Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Video of Loretta Nall Speech at VFW Candidate Forum (58:43 Windows Media Video)
Good evening everyone good evening and thank you for being here with me tonight in beautiful Wetumpka, Alabama so that we might exercise our right to participate in the political process.
What good are rights after all if you don't exercise them?
I know that I for one am grateful for the right to engage and participate in the political process and to openly discuss what I think are much needed changes to our state government without having to worry that someone is going to blow us up.
It isn't everywhere in the world that you can do such a thing.
Let's hear it for our veterans that brave band of brothers, who have fought for that right and who have so graciously given their time, resources and effort so that we might gather here at the VFW Post this evening and talk a little Alabama politics.
I am a native Alabamian. I was born in historic Talladega, Alabama, home of the fastest racetrack in the world, and I later moved next-door to Ashland in Clay County, which is also the home of Governor Riley.
In my humble opinion, Ashland is one of the most beautiful places in the entire state.
I have traveled a great deal over the course of my lifetime. My husband was stationed in Germany in the early 1990's and our young son and I joined him there. While Europe is nice to visit I wouldn't want to live there again. It's just a little too far from home.
Later we were stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX and while Texas is a lovely state with many people who reminded me of the good folks back home and, it is closer to Alabama than Germany is, it was still too far away. So when my husband's tour of service ended in 1996 we packed up our family and struck out for the house.
In the last few years I have traversed the US, Canada and I even spent 10 days in the war-torn jungles of Colombia, South America studying US foreign policy.
There are some beautiful places in this world but there is no place on earth more beautiful to me than Alabama.
From her rolling Appalachian foothills to her beautiful waters of the Mobile Bay she offers everything you could want in a place to raise a family.
If you like the fast pace of a city life there is Huntsville with her Space and Rocket center, Birmingham with its with world-class universities and medical institutes, the historic capitol of Montgomery, richly steeped in southern tradition and political history, and the beautiful sparkling gem of Mobile and her bustling seaports on the Gulf of Mexico.
Or, if you are like me and prefer to live in a place where you can pee off the back porch without your neighbor spotting you then Alabama offers that in abundance. She is home to the greatest small towns in America.
Towns where we still know everybody we see walking down the sidewalk or we know someone they are related to. Towns where everyone throws up their hand in greeting when they pass each other driving down the road, unless of course it's college football season and your cars are decked in opposing fan gear.
No other place I have ever traveled to offers that and it is one of the things I love most about Alabama. There is no place like my native home.
Alabama has seen her share of troubled times. From the civil war to the civil rights movement and her sacrifice and strength cannot be questioned.
She and her great citizens have always met challenges head-on, overcome them and become a better place and people for it. I am confident that this trend will continue as we address the challenges that are facing us today.
In order to effectively meet challenges we must know what they are so lets talk about some of the most important ones facing Alabama today.
The problems Alabama faces today can be summed up in three words.
Republicans and Democrats.
I call them the "twins" because there is virtually no difference between them anymore. Anyone trying to squeeze into the space that separates the twins is likely to be crushed to death.
Under Republicans and Democrats government has grown to enormous proportions. This has resulted in the increasing intrusion into the most personal details of our private lives and the creeping erosion of our constitutional rights and civil liberties.
INITIATIVE and REFERENDUM
The best way to deal with this problem is to put the power to govern back into the hands of the people and the best way to do that is by having something called Initiative and Referendum.
Throughout this election season you'll hear things like "stopping the power of special interests" and "term limits" presented as solutions to the problem of an out of control government.
However, those things aren't really the problem.
The real problem is the politicians who have created a treasure chest for the special interests to fight over.
Some of my opponents will say term limits are the answer. But I disagree with that. The reason I disagree with term limits is because I believe that VOTERS should be the only ones to decide who they send to Montgomery, Alabama.
Term limits are a way of further restricting who you can vote for and, from my very personal experience in Alabama politics that is already restricted plenty, thank you kindly.
In order to reform the legislature and put the power of government back into the hands of the people where it belongs I support something called Initiative and Referendum for Alabama.
In the simplest terms, Initiative and Referendum is a process that makes government one that is more of, by, and for, the people because it allows those who own and finance government – the voters – to legislate on their own behalf when the legislature won’t.
The I&R process would apply to both general law and constitutional amendments.
