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Should This Be The Alabama House GOP's New Logo?

by: countrycat

Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 13:01:12 PM CDT

Speaker Mike Hubbard & his GOP members use the "Dare Defend Our Rights" slogan for their logo.  But, given the grand jury probe that's already netted two Republican legislators, perhaps it's time for an update:

Shared by an LIA Facebook fan who doesn't want public credit.


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Another Shoe Drops: State Rep. Barry Moore (R) Indicted For Lying To Grand Jury

by: countrycat

Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 12:13:46 PM CDT

And the Republican corruption indictments just keep on coming.  Not long after State Rep. Greg Wren (R) resigned his seat as part of a plea deal in a State House corruption investigation, another Alabama GOP legislator has been indicted:Barry moore

Moore, 47, was arrested for felony perjury and providing false statements. He turned himself in at the Lee County jail today.

According to the news release today, Moore is charged with two counts of providing false statements relating to any matter under investigation by the attorney general and two counts of perjury in the first degree.

The news release says prosecutors presented evidence to a Lee County special grand jury, which indicted Moore.

In 2012, Moore (R, HD-91, Enterprise) was a co-sponsor of Clay Scofield's vaginal ultrasound bill.   Guess he's about learn a lot more about the power of a government probe.

Meanwhile, political observers in the state wonder how long it will take for the grand jury to work its way all the way to the top:  AL Speaker Mike Hubbard (R). 


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Climate Change & Jimmy Carter

by: mooncat

Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 08:55:31 AM CDT

I've maintained for several years that it is already too late to avert significant climate change resulting from human activity -- specifically our energy choices.  We screwed around and did nothing for too long and now we (or our grandkids) are screwed.  With apologies to Will Rogers, if you like the climate humanity evolved with, just wait a minute. 

From Brad Plumer's Two Degrees. How the world failed on climate change:

The idea that the world can stay below 2°C looks increasingly delusional.

Consider: the Earth’s average temperature has already risen 0.8°C since the 19th century. And if you look at the current rapid rise in global greenhouse-gas emissions, we’re on pace to blow past the 2°C limit by mid-century — and hit 4°C or more by the end. That’s well above anything once deemed "dangerous." Getting back on track for 2°C would, at this point, entail the sort of drastic emissions cuts usually associated with economic calamities, like the collapse of the Soviet Union or the 2008 financial crisis. And we’d have to repeat those cuts for decades.

Go read that article, look at the graph and ruminate on the consequences of trying to cut fossil fuel emissions as much, as fast, as would now be needed to stay below 2°C.  And consider the consequences of "pushing the whole climate system outside the range we’ve adapted to."  That is "we" as in humanity and the ecosystem that provides us food, water and breathable air. 

It didn't have to be this way.  The United States could have led the world down a different -- and safer! -- energy path.  We almost did. 

Thirty-five years ago President Jimmy Carter did his best to put America on the track toward renewable energy sources instead of dino fuels.  In honor of Earth Day 2014, American Family Voices released this "Conservation Rap" of Jimmy Carter laying out his ambitious energy conservation plans back in 1979.  Had Carter's plan been implemented, our current climate crisis would be significantly more manageable.  Carter wanted to create a solar bank that would enable America to obtain 20% of its energy consumption from solar by 2000. Unfortunately his successors abandoned these goals. In 2013, less than 1% of American energy consumption was derived from solar.


Of course Carter's plans were not implemented because Saint Ronnie Reagan was elected in 1980.  He and his advisors set about reversing anything and everything Carter had done, whether it made sense or not, just because they could. 

Reagan dismantled not only the solar panels Carter had installed on the White House roof, but every part of Carter's plan to reduce fossil fuel consumption.  And in the decades since, the post-Reagan Republican Party has bull-headedly refused to acknowledge climate change even exists and routinely blocked any action to reduce emissions or move our society to renewable energy sources.  Why?  God only knows, but $$$$ probably enter into it.  It can't be all about GOP ignorance.

At this point let's just hope that our stubborn reliance on burning dinosaur fuel doesn't turn people into the next dinosaurs.  

