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The Millbrook Independent

May 31st
Politics and the economy in Alabama
Written by News Desk   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 09:27

bobmartinBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Publisher

Political Action Committees controlled by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, and former Gov. Bob Riley, are lacking in significant funding as they head into the November election according to both vocal and written whispers in Montgomery. And the numbers seem to back that up.

The Riley political action committees, according to what I have heard, have less than $100,000. The Hubbard-Riley Team will need to raise significant funding in order to continue their hold over the GOP majority at the State House.

As of earlier this month Alabama 2014 PAC has spent $2,000,000-plus and Storm PAC, nearly a half million. Sources report that this amount is way under the ten million Hubbard had earlier estimated he would raise.

It is interesting to observe that despite success in holding Senate seats during the recent Republican primary, seven of Hubbard's handpicked candidates lost House seats to candidates he supported directly or indirectly. I have also heard that the State GOP alerted local party chairpersons of the possibility that many of them might not have gotten their candidates qualified for the General Election by the state's deadline.

According to my sources this missed deadline could possibly affect the offices of sheriff, board of education, and possibility others. What all this may mean is not certain, but, according to the Secretary of State's office, this is a hard-and-fast deadline, so possibly the Attorney General's Office could become involved.

Alabama's economy: Is it struggling?

If on a sheet of paper you wrote down the income earned by each household in the state, sorted high to low, and found the value in the middle of the list, you'd get the median household income. What's the latest reading? The latest data, from 2012, shows real median household income at $43,464 – showing no change from 2011. The peak for this measure was in 1998, when it stood at $51,018.

Construction is a vital industry to any economy. Places where there is growing construction employment are often home to a growing population and/or growing retail sales. And the industry touches so many other sectors of the business world: materials, warehousing, engineering, architecture, finance, to name a few.

What's the latest reading on this in our state? In June, Alabama reported 76,800 employed in the construction industry, a 2 percent drop since the last numbers. Between March and June of this year, Alabama lost 1,600 construction jobs – a 32 percent drop since its peak in October 2007, in which 113,700 Alabamians were employed in construction.

The mess at Alabama State

Birmingham attorney Donald Watkins, the son of former Alabama State University President, Dr. Levi Watkins, apologized last week for what he called an error in nominating and supporting the current ASU president, Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd. The university's board has been in turmoil since she was appointed earlier this year.

Watkins told the statewide newsletter, Inside Alabama Politics, he wanted to publicly apologize to the entire Alabama State University family that he made a serious error in judgment when he nominated Dr. Boyd and asked the board of trustees to elect her as president of ASU.

In a statement Watkins gave the newsletter he said that at the time he sincerely believed that Dr. Boyd was qualified for the position. "I have since learned that her prior executive experience was greatly exaggerated and that her administrative skills are sorely lacking for what is required to be an effective president at ASU, he said.

Watkins asserts that when the search for a president began in March 2013 by a committee on which he served ASU was on top of the world. She was an ultramodern, well-run, and well-respected urban university. ASU had an "A" category credit rating on Wall Street, Level-Six accreditation from its accrediting agency, and the longest string of unqualified annual financial audits for an HBCU.

ASU required an experienced administrator as president because the University was one of the few HBCUs in America that had achieved parity with HWCUs of comparable size, generating an annual economic impact of $1 billion. In essence, ASU was the pride and joy of black Alabamians.

Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. He is the publisher of The Millbrook Independent. E-mail him at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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