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Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama.

$1 billion: Use it or lose it
A special session is likely coming in the Alabama Legislature. The regular legislative session convenes in March, but it seems a special session is needed to deal with the $1 billion from the state’s second allocation of federal American Rescue Plan money. The state has until 2026 to spend the money.
New blood on Goat Hill
Meanwhile freshman legislators are about to start their December orientation next week.  The new crop of lawmakers is significant: 33 new faces will be in Montgomery. Huntsville’s own freshman representative James Lomax is lobbying for committee assignments. We hear education is of particular interest to the young Republican lawmaker.
A command decision for Redstone
While the decision on U.S. Space Command is expected to come down today, it seems they’ve wasted no time in already picking out their spot at Redstone Arsenal, unofficially of course. The Arsenal has plenty of room, the installation encompasses more than 38,000 acres of land.
Showalter making moves
We hear Jeff Showalter, the chief development officer & general counsel for JHNA, will be leaving the Huntsville company. However, the West Point graduate and Madison resident is expected to keep his exceptional talents in North Alabama. In addition to being named the Huntsville Botanical Garden board chair, we hear he will be making a big splash at a top 10 defense company very soon.
There’s no place like home
Questions over the legality of Alabama’s newly elected District 10 Representative David Cole’s residency aren’t going away. A report claiming Cole wasn’t actually living in District 10 broke right before the election. Now the Libertarian candidate in the District 10 race, Elijah Boyd, has filed a lawsuit and a hearing has been set for Dec. 19. If Cole is found to be afoul of residency requirements, he would be removed from office and a special election would be held, according to outgoing Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.
Going up
Hotel Indigo will be breaking ground next week in Huntsville’s MidCity District. It will have about 120 rooms and is expected to be completed late next year or early 2024.
Early Christmas present for Leighton
If Leighton Mayor Derick Silcox is smiling a little bigger than normal, it’s because he just received a $1 million state transportation grant to redo his downtown; making the Singing River Trail its centerpiece.
Mo getting the itch for public office?
Is Mo Brooks going to run for mayor of Huntsville or chairman of the Madison County Commission? Rumors about the former congressman’s next steps are swirling. After being defeated by Katie Britt in November’s Senate race, Brooks said during his scorched Earth concession speech he was looking forward to spending more time with his family. Time will tell.

Dale building a ‘strong’ team

Congressman-elect Dale Strong will be making announcements about his new staff soon.  Expect a veteran of Capitol Hill to be leading from D.C. and everyone’s favorite editor of a leading Alabama news source to be directing things at home in the district. The official announcement is expected next week.

Have a rumor or rumbling to share? Email [email protected].

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