Groundbreaking held for Love’s Travel Center at Interstate 20/59 Exit 40 Eutaw

Officials participating in groundbreaking (L. to R.): Kenneth Boswell (ADECA), Rep. Ralph Howard. Senator Bobby Singleton, Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele, Governor Kay Ivey, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Jenny Love Meyer, Rep. A. J. McCampbell, Bill Gleason (Love’s), Eutaw Council members Joe Lee Powell, Sheila H. Smith, Bennie Abrams, LaJeffrey Carpenter, and Danny Cooper (GCIDA)

On Monday, October 15, 2018, a groundbreaking was held for a Love’s Travel Center and Country Store, near the location of the new business on the Southside of the Interstate 20/59 Exit 40 on Highway 14 coming into the City of Eutaw.The mid-morning groundbreaking was attended by Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Legislative delegation members, Senator Bobby Singleton, Rep. A. J. McCampbell and Rep. Ralph Howard, members of the Eutaw City Council, Greene County Commission and other state and local agencies involved as well as Jenny Love Meyer and William “Bill “ Gleason representing the Love’s corporation. The new $12.5 million travel stop will be built on a 13.9-acre site and is expected to bring an estimated 43 jobs to the area with a projected 1,000 trucks per day. The new Love’s will be one of the largest Love’s sites in Alabama and will include a Hardee’s, Godfather’s Pizza, and Chester’s Chicken. The Eutaw location will also consist of 96 parking spaces for professional drivers, with the possibility of future expansion for more parking spaces. Councilman Joe Lee Powell welcomed the over 250 people assembled for the groundbreaking ceremony by stating, “You are welcome in Eutaw the Gateway to the Alabama Black Belt.” Rev. John Hodges, Pastor of the Saint Mathew Baptist Church in Boligee gave the invocation. Congresswoman Terri Sewell thanked all the groups and agencies present for their contributions to make the project a success. “We thank Love’s for bringing jobs to the Alabama Black Belt where they are greatly needed. We can assure you that people are our greatest asset – their strength, their intellect and their heart, which will become part of this project.” State Senator Bobby Singleton said, “this is a great day for Eutaw and Greene County. This project is a gamechanger that will bring new jobs and open opportunities for other development and jobs.” State Representatives A. J. McCampbell and Ralph Howard, who represent Greene County, echoed these same sentiments. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said, “This is an exciting day for this county, when Greene County wins, Alabama wins.” She reviewed her success in bring 16,000 jobs to Alabama since she became Governor. “We are working to make groundbreakings like this an everyday occurrence in Alabama. We know that Love’s has 14 locations in Alabama, especially in rural locations like this one. We wish them success in providing drivers a quality and safe place to rest and refuel,” she said. Jenny Love Meyer speaking for the Love’s Company said, “This will be one of 470 locations around the nation that will bear our family name. We started in Oklahoma to build clean and friendly places for truckers and other travelers. We know this new location will live up to our company’s mission and vision.” William ‘Bill’ Gleason, Real Estate Property Manager for Love’s, who was instrumental in finding the location, said, “ Our travel centers have no wheels under them. Once we build, we are with you to stay!” Mayor Raymond Steele thanked everyone involved in the project, including ADECA, Delta Regional Authority, USDA Rural Development Greene County Industrial Development Authority and the West Alabama Regional Planning Agency who provided funds and direction to extended sewage and other utilities to the Exit 40 site. The Mayor also thanked the Eutaw City Council, the Greene County Commission, Jamie Banks family, who sold the land for the project and many others for making the project possible. “We hope that this is just the beginning for new jobs and growth in our community. With this project, we have a chance to move forward together and open other new opportunities for the people of our area,” said Mayor Steele, before a large group of the invited dignitaries put their golden shovels in the ground to turn over the dirt symbolizing the start of the project.

Court orders redistricting before 2018 elections Rep. A.J. McCampbell’s legislative district among those ruled un-constitutional by 11th.Circuit

mccampbell

“My original district was 63-67% African-American in population but the new district has a 74% majority African-American, which is what is called packing.
“To redraw my district, and the 12 districts ruled unconstitutional by the court will mean all of the lines will have to be redrawn statewide. I do not think you can cure this with just minor changes in the district lines. Once you change one district it affects the other neighboring districts and soon you will take in the whole state.”
McCampbell says that the Legislature will have to appoint a special committee to draw a new redistricting plan before the 2018 elections. McCampbell says he has been following the issues closely and has indicated an interest in serving on the special committee when it is created.
“I want to be sure to keep the commonalities of districts and we will not be able to divide precincts like last time.”
The districts named in the court decision as unconstitutional are: House District 32, represented by Rep. Barbara Boyd (D-Anniston); District 53, represented by Rep. Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville); District 54, represented by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham); District 70, represented by Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa); District 71, represented by Rep. A.J. McCampbell (D-Demopolis); District 77, represented by Rep. John Knight (D-Montgomery); District 82, represented by Rep. Pebblin Warren (D-Tuskegee); District 85, represented by Rep. Dexter Grimsley (D-Newville); and District 99 represented by Rep. James Buskey (D-Mobile).
In the Senate, the ruling cited District 20, represented by Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham); District 26, represented by Senate Minority Leader Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery) and District 28, represented by Sen. Billy Beasley (D-Clayton).
Some political observers in Montgomery wonder whether the Republican Party in Alabama is so strong and the Democratic Party is too weakened to field good candidates in legislative districts that will be redrawn as a result of this court decision.

Friday, January 20, 2017, a three judge federal court panel ruled that the State of Alabama violated the US Constitution when it drew three Alabama Senate Districts and nine House Districts following the 2010 census and are barred by the court from using those districts as presently drawn in future elections. This means redistricting now becomes a major task for the Legislature during this 2017 Session. The current House and Senate were elected using these districts. All of the 12 districts are held by Democrats.
Representative Artis J. McCampbell’s District 71, which includes parts of Greene, Sumter and four other counties, was one of the districts that was found to be “over-packed and stacked with minority (African-American) voters”. Previously, McCampbell’s legislative district included all of Greene and Sumter counties with the northern portion of Marengo and a small part of Tuscaloosa County.
Each House legislative district was supposed to include 45,000 people based on the 2010 Census. Senate districts were supposed to have 135,000 people in each.
The Republican dominated legislature, redrew all the legislative districts concentrating the African American voters in districts represented by African-American legislators. This took Democratic voters out of all the other districts and made it easier for Republicans, all of whom are white, to be elected in the other districts. This also resulted in the election of a two-thirds “super-majority” of Republicans in both houses of the Alabama Legislature – House and Senate.
Representative McCambell commented, “I opposed the drawing of my District from the beginning. It cuts through too many counties. It divides up the counties in my district. It even divides certain precincts. I have parts of six counties – Sumter, Greene, Marengo, Pickens, Choctaw and Tuscaloosa. Before I had all of Greene and Sumter with the northern part of Marengo and a small part of Tuscaloosa, in the Ralph and Fosters area.
“I have been a part of this Alabama lawsuit seeking equity in the redistricting process from the beginning. I am pleased with this latest decision, which comes after a five-year court battle that went up the Supreme Court and back to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal twice.