ANSA endorses Attorney Doug Jones, Birmingham, in the Democratic Primary for U. S. Senate on August 15

doug jones and michael  w illiam.jpg

Candidate Doug Jones with Greene County Commissioner Michael Williams (Dist. 5) at the ANSA screening

 

After a screening meeting with seven candidates for the position of U. S. Senator from Alabama, the Alabama New South Alliance unanimously endorsed Attorney Doug Jones of Birmingham for this position, in the statewide Democratic Primary set for August 15, 2017.
This is a special election, prescribed by Governor Kay Ivey to fill the U. S. Senate seat that was vacated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions when he was selected to be U. S. Attorney General Luther Strange was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to occupy this seat until the special election. Strange is running for the position in the Republican primary against several challengers including former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, congressman Mo Brooks, and eight others.
“It was the unanimous consensus of our ANSA Screening Committee to endorse Doug Jones for this U. S. Senate position, in the Democratic Primary, in the Special Election on August 15, 2017. He met all of the criteria that we set up to measure candidates and he gave strong answers to a wide array of questions raised by our committee,” said Sharon Calhoun, Co-Chair of ANSA.
Doug Jones was the former U. S. Attorney for North Alabama, based in Birmingham from 1997 to 2002. He was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by a Republican controlled Senate.

Jones is best known for the successful prosecution of those responsible for killing four young girls in the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.
In 2002, Jones was the lead prosecutor in the case that won murder convictions against Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four girls. The convictions came nearly 40 years after the 1963 bombing.
Jones also worked on the indictment of Birmingham abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, whose 1998 attack killed an off-duty police officer and severely injured a clinic nurse. Rudolph, who also placed a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, was captured and convicted after Jones left office.
Jones has worked in private practice in Birmingham for the past 15 years and represented various clients including former Jefferson County Commissioner Chris McNair and others in various cases.
Jones said in his interview that Alabama officials spend too little time focused on the real concerns of the people — jobs, health care and education — and instead have “played on our fears and exploited our divisions for their own self interests.”
“We need leaders who people can talk to, reason with, and trust even if they don’t agree on every political position. We need leaders who people can talk to, reason with, and trust even if they don’t agree on every political position.”
Jones indicated that his work on the Birmingham church bombing cases had gained him a national following and reputation which would help in fundraising and support for his Senate race.
He told the ANSA Screening Committee, “ I want to work to use this Senate race to reinvigorate the Democratic Party in Alabama. This will be a transformational race and hopefully it will open the doors for the 2018 state races for Governor and Legislature.”
Seven candidates appeared before the ANSA Screening Committee on Saturday. They included six Democrats and one Republican. The Democrats in addition to Doug Jones were: Michael Hansen, Rev. Will Boyd, Jason E. Fisher, Vann Caldwell, and Brian McGee. The Republican was James Baretta.
“We want to encourage these candidates to stay active in the political process. We could only endorse one for this special election – but we will need many Democratic candidates in the 2018 election. We encourage these candidates to remain active with ANSC and ANSA and prepare for future elections,” said Gus Townes, ANSA Co-Chair.
For more information on the ANSA endorsement contact: Ms. Shelley Fearson – 334/262-0932

ANSC to hold Spring Convention in Montgomery on Saturday June 10

 

Doug Jones, Sue Bell Cobb and Walt Maddox

 

The Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) is holding its Spring Membership Convention on Saturday June 10, 2017 from 8:00 Am to 3:00 PM at the Wind Creek Casino, Rambling Hall on Eddie L. Tullis Road in Montgomery.
The ANSC is a progressive statewide political organization, formed in 1985-86, in the aftermath of the Rev. Jesse Jackson campaign for President to work for a “Change for the Better – in Our Lifetime” in Alabama. The ANSC’s sister organization, the Alabama New South Alliance endorses candidates running for state and local offices in Alabama.
The membership convention will have luncheon remarks by three Democratic candidates, who expressed interest in running for Governor of Alabama in 2018 – former U. S. Attorney, Doug Jones, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