No legislation proposed under the process is subject to amendment by the legislature, nor veto by the governor, and would be placed on the ballot as a referendum by the Secretary of State for the people to vote up or down regardless of what the legislature does.
The process may be used for a new statute, to amend an existing statute, or to repeal an existing statute in whole or in part.
When we have initiative and Referendum available to us in Alabama the power to reform our state will lay solely in our hands, which is where it should have rested all along.
With Initiative and referendum, we will take away from the government the power to bestow favors or hurt people and the special interest lobbyists will disappear.
Another area where Alabama is facing some major challenges is our public education system.
One of the worst decisions ever made in this country was to entrust the education of our children to the government.
Isn't your child's education too important to let politicians and bureaucrats control it?
Let me share a personal story with you about an experience I have had with the public school system.
Back in 2002 my 5-year-old daughter Bell started kindergarten. About three weeks in I get a note from her teacher stating that Bell and another 5-year-old got into a scuffle over who was going to be line leader.
The teacher requested that I come in for a parent/teacher/principal/student conference. I thought it an odd request to assemble all of us over one line leader scuffle between 5-year-olds. I mean there probably isn't a kindergarten class in all of America where this hasn't happened right?
I went to the conference. The principal never showed up. The teacher and I decided to go ahead without him. Then this teacher, who has known my daughter for all of three short weeks, proceeds to tell me that in order to control my child she wants me to lift the corporal punishment ban I have imposed on the school with regard to my children.
I told her that beating my child into submission was not an option.
Then the teacher suggested I take my baby to the doctor and have her put on prescription medication so that she would be easier to control.
I was SHOCKED !!
I told the teacher that it is funny to me that schools preach to our kids about not resorting to drugs and violence to resolve their problems, there are even cops paid to teach the DARE program, and yet drugs and violence are the very first things the school resorts to when a problem arises with a child.
No wonder our kids are so confused.
The teacher was less than happy with my refusal to cooperate with beating or drugging my child in order to force her to conform to their statist indoctrination.
About a month later this same teacher conspired in the witch-hunt to have me arrested for speaking my mind on the pages of the Birmingham News with regard to drug policy reform.
She fabricated statements allegedly made by my daughter, passed these statements along to the School Resource Officer, allowed multiple police interrogations of my 5-year-old without counsel or an unbiased third party present.
She went outside the school and told one of her personal friends that I was starving my kids to death and filed a malicious complaint with DHR to that effect. She even had a box of what she called "Bell's Special Snacks" sitting under her desk that only Bell could eat from.
As it turns out, my daughter is a very gifted child, and after an IQ test revealed this, she was placed in a gifted program. She was also given the responsibility of helping classmates who were having academic trouble. She is now in third grade and goes to a higher grade for reading.
My son Alex is also gifted and was awarded The Presidents Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in 2004 signed by President Bush.
I don't like Bush but that signature on my sons Award is something I am extremely proud of. My son was also awarded the National English Merit Award in 2005 and has received many other awards over the years. He is in the 8th grade.
It's scary to think that because of a lazy teacher and but for an involved parent my daughter could have been placed on chemical lobotomy drugs and had her developing brain forever altered.
It's even scarier to think how many of the millions of kids on psychotropic and anti-psychotic drugs today got on those drugs because of lazy teachers and uninvolved parents.
Wonder how many of those kids were gifted?
The public school system does not like it when parents are involved in the education of their children.
They want our kids to pee in cups and submit to warrantless, suspicion-less searches by some thug cop in Jackboots with a German police dog.
They want to dope our kids up with pharma-drugs in order to dumb them down to counter-balance their poor teaching skills and federally mandated hogwash programs like No Child Left Behind which seeks to make close the gap in learning ability by pushing the top students down instead of bringing the bottom students up.
They want our kids to fear them and all their power and to accept without question their claim of total authority.
When parents are involved in the education of their children it becomes much harder for the school/state to brainwash, manipulate and coerce kids into being more loyal to the state than the family.
What ever happened to teaching readin, writin and rith-ma-tic? That's all we pay them to do. Yet they are so much more concerned with teaching social doctrine that many of our kids can't even read.
Some of my opponents want to deal with the problems of public education by implementing government vouchers. While that may sound good on the surface closer inspection would reveal vouchers as just a way for the government to control private schools making them virtually identical to government schools. So vouchers are not the answer.
