Sports teach lessons that you might not learn in classrooms

By State Rep. Craig Ford We all know that education and jobs go hand-in-hand. If you want to get a good job, you have to have a good education. And having good schools is an important part of recruiting jobs and industry to a community. Education gets a lot of attention in Alabama. You hear a
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Should Dr. Sentance be fired?

The State Board of Education recently met to discuss terminating State Superintendent Dr. Michael Sentance’s contract. Politics has surrounded Dr. Sentance’s time in Alabama, starting even before he was hired. And if the board decides to fire him, his supporters will claim that politics was the driving factor. Dr. Sentance was the preferred choice of
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Agri-business center a great addition to mega sports complex

By Rep. Craig Ford Tourism and hospitality is a $13 billion dollar a year industry in the state of Alabama. That number comes from the Alabama Department of Tourism, and was included in a press release Gov. Kay Ivey put out last month. But tourism and hospitality don’t just come from our beautiful beaches and
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A crisis coming to Alabama that you’re not hearing much about

Our state government is no stranger to crises. We’ve had multiple budget crises, Medicaid crises and, most recently, a crisis related to our prison system. But there is another growing crisis that hasn’t gotten the media attention these other issues have. It’s a crisis that could have a devastating impact on Alabama’s families, our economy
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New school year starting, but it should be starting later

By Rep. Craig Ford Remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day? In a matter of days, students all across Alabama will start a new school year, and it’s only the second week of August. Instead of spending the last few weeks of August working summer jobs or going on family vacations, teachers and
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If Etowah County Commission won’t step up for Mega Sports Complex, legislative delegation should

By Rep. Craig Ford Every day I run into people who tell me how much they want Etowah County to have its own sports complex. And in almost every single one of these conversations, I always get asked, “But Craig, do you really think we will ever actually get it done?” I do believe we
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Craig Ford - Can't Never Could

One doesn’t need a Ph.D in soothsaying to know that the honeymoon between state superintendent Mike Sentance and some members of the state school board has ended. Though Sentance has been chastised time after time by board members for not sharing information, he basically ignores them. Which is the reason that board meetings and work sessions now last four to
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Craig Ford - State legislature must pass lottery in special session

The Alabama Legislature is quickly running out of excuses for failing to let the people vote on a state lottery. Last summer, Gov. Robert Bentley called a special session specifically for the purpose of passing a lottery. After passing out of the state Senate, the lottery went to the House, where it passed on its
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It’s not about right wing and left wing; it’s about right and wrong

It would be easy to think nothing good has happened lately in the world of Alabama politics, and that Montgomery is so mired in corruption and bickering that nothing ever gets done. After all, the legislative session that just ended began with one governor and ended with a different one; tensions over legislative redistricting and
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Craig Ford - My hope for Alabama and the Democratic Party

For the last six years, it has been my privilege to serve as Minority Leader in the Alabama House of Representatives. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, I will step down and a new leader will be elected. While I will continue to serve in the state legislature and represent the great people of Etowah County, I
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Craig Ford - VictoryLand re-opening a victory for democracy

I have always believed that gambling is an issue that should be decided by the voters. And I will never understand why, in the middle of the biggest economic recession our country has seen since the Great Depression, our state leaders chose to put hundreds of people out of work and shut down legally operating
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Craig Ford--Stop wasting tax dollars on unwinnable lawsuits

Our state government has money problems. It’s the reason we keep calling the state legislature back into special legislative sessions year after year to fix problems that should have been fixed during the regular legislative sessions. It’s the reason we have racked up almost a billion dollars in debt. It’s the reason we keep hearing
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Craig Ford--State legislature again fails to let the people vote

After nearly two decades of waiting, it seemed like the people of Alabama were finally going to get the chance to vote on a lottery. On July 27, Gov. Robert Bentley announced, “We need your help solving our funding crisis. I’m giving you the opportunity to vote on a statewide lottery.” And the governor deserves
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Craig Ford - Debt is the real reason for special session

The Alabama Legislature returned to Montgomery this week for what may end up being only the first of more special legislative sessions. The governor said that the purpose for this legislative session was to vote on a lottery to fund Medicaid and other general fund proposals. While the lottery is being debated in the state
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Craig Ford - It will take more than a lottery

In less than two weeks, the state legislature will return to Montgomery to take up a lottery bill that no one has seen. Gov. Robert Bentley, who has prided himself on using “the element of surprise” when it comes to calling special legislative sessions, has still not released any details or even had any conversations
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Craig Ford - Lottery must be used for Education Fund

