Search Results for: Doug Jones

Doug Jones Says Trump’s ‘Racist Language’ Divides the Nation

President Donald Trump used “racist language” that is further dividing Americans when he suggested four women in Congress could leave the country if they don’t like it, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said Thursday.

 “To use racist language, and it was that — I’m not calling the president a racist, but he used racist language to do this — this is the same kind of dog whistle politics that we have seen before,” Jones said during a conference phone call with reporters.

“But folks, we have to resist the pull of the forces that are trying to divide us,” Jones said. “We need to come together as one America and work together to live up to the lofty ideals our country was founded on. Attacking the patriotism of other Americans using hateful rhetoric and dog whistle messages doesn’t get us any closer to achieving those unifying principles.”
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Doug Jones’ story about the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and the prosecution of the Klansmen who did it, provides perspective on the past and present.

“Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights” by Doug Jones with Greg Truman (St. Martin’s Press, 2019)

“Maxine McNair’s screams were primal,” Doug Jones writes in Bending Toward Justice. As McNair searched for her daughter Denise in the rubble of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church she knew, the way a mother would know, that the unthinkable had finally happened.

The 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing that killed Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins happened because white Americans were angry. Birmingham’s public schools were integrated the week before the bombing, and as whites saw dents and cracks appearing in the wall that separated them from black Americans they became resentful and afraid. And a few whites, bitter losers clinging to the bottom rung of the white racial hierarchy, were willing to do more than just gripe about it. They were willing to commit murder.

“Bending Toward Justice” accomplishes what good history should accomplish. The book helps readers understand the past and the present. And the events of 1963 are relevant now because sometimes history does backflips. That’s not to say that history repeats itself, because it doesn’t really. But occasionally, without looking where we’re going, we jump back to a spot we thought we had left behind. And then we have to retrace our steps to see how it all turns out this time.

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Doug Jones Recounts Church Bombing Prosecution in New Book

WBHM

The Klansmen who bombed Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963, killing four black girls, did not face justice for years. In 1977, then-Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley won a conviction against Robert Chambliss for his role in the attack. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that two others were tried and convicted. Senator Doug Jones led those later prosecutions and writes about it in his memoir “Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Cvil Rights.” Read more.

Doug Jones Plans Summit to Explore HBCU Challenges

By WBHM, 90.3

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones will host the first annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Summit Friday at Lawson State Community College. There, Jones says, educators, administrators, and students will discuss factors that pose the greatest threat to HBCUs, and opportunities ahead, specifically in terms of funding. Read more.

Sen. Doug Jones Urges Quick End to Shutdown, Touts Medicaid Bill, Civil Rights Cold Case Act

Citing “heartbreaking stories” from Alabamians affected by an “increasingly costly federal shutdown,” U.S. Sen. Doug Jones on Thursday urged Congress to act on legislation to restart government services now and then hash out Homeland Security funding for border security after employees are back at work and getting paid.

“We need to get the government going and talk about border security in a reasonable way,” Jones, D-Alabama, said during a Thursday call with Alabama media outlets.

Alabama’s junior senator said his office has heard from many Alabamians affected by the federal shutdown.

“These are heartbreaking stories from families who are literally scared to death of losing their paychecks. These folks are not getting rich working for the government and many live paycheck to paycheck,” he said. About 5,500 federal employees are on furlough or working without pay because of the shutdown. Read more.

Sen. Doug Jones Calls for Hearings to Investigate Veterans Affairs Nursing Home Performance

U.S. Senator Doug Jones said Thursday that he is cosponsoring a measure that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to present Congress with detailed annual performance reports on the nursing homes it runs.

Jones was reacting to a recent news report in USA Today that cited poor quality at the homes in Alabama and nationwide. Read more.

Sen. Doug Jones Calls for Compromise to Lessen Gun Violence, Points to Youth Protests as the Tipping Point in the Debate

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones delivered his first speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, calling for a pragmatic conversation and compromise on the hot button issues surrounding gun control.

