December 2019 Group Watch: Gov. Awards Census Grants

Governor Ivey recently announced grant awards to entities throughout Alabama to support efforts to promote, educate and encourage participation among Alabamians in the 2020 Census. The funds provided by the legislature will go to 34 government agencies and organizations for programs to increase Alabama’s self-response rate during the 2020 Census next spring. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is administering the grants from funding allocated by the legislature in the 2019-20 Education Trust Fund Budget. ADECA acts as the liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau and the lead state agency for the 2020 Census outreach and preparation.

December 2019 Group Watch: AL Board Of Ed Replacing Math Standards With New AL-Created Math Standards

The Alabama State Board of Education recently voted to adopt a new set of mathematics standards that are poised to pave the way towards academic success for Alabama students. The new standards were developed over almost two years by the Alabama Mathematics Course of Study (COS) Committee comprised of veteran Alabama teachers, professors, administrators, business and industry leaders, and other stakeholders who thoroughly understand the minute details involved with the establishment of educational standards. This committee bought to the table more than 300 years of collective teaching experience in Alabama classrooms, working directly with Alabama students from kindergarten to college-level.

“Over the past 22 months, a committee of esteemed education and business leaders have developed a revised Mathematics Course of Study that replaces, once and for all, Common Core with Alabama-designed standards,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “These are Alabama standards created by Alabama teachers and will be a great starting point to ensuring our students will be proficient in each grade level.”

December 2019 Group Watch: Employers Recruiting With Affordable Childcare

An avalanche of 25,000 new jobs over the next five years threatens to bury North Alabama on its own success, sending business leaders scrambling for new ways to entice millennials to fill those jobs. In the hunt for solutions, employers rediscovered an old problem: Childcare is expensive. Mazda Toyota Manufacturing surveyed its employees and found half of them were concerned about affordable childcare. Employers are looking at covering part of the cost of childcare as an employee benefit. Companies that address this issue are said to have a greater chance of employee retention.

November 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

More big economic development news broke this month, as well as some election updates.

  • Koch Foods Expanding to Alabama: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey joined representatives of Koch Foods and local leaders in Etowah County to announce that the company plans to invest more than $50 million to establish a state-of-of-the-art grain storage and distribution facility in Attalla. The new poultry feed-mill will create 29 new jobs with an annual payroll of $1 million. The new facility, designed with technologically advanced features for maximum efficiency, will support the company’s recently expanded processing plant in nearby Gadsden.
  • Carvana Opening Alabama Distribution Hub: Governor Ivey announced that Carvana, a leading e-commerce platform for buying and selling used cars, plans to invest more that $40 million to construct an Alabama distribution and fulfillment center, creating more than 450 jobs in Bessemer. The new facility in Jefferson County will strengthen the company’s logistics network in the Southeast.
  • Jeff Sessions Announces Senate Bid: Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he is running for his old U.S. Senate seat for Alabama. During his announcement, Sessions reminded people that when President Trump took on Washington, he was the only Senator with the courage to stand with him and that he was and is Trump’s strongest advocate. He said he is running to help make America great again.
  • Special Election Results: Charlotte Meadows, the GOP runoff winner for Alabama House District 74 that covers a large part of East Montgomery, defeated Democrat Rayford Mack in the special election on November 12. She replaces Dimitri Polizos who died earlier this year.
    Van Smith, the GOP winner for Alabama House District 42 that covers parts of Autauga and Chilton Counties, defeated Democrat Kenneth Allison in the special election on November 5. He replaces longtime House member Jimmy Martin who passed earlier this year.

November 2019 Group Watch: New AL Democratic Party Chair

State Representative Chris England of Tuscaloosa was elected Alabama Democratic Party chair after months of struggle inside and outside the state party. England received 104 of 171 ballots cast at the meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee. The vote came after 172 members of the State Democratic Executive Committee, the governing body of the Alabama Democratic Party, voted to remove Chair Nancy Worley and Vice-Chair Randy Kelley.

November 2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

@willainsworthAL
Nov 10
Favorite picture from yesterday. Enjoyed visiting and discussing policy with the President
@realDonaldTrump
and First Lady
@FLOTUS Proud of the roaring ovation they received and deserved.

November 2019 Group Watch: Ella Bell Passes

Ella Bell, who served on the Alabama Board of Education for 19 years, died on November 3. Ms. Bell was a champion for numerous causes in Montgomery and throughout her district in the Blackbelt, one of the poorest areas of the state. She was passionate about children and improving access to opportunity for all. Governor Kay Ivey ordered flags to be flown at half-staff to honor Ms. Bell. She was a friend to the Bloom Group and will be missed.

November 2019 Group Watch: New Montgomery County Probate Judge

General Ed Crowell, who recently ran for mayor in Montgomery, is Montgomery County’s new probate judge thanks to the appointment by Governor Ivey that was announced November 13. He replaces Steven Reed, who was sworn in as Montgomery’s mayor on November 12. Ivey noted that Crowell’s long history of service drove her choice. The retired Air Force brigadier general was also president and CEO of VT Miltope before retiring from that position.

October 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Governor Ivey has been busy this month: helping Alabama hospitals while also undergoing treatment for her own health issues and making a major economic development announcement

  • Gov. Ivey Provides Extra Fed Funds for Hospitals: The governor released a conditional state appropriation that will result in extra payments to state hospitals for treating Medicaid beneficiaries. The combined $78 million will be available in the 2020 fiscal year, which began October 1. The additional funds will offer relief for hospitals facing financial strain, including rural hospitals and the state’s two children’s hospitals. Dr. Don Williams, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, expressed appreciation to the legislature and the governor for the additional funds provided to the state Medicaid Agency for this purpose.
  • Governor Undergoes Radiation Treatments: In a recent statement, Governor Ivey said she has completed a round of radiation treatments for a malignancy discovered on her lung 22 days ago. Ivey’s personal physician said she chose minimal radiation treatments and the least invasive treatment, which has an excellent cure rate. The governor has been visible throughout her treatments, showing no obvious negative effects from them.
  • Shinhwa Group Opening ManufacturingGovernor Ivey recently announced the Shinhwa Group, an automotive parts manufacturer, plans to establish a manufacturing operation in Auburn to serve the region’s vibrant auto sector. The company’s decision to invest $42 million and create 95 jobs in Auburn is great news for Alabama, adding to the state’s rapidly growing automotive cluster that produces around 1 million vehicles a year and provides an estimated 40,000 direct jobs. Shinhwa’s high-level automation and innovative solutions to technological challenges represent an important new resource for existing automotive companies in the area.

October 2019 Group Watch: Runoff Updates

Charlotte Meadows won the GOP runoff for Alabama House District 74, which covers a large part of East Montgomery. She will face Democrat Rayford Mack in a special election on November 12, 2019 to replace Dimitri Polizos who died earlier this year. Van Smith, the GOP winner for Alabama House District 42, which covers parts of Autauga and Chilton counties, will face Democrat Kenneth Allison in a special election on November 5, 2019. The winner will replace Jimmy Martin who passed earlier this year.

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