My other opponents want to throw more money at the public school system.
Somehow they never have picked up on the fact that money and a new government program (most often in response to a previous government program of theirs that failed) will not solve every problem. In fact, government causes almost all the problems to begin with.
We have been throwing money at our public school system for years and we are still in the bottom 5 out of the 50 states every year when it comes to education.
Money isn't working. Repeated failure is NOT justification for continued or increased funding. Do NOT give these people more money to poison our kids with their alien political beliefs and Orwellian social experimentation programs.
So, instead of Gov. Riley's proposal of giving $500,000,000 of our tax dollars back to a school system that has repeatedly and continually failed our children, I propose we give parents back that money so that they might send their kids to private school if they so choose. The teachers don't need a raise. They need to teach our kids to read. Especially one that comes from one time monies but will require another source of funding once that money is gone.
As Governor of Alabama I will support tax credits for Alabama families who send their children to a private school or teach them in a home-school setting.
For our public schools I will advocate that we opt out of the federal government mandated No Child Left Behind. The federal government only gives us 6% of our education budget and they have NO RIGHT to control what or how we teach our children.
Speaking of taxes and that BILLION DOLLAR surplus we suddenly have .. If I recall correctly Governor Riley tried to increase our taxes by almost exactly that much with Amendment 1.
That's funny ain't it? Very funny indeed.
You know if Riley had gotten his tax raise, the economy would have been stifled and we would likely be facing a proration budget scenario this year.
The fact that we suddenly have the amount of money the proposed tax increase would have raised tells me one thing and one thing only.
We didn't need to raise taxes to meet our budgetary demands ...we needed to make our government be responsible with the massive amount of money they already get from our labors.
Federal state and local taxes take 48% of the national income. That means if you and your spouse work, one of you is working to pay the government taxes and one of you is working to take care of your family.
Is that fair?
Shouldn't you be able to keep the money you make? Aren't you better aware of how your family could use that money than some fat cat in Montgomery, Alabama or Washington DC?
As your Governor I will fight to keep more money in your pocket.
If elected I will support the repeal of sales tax on food and the order mandating yearly reappraisals of property.
It's almost like you can never really own property. You "buy" it but then you have to pay rent on it to the state every single year.
Another issue of concern facing Alabama today is illegal immigration.
Libertarians are accused of wanting 'open borders'. But this is incorrect; the borders are already open. And there is nothing the democrats or republicans can do that will succeed in closing them. People who want to get in will find a way to do so. What we have to do is eliminate the incentives that attract the wrong kind of people to Alabama.
You know a free and prosperous society has no fear of anyone entering it. But a welfare state is scared to death of every poor person who tries to get in and every rich person who tries to get out.
An important reason for the heavy influx of illegal immigrants is the Welcome Wagon waiting at the border - offering free education, free welfare, free healthcare and a free lunch. They also seem to be offering up a lot of our jobs.
So lets cut that out by imposing hefty fines on businesses that employ illegal immigrants. If there are no jobs then there will be no illegal immigrants draining our social services and then we will see a dramatic drop in the influx of illegal aliens.
I want to make clear here that I am not anti-immigration. America is a proud nation of immigrants. My ancestors came over from Ireland. I welcome all people from all parts of the world to the great state of Alabama so long as they are here legally and are willing to work for a better life.
Religion and Government
Let's change gears here and get into some of the more controversial issues popping up in this election season.
First, I want to talk about religion and government.
While the other candidates in this year's election will spend their time trying to out-Jesus each other my campaign will offer no such shenanigans.
That's because I understand and respect the basic principal that religion is a private family matter and that in and of itself is one of our country's greatest strengths.
I understand that if politics and religion are mixed that pretty soon someone will come to power that that will force me to worship in a way that I find alien or force me to worship if I choose not to or prevent me from worshipping if I want to.
The other candidates in this election seem to have forgotten these principals. They are using religious and spiritual beliefs as a political football and that is a disgrace to the very sanctity of religion. I don't think Jesus would be very proud of any of them.
I call on the Christians of Alabama to vote for me this election because I am the only candidate who will take away the power of the government to inflict one person's values on another. This will not only make Christians safe from those with alien values it will also reassure others that Christians won't impose their values by force.
Speaking of the imposition of values by force let's talk about gambling.
