Alabama Republicans gathered in Auburn Alabama on Saturday, August 24 for their annual summer conference. The Bibb County GOP Executive Committee was in attendance along with over 400 Alabama Republican Party State Executive Committee members, Republican elected officials and candidates.

Bibb County Republican Party

“I am so proud of our members,” Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said. “While we truly are the ‘big tent’ party, with a variety of ideas on how to accomplish our goals, our membership worked respectfully together in order to make our party stronger. We surpassed our goals in a solid unifying meeting to Keep America Great and win back the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones who repeatedly ignores the majority of Alabamians.

The GOP Summer Dinner, Friday evening, was a sold-out success. Featuring over 400 attendees, the Hotel at Auburn University was a splendid place for this size group. 

During the evening, we had the opportunity to speak with the Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, U.S. Senate candidates and major party leaders. The featured speaker was Chris Carr, President Trump’s campaign manager who relayed some fascinating facts about the past election as well as the upcoming 2020 vote, with considerable confidence. 

As mentioned, we had the opportunity to converse with all the U.S. Senate candidates with the notable exception of Roy Moore, who did not attend. All of them are aware that a majority of Bibb County is a solid GOP vote and that they may need that vote to make a difference. Bibb has been one of the fastest growing counties over the past decade.

The Young Republican group conducted get-together’s throughout the event and were a constant at the dinner and the meetings after-party. There are some very smart young and diverse folks coming up through the ranks.  

The Alabama Republican Party’s executive committee met, Saturday. Showing up for Bibb County was County Chair and former Probate Judge Jerry Pow, Chamber Director Valerie Cook, Bibb Community Media VP Josh Lambert, County Commissioner Keefe Burt and School Board President Mike Oakley, 

The biggest item was the vote to oppose a state constitutional amendment that would replace the State Board of Education, currently elected by voters, with a commission appointed by the Governor.

This measure went against the Alabama Legislature’s overwhelming vote to approve a statewide amendment to replace BOE members with a nine-member Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education, with at least one member from each of the state’s seven congressional districts. The measure is to be featured on the ballot with Alabama citizens making the final decision. Members would be subject to confirmation by the Alabama Senate.

The reason? 

Supporters said it took the vote from the people and place it in the hands of untrusted politicians. The group also questioned the repeal of “Common Core,” which continues to be a sticking point with the GOP. 

Opponents claim it “takes government from the people and puts it in a dark place.” 

Why is this important to all of us? 

A better educational system would lead to a better overall state, a better perception of our state, better economic development draws and a better quality of life. Proponents can prove it’s a “best governance” move following high-performing states that have appointed boards. 

It was not the first time this committee went against the GOP dominated legislature, the committee also overwhelmingly opposed last session’s “Gas Tax.” 

On other matters….

The committee approved a resolution asking Alabama’s congressional delegation to initiate an effort to remove U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota. State Rep. Tommy Hanes of Scottsboro said he proposed the resolution because of what he said was Omar’s anti-American rhetoric and criticism of the U.S. military. Although the vote passed it was a “hollow victory” as Omar is elected by Minnesota voters and even though she seemingly stands for everything anti-conservative, anti-Israel and anti-American, the vote was more a warning shot fired across the leftist bow. 

The committee narrowly defeated a measure that would take GOP delegates off the ballots and make them subject to approval by the State GOP Executive Committee. 

The reason? 

Opponents said it “Took the vote from the people’s hands”. 

Proponents said, with good measure, that hardly anyone knows the delegates from other counties, and it clogs up the ballot. Being selected by the Executive Committee would ensure those representing the state were honest to goodness, hard working members of the GOP.  

The committee also approved a resolution naming the party’s headquarters in Hoover after former GOP state Chairman Bill Armistead, a former State Senator who once represented Bibb County. Armistead was state party chairman from 2011 to 2015.

Members of the Bibb County GOP Executive Committee in attendance at the State summer meeting included Valerie Cook, Keefe Burt, Josh Lambert, Chairman Jerry Pow and Vice Chairman Mike Oakley.


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Mike Oakley is a longtime community and state activist dedicated to making his space better than when he found it. A 39-year member of the Alabama Army National Guard and U.S. Army, Oakley achieved the rank of Command Sergeant Major (CSM) and was mobilized or activated four times. He is a member of the Bibb County Board of Education since 1998 and works tirelessly to improve education initiatives in his home county. A member of several state boards of directors, Oakley believes that your attitude determines your latitude and a positive mindset is imperative to defeat negativity encountered in life. A lover of books, poetry, music and history, Oakley is excited to be a part of the move to bring news and enlightenment to interested readers.