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HD-93 - Jennifer Marsden Receives Progressive Majority Endorsement

by: countrycat

Thu Apr 24, 2014 at 08:03:29 AM CDT

Army veteran and family doctor Jennifer Marsden from Newton announced in a statement that she has received the endorsement of Progressive Majority in her bid for election to the Alabama House. The campaign, Wiregrass for Jennifer Marsden, made the announcement at the monthly gathering of Dale County Democrats in Ozark on April 17.Jennifer marsden

Dr. Marsden said, “I am honored to receive the endorsement of Progressive Majority, a true grassroots organization that has done so much to promote freedom, justice and democracy in the United States.” She went on to say, “Our thanks go out to President Gloria A. Totten for helping to promote young political newcomers like myself." Attendees at the Dale County Democratic Headquarters were excited to hear that their candidate for District 93 had garnered national support from an organization that seeks to bring new people into the political process at all levels.

 “Dr. Jennifer Marsden is the clear choice for the hard working families in House District 93. Progressive Majority is excited to stand with her as she works to make the people of Alabama the legislature’s number-one priority,” said President Totten. “Jennifer's strong support of well-paying jobs, quality education and accessible healthcare for all Alabamians makes it a pleasure to endorse her candidacy.”

Marsden is the first woman to run for state representative in this district which covers much of Dale and some of western Houston County. She has been slowly building momentum among Wiregrass residents, most recently connecting with citizens at the Crawdad Festival in Ozark and the Tri-State BBQ Fest in Dothan. The doctor's campaign slogan "Good Medicine for Alabama" resonated well with folks at these events and they are excited to see a real choice in the upcoming election.

Dr. Marsden has no Democratic opponent in the primary election but faces a stiff campaign against 20-year incumbent Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) in November. Clouse was promoted to Chairman of the powerful General Fund Committee by embattled Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) in 2013. However, following former Rep. Greg Wren's arrest, plea bargain and subsequent cooperation with the Lee County Grand Jury, Republicans are facing more potential indictments.

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Happy Birthday, Left In Alabama! We're 7 Years Old & Still Typing, Videoing, & Reporting

by: countrycat

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 06:00:00 AM CDT

It's been 7 years since our first post went up on April 23, 2007, and "what a long, strange trip it's been."  Members of the LIA community have  written almost 11,000 articles, offered more than 77,000 comments on those articles, covered two Democratic political conventions (Denver and Charlotte), posted 341 original videos on our YouTube channel, and gathered an amazing Facebook community of over 5,000 engaged readers/commenters.  We have over 2500 registered users, and have posted countless original photos from Democratic events, candidate forums, and interviews.happy birthday lia

The most amazing thing?  It's all been done by volunteers.

In 2008, I was one of four LIA folks who covered the Denver convention, and every one of us paid for our own airfare, housing, car rental, meals, etc.  But the LIA community was incredibly supportive, chipping in enough to purchase our admission to "The Big Tent," where bloggers from around the country gathered for free food, fellowship, and reliable wireless connections.  It was a vote of confidence and we worked our butts off to cover the convention & the Alabama delegation that attended.

Same thing in Charlotte, but the work we do in Alabama is (IMO) even more important.  Although they often get little attention from mainstream media in Alabama, we do have progressive Democratic candidates and independent candidates who are stepping up to challenge the GOP supermajority this year.

We're committed to telling their stories, publishing their press releases, interviewing them, and sharing their videos. But here's the thing, y'all.  To do it effectively, we need people who can help:

  • Cover a local candidate "meet & greet" and tell us who said what to whom.
  • Share a video you took at a candidate forum.
  • Call the community's attention to a great candidate who needs our support.
  • Register for an account and write about issues & topics that you're knowledgable and passionate about.

"VOLUNTEER" means just that: the regular volunteer contributors have to work around their paid work and their family/personal lives.  They drive hours to cover events and then spend time cutting video and writing reports.  Don't be shy: just jump in. Share your thoughts & contribute!

And... ahem.... you can contribute more than time. 