“We must acknowledge the deadly consequences that can follow when a gun is in the wrong hands, but also recognize and respect the freedom to own and enjoy guns by law-abiding citizens as guarantees by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive,” said Jones, who won a special election against Roy Moore in December to become the first Democratic U.S. senator from Alabama in more than 20 years.

Jones pointed to the youth-led outcry for an end to gun violence in schools, sparked by last month’s deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida, school, as the catalyst that could move conversations forward. He compared the current movement to the Children’s March in Birmingham in 1963 — a protest that became a turning point in the fight for desegregation in Birmingham.

In his speech, the senator called for a ban on manufacturing or possessing bump stocks, which are devices that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly. He also called for passing legislation to close loopholes in the federal background check system currently in place, widen requirements for background checks and waiting periods to purchase guns, and raise the minimum age requirement for purchasing semi-automatic weapons. Read more.

Staking Out Common Ground: A Q&A With Sen. Doug Jones

It’s been almost two months since Doug Jones took office as Alabama’s first Democratic U.S. senator in more than 20 years, and the international spotlight that accompanied his surprising win has faded somewhat.

Jones’ December upset against far-right candidate Roy Moore, who had been the favorite to win before allegations of sexual misconduct derailed his campaign, was seen by many as a bellwether of America’s political future, both in 2018 and in 2020.

“If a Democrat can win in Alabama,” CNN’s Chris Cillizza said after Jones’ victory, “a Democrat can win just about anywhere in the country.”

Now, the novelty of his victory has worn off, and with it Jones has shifted from a political symbol to a centrist lawmaker. As he promised during his campaign, he doesn’t follow the party line. Instead, he’s aligned himself with a bipartisan group of moderate senators, the Common Sense Coalition, which some commentators have credited with ending last month’s government shutdown. A less successful effort by the coalition, on which Jones worked, was a bipartisan immigration bill that failed earlier this month.

But Jones remains optimistic that “common ground” — a favorite phrase of his — can be found on that issue and others. He believes agreements can be made even on hot-button issues such as gun laws, in the wake of Feb. 14’s Parkland, Florida, shooting.

“If we continue to have dialogues, not monologues, and continue to find common ground,” he said at a rally on Sunday, “we can help empower the kids of Parkland, Florida, to lead the next tipping point.”

Jones, who has been visiting Alabama during the congressional break, spoke with BirminghamWatch about his first weeks as a senator, the viability of centrism in a polarized political landscape, and Alabama’s possible future as a two-party state.

BirminghamWatch: Because your election received so much nationwide attention, when you entered the Senate last month, you were already one of its most famous members. How has that dynamic played out? How have you been received by your fellow senators?

Doug Jones: I’ve been received very well. It’s been very nice. Everybody has been very cordial, very helpful, on both sides of the aisle. … Obviously people in the media, they see me as kind of like the unicorn up there, the Democrat from Alabama. (We) do exist! But it’s been great. We tried to (be) low-key and not do too much. I think we played it really good, to try to get my feet wet, let me find my voice, get to know some people. But my Democratic and Republican colleagues have just been great. That’s why I enjoyed working on this bipartisan bill (with the) Common Sense Coalition. I got to know some folks, and it’s been very, very good. Read more.

Doug Jones Sworn-In to U.S. Senate, Becomes First Alabama Democrat in the Senate Since ’97

WASHINGTON – Doug Jones took the oath of office as Alabama’s first Democratic U.S. senator in a quarter-century Wednesday, narrowing the Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49.

“I am humbled and honored to stand here today, chosen by the people of Alabama to represent our state in this historic institution,” Jones said. “I will work every day to make sure I hear their voices and that their voices are heard in Washington. It is time to come together and rebuild the trust we need to find common ground and expand opportunity for all.”

Jones is widely seen as a Democrat who will challenge President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, fight increases in the minimum wage and oppose abortion rights.
With Jones in the Senate, GOP success in repealing Obamacare becomes much less likely, and if just two Republicans vote with Democrats, Trump nominees or budget measures would be defeated. Read more.