Grudge match: Turner; Davis trade verbal punches

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner Jr. said comments made by Congressman Artur Davis show that Davis’ campaign has gotten desperate.

The congressman called Turner “an embarrassment” and “a discredit politician” in a Tuesday article in The Demopolis Times.

“That’s a sign of desperation and panic,” Turner said Tuesday. “He’s done what most sissies do – cry.

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“He’s got a failed administration, and he wants to get in the gutter for the election. I won’t go there.

Tuner and Davis will face each other in the June 1 Democratic primary for the seat in the Seventh Congressional District.

“I’m going to stay on the high side,” Turner said. “I’m going to talk about his failed attempts at solving healthcare in the Black Belt, his failed attempts at economic development…(and) his failed attempts at education.

“He’s trying to take credit for every federal dollar that will come into the Black Belt. He has no idea where the money came from or where the money is going.

Congressman Davis has promoted $45 million that he said came to his district through the Omnibus appropriation process. “He took the Omnibus pay money from poor single-parent women that have been put off welfare and now had job training,” Turner said. “The Omnibus pay bill money came from the closure of the welfare-to-work programs. Congress, with him (Davis) voting, kicked single parent women to the curb.

“He gave $75,000 to the City of Uniontown (toward renovating the old middle school). They don’t even own the building….He gave a $200,000 grant to Pennington. He just announced those two things a couple of weeks ago from the Omnibus pay bill. The other things he’s trying to take credit for are federal dollars that were coming regardless of whether he was in there, Earl Hilliard or anyone else. (Two years ago) he criticized Earl Hilliard for trying to take credit – just like he’s trying to do right now.”

Davis said Turner is supported by the same politicians, who supported former congressman Earl Hilliard. “Hilliard ran his election,” Turner said. “Bobby Singleton supported Artur Davis. Had Bobby Singleton supported Earl Hilliard in the first go-round, Artur Davis wouldn’t have even been in the run-off.

“Artur Davis wishes that he had the loyalty and integrity that Bobby Singleton and Charles Steele have with their constituents.”

Hasn’t Davis done a better job of communicating with the constituents than Hilliard did with numerous offices opened in the district? “Communication is essential,” Turner said, “but it’s not a panacea to all problems. We don’t need to talk about our problems; we need somebody to fix our problems….We’ve been dealing with our problems all our life; he just got to the Black Belt.”

“…I’m talking about the issues,” Turner said, “and he wants to talk personal politics.”

Davis mentioned that sexual harassment charges, violence against women, bribery and fixing tickets were all a part of Turner’s shaded past.

Turner said it was a sexual discrimination suit at ADECA, not sexual harassment. “I was never a party to this suit. She (Paula Murphy) sued ADECA for sexual discrimination…We were never deposed, never questioned, never even communicated about that case.”

In the so-called case of violence against women, “in the one (local) incident that I had a woman grabbed my testicles and I was trying to protect myself. And I don’t back down from that – no shape, form or fashion.” That case will come to court March 19.

“…There were never any allegations of bribery to fix a ticket,” he said. “That’s a lie. That’s a damn lie. There’s no allegations of bribery nowhere.

“…I’m a public figure. You can take your pot shots, but if you’re going to take a pot shot, I want you to be truthful about it.

“…I’m not ashamed of anything,” Turner said. “…Mr. Davis now knows he’s in a race. His fake poll that he put out didn’t fool anybody.”