Left In Alabama is a true non-profit - last year, we ran a $260 deficit.  I know: I did the tax forms for the LLC.  Our costs aren't that high - we have to pay for Web hosting, business licenses, bank fees, and other everyday expenses.  NONE of that goes to pay regular salaries, but sometimes we can spring for a lunch, help sponsor an event like the annual Women's Rights Rally in Huntsville, or buy a ticket to an event.

Is the work we do important enough for you to contribute?  We make it easy to help out!

Or, donate directly via Paypal.

Please, help us celebrate our birthday and keep us celebrating many more with your contribution.  We ordered some swag to make the donation option even more attractive!

LIA swag In honor of the start of our 8th year of covering Alabama politics, would you donate $8 (or more!) to help us keep covering Alabama?  For all donations of $8 or more made during the next 30 days, we'll send you some useful thank you gifts:

  1. 1 Left in Alabama mousepad
  2. 2 Left in Alabama 25-page sticky note pads
  3. 2 Left in Alabama pens

Think about it, campers.... you'll have the tools to take notes for your next article or comment AND a mousepad to remind you to check out Alabama's only progressive community blog on a daily basis.  Oh, and shipping is free!

We're asking for a minimum of $.66/month from you to help keep this going.

There are other political blogs in Alabama that assistance from politicians and political parties.  They walk the party line.

Although we accept ads from candidates, we never solicit them, because there's always the temptation to slant coverage in favor of the people paying the bills. If we're kvelling about a candidate or political group in Alabama, you can be sure it's because someone here at the blog belives in the cause; not because they're getting paid.

We're independent of the paid political system, but we are dependent on our readers.

Help us celebrate our birthday and keep us going for a long time to come.  It's a small investment to make in the future of Alabama.


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HD-35: Rep. Steve Hurst & His Really Big Gun

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 16:41:57 PM CDT

Even a really, really, big gun can't compensate for AL State Rep. Steve Hurst's really small.... ideas.  Running scared due to his GOP primary opponent, the Talladega party-switcher got a bang-up idea for a parade float: a giant handgun/BBQ.

The District 35 Republican from Talladega gets his message across at parades in a very unmistakable way: He uses a giant revolver as a parade float. (And a barbecue. The gun is actually not a balloon but a large barbecue shaped like a handgun.)

Steve Hurst's big gun 

Now, there's nothing remarkable about an Alabama politician taking aim at elective office using a gun as a clumsy campaign prop.  Even the state party got into the act, holding their 2012 election night "victory party" at a shooting range.  Usually, those antics are pretty funny - but there's nothing laughable about Hurst's career in the legislature.

Because Alabama teachers don't have enough to do & students have obviously mastered the minutiae of math, science, & the arts, State Rep. Steve Hurst has found a way to fill that gaping hole in the school day.  Fifteen minutes of prayer led by teachers.
What's party switcher Steve Hurst's sudden interest in Congressional procedure & the spiritual lives of Alabama public school students?  Possibly it's the contested primary he's in with Steve Dean. See, Hurst fell for the GOP bait-and-switch.  He's just the latest in a string of Democrats who get wined & dined by the GOP leaders, lured into the party, and then primaried out of a political career.

Hurst also sponsored a human castration bill for child molesters.

Ok... let's try to put his picture together, because Hurst's legislative targets seem to be all over the map.  UNLESS, he's planning to open some sort of bizarre retribution restaurant.   That makes some sense if we use this rather twisted sequence of events:

  1. Child molester is convicted & sentenced to castration - after receiving the very best defense Alabama taxpayers are willing to provide.
  2. Child molester is consoled by an Alabama teacher reading a prayer from the US Congressional record.  After a few minutes of that, he may ask for the death penalty. 
  3. An expert marksman uses a very large handgun - because Republican men like Really. Big. Guns. - to perform the castration.
  4. The detached body parts are then placed on Steve Hurst's handgun BBQ.

I don't even want to contemplate what #5 might be.

The Alabama Republican Party is so far gone that its candidates have become self-parodying, sad little caricatures of themselves.  Will this new campaign scheme hit the target with the electorate? 