Over the last year or so, the lottery has been getting more and more attention and support from state legislators. The lottery is extremely popular, getting over 60 percent favorable support in all the public opinion polls that I’ve seen. The debate these days isn’t so much over whether we should have a lottery, but
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Craig Ford - Gov. Bentley dooms special session before it begins

Members of the Alabama Legislature were treated to a bit of déjà vu this week when we found out through the newspaper – and not directly from Gov. Robert Bentley – that the governor is planning to call the legislature back into a special legislative session within the next month or two. Last summer, Gov.
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Craig Ford -House Speaker shouldn't be chosen behind closed doors

When former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was convicted on 12 felony counts of corruption, he was immediately removed from office. Now, the state House of Representatives must elect a new speaker. The state constitution requires legislators to hold a public vote to elect the next speaker, but the reality is that, unless there
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Craig Ford: Pride, not people, that Gov. Bentley knows

One of the most famous scriptures in the Bible says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” That scripture kept running through my mind this past week as Gov. Robert Bentley repeatedly claimed that he knows the people of Alabama “better than anyone” and that they are not interested in impeaching him. That
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Craig Ford - Breaking the pattern of corruption in Alabama politics

We’ve all heard the famous saying, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s really more than just a saying; it’s a lesson from history that Alabama leaders have continued to repeat over and over again. The conviction of House Speaker Mike Hubbard, the suspension and pending hearing of Chief Justice Roy More and the
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Craig Ford - Six Years Later And Still No Jobs

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That also happens to be a pretty good description of our state leadership for the last six years. For six years, Alabama’s leaders have talked about “jobs, jobs, jobs” and bragged about how they’ve made
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Craig Ford - Do we honor our veterans?

As you celebrated Memorial Day this week, how did you take time to honor our veterans and, specifically, those who did not come back home alive? Our country officially recognizes two days out of the year, set aside in remembrance of those who have served our country. Veterans Day, celebrated in November, is in honor
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Craig Ford - Expanding Pre-K is a step in the right direction

 These days, it’s easy to think nothing good ever comes out of our government, especially here in Alabama. But for all the bad you hear, there are a lot of great things going on in our state and in our public schools. A perfect example is Alabama’s pre-k program, which has just been named the
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Craig Ford - Alabama leadership has become a reverse Robin Hood

State leaders in Montgomery have become Robin Hoods - just not the kind that everyone remembers hearing about as a child. Instead of taking from the rich to help the poor, we’ve started taking from the poor to give to criminals. Alabama’s leadership has become nothing more than Robin Hood in reverse.

State leaders needs to refocus. Trying to

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Statement from Rep. Craig Ford

  “Another session has come and gone without a vote on a state lottery. The legislature passed a teacher pay raise, only to have that raise taken away when the state’s PEEHIP Board hiked up their insurance rates. And we couldn’t find the money to fund Medicaid, but the governor did everything he could to put the taxpayers in an

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Craig Ford - Throwing money at prisons won’t solve problem

This week, the state House of Representatives will be taking up the massive prison bond legislation that Gov. Robert Bentley and state leaders have made the centerpiece of their legislative agenda.

There’s no doubt that our prison system has serious problems and, in cases like Tutwiler women’s prison, some are so old and in such bad shape that they

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Craig Ford - The case for impeachment

I’m not a lawyer, but I believe it’s important for those of us calling for the governor’s impeachment to make our case to the public and the state legislature.

The first point being that the governor doesn’t have to break the law to be impeached. Impeachment is about whether he is fit to continue in office, regardless of whether

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Craig Ford - State leaders have lost benefit of the doubt

  Being in leadership comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is the image of the place you represent. Gov. Robert Bentley and our state leaders are the image of Alabama. Now, thanks to them, we have a serious image problem.

In government, we have Democrats and Republicans. There are partisan issues, and that’s a good thing.

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Craig Ford - Sinner or Saint?

  This has been a disheartening week for the State of Alabama. The news of Gov. Robert Bentley’s relationship with Rebekah Caldwell Mason has embarrassed our state on a national level and become a distraction for the state legislature at a time when legislators need to be focused on solving the state’s problems.

Nobody rejoices in seeing another person’s downfall,

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Craig Ford - Bentley’s actions costing Alabama jobs, jobs, jobs

  Since Gov. Robert Bentley’s relationship with Rebekah Mason became public last week, there have been calls for him to resign. Those calls have not come just because of his relationship with Rebekah Mason. Gov. Bentley isn’t the first person in Montgomery to do what he did and probably won’t be the last.

