that have been considered home to some and meant so much to others, were told that the National Guard armory is being closed.
Funding our veterans’ services and our military should be a priority in Montgomery. Legislators at the state level should be proud of our military here in Alabama. The thousands of men and women from our state who enlist to serve our country, either through the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard, deserve our support. It gives me a sense of pride to know that Alabama has the sixth largest National Guard in the nation with 11,000 members, ranking first in the nation per capita. The lack of funding provided to our military and veterans in the 2013 General Fund Budget is a reflection of anything but pride.
I voted no on our state’s General Fund Budget passed by the Senate in our final hour of the regular session. The failure to fund our Department of Veterans Affairs and our National Guard has provided me with two big reasons to vote no. The Supermajority failed to provide the resources for those who make the ultimate sacrifice in risking their lives for each of us in service to our country.
When a man or a woman serves our country and comes home, the State of Alabama should stand ready to offer the proper aid and assistance to those who risked everything to fight for our freedom. As your State Senator, I am honored to represent all of the active soldiers and veterans in our area and will continue to serve as a voice in Montgomery supporting the critical programs and services that are so justly deserved.
Senator Marc Keahey has served in the Alabama Senate since 2009. Senator Keahey represents southwest Alabama, including Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, Washington. Since taking office, Senator Keahey has been instrumental in bringing hundreds of jobs to southwest Alabama.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
After three years of fighting to enact the Elder Abuse Prevention Act, the hard work of Senator Tammy Irons (D-Florence) has paid off. Governor Bentley has signed into law Irons’ Elder Abuse Prevention Act designed to help prevent and prosecute elder abuse. “I am grateful that Governor Bentley realized the importance of protecting our senior citizens and signed my bill into law this session. This is the first step in protecting our senior citizens from abuse in all of its disgusting forms—physical, emotional and financial” said Irons.
The law will create a committee consisting of representatives from numerous governmental and non-governmental agencies. “There is so much knowledge among these various agencies regarding elder abuse but it is not always being shared” according to Irons. “I am hopeful that the committee members will work together by sharing information, and cross training agencies, on elder abuse. For example, it was discovered through my research that the Alabama Securities Commission would be an excellent source for training our senior citizens on financial abuse and scams. I would like to see stronger laws developed as a result of this study to penalize those who take advantage of our elderly” said Irons.
Alabama is experiencing a severe "under-reporting" of cases of elder abuse. According to Irons, when she began her crusade to protect the elderly, “the most recent annual case-report count of elder abuse in the state was approximately 6,000 cases per year. However, the truer number of unreported elder abuse incidents in Alabama range from 25,000-75,000.” As the number of our Alabamians increase each year, so does the number of elder abuse cases. “With the enactment of the Elder Abuse Prevention Act, Alabama can now be proactive in handling elder abuse cases rather than reactive. Hopefully, this law will prevent one of our most valuable group of citizens, our elderly, from being hurt or harmed in any way and from losing the nest egg that they have worked so hard for all of their lives” said Irons.
As an estate planning attorney, Irons often encounters elderly clients that have been the victim of financial abuse. Irons said that “so often, it is a family member, friend, neighbor or a service worker that abuses the elderly individual and out of fear or embarrassment the abuse is not reported.”
Thursday, May 24th, 2012
"The Senate redistricting plans that the Republican supermajority has sponsored are wrought with political gerrymandering that violates the guidelines in our state’s constitution that require legislative districts be respectful of county boundaries and communities of interest.
Tonight, Rep. McClendon admitted that the Republican plan packs African American voters in majority-minority districts. When asked about the marginalization of African American voters in majority white districts, he claimed the Justice Department is not interested in majority white districts.
This outrageous act of blatant political and racial gerrymandering is only matched by the hypocrisy of wasting the taxpayers’ dollars on a special session when the state’s constitution required redistricting to be addressed during the regular session of the legislature.”
Representative Jackson is a Democrat from Thomasville. He has served in the Alabama House of Representatives since 1995. In 2010, Representative Jackson was elected Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.