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Alabama Inmates Launch Nonviolent Work Strike

by: m00ncake

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 19:58:43 PM CDT

(Shining some light on the dreadful conditions in Alabama's prisons. - promoted by countrycat)

Members of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), an organization of inmates dedicated to taking nonviolent actions to meaningfully reform Alabama prisons, will refuse to work this Monday. In early January, FAM staged work strikes at Elmore, Holman, and St. Clair Correction Facilities. There was significant media attention, partly because FAM used cell phones to document prison conditions.  There has been some coverage of the upcoming strike (here and here and here).
If you would like to support FAM, there will be a Press Conference and Rally at 4:00 PM TODAY (Saturday, April 19th) at St. Clair Correctional Facility, 1000 St. Clair Road, Springville, AL 35146.
Please also consider attending a rally and candlelight vigil on Saturday, April 26th from 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM at Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham.
For more information, please contact iwoc@riseup.net and/or freealabamamovement@gmail.com
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An Example of Right-Wing Lunacy: Agenda 21

by: DamnedLiberal

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 22:19:01 PM CDT

(The GOP keeps chasing the Agenda 21 unicorn, but they'll never catch it. - promoted by countrycat)

The Southern Poverty Law Center has just issued a report which exposes the mental madness of the right wing as it spread false rumors, created hysteria, and condemned Agenda 21. Alabama can be particularly proud that its governor (Robert Bentley) was the first to go all the way in condemning Agenda 21. unicorn police

In Baldwin County, Ala., all nine members of the Planning and Zoning Commission quit in disgust after the County Commission killed their plan "on a pretext so devoid of relevance and merit as, in our opinion, to elicit only ridicule," as they wrote.

From the original news report of the meeting:

In a political commentary that sometimes seemed like a tent-revival exhortation, Baldwin County Commissioner Frank Burt held forth for more than 20 minutes Tuesday on the evils of a 1992 United Nations initiative known as Agenda 21 that he characterized as a threat to U.S. sovereignty.

"We are all for protecting the environment," Burt said, "but this is something that has seeped in amongst us. I don’t think we need the United Nations to tell us what to do."

He said, "We’ve got the EPA taking over the country. If the Senate approves (Agenda 21), they can come into New York City or wherever a raindrop falls and tell us what to do."

Agenda 21 was condemned by the Birchers. Republicans soon took up arms to defend the homeland from this nefarious attempt to impose a new world order.

What is Agenda 21?

Agenda 21 is not a treaty. It has no force of law, no enforcement mechanisms, no penalties, and no significant funcing. It is not even a top-down recommendation, seeking instead to encourage communities around the world to come up with their own solutions to overpopulation, pollution, poverty and resource depletion. It is a feel-good guide that cannot force anyone, anywhere, to do anything at all.

Read the report -- it's stranger than science fiction and illuminates what can only be called the mysterious madness of the delusional right-wing mind. 


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Equality Alabama - Shoals Committee Meet & Greet Event, Tue 6PM, The Wine Seller, 324 N.Court St.

by: Q

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 01:25:43 AM CDT

( - promoted by countrycat)

Dear LIA friends: formerly a LIA diarist known as plainsmanpolitico, I'm Q. Because who else is cooler than James Bond?  I'm working with local Shoals LGBT activists and allies to form an Equality Alabama Shoals Regional Steering Committee. Equality Alabama

Help me spread the word!

Please join us at the Wine Seller, 324 North Court Street, Florence, Alabama on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for a meet and greet to engage in discussions about local and statewide education, advocacy and organizing efforts of Equality Alabama. 

Capitalizing our successes with the Birmingham Regional Committee meetings, now is your time to help us form a successful Shoals Regional Committee. Come meet Equality Alabama's leadership and help us better understand the needs of your community.  Let's discuss the next stop on our journey for equality for our friends and family members in the Shoals.

It is time for Equality Alabama to move forward with focus on the Shoals Regional Committee and encourage you to step up and become involved!

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 133 words in story)

"Greedy Vets Club" Shuts Down Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic, Citing "Unfair Competition."

by: countrycat

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 08:39:17 AM CDT

Emboldened by their third consecutive legislative victory against low-cost spay/neuter clinics, the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (ASBVME) has moved on to another target: low-cost vaccine clinics.

The key modifier here is "low cost."

