Newswire : Diverse rural farmer and community groups praise bipartisan Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill

Two national organizations representing thousands of rural farmers and communities today commended the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 released by the Senate Agriculture Committee on Friday. The Rural Coalition and National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) applaud the Committee, Chairman Pat Roberts, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow for the bipartisan bill. While the bill stops short of fundamental changes to provide a fair price to all producers, it contains important provisions to address the dairy crisis; protects and expands equity for tribal, historically underserved, veteran, and beginning farmers and ranchers; and preserves the integrity of nutrition programs. The bill also makes two critical updates to farm credit programs to benefit family farmers.

At a moment when dairy farmers are receiving prices as low as 30 percent below the cost of production, the Senate farm bill takes an important first step towards improving those prices for by establishing a Class 1 Fluid Milk donation program. The program will provide $5 billion per year to reimburse dairy farmers who make donations to non-profit feeding programs.

Wisconsin dairy farmer and NFFC board president Jim Goodman noted, “The inclusion of a fluid milk donation program in the Senate farm bill will help two groups of people in need: dairy farmers who have been trying to survive on milk prices that are well below cost of production and people who cannot afford to put food on the table. Many people struggling with food insecurity are working, many are children – and some are farmers themselves. The dairy donation program will provide significant relief to all of these populations.”

Two credit provisions in the Senate bill will bring further relief to farmers facing today’s credit crisis. The provisions offer new favorable loan servicing options to help farm families preserve farmland and avoid foreclosure, as well as expanding eligibility for emergency loans following a catastrophe such as a drought or flood.

“NFFC and Rural Coalition have fought for equitable farm credit since our work on the 1987 Agricultural Credit Act, which slowed the 1980s farm crisis,” said Savonala Horne, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Black Farmers Land Loss Prevention Project, a board member of both organizations. “These critical but common sense changes to the law will keep more family farmers on the land through the challenges rural America is again facing today.”

The bill also strengthens equity for tribal farmers and food systems and invests in programs supporting the nation’s historically underserved, veteran and young farmers and ranchers. It is notable for measures to strengthen and fund programs to assist small farmers and grow local food and farm systems. Among these is the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (OASDVFR), which has struggled for funding since it was first authorized in 1990, and since military veteran farmers and ranchers were added in 2014. The Senate bill links OASDVFR with the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program and strengthens and provides permanent authority to both programs. Under the new bill, the programs would equally share permanent direct funding of $50 million.

“We have been working hard for decades to bring equity to the farm bill in terms of treatment for Black farmers and other farmers of color to build cooperatives and to uplift low-wealth communities. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 addresses continuing inequities and supports the quality hands-on assistance needed to make sure the 2018 farm bill reaches everyone,” said Rural Coalition Chairperson John Zippert, based in rural Alabama.

Rural Coalition and NFFC further commend Senators Roberts and Stabenow for a farm bill package that, unlike its counterpart in the House of Representatives, takes a strong bipartisan stance on ensuring food access for all communities, by retaining funding and authority for the crucial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It also increases support for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives program and related initiative to strengthen local food systems.

For additional commentary and analysis on the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, visit www.nffc.net and https://www.ruralco.org/.

The Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural is an alliance of farmers, farmworkers, indigenous, migrant, and working people from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and beyond working together toward a new society that values unity, hope, people, and land.

NFFC unites and strengthens the voices and actions of its diverse grassroots member organizations in 30 states to demand viable livelihoods for family farmers, safe and healthy food for everyone, and economically and environmentally sound rural communities.

Greene County Commissioners take Oath of Office

 

Shown L to R: Coroner Ronald Kent Smith and his wife, Mrs. Pamela Smith; Commissioner Lester B. Brown and his granddaughter Peyton Brown; Commissioner Tennyson Smith and Mrs. Brenda Burke; District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne. Shown L to R: Commissioner Roshanda Summerville and her son Brian Summerville; Mrs. Emma Turner, mother of Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. and Judge William “Nick” Underwood. Shown L to R: Commissioner Corey Cockrell and his mother Mrs. Margree Davis; Probate Judge Julia Spree.

