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Top News Links: Wednesday, Dec. 13

Five takeaways from Doug Jones’ stunning victory

The Alabama Senate race is over. And Democrat Doug Jones has pulled off an absolutely massive upset, edging embattled Republican Roy Moore. Jones' projected victory narrows the Republican edge in the Senate, which is a very big deal for the future (or lack thereof) of President Donald Trump's policy agenda in 2018. But there are broader takeaways. – CNN

Trump signs defense act that will bring Alabama jobs

President Donald Trump has signed a $700 billion national defense act that likely will send more work to Austal USA's shipyard in Mobile. According to information released by the White House, Trump said the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will "accelerate the process of fully restoring America's military might." He said it will fund "our continued campaign to obliterate ISIS" and missile defense capabilities that will help keep North Korea in check. – AL.com

Wayne Farms starts $105M expansion in Enterprise

Wayne Farms LLC marked the official start of a major expansion project Tuesday at its Enterprise Fresh Processing Facility that will significantly increase production and add 400 new jobs. The company’s $105 million expansion project is expected to be complete in January 2019. – Made In Alabama

Shaw Industries doing $184M upgrade at Andalusia facility

Shaw Industries Group, Inc. is investing $184 million in its Andalusia manufacturing facility that creates fiber in carpet manufacturing. The project will call for an expansion of the facility and manufacturing upgrades. Shaw employs more than 1,000 people. – AL.com

Work begins on USS Mobile at Austal

Construction has begun on the USS Mobile, a new LCS being built at Austal USA in Mobile. The ship's sponsor, Rebecca Byrne, wife of local Congressman Bradley Byrne, had the honor of pushing the button to start the router that cuts the first piece of aluminium signaling the start of construction. – WPMI

Keeping peanut butter’s noble history alive

These days, few kids make it through childhood without eating some PB&Js. But in the 1920s, peanut butter was a unique food item and the tiny Pike County town of Brundidge, with fewer than 1,000 residents at that time, was about to become one of the country’s largest peanut-butter making hubs. – AL.com

Study: Roaring Reagan years of economic growth are back

Not since the Reagan economy has small business optimism been as high as it was in November, according to the National Federation of Independent Business Index of Small Business Optimism, released Monday. “We haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, and we’ve seen it only once in the 44 years that NFIB has been conducting this research,” said NFIB President Juanita Duggan. – Business Insider

AT&T Alabama names Wayne Hutchens president

Wayne Hutchens has been named president of AT&T Alabama. Hutchens most recently served as AT&T Alabama assistant vice president of regulatory and external affairs. Hutchens will oversee the company's government relations efforts in the state, in addition to working closely with community and business leaders, public elected officials and others at AT&T. – PRNewsWire 

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