The reason Gov. Bentley should resign is

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Craig Ford - State employees deserve pay raises, too

Alabama’s state employees are the unsung heroes who keep our state running. But they also have been neglected and left out for far too long. If Gov. Robert Bentley can find a way to give his cabinet and staff members 80 percent pay raises, surely we can find a way to give our state employees four percent!

State employees

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Craig Ford - Warning labels crucial on e-cigarette advertisements

  Did you know that seven out of 10 children under the age of 17 are exposed to advertisements for e-cigarettes?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 more than 18 million middle and high school aged children in the United States were exposed to ads for e-cigarettes. Experts expect the e-cigarette industry to grow to $50

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Craig Ford - Why Alabama should allow early voting

This week, voters across Alabama went to the polls to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. In November, we will do it all over again.

More than three million people are registered to vote in Alabama, and in the last presidential election, 73 percent of those people actually turned out to vote. This November, turnout could be

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Craig Ford - It’s time to let the people vote

There is no better form of government than democracy. Our founding fathers gave their lives just so we could have the right to vote and the right to govern ourselves.

Democracy is fundamental to being an American. We all have the right to be heard in our government. And when it comes to the state of Alabama, it’s time

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Craig Ford - U.S. Cong. Robert Aderholt has some explaining to do

When U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt spoke to the local Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday (Feb. 17), he had a lot of explaining to do.

To start with, he should explain why anyone who wanted to hear his/her congressman speak had to pay $25 per person. We elected him; we shouldn’t have to pay just to have the opportunity to

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Craig Ford - When ideology becomes idolatry

There’s a fine line between standing up for your principles and political extremism. These days, unfortunately, political extremism seems to be the standard. There’s no clearer example of this than the reaction Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) to House Democrats’ legislative agenda last week.

House Democrats’ agenda includes a lottery, an educator pay raise, warning labels on e-cigarettes

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Craig Ford - Instead of Super Prisons, let’s build Super Schools

During his State of the State Address Tuesday night, Gov. Robert Bentley laid out his four-year plan, which included spending up to $800 million to build four new super prisons. The next day, the governor announced that he wants to transfer $181 million out of the education budget and put it in the general fund budget, which also pays

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Craig Ford - Is Republican lottery bill just an attempt to kill the lottery?

There’s no doubt that momentum for the lottery is building in Alabama. A public opinion poll, paid for by the House and Senate Republican Caucuses, found that 62 percent of likely Republican Primary voters support the lottery, and 59 percent even support expanding gambling in Alabama.

These strong numbers show why two Republican state legislators, Rep. Alan Harper and

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Craig Ford - Proposed Merit Pay Bill has serious flaws

When the state legislature returns to Montgomery in two weeks, one of the top issues will be a cost-of-living pay raise for educators. Both parties agree that the money is there, and now is the time. But there are some major differences between what both parties are proposing.

House Democrats will propose a five-percent pay raise for all teachers,

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Craig Ford - Alabamians want a lottery, but not a blank check lottery

As droves of Alabamians recently flooded into Tennessee, Georgia and Florida for a chance to win the $1.6 billion Powerball, it’s obvious the people of Alabama want to play the lottery.

People in 44 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands are all allowed to purchase lottery tickets. Alabama is one of just six

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Craig Ford - A new year, a new opportunity to right a wrong

New Years is a time of reflection and resolutions, a time for changes and fixing mistakes. With the state’s next legislative session beginning in less than a month, there’s a resolution I would like our state leaders to make: fix the problems with the Accountability Act.

The Accountability Act was sold to us as a way to give children

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Craig Ford - Time to expand Pre-K in Alabama

Since 2008, education spending for K-12 in Alabama has gone down by more than 20 percent. Those cuts have been felt in every classroom in the state, from outdated textbooks and technology to larger class sizes.

But this year, the state has an opportunity to invest in education again instead of cutting it.

This year, the state of Alabama

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Craig Ford - Remembering Christmas

What does Christmas mean to you? 

It’s a question that will probably get a different answer from every person you ask. Every family has their own traditions and customs that make Christmas unique to them.

Of course, certain things about Christmas are universal. For every Christian, Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He

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Craig Ford - We can’t have education without educators

One of the biggest problems we have in education right now is the shortage of teachers. This is true both nationally and in Alabama.