The Greene County Commission held its Installation Program on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 5:00p.m. at the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw, AL. The Greene County Coroner was also installed. Greene County District Judge, Lillie Jones-Osborne conducted the installation and Oath of Office of Commissioner Lester Brown, for District 1; Commissioner Tennyson Smith, for District 2; and Coroner Ronald Kent Smith. Greene County Probate Judge Julia Spree installed and conducted Oath of Office for Commissioner Corey Cockrell for District 3. Eutaw City Judge William Nick Underwood installed and conducted Oath of Office for Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. for District 4 and Commissioner Roshanda Summerville for District 5. The program opened with welcome and greetings by Greene County Circuit Clerk Mattie Atkins. Invocation and scripture were given by Rev. John Kennard. Following the Oath of Office of the commissioners, there was a recognition of elected officials present. Rev. Kennard closed the program with Benediction. A repast was held at Ruby’s. The re-organization of the County Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 at 5:00 pm.

Two-thirds of Alabama voters cast straight party tickets

By The Associated Press MONTGOMERY Nearly two-thirds of Alabamians voted a straight-ticket — either all Republican or all Democratic— when they went to the polls 0n Tuesday, November 6, a record number that reflects political polarization and likely boosted Republicans in their easy sweep of state races. According to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, about 1.1 million of the 1.7 million ballots cast on Tuesday were straight-ticket votes, where voters checked one box to vote for all of a party’s candidates. Of those straight- ticket votes, 661,898 were for the Republican Party and 460,408 were for Democratic Party. Another 135 were for the Libertarian Party. In Greene County, 3, 228 (89.8%) voted straight Democratic and 367 (10.2%) voted straight Republican. Secretary of State John Merrill said that is a record high for straight party ticket voting in the state. “This is a very high, high number,” Merrill said. “It tells me that people are becoming more polarized.” Republicans swept all statewide and contested congressional races, holding Democrats to about 40 percent of the vote. Republicans also picked up six seats in the Alabama Legislature. Alabama is one of eight states that allow or offer straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A number of states have abolished the option in recent years. The other states in addition to Alabama are:  Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas. Political scientist Jess Brown said Wednesday that party label and national politics appeared to be increasingly on voters’ minds as they went to the polls. According to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate and nonvoters, more than half of Alabama voters said a reason for their vote was to express support for or opposition to President Donald Trump Thirty-seven percent of voters said a reason for their vote was to express support for Trump, and 21 percent said they voted to express opposition to Trump. By comparison, 42 percent of Alabama voters said Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes. Immigration was at the forefront of voters’ minds: 31 percent named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections.

$3,000,000.00 awarded to local man

 

On Friday, October 26, 2018, the Alabama Supreme Court unanimously upheld a $3,000,000.00 jury verdict for a Eutaw, Alabama man who was seriously injured in an automobile accident while traveling through a road construction site in Greene County, Alabama. Mr. Kennedy was represented by Attorney John Stamps of The Black Belt Law Center and Attorneys Tom Perry and Hunter Compton of Manley Traeger Perry Stapp & Compton. Mr. Eduard Kennedy was driving on State Highway 43, when a motor grader, operated by employees of Tomlin Construction, that was parked suddenly pulled into his lane of travel. As a result of the negligence of Tomlin Construction and their employees, Mr. Kennedy suffered severe life changing injuries. Mr. Kennedy is satisfied with the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision and is hopeful that it will prevent in the future the type of road construction negligence that injured him. One of Mr. Kennedy’s attorneys, John Stamps, also expressed his satisfaction with the Alabama Supreme Court’s favorable decision. He said, “We are happy Mr. Kennedy was able to obtain justice in this matter and we will continue to fight the good fight for all of our clients and the people of the Black Belt of Alabama.”