According to the Shelby Humane Society (PDF), a scheduled low-cost vaccine clinic scheduled for tomorrow in the town of Wilsonville had to drastically reduce the services it planned to offer.  The clinic organizers had planned to offer the standard annual vaccines and micro-chipping, until the ASBVME stepped in: 

Organizers of the vaccine clinic scheduled for April 19, 2014, in the Town of Wilsonville, regret to inform you that this clinic will only be providing rabies vaccines.

The suspension of annual vaccines and micro-chipping has been directed by ASBVME after they received a complaint from a local veternarian citing "unfair competition."

We heard this same song during this year's legislative debate about low cost spay/neuter clinics:

Rep. David Standridge, R-Hayden, said the clinics have an unfair advantage over veterinarians who provide the same services, and he argued vociferously against the bill. Standridge said he had spoken to many veterinarians who were opposed to it. Standridge did not mention in the debate that, according to his profile page on the Alabama House's website, his son is a veterinarian.

Rep. Dan Williams insisted the non-profit clinics exist to make money.

"Why are these (clinics) being set up if they're not going to make money?" he asked.

Having won that fight, the ASBVME has dropped all pretense about concern for "quality of care" for animals (that was the excuse given for opposition to low-cost spay/neuter clinics), thrown in with the Greedy Vets Club, and decided to tell the truth.  It's all about money.

It's time to ask Governor Bentley, who appoints the board members, if blocking market competition is really the job of state oversight boards.  Because if so, the state needs to re-write their mission statements.


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Rep.Patricia Todd Speaking to Samford University College Democrats April 30

by: countrycat

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 11:09:28 AM CDT

One of Alabama's "best & brightest" legislators, Rep. Patricia Todd (HD-54 Birmingham), has primary opposition this year. Although it was a disappointing legislative session for anyone interested in progressive legislation, she's not giving up on the state and on her voters.

Learn more about her and meet with her next week, when she addresses the Samford University College Democrats:

Rep. Todd's campaign Web site

Rep. Todd's campaign Facebook page


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Hey! Alabama Makes Another Top 10 List!

by: DamnedLiberal

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 14:51:40 PM CDT

(Yes, in Alabama, we hate the federal government - after we cash the checks. - promoted by countrycat)

Of the 10 states most dependent on the federal government, Alabama is No 3! I think that qualifies as "welfare state". 
  • Return on Taxpayer Investment: $3.28
  • Funding as Percentage of Revenue: 37 percent
  • Federal Employees Per Capita: 11.66

From WallStreetCheat.com:

Red states are known for imposing lower taxes than blue states, but it appears they are able to do so because they are more dependent on federal funding. There was a 34.4 percent correlation between a state’s federal dependency and its tax rates, meaning the more dependent a state is on the federal government, the less likely it is to charge high tax rates. Red states had an average dependency ranking of 33.5, while blue states ranked 19.2 on average.

 Idunno, but maybe those "we hate gubbmint" Republicans should consider they could be biting the hand that feeds them?


Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Marriage Equality: If Alabama Republicans Really Wanted To Lower Taxes....

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 13:21:56 PM CDT

AL House Speaker Mike Hubbard is on his FB page today spewing this nonsense: "As many Alabamians are seeing their federal tax bills increase today, I remain committed to lowering the tax burden for all of our families and businesses."  Well, not for all families: Alabama's lack of marriage equality means that same sex couples can't file joint returns and pay more in taxes than they would otherwise.

During the dark DOMA years, this was true for couples filing federal returns as well - even if their states recognized their marraiges. And the cost was high.  in 2010, for example, same sex couples paid an average of $6,000 more in taxes than other married couples:

Even as more same-sex couples are able to file jointly at the state level, they are still forced to file as single when submitting federal returns to the IRS.

This means they can't combine their income and deductions to take advantage of lower tax rates. It's also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.

But DOMA's demise changed that.  Now, all legally married couples in Alabama can file joint federal returns, but not all couples can file joint state returns.

Soulforce Alabama is one group working to change that.  From the group's press release:

In October 2013, the IRS released guidelines which specified that if a married couple was married in any state, they were to be considered, “Married,” for purposes of filing Federal Income Tax Returns.