I believe that restricting the way private citizens choose to spend their money based on the moral convictions of politicians is not the American way. Nor is it the Alabama way.
I can think of a great many other people who are infinitely more qualified to be moral role models than politicians. Politicians are in fact some of the very worst kinds of role models to have and they should never be trusted with the power to tell us what is moral and what is not.
Alabama is missing out on tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue because our citizens are forced to travel to other states if they wish to engage in casino gambling or buy a lottery ticket.
At the same time our politicians, in all of their infinite wisdom, take large contributions from the special gambling interests in those surrounding states in exchange for keeping lottery and casino gambling out of Alabama and thereby keeping Alabama poor.
Governor Riley and the Christian Coalition benefited by getting large contributions, which it turns out are connected to the now disgraced Jack Abramoff, and you did not benefit at all. You got asked to pay more taxes instead.
How bout them apples y'all?
Legal lottery and casino gambling does not mean that those who are opposed to such activities will suddenly be forced to engage in them. It will simply mean that they will no longer be allowed to prevent others from doing so or from profiting from doing so by pointing their morality guns at them.
Alabama must learn that sin and crime are two different things. Preventing and punishing sin is not the business of the state.
Drug policy -
Now, I know a lot of you have been wondering when I will get to what is the most controversial plank in my platform and that is drug policy reform.
You'll have likely noticed that when I am covered in the news all you ever really hear is that I am a marijuana advocate or a legalization advocate. You don't hear about any of the other things I support or changes I think Alabama should make.
But that's OK.
It's OK because it's a topic that catches people's attention and some of them will look deeper.
It's OK because it helps the media sell papers, which expands my coverage.
It's OK because it is an issue that needs attention like no other we face in this state today.
It's OK because it is the one issue that makes me stand out among my opponents. They are too afraid to touch this issue. But I am not.
I want to talk about it. I want you to talk about it. Then I want us to change it.
Drug policy is another area where sin has been confused with crime and moral imposition by force has given rise to the persecution of millions of non-violent Americans who choose to smoke a joint as opposed to drink a beer after a long days work .....of which almost half the earnings are going to support the government.
We already give them almost half our paycheck....is it too much to ask that our money not be used to wage war against us and that we be left in peace to relax in whatever manner we choose so long as no one is hurting anyone else?
Marijuana should be legal. There is simply no logical reason for it's illegality.
Alabama punishes her citizens more harshly for simply possessing some plant material for personal use than do most other states.
The second simple possession for personal use is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison under state law.
Five-hundred people were sentenced to prison in Alabama on that charge in 2005. It costs the Alabama taxpayers 5 million dollars a year just to house these non-violent and likely otherwise productive citizens who are able bodied and would be able to provide for themselves outside the confines of prison.
This has filled our prison system to bursting with people like you and me.
People Like Douglas Lamar Gray. Mr. Gray's story goes something like the lyrics from Bruce Springsteens "Born in the USA"
Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in his hands
Sent him off to Vietnam
To go and kill the yellow man
As a young man growing up in North Alabama, Doug Gray had a few run-ins with the local law...which is not an uncommon thing. None of these run-ins were serious enough to warrant a prison sentence.
He got sent off to Vietnam where he lost a leg in service to his country.
He came home. He stayed out of trouble for a good thirteen years.
He owned a business called Gray's Roofing and Remodeling Service.
He had a home, a wife, and a two-year-old son.
Fourteen years ago Douglas Lamar Gray bought a pound of marijuana in a room at the Econo Lodge in Decatur, Alabama. He planned to keep a few ounces for himself and sell the rest to some friends. Most people in prison for trafficking in Alabama fit that description.
The man who sold him the drug was a felon just released from prison, with more than thirty convictions on his record.
He was also an informant employed by the Morgan County Drug Task Force.
The local sheriff's department, as part of a sting, had supplied the pound of marijuana.
After paying the informant $900 for the pot Douglas Lamar Gray was arrested and charged with "trafficking."
He was tried and convicted under Alabama's Habitual Offender Law, fined $25,000, sentenced to life in prison without parole, sent to the maximum-security penitentiary in Springville, Alabama - an aging, overcrowded prison filled with murderers and other violent inmates. He remains there to this day.