Over the four-day trial, Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway “did an excellent job of requiring the defendants to adhere to the evidence and the rule of the road laws” according to Attorney Hunter Compton. “The defendants tried to control and manipulate evidence to make it appear the accident was caused by Mr. Kennedy, but I am glad the Alabama Supreme Court agreed with Judge Hardaway and saw through that smoke screen to get to the truth”, stated Attorney Tom Perry.

Newswire :  Huge heist by Ghanaian bank officers worse than feared

 Ghanaian Times headlines about theft

Nov. 12, 2018 (GIN) – Depositors may want to steer clear of banking in Ghana while over a dozen bank officers and shareholders face claims they lent themselves millions of dollars but failed to repay. Business Ghana, a local news outlet, reported that 13 shareholders and directors of the defunct Capital Bank Ghana Limited and UT Bank engaged in acts that led to the collapse of the two banks. By their alleged actions, the defendants “have breached their fiduciary duties under the Companies Code and have caused serious financial loss to the banks,” say receivers for the defunct banks. The officers allegedly lent themselves about $837 million Ghanaian cedis – equal to $174 million U.S. dollars. Auditors with the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm confirmed that actions by the bank officers destabilized Capital Bank which was declared bankrupt earlier last year. That led to the collapse of five other indigenous banks that were merged into one in August 2018. Capitol Bank founder William Ato Essien allegedly flouted “all banking and risk management rules by treating depositors’ funds and public funds as his personal cash,” the auditors said. Briefly detained by the Economic and Organized Crimes Office, he was granted bail and invited to assist with ongoing investigations. All this has occurred despite a campaign pledge by President Nana Akufo-Addo to be the anti-corruption candidate. An investigation by Business Insider, published this month, found that a half dozen appointees of the president were accused of serious corruption, from bribery to extortion, selling contaminated fuel , visa fraud, and posing as journalists to attend the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. After an inquiry, all the accused were fully exonerated by ad-hoc committees of Parliament. Meanwhile, a Special Prosecutor to investigate corruption complains that a year after his office was established, it is confined to a small house “woefully inadequate” to accommodate employees. And in Italy, some 200 Ghanaian students say they are stranded without food, are homeless and possibly facing deportation because necessary documents for their scholarships have not been validated by the Embassy. Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Giovanni Favilli, however, charged the students with abusing Italy’s hospitality and threatened them with prosecution. The claims were dismissed by the President of Ghanaian Students in Italy who disputed the accuracy of the charges.

Newswire :  Jefferson County, Alabama elects its first Black sheriff

 By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia

 