At that time, Soulforce Alabama began a process of identifying so-called LGBT “Angelic Troublemakers” who were legally married and thus required to file Married tax returns to also file as such in the State of Alabama.  Under current instructions, same sex couples are supposed to prepare five separate tax returns, including three separate Federal Returns.

Lesbian and Gay Male couples objected to this process for several reasons.  Primarily, we decline to assist the State of Alabama in perpetuating our second-class status.  We are no longer willing to make it easy for the Alabama Government to treat us as “less than”  other families in Alabama.

Secondarily, we object to a state law which requires us to prepare multiple, contradictory Federal Tax Returns.  The law requires us to file a portion or complete copy of the return filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  To file an altered return with the State of Alabama Department of Revenue would seem to be committing fraud. Yet, those are the instructions by the state.

One would think that any self-respecting, self-identified "conservative" Republican would be horrified by a situation that required taxpayers to complete extra tax forms and pay extra taxes.  But in Alabama, some married couples are just more "equal" than others.


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Holiday Greetings To Those Celebrating Passover & Holy Week - Open Thread

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:57:50 PM CDT

Blogging for the past week hasn't just been light: it's been non-existent!  But between preparing 3 different sets of taxes - personal, LIA, & our business - and getting the house ready for Passover... well, the cathouse has been a busy, busy place.

We had been enjoying wonderful spring weather.  Until this morning's sleet broke the spell.

Sending good wishes to those celebrating the Passover holiday this week - and reminding you that there will be matzah at the "Hot Dogs & Yellow Dogs" event in Madison on Thursday.

And also hoping that those who are observing Holy Week & Easter have a meaningful, enjoyable holiday.  Only a few days left in Lent; how are you handling your "give ups" this year?

To those who celebrate Easter more as a cultural chocolate-fest rather than a religious observance... may the bunny come hopping down your trail with delicious treats!

Use this as an open thread for holiday greetings or anything else on your mind!


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Meet North Alabama & Statewide Candidates In Madison On April 17

by: countrycat

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:44:14 AM CDT

"Hot Dogs & Yellow Dogs" is the theme of a "Meet & Eat" scheduled for Thursday, April 17 from 5-7pm at a private home in Madison.  Confirmed speakers include candidates for governor, state legislature, consitutional offices, and local candidates.

Confirmed list of speakers as of 4/8:

Parker Griffith – candidate Governor
Kevin Bass – candidate Governor
James Fields – candidate Lt. Governor
Joe Hubbard - candidate Attorney General
Miranda Joseph – candidate State Auditor
Doug Smith – candidate Commissioner of Agriculture & Industry
Anthony Daniels - candidate State House of Representatives District 53
Mike Curtis – candidate State Senate District 1
Earl Gardner - candidate State Senate District 1
Angelo "Doc" Mancuso - candidate State Senate District 4
Rose Gaskin – candidate State Senate District 7
Mitchell Howie
– candidate State Senate District 7
Horace Clemmons – candidate State Senate District 8
Randy Money - candidate State Senate District 8
Darrell Turner – candidate State Senate District 13
Patrick Douglass – candidate Madison County Tax Assessor
Tim Clardy – candidate Madison County Sheriff
Sheriff Mike Blakely – re-election Limestone County
Mark Bray – Independent candidate for Congress District 5 

From the event invitation

Loyal Democrats Unite at "Meet & Eat" Event! Come join us for an informal hot-dog, apple pie & ice cream dinner served with iced tea and craft beer. Meet the Alabama Democratic Primary Candidates! State-wide, as well as local North Alabama candidates will be in attendance to speak & answer questions and let you know how to get involved in these important races.

There is no charge for the event, but donations to candidates will of course be greatly appreciated!

The menu include hot dogs (meat & veggie dogs), pie, ice cream, & drinks.  Since it is taking place during the Passover holiday, there will also be matzah on hand for anyone avoiding bread.

Visit the "Hot Dog & Yellow Dogs" Facebook event page to RSVP and/or invite your friends. 

5-7 pm at 125 Bordeaux Lane, Madison, AL 35757


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