This man risked his life to answer the call of his country. He lost his leg. And this is how he is treated. This is how we repay a Vietnam Veteran for his service to his country. We tell him a leg is not enough sacrifice. We want your whole body and your whole family and your whole life and everything you have worked for.
I don't believe for one minute that the vets in this room tonight risked life and limb in service to their country so that their government in turn would treat them worse than a common mongrel dog.
Now let's compare what happened to Douglas Lamar Gray to what happened to two very prominent politicians kids.
In 1998 Senator Richard Shelby's son Claude was caught smuggling 13.8 grams of hash from Heathrow in London to Hartsfield in Atlanta. He was fined $500 and allowed to go free.
Senator Shelby who has throughout his political career advocated years long prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders said he felt sad for his son but supported him fully. I guess he meant other peoples kids can go to jail for life...just not his son.
If you or I had been caught smuggling 13.8 grams of hash from London to Atlanta we would have been charged with international drug smuggling and we would likely still be in jail today.
And Noelle Bush, Gov. Jeb Bush's daughter and President Bush's niece, was caught a few years ago forging prescriptions for xanax, which is a felony. She was placed in rehab where she then stole medications from the nurses cart and after she came back from 3 days in jail for that infraction a 2 gram crack rock was found in her shoe. For all of these felonies Ms. Bush spent a total of 13 days in jail.
Gov. Bush said "It's a private family matter" and I agree that it is a private family matter but that apparently only applies if your family is rich, powerful and connected.
Claude Shelby and Noelle Bush never fought in Vietnam or anywhere else in service to their country. Yet they walk free while Douglas Lamar Gray and tens of thousands of other regular American citizens are rotting away in a prison cell for the same crimes.
I am ASHAMED and OUTRAGED that we would allow our government to wage war on it's own citizens. And that is what we have today under the guise of "drug war".
When these political POW's are released from prison, the ones that are lucky enough to get released, they are barred from gainful employment, they are barred from receiving federal student financial aid for higher education, food stamps and public housing. Drug convictions are the only convictions with these extra judicially imposed obstacles.
If you bar people from eating, working, getting an education to better themselves and an affordable place to live what happens? They go back to jail and you continue to pay for it.
If I don't care if my neighbor smokes a joint in the privacy of his own home, and I find that most people don't care, then why am I forced to pay for my neighbor's imprisonment?
I SHOULDN'T BE. You SHOULDN'T BE!
If I am elected governor one of the first things I will do is fight to stop the police state from taking the private behavior of otherwise law-abiding citizens and turning it a statewide disaster.
I will do that by proposing we set up a system similar to alcohol and tobacco to regulate the sale of marijuana to adults' age 21 and older.
Marijuana is Alabama's largest cash crop and our state could benefit from this huge untapped financial resource in many ways.
The state could collect tax revenue from those sales that I could directed towards start-up funds for community corrections and drug treatment facilities for those suffering from alcohol and actual hard drug addiction. People who use marijuana responsibly do not belong in court ordered treatment taking up space that is needed to help recovering meth addicts and those addicted to other hard drugs.
DRUG WAR IN GENERAL
Let's talk about those other hard drugs and whether or not the war on them has worked any better than it did on alcohol or marijuana or coffee, or tobacco....all of which have been illegal at some point in human history.
Our elected officials call it the "War on Drugs" but that goes against the very definition of war.
You cannot have a war on drugs...they are inanimate objects.
What it is is a war on people. Poor people. Minorities. People like you and me. People like Douglas Lamar Gray. A war on people with cancer, AIDS, PTSD, depression, glaucoma, arthritis and a host of other ailments and illnesses
The Drug War is Government Mandated Massive Focused Violence against American citizens.
It's a civil war that turns children against parents and brother against brother.
It's armored SWAT teams kicking in people's doors at three in the morning and pointing guns at their heads and the heads of their children.
It's helicopter raids, just like in a war zone.
It's secret cops in our schools trying to trick our children into selling them a dime bag, it's automatic assault weapons, flash-bang grenades and battering rams. It has taken millions of Americans and turned them into Political Prisoners of War.
It's also unconstitutional. The US Constitution had to be amended to prohibit alcohol and re-amended to repeal that prohibition. There have never been any such constitutional amendments dealing with drug use.
And just like alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition does not prevent drug use. Never has. Never will.
The only thing the drug war successfully does is maximize and magnify all the possible harms associated with drug use.