 Mark Pettway

There’s a new sheriff in Jefferson County, Alabama. Democrat Mark Pettway defeated longtime Republican incumbent Mike Hale, making Pettway the first African-American sheriff in the county whose largest city is Birmingham. “We have a plan to fight crime and to make sure the cities are safe,” Pettway said after receiving a concession call from Hale. Pettway won more than 52 percent of the vote, according to unofficial tallies on Tuesday. In addition to his many supporters, Pettway credited for his historic victory to the help of the Purpose P.R. Firm in Alabama and its head, Andrew Wyatt, who helped spread Pettway’s message of freedom, justice, equality and inclusion and the importance of Jefferson County in the Civil Rights Era. Pettway also said he was grateful to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, whose member papers didn’t shy away from carrying his message. “Thank you,” Wyatt said to the Black Press on behalf of Pettway. The history of Jefferson County, particularly Birmingham, is unmistakable as the flashpoint of the Civil Rights Movement where the city saw much bloodshed and strife as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others fought for freedom, justice and equality. The Birmingham historical society notes that the city today offers a “sobering and reflective experience for anyone interested in this important era of American history.” Until last year, the sheriff’s department was under a federal consent decree because of its unfair hiring and promotion practices and Pettway, a longtime sergeant, said he’d seen a lot of discrimination and other problems during his 18-year tenure in the department. The consent decree was issued as part of a 1970s-era consolidated lawsuit that alleged the County, City of Birmingham, Sheriff’s Department, and the Personnel Board of Jefferson County discriminated against Blacks and women in their hiring and promotions. Birmingham and the Jefferson County Personnel Board, which provides employment services for the county and cities, were ultimately released from their decrees. Last year a U.S. District Judge finally released the Sheriff’s Department from the decree. “Still,” Pettway said, “not much has changed,” which counted as the primary reason he ran for sheriff. “It didn’t get any better. We’re still not where we should be and after watching other activists in action, I decided it was time for me to rise up and do something,” Pettway said. “That Birmingham, Alabama still resembles in some ways its racist history should be alarming to residents and voters,” Pettway said. Hale who transferred to the Sheriff’s Department in 1976, is expected to help make Pettway’s transition smooth. “I asked him to help with the transition,” Pettway said after receiving the congratulatory phone call from his opponent. “This is a very important and historical election and it’s an opportunity for change. It’s a chance for us to have a seat at the table where we can make those changes and where the hiring practices can be better for people of color and for women and where a [minority] can say, ‘hey, I can be Sheriff one day, too,’” Pettway said. A lifelong Jefferson County resident, Pettway grew up in a working-class neighborhood not far from Birmingham’s Legion Field Stadium. The son of the late Retired Army Sgt. First Class Officer Ed Pettway, and Jefferson County School Teacher Camilla Satisfield, Pettway said he began to realize his potential as his parents provided him with something far greater than material wealth. Specifically, they instilled in him strong moral principles, a robust work ethic and a burning desire to excel. Given his ability to implement this rare yet useful combination of gifts, many said it’s no surprise he learned the value of hard work and determination at an early age. Pettway began his professional career in 1991 at the Birmingham Police Department, where he served as a Correctional Specialist. In 1993, he joined the Fairfield Police Department as a police officer, where he helped to strengthen the law enforcement system by responding to calls, making arrests, issuing citations, and testifying in court cases. In 1999, he joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. In 2008, he was promoted to detective and has earned a number of commendations from Hale. He said community policing and criminal justice reform top his agenda. “We have to bridge the gap right now between law enforcement and the community. Right now, there’s no trust and we need body cameras and dashboard cameras and, under my watch, we will be transparent,” Pettway said. “I will implement accountability and the community will know their officers. The officers will get out of their cars and the community will know them by their names,” he said.

Newswire : The battle for Florida and Georgia ends in vote recounts

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia

 Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum

 