Today, fewer college students are enrolling in education courses. Eric Mackey, the executive director of the state superintendents association, recently told the Times Daily that there are about 40 to 45 percent fewer college students

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Craig Ford - Maybe Santa will bring us what Rep. Aderholt won’t

We are just a few weeks away from Christmas, and children across the state are heading to the mall or shopping center to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

I haven’t sat on Santa’s lap since I was a kid, but at this point Santa may be our best hope for finally getting

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Craig Ford - Republicans should leave teachers’ retirement alone

It’s been a rough year for the powers that be in Montgomery.

There have been more than a few bad headlines this year, and we only avoided a government shutdown after three costly legislative sessions that led to an $80 million raid on public education and $86 million in new taxes.

The wheels clearly have come off the bus

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Craig Ford - Remembering our educators this Thanksgiving

In our house at Thanksgiving, our family likes to sit around the table and name the things we are thankful for in our life. Of course, everyone always names the big things like family, our freedom and so on. But the things that I’m most thankful for are the people in my life who have made a difference -

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Craig Ford - Progress has been made, but more work needs to be done

Congratulations to Gov. Robert Bentley and Secretary of State John Merrill on their work to fully enact the “motor voter” law. It’s refreshing to see a news article about voting in Alabama that isn’t negative. And while it did take more than 20 years and the threat of a costly lawsuit, Alabama is finally moving toward compliance with the

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Craig Ford - Appreciating our veterans on Veterans Day

November is a time to be thankful. Of course, we celebrate Thanksgiving later on in the month. But November is also the time when we celebrate Veterans Day and give thanks to all those who have served our country.

Veterans Day began as a day to remember those who served in World War I. That war ended at the

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Craig Ford - Animal cruelty and neglect no laughing matter

It blows my mind that we still have to deal with animal cruelty and neglect in 2015. But unfortunately there are still sad stories like the one that just came out of Walker County. A man there owned more than 50 dogs. When his house was foreclosed on, he took 11 of the dogs with
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Craig Ford - Where's the beef?

Do you remember that old Wendy’s commercial with the older lady asking, “Where’s the beef?” The point of the commercial was that Wendy’s competitors didn’t deliver what they promised and, more importantly, didn’t give the customer what they wanted.

When I think about Alabama politics and what’s going on in our state government, I find myself asking that same

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Craig Ford - Our state leaders need to get back to the mainstream

When even the Republican leader in the state senate says you’re out of touch, you know things have gone too far. But that is where we are in Alabama politics these days. It’s about the mainstream versus the extreme, and right now the extreme is winning.

In a recently released recording of a meeting between the governor and the

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Craig Ford - What education surplus?

Stealing from children is wrong. Period. But that’s exactly what the Alabama Legislature has done and will probably continue to do.

Several members of the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives have written and spoken publicly about a “surplus” in education. They have also claimed that if we combine the budgets, it will solve all our general fund budget

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Craig Ford - The importance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

There are a lot of things that make October a special month - the Major League Baseball playoffs, the heart of football season and the changing weather, just to name a few. But October is also important because it is the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I’ve always been proud to support those who fight against this terrible disease,

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Craig Ford - Bentley got his tax increases but still closing parks and DMV offices

As if $86 million in new taxes and an $80 million raid on public education weren’t bad enough, Gov. Robert Bentley now has announced that he will close more than 30 drivers license offices, as well as some state parks and National Guard armories.

The governor has spent this entire year trying to convince legislators and the people of Alabama

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Craig Ford - Paul Lee is the one who should be ashamed

It would be an understatement to say that this year has been an odd one for Alabama politics. But nothing surprised me more than when Rep. Paul Lee, a Republican from Dothan, came up to the microphone on the last night of the legislative session that ended last week and gave a speech during which he said that it

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Craig Ford - State Republicans still don’t solve the budget crisis

In a special legislative session where their options were to either raise taxes, cut services or raid education, the Republicans in the Alabama Legislature somehow managed to do all three and still not solve the long-term problems in the budget.

What is also very telling are the taxes they chose to raise. Every one of their tax increases is

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Craig Ford - Ford introduces legislation to protect school chaplains

College football has finally started back, and it couldn’t have come soon enough! Football is a way of life here in Alabama. Only family and God are more important.

That’s why I was so troubled a few weeks ago when the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Auburn University asking them to “abolish the chaplaincy” in

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Craig Ford - Legislature shouldn't waste another chance to pass lottery

There aren’t a whole lot of good things anyone can say about what’s been going on in Montgomery lately. The legislature has failed to pass a budget - twice! Legislators return to Montgomery next week for a third legislative session to address the budget crisis, but there is still no agreement on any solution.