It causes the very crime it claims to protect us from. When is the last time you saw violent gangs from Budweiser and Coors shooting it out over shelf space on the beer aisle at Wal-Mart?
Back in 1972 when President Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs more people died that year from tumbles down the stairs or slips in the bathtub than from drugs.
And every year since 1972 drug use, especially among children, drug-related disease, drug-related crime, drug-related deaths, drug availability and drug purity have skyrocketed while drug prices have gone plummeted.
The drug war has also served as a backdoor, which the federal government has used to centralize its power, federalize the local police and erode our constitutional rights and civil liberties.
The drug war was the prelude to the Patriot Act and the REAL ID Act.
Americans became accustomed, by watching TV shows like COPS, to seeing other Americans being stripped of their rights and liberties so long as it had to do with "drugs" and now all Americans are being stripped of their rights and liberties so long as it has to do with "terror".
Here in Alabama the federally mandated drug war is costing us tens of millions of dollars a year in law enforcement resources, court costs and incarceration costs.
I do not believe the negative societal costs can ever be fully measured or known.
The drug war is anti-family and it goes against the very Christian values so many Alabamians are quick to claim but slow to exhibit in their actions. Jesus would not lock up the addicted.
Understandably, many people fear that ending the Drug War would result in tens of thousands of addicts, children trying drugs, massive crime, disease and death. But in reality that is what we have now.
It's time to end the war on drugs in Alabama.
It's time to stop maximizing the harms associated with drug use, to stop compounding the misery and humiliation associated with drug addiction by imprisoning moms, dads and especially kids and further destroying the chances of keeping families together.
It's time to return such a private matter to the alter of the family where it belongs.
That is what states rights are for. Let's exercise them.
PRISON REFORM -
You can't talk about drugs without eventually coming to the topic of prison so let's spend a few minutes extolling the virtues of the Alabama DOC.
It's called the department of corrections and that is a misnomer if I have ever heard one.
Aside from the huge number of pot smokers in prison we have now moved on to imprisoning alcoholics.
Back when I was a kid, and that is not very long ago, things were much different.
I grew up on a farm in rural Alabama with my mother, sister and grandmother.
Life was simple then.
At that time the drug war had not yet blighted rural Alabama. The only "drugs" I held any knowledge of were "beer & liquor" and both were held in very low regard by the matriarchs in my family.
Drankin' was a "sin" and "sin" was the last thing the young Loretta Nall wished to encounter because "sin" always led to a switching, and let me tell you, my grandmother was incredibly skilled with a keen hickory switch.
The only thing I knew about "addiction", alcoholism in this case, was the talk I would occasionally hear around the Sunday dinner table about the town drunk who, about once a month, would get up in front of the entire church and confess to getting drunk the night before and being sorry for it now. The congregation would hug him when he was done and he was always accepted back into the fold.
It was a time when neighbors helped neighbors. If your neighbors were hungry you helped feed them. If the neighbor's kids needed clothes you gave them what your kids had outgrown. And if your neighbor had a substance abuse problem you let him talk about it on Sunday morning and told him you still loved him when he was done.
But times have changed and not for the better.
Let me tell you a story about my brother and his experience being "corrected" in the Alabama DOC.
My brother Randy is a career alcoholic. He had his first drink of alcohol when he was 9 years old. Since then he has been known to drink mouthwash, after-shave and rubbing alcohol strained through loaf bread. It is the worst case of alcohol addiction I have ever seen.
He has been in and out of rehab clinics, AA, halfway houses, state run mental health programs, jail and in 1996 he entered the Alabama prison system for the first time.
His crime was alcohol related. All of his crimes are alcohol related.
Randy was allowed to enter the work release program at Kilby prison because his crime was non-violent and he was considered low risk.
One would think that work release would be designed to help a person learn a job skill for when they are released. After all, we want to do everything we can to help them not return to prison.
We want to keep them away from the things that landed them in prison, not place them directly in the line of temptation when we are supposed to be "correcting" them and punishing them.
For instance, we would reasonably expect the prison system not to place a child molester on work release at a daycare center or a bank robber in a teller window or a wife beater in a women's shelter.
But for some reason the Dept. of Corrections placed my alcohol-addicted brother in a work release program where his job was to load 18-wheelers with cases of Budweiser.