The heartache expressed on Tuesday night by the many supporters of Stacey Abrams has suddenly turned to hope after absentee and other ballots counted brought the Georgia Democratic governor hopeful closer to a runoff with Republican Brian Kemp. And, after conceding to Republican Ron DeSantis in Florida on Election night, Tallahassee Mayor and Florida Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum found new life when votes were finally tabulated from the more blue areas of the state like Broward and Miami Dade. Gillum said he conceded based on “the limited information we had.” That’s now changed. As of Friday morning, Gillum was just 0.44 percentage points behind DeSantis, a margin of about 36,000 votes. A margin within 0.5 percentage points triggers an automatic recount, something the Florida Secretary of State would still have to approve. “On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count,” Gillum spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said in a statement. “Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported.” The campaign reportedly has hired attorney Barry Richard, who represented the Bush campaign during the contentious 2000 presidential election in Florida, who was “monitoring the situation closely and is ready for any outcome, including a state-mandated recount,” Cervone said. “Mayor Gillum started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.” Meanwhile, after initial and unofficial tallies in Georgia gave Kemp a seemingly insurmountable lead, absentee and other provisional ballots drew Abrams ever closer and also in the range of recount and possibly a runoff. “All of the votes in this race have not been counted,” Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said at a press conference on Thursday. Under Georgia law, if no candidate achieves a majority, then a runoff election will be held. Kemp currently leads with 50.3 percent of the vote. Abrams is also close to the possible threshold to earn a recount in the race, which, following his resignation, Kemp would now not oversee. “Brian Kemp is 25,622 votes above the threshold for a runoff election. Twenty-five thousand votes of nearly four million cast are at issue in this race,” Groh-Wargo said. “By [Kemp’s] own admission, there are at least 25,000 outstanding votes, and hundreds if not thousands of more that we are learning about and discovering every day.” The state chapter of the NAACP filed a pair of lawsuits claiming that students at Spelman College and Morehouse College were improperly forced to vote with a provisional ballot – or dissuaded from voting at all – because their names didn’t show up on voter registration lists. And the second, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, seeks to preserve the right for voters in the Pittman Park Recreation Center area to cast ballots. That was the precinct where massive lines formed because of too few polling machines. Even after five additional voting devices were delivered, some people waited four hours at the Atlanta site. In a televised interview early Tuesday, former talk show host Melissa Harris-Perry said Gillum and Stacey would change the way Democrats campaign in the south for decades to come. In saying so, Harris-Perry was clear that would be the case regardless of the outcome. “Gillum and Abrams, no matter what, they have changed the idea that Democrats should not be fighting for these seats in the south, and that’s going to have 25 years of impact,” Harris-Perry said. Much had been written about Abrams’ opponent interfering with voting rights and early reports from Georgia indicated that many polling locations were not up and running in a timely fashion. Voters in the Peach state dealt with long lines, malfunctioning election equipment and registration discrepancies as they swamped precincts Tuesday with an unprecedented turnout for a midterm election. Wait times of more than an hour were the most common hurdle facing voters across the state, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. But technical problems, like failing to plug in voting machines, worsened matters for some voters trying to get their ballots in. Three precincts in Gwinnett County had some of the most severe difficulties, causing them to stay open past the normal 7 p.m. closing time, the newspaper reported. The Annistown Elementary precinct remained open until 9:25 p.m. because of extensive issues with the electronic ExpressPoll system, which is used to check in voters before they’re issued voting access cards. Anderson-Livsey Elementary and Harbins Elementary precincts also stayed open late. Three more precincts in Fulton County also stayed open as late as 10 p.m. because of extreme lines, missing registration information and a shortage of provisional ballots. Those precincts were located at Pittman Park Recreation Center, Booker T. Washington High and the Archer Auditorium at Morehouse College. The Rev. Jesse Jackson got involved at the Pittman Park Recreation Center precinct in Fulton County, encouraging voters to remain in line after they had waited for hours. Only three voting machines were initially available before five more were sent out later. “It’s a classic example of voter suppression, denying people easy access to exercise their right to vote,” Jackson said, according to the newspaper.

Newswire: NAACP: Mississippi candidate’s ‘public hanging’ remark is sick, shameful