But despite all of this,

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Craig Ford -Time for state leaders to prove that life matters

Last week, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey wrote an article entitled “Life Matters” in response to the recent Planned Parenthood videos. Like Lt. Gov. Ivey, I am 100 percent pro-life, and was shocked by the videos that came out. Life does matter, and should be treated with dignity and respect at every stage, including before birth.

But Lt. Gov. Ivey’s

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Craig Ford - A new school year is starting, but it should be starting later

Remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day? Over the last few weeks, students across Alabama have started a new school year right in the middle of August. Some have even been back for two or three weeks.

Instead of spending the last few weeks of August working summer jobs or on family vacations, teachers and students are

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Craig Ford - A path forward

It isn’t often that legislators in Montgomery are universally in agreement on anything. But this week it happened, twice.

First, legislators in the State House of Representatives agreed by a vote of 92-2 to kill the budget that had passed earlier in the year. Additionally, everyone agreed that this legislative session has been a complete failure and waste of

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Craig Ford - Republican legislators need to stop blaming Democrats and start leading

The wheels have come off the bus in Montgomery. 

That’s the only way to describe what’s happening in our state legislature. Now more than ever is the time for legislators to reach across the aisle and work together to solve this budget crisis. But instead, Republican legislators are attempting to blame Democrats because they can’t pass their own tax

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Craig Ford - Robbing our children is not the answer

The crisis in the General Fund budget has dominated lawmakers’ focus this year, and for good reason. But one proposed solution continuing to come up would be devastating for Alabama.

State Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) has introduced a bill to combine the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets. In the past, I argued that all that would

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Craig Ford - The “Element of Surprise” is Just Another Game

Two weeks ago, Gov. Bentley surprised everyone when he called the special legislative session. Legislators had expected the governor to wait until mid-August to call the session, but the governor said he wanted to use “the element of surprise” and take pressure off legislators over the gambling issue.

The people of Alabama expect their leaders to work together, and

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Craig Ford - The smart way to spend the BP money

Alabama won a huge victory last week when the BP Oil settlement was announced. As a part of that settlement, the state will receive $2.3 billion dollars over the next 18 years, with a billion of those dollars being given to our state’s General Fund budget. That means legislators now have to determine what is the best use of

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Craig Ford - You can’t fix something you don’t believe in

For months, we have been told that the state needs at least another $200 million to avoid catastrophe. We have been told that we are broke because the way we budget for our state government is broken.

Unfortunately, what we have been told is true: our government is broke, and it is broken. But you can’t fix something if

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Craig Ford - Time for a real solution to gambling question

Decisions made by the government and high-profile court rulings consumed the news last week. Most of the breaking news has centered on the U.S. Supreme Court decisions. But there is one court ruling that hasn’t gotten as much attention, and it’s just as important to the people of Alabama because it has such a huge impact on the future

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Craig Ford - Opposing gambling legislation protects gambling interests

Last week, Gov. Robert Bentley announced that he would not include any gambling proposals in the call for a special legislative session later this year. I believe Gov. Bentley is wrong to refuse to include gambling in the call for a special session, and I will introduce a gambling bill when the legislature returns to Montgomery.

There are only two

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Craig Ford -The Legislature’s Failures Keep On Coming

There have been a lot of things said about the state’s legislative session that just ended. But no one is calling it a success (at least not anyone who wants to maintain any credibility).

From the legislature’s failure to pass a General Fund budget, to the Republicans’ inability to agree among themselves on a solution to the budget crisis,

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Craig Ford - Can the legislature solve the budget crisis?

It’s been a joke on the internet for who knows how long - somebody takes a picture of a stop sign missing a letter or the University of Minnesota’s logo painted on the 45-yard line instead of at midfield, and there’s a caption that reads, “You had one job to do.”

The Alabama Legislature also only has one job

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Craig Ford - Combining state’s budgets will only make crisis worse

It’s no secret that the state of Alabama is in a budget crisis. It’s a crisis that we’ve known for three years was coming, but our state leaders waited until the elections were over before they publicly acknowledged it or offered any solutions. There have been several solutions proposed, from more taxes to expanding gambling. However, the most recent

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What would Jesus do? - Craig Ford

We are often reminded that this nation was founded on Christian principles, and certainly a majority of the representatives in the Alabama legislature are Christians. 

So when the General Fund budget, which finances all government services and agencies outside of education, came up for a vote last week, I couldn’t help but think about that popular phrase from the

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Who’s leading the Alabama House of Representatives?