His resolve was weak and before the end of the day he had walked off work release with a case of beer under each arm. He got piss drunk and turned himself in when he ran out of beer.
No I am not kidding.
We have alcoholics, people as harmless as Otis the town drunk from Andy Griffith, housed in prison with violent murderers and rapists at the cost of $1000 a month when we could place a breath-lock on their automobiles for $30 a month or we could implement a specialized license that only allows them to drive during certain parts of the day and only to and from work.
Aside from the huge number of people like Randy and Otis housed in our prison system we also have people in prison for petty theft.
Why should we have to pay $12,000 a year to house someone in prison who stole a $50 VCR? Stealing is wrong and should be punished, but the thief is the one who should be punished not the Alabama taxpayer.
We have deadbeat parents in Alabama's prison system. They won't pay for their children.
We are being made to not only pay for the care of their children but also the cost for their care in the prison system. That punishes us. TWICE.
They weren't forced to pay $1,000 a month in child support but we are forced to pay that to house them in prison. Surely we can come up with a more creative and productive way to handle this problem.
If I am elected Governor I will fight for the release of all non-violent marijuana offenders from prison, the expungement of their records and the repeal of laws that landed them in prison and the ones that effectively bar them from successful re-entry to society.
That action alone would be enough to solve the over-crowding crisis and would go a long way from preventing its reoccurrence.
I'll also propose that the money, which would have been spent to house non-violent marijuana offenders, is instead directed back to communities so that they can start community corrections programs that deal with petty theft, drunk driving, fraudulent check writers and dead beat parents and also use as start up funds for treatment centers that keep family members suffering from hard drug and alcohol addiction close to home where they can get the love and support they need to recover.
Enough sentencing commissions and tasks forces on prison overcrowding. The solution is simple and we all know what it is, but the politicians in power are gutless cowards who we can no longer place our hope in to get this job done.
As Governor I will correct the Department of Corrections in Alabama.
Non-compliance with the Patriot and REAL ID Acts,
The Patriot and REAL ID Acts are the two most offensive documents to ever be passed into law in the United States of America.
Under these Acts Uncle Sam not only wants you: he also wants your email, your phone calls, your personal mail, your physician and pharmacy records, your library records, your bank records, the contents of your bladder and the bladders of your children.
We are told that we must trade our liberty for security in order to help "fight the war on terror."
Our elected officials say the terrorists hate us for our freedom. Apparently our elected officials have decided to remedy that situation by taking away all of our freedoms so the terrorists won't hate us anymore.
The willingness of our elected officials both here at home and in Washington, D.C. to participate in the obliteration of our constitutional rights and civil liberties is disgusting and revealing. I will not sacrifice Alabama citizens to any such system--and you can write that down.
As governor of Alabama, I will refuse to comply with the Patriot and REAL ID acts and I will veto any new legislation that infringes on the privacy of the citizens of the state of Alabama.
As our state motto says, "WE DARE DEFEND OUR RIGHTS!!"
The Iraq War and Alabama sovereignty over the State Militia
As governor of Alabama I would have no real power to influence the Iraq war policy, but I feel that you have the right to know exactly how I feel on that issue and on the concept of war in general.
As a Libertarian I'm not a pacifist. I believe that only defense is legitimate.
I like to believe that no one wants or likes war. Under the current US administration
I am having something of a hard time holding onto that belief.
Having said that, I support our troops but I do not support the Iraq war.
In the beginning and in the aftermath of 9/11 I did support it. I, like millions of other Americans, believed our president when he said there were WMD's and that Iraq was somehow tied to the terrorist attacks that befell our nation. I understood our mission there to be the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.
That mission was accomplished in three days and our brave troops did one hell of a job. They should have been applauded, commended and given the highest amount of respect for carrying out their objective. And then they should have been brought home to their families.
But, they are still there and no one seems to be able to say with any degree of certainty just exactly what they are fighting for or how long this war will last or how many more will have to die.
Alabama did not choose to send her sons and daughters off to fight this illegal war. That choice was made for us.
That choice has cost the lives of 43 Alabama soldiers. 24 of that 43 were under the age of 30 and 17 of those were 25 years old or younger.
These are just kids, our kids, only a few years out of high school. Many of them likely signed up for the GI bill because they came from impoverished families and had few options for acquiring a college degree. They had their whole life ahead of them.