 By Hazel Trice Edney

 Mike Espy, Democratic candidate for Mississippi U. S. Senate seat

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The NAACP has issued a stinging rebuke to Republican Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who recently invoked a reference to a “public hanging” amidst her campaign against African-American Democratic candidate Mike Espy. Referring to a glowing endorsement from Mississippi cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson, Hyde-Smith said, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” The remarks drew laughter and applause, but she apparently did not know the comments were being videotaped by journalist Lamar White Jr. After public release of the video, Hyde-Smith issued a statement saying, “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.” She has refused to make any further comment or apologize for the remark, which clearly invokes painful images of thousands of Black people who were lynched or killed by White supremacists in the Deep South with Mississippi being a leading offender. The highest number of lynchings in the U. S. took place in Mississippi from 1882-1968 with 581, according to the NAACP. “Georgia was second with 531, and Texas was third with 493,” says a report by the civil rights organization, adding that 79 percent of lynching happened in the South. Among the best known killings of Black people by White supremacists, Emmett Till and Medgar Evers, occurred in Money and Jackson, Mississippi respectively. Further exacerbating the impact of Hyde-Smith’s remark is the fact that she has been endorsed by President Donald Trump, who has made no public comment on the issue. “Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s shameful remarks prove once again how Trump has created a social and political climate that normalizes hateful and racist rhetoric. We’ve seen this in Florida from Ron DeSantis and others during this election season and denounce it,” said NAACP President Johnson in a statement. Ron DeSantis, Republican nominee for Flordia governor, also drew a fire storm of criticism when he said in a television interview that Florida voters should not “monkey this up” by electing Andrew Gillum, his opponent, who would be the state’s first black governor. That campaign is amidst a recount. “Hyde-Smith’s decision to joke about ‘hanging,’ in a state known for its violent and terroristic history toward African Americans is sick. To envision this brutal and degenerate type of frame during a time when Black people, Jewish People and immigrants are still being targeted for violence by White nationalists and racists is hateful and hurtful,” Johnson said. “Any politician seeking to serve as the national voice of the people of Mississippi should know better. Her choice of words serves as an indictment of not only her lack of judgement, but her lack of empathy, and most of all lack of character.” Espy himself has released a statement calling Hyde-Smith’s comments “reprehensible” and saying, “They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country. We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state.” Joining the rebuke of Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson described her comments as “beyond disrespectful and offensive.” He pointed out that Mississippi has “one of the highest numbers of public lynching, that we know of, than any other state in this country.” Hyde-Smith has refused to speak further on the issue, saying, “I put out a statement yesterday, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.” It is not clear how or whether this new controversy will affect her Nov. 27th run-off against Espy. They both received about 41 percent of the vote in a four-way race Nov. 6. Espy, a former member of the U. S. Congress who served from 1987 to 1993, would become the first black senator to represent Mississippi since Reconstruction. From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched 3,446 were Black. The Blacks lynched accounted for 72.7 percent of the people lynched. These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded. Out of the 4,743 people lynched only 1,297 White people were lynched. That is only 27.3 percent. Many of the Whites lynched were lynched for helping the Black or being anti-lynching and even for domestic crim

CASH REWARD $7,500 LEADING TO THE ARREST AND CONVICTION OF PERSON(S)

CASH REWARD $7,500 LEADING TO THE ARREST AND CONVICTION OF PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR: Setting Deputy “Hank” Henry McWhorter’s House on Fire At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Friday, October 7, 2016; unknown person(s) attempted to burn an occupied residence and explode an adjacent propane tank; which would have caused serious property damage and casualties. This serious criminal offense took place in the Tishabee Neighborhood of Boligee, Alabama Please call Henry “Hank” McWhorter if you have any information to solve this crime at 205-259-9000.

Tennyson Smith defeats Pelt for Commission seat Greene County has high turnout for straight Democratic ticket; Not enough to stem state trend for Republicans

Gov. Kay Ivey and Tennyson Smith

Unofficial vote totals for Tuesday’s General Election show that 4,183 of Greene County’s 7,050 registered voters (59.3%) turned out and voted overwhelming for the straight Democratic ticket. In Greene County, in the Governor’s race, Democratic candidate, Walt Maddox received 3,506 votes (84.1%) to 661 votes (15.1%) for incumbent Republican Kay Ivey. Statewide Ivey received 849,410 (61%) to 562,521 (39%) for Maddox. Ivey becomes Alabama’s second woman Governor and at 74, the oldest elected Governor in the nation. In other statewide contests, the Republican candidates were all successful in their races including: Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor, Steve Marshall for Attorney General, Tom Parker for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, John H. Merrill for Secretary of State, John McMillan for State Treasurer, Jim Ziegler for State Auditor, Rick Pate for Commissioner of Agriculture, Jeremy H. Oden, Public Service Commission, Place 1 and Chris ‘Chip” Beeker Jr., Public Service Commission Place 2. Beeker is a native and resident of Greene County. All seven of Alabama’s incumbent Congresspersons were reelected, including Terri Sewell, who ran unopposed for the 7th District. Sewell is the only Democrat in Alabama’s delegation to Congress. In local Greene County races, Tennyson Smith was reelected County Commissioner in District 2 by a vote of 620 defeating Independent Latoya ‘Mi-Mi’ Pelt with 191 votes. Tennyson Smith will be joining Commissioners Lester ‘Bop’ Brown (District 1), Corey Cockrell (District 3), Allen Turner, Jr. (District 4), and Roshonda Summerville (District 5), who were Democratic nominees from the primary who were unopposed in the General Election. This election also officially confirmed the election of other Greene County office holders who were nominated in the Democratic primary and unopposed in this election. This includes: Eddie Hardaway Jr, Circuit Judge, Veronica Morton-Jones, Circuit Clerk, Rolanda H. Wedgeworth, Judge of Probate, Jonathan ‘Joe” Benison, Sheriff, and Ronald ‘Kent’ Smith, Coroner. Greene County will also be represented by the same legislative delegation including Bobby Singleton, State Senator District 24, A. J. McCampbell, State Representative District No. 71 and Ralph A. Howard, State Representative District 72, who were unopposed and elected in yesterday’s election. All four State Amendments on the ballot were approved statewide by a 60% margin, however in Greene County voters opposed amendments 1, 2 and 4. Amendment 2, which says that Alabamians recognize the rights of the unborn, could lead to the outlawing of abortions and certain contraceptive measures in the future.