After the planning and invitations went out, Governor Kay Ivey decided to hold a special election for the U. S. Senate seat, vacated by Jeff Sessions, in November of 2017. Doug Jones then decided to run for this seat. Other Democratic and Republican candidates for the U. S. Senate seat will also be introduced and have a chance to address the group.
There will be two panels in the morning for members. The first will be about strategies for voter engagement, registration, education and turnout. The second will be a group of younger members of ANSC speaking about how to interest, attract and involve younger people in community building and change activities.
Senator Hank Sanders will give a talk on the “Current Political Landscape in Alabama” to start the program. John Zippert, State President and other ANSC officers will comment and provide direction for the work of the organization.
The meeting is open to all members of ANSC and those interested in joining. The organization has active chapters around the state that will be bringing members to attend. The registration fee for the Convention, which includes breakfast and lunch, is $25.00. For more information, contact Shelley Fearson ANSC State Coordinator, at 334/262-0932 or email; ALNewSouth@aol.com.

Alabama Legislature completes rancorous session with unfinished business

1200px-Alabama_State_Capitol,_Montgomery,_West_view_20160713_1.jpgSpecial to the Democrat by: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

On Friday, May 19, 2017, the Alabama Legislature completed its annual regular session with continuing arguments on redistricting, a Monuments Bill to preserve Confederate sites, streets, schools and other public markers, childcare center licensing and prison construction.
Before the session began, two major leaders lost their positions. Speaker of the House Hubbard was convicted and jailed for corruption. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended and then removed for urging Alabama official to disregard and oppose the U. S. Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex marriage. During the session, Governor Robert Bentley resigned over an alleged affair with a female staffer rather than face impeachment. Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey became Governor.
The Legislature approved an Education and General Fund budget without many changes from previous years. A proposal to finance four new prisons, to respond to serious overcrowding in current corrections facilities was left stranded at the end of the session. Governor Kay Ivey may call a special session to deal with building new prisons. A proposal to increase the gas tax by 6 cents to bring Alabama in line with other states passed out of a House Committee but never reached a floor vote. The revenues are needed to support construction and improvement of roads and bridges in all Alabama counties.

The bill for a state lottery for education and other gaming reforms died when Governor Bentley gave up his office. The lottery and other revenue raising measures like the gas tax will be coming up again in the next regular session or special sessions.
The Legislature passed a bill that no monuments on public property for more than 40 years could be moved. The bill sets up a Historical Landmarks Commission to decide on monuments built during the period from 40 to 20 years ago. This bill was passed in reaction to the actions of other places in the South, like New Orleans, that moved monuments and statutes of Confederate leaders and generals from public places to private museums.
This legislation would prevent cities and counties from re-naming schools, streets, bridges and other facilities named for Confederates who fought the nation to maintain slavery in the Civil War. This legislation was passed by Republican super-majorities in both houses and is now siting on Governor Kay Ivey’s desk. If she does not sign it in ten days it will quietly die. Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) and other civil rights and social justice organizations are urging the Governor not to sign this flawed and backwards moving bill. ANSC is urging its members to write or email Governor Ivey to urge her not to sign the Monuments Bill.
The Legislature failed to pass bills that would have regulated all day care centers and removed the waiver for centers connected to religious organizations. They did pass a law protecting faith based adoption agencies from placing children with same-sex couples, which Gov. Ivey signed. They did not pass a bill to allow carry of concealed weapons in all public places, which makes the state a little safer, although many in the Republican majority were pushing for this expansion of gun laws.
At the end of the session, the Legislature passed slightly modified redistricting plans for the Legislative Districts for the 2018 elections. The Federal courts found that the current plan was “stacking and pacing” Black voters in certain districts and some counties were divided in the process of formulating districts. The new plans drawn by the Republican majority, without input from Black and Democratic legislators, is not very different from the current plan. The Black Legislative Caucus leadership are planning to go back to court to fight these new plans.
During the legislative procedures and maneuvers to pass the redistricting plan, one House member, Lynn Greer, circulated an email with a story about “disciplining monkeys who were trying to eat bananas”. Many of the Black legislators felt this was a racist commentary about them and demanded an apology. Greer made a half-hearted apology before the session ended.