Now they are dead.
I support the immediate withdrawal of all our troops from Iraq. As Governor of Alabama I will call for the immediate withdrawal of our National Guard troops and I believe Alabama should hereafter retain sovereignty over her state militia.
If I told you that there was a way we could Decrease Our Dependency on Foreign Oil, Boost the Agriculture Industry in Alabama, preserve our pristine hunting and fishing areas, which bring 2 BILLION tourism dollars into Alabama every year and Keep More Alabama Money in Alabama instead of sending it to the federal government would you believe me?
Bio-diesel. It's fuel from the fields. And we can do it here.
Farmers in South Alabama are already doing that very thing by producing bio-diesel from their soybean crops and using a ten percent solution to run their combines. This same soy bio-diesel can be used in automobiles at a ten percent per tank of gas without any engine modifications.
It could end the outrageousness of paying up to three dollars a gallon for gasoline and enable you to keep more of what you earn.
Bio-diesel could revitalize the impoverished Black Belt of Alabama and put hundreds if not thousands of people to work.
As Governor of Alabama I will encourage research, growth and development in this area. It is another step along the road to keeping Alabama proud, independent, self-sufficient and free.
Ballot access reform-
The last topic I want to touch on tonight is Ballot Access Reform.
Alabama has the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation. In order to fully participate in the political process as an independent or third party candidate it basically requires a minimum of $100,000 to collect the 41,000 plus signatures needed for ballot access.
That basically means only rich people can run for office.
That doesn't make a lot of sense to me since, I know for a fact, most Alabamians are not rich people. Why do we elect people to represent us who are not like us and cannot relate to the reality of our daily lives?
Why do we allow them to decide who is a candidate and who is not? That is one of our rights as citizens....to decide who we will elect.
Alabama is in no danger of becoming immobilized by having too many political parties. Our current system trends toward two dominant parties. But unless the system makes it possible for a third party to replace one of the two old parties there is no incentive for the old parties to be responsive to what the people want.
To keep the pressure on the two dominant parties to be responsive to the will of the people we must do away with restrictive ballot access laws, do away with government subsidies to favored candidates and do away with debates that exclude the only candidates who are offering a new choice.
Anyone who truly believes in Democracy and in the ability of Alabamians to make their own choices when electing their governing body would never seek to limit the number of choices available to Alabama voters.
Iraq had 75 political parties and 111 candidates in their most recent elections. It's a pretty sad state of affairs when you have Alabama soldiers dying for the sake of ensuring fair elections in Iraq when apparently Iraqi's already have a better understanding of what fair elections are than some Alabama politicians do.
We need to repeal Alabama's restrictive ballot access laws so that new ideas and progressive change can begin to take hold in Alabama.
It's difficult to say how much the growth of government in Alabama should be attributed to the natural tendency of government to expand, or to Alabama lawmakers simply imitating the actions of Washington DC, or to Alabama government being controlled by federally imposed mandates.
The attitude we see coming out of Washington is basically 'it's My way or the Highway" or more accurately "It's my Way or You don't get no damn Highway".
The sad thing is that it's our own money they are taking and then holding hostage in order to force us to change our laws in ways we would not have chosen for ourselves.
The twin parties have become so hopelessly corrupted by power and the perks of governing that our only hope is a third party still too young, healthy, and principled to be infected by their dishonesty and political extortion.
So my fellow Alabamians this election you have a real choice for change. Do not re-elect republicans and democrats. They are known quantities. They are yellow cowards who have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to march in lock step with the feds in Washington DC without so much as a backward glance at those who they supposedly represent.
They've had their chance many times over to do what is right and make things better for the people of the Great State of Alabama. And they have repeatedly failed.
But I am confident that you and I will not fail as we face today's challenges because
I believe in my fellow Alabamians.
We are proud, we are strong and we are free.
And we damn sure intend to keep it that way.
So this election
"Just Say Nall to Republicans and Democrats"
"Just Say Nall to a Government Controlled Education System"
"Just Say Nall to the Drug War"
"Just Say Nall To the Patriot and Real ID Acts"
"Just Say Nall to the Iraq War"
"Just Say Nall to High Gas Prices"
"Just Say Nall To Unfair Ballot Access Laws"
Vote Nall Y'all
It's Just Common Sense