Sen. Doug Jones gives keynote address at Federation’s Co-op Month celebration at Rural Training Center in Epes

 

U. S. Senator Doug Jones was the luncheon speaker at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives celebration of National Co-op Month at its Rural Training and Research Center near Epes, Alabama. The Federation had a series of workshops on cooperative and credit union development and land retention issues during the morning. This included a presentation by several members of the SoGoCo, meat goat producers’ co-op on their efforts to promote goat production among family farmers in west Alabama. Rev. Samuel Fairley, Rev. Constance Scott and Pamela Madzima talked about their work with SoGoCo to encourage farmers to produce goats. The co-op now has 30 members with over 500 nannies, female reproductive goats. The cooperative is looking forward to having a large enough membership to support a goat processing plant. “We want to produce goat sausage and other quality cuts of goat meat for consumers and restaurants in the area,” said Fairley. The Federation’s Land Retention Specialist and Attorney, Monica Rainge, spoke on the problems of land tenure by Black farmers indicating that “heir property ownership” has become a significant obstacle to Black land owners making maximum utilization of their land. “When the original land owner dies without a will, the land title passes to all of the heirs without a division. This means all of the heirs have an un-divided interest in the land and all the heirs must agree on any decisions affecting the utilization of the land, including the application for USDA funds and programs. If several generations pass before the family tries to resolve this problem, there can be multiple heirs spread around the country, which makes it difficult for families to make decisive and timely decisions affecting the use of the land,” said Rainge. In his luncheon remarks, Senator Jones said he had been working since he was elected on bipartisan themes that would be helpful to rural people and communities in the State of Alabama including affordable health care, expanding high speed internet services and support for farmers. Jones said he was working on several aspects of the 2018 Farm Bill, which was now in a conference committee to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of the legislation. Jones said he had sponsored a proposal with Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina to provide support and assistance to heir property landowners, which is part of the Senate bill. He is also supporting an effort to provide support for veteran, minority and beginning farmers, which would provide outreach and technical assistance for these groups and help to pass down the farming legacy from older farmers to the next generations. Jones said he was also working to protect the basic safety net and disaster assistance sections of the Farm Bill as well as prevent excessive cuts to food and nutrition programs. “Overall I am looking for ways to bring people together and seek bi-partisan common ground in a Washington D. C. that is broken. This has been a difficult ten days for our nation and I hope you go out and vote. You also must demand that your public officials be more responsible and work together. “We learned from the period of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama that politicians could fan the flames of racism with their words and rhetoric. Governor George Wallace and Police Commissioner Bull Conner made things more difficult with what they said in the 1960’s and the current President’s words on the caravan of poor immigrants from Central America and Mexico weigh on our nation’s discourse. “We must put our common good at the forefront of our discussions and seize the opportunity to speak and work for unity and not discord in our nation,” said Jones. Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director of the Federation observed that, “ We appreciate Senator Doug Jones coming to the Federation’s Rural Training Center in Epes. We have had Congressmen and women, three Secretaries of Agriculture, numerous government officials, but Doug Jones is the first U. S. Senator to visit our facilities. He also came on a great day to celebrate National Co-op Month.