Every organization needs leaders. An army needs a general. A team needs a coach. A company needs a president or CEO.

The Alabama House of Representatives also needs leadership, especially when we are facing a crisis like the one we are facing now. But over the last few weeks, it has become obvious that the wheels are coming off

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Republicans are trading in job slogans for taxes

  After five years of passing millions of dollars in tax cuts for big businesses and billion-dollar, out-of-state corporations that, in some cases, pay zero state income taxes, Republicans in the state House of Representatives are about to raise taxes on working men and women.

Only six months after campaigning on a pledge to create more jobs and never raise

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State legislature thinks brown shrimp are more important than people

 When I first saw the list of bills we would be debating in the state House of Representatives, I thought it was a joke. The first bill up for debate was a bill to make brown shrimp the official state crustacean.

This is your state legislature’s priorities, folks. Not peoples’ lives or jobs, and certainly not being responsible

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Maybe Democrats won the 2014 elections after all

  Late Saturday night, Inside Alabama Politics reported that Republicans in the Alabama Legislature will introduce their own gambling bill this week, which will include a lottery and authorization for a possible compact with the Poarch Creek Indians.

On the one hand, I’m glad to see Republicans embracing the Democratic Party’s legislative agenda. A lottery has been a part of

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Accountability Act? Or Bob Riley Bailout?

By State Rep. Craig Ford

The day the Accountability Act was signed into law, legislative leaders said it would need to be revised. Three months later, Republican leaders offered their first “fix” bill, which expanded the tax credits for corporate donors.

Now, Republican legislators are pushing another “fix” bill that, once again, raises the cap. But

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A big step forward for the lottery and a bipartisan solution to budget crisis

  It isn’t often these days that you see Democrats and Republicans agreeing on major policies. But that’s exactly what began to happen last week.

It is no secret that our General Fund budget is in desperate shape. The proposed budget cuts that were released the other week would gut our government to the point that it could shut down,

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A disturbing trend in the Alabama legislature

  My wife Gwen is an incredible woman. I see it every day of my life. Not just in how hard she works or in the way she supports me, but in the most important job any of us could ever have: being a parent. Gwen always goes above and beyond for our family, as do many other mothers, wives

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Congressman Aderholt needs to earn his award

  Gadsden’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Robert Aderholt, was recently chosen as the National Association of Development Organizations’ Legislator of the Year. In the article announcing the award, Congressman Aderholt said he was honored to receive an award from an organization dedicated to growing communities.

The irony in all this is mind blowing! Just weeks after

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Democrat's lottery or Republicans' taxes?

This week is the state legislature’s spring break, and we are now almost a third of the way through the legislative session. And as last week came to an end, legislative leaders were quick to congratulate themselves on passing their legislative agenda.

I’m sure the taxpayers will be relieved Republicans were able to pass their “Alabama First” agenda. I

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Why charter schools are a bad for Alabama

  Other than the $700 million hole in the state’s General Fund budget, no issue has been more talked about than the charter school bill.

Republicans in the Alabama legislature have made charter schools a part of their legislative agenda, and a priority in this legislative session (which is ironic, given these same Republican legislators campaigned on stopping President Obama’s agenda,

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An ironic time for history to repeat itself

  It amazes me to think how far we’ve come over the last 50 years, and yet how far it seems we still have to go.

All eyes were on Selma during the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and rightfully so. The march that took place all those years ago brought national attention to the evil that is discrimination, and

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Serious problems require serious policy solutions

  It is no secret that our state government is in serious financial trouble. The hole in the state’s General Fund budget is estimated to be at least $250 million. But while everyone acknowledges the problem, what has been most surprising is how so many of those in leadership have failed to offer any solutions.

The exception has been Gov.

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Making progress on I-759 will take the whole team

Many times in my life, I’ve seen that teamwork really does work. Whether it’s in sports, business or government, every member of the team gets together and comes to an agreement - a little give from some people and a little take from others. For teamwork to really work, however, everyone involved, including the leaders, must be willing to

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Learning from history

I’ve always admired U.S. President Harry S. Truman. Even though he never earned a college degree, I believe he had more wisdom than most of our Ivy-League educated leaders.

Truman once said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” That is a profound statement. It is also very true and very relevant

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Armistead not entitled to his own facts

  Alabama Republican Party Chairman, Bill Armistead recently took to al.com to discuss his thoughts on the state budget. It left me scratching my head, as he kept putting words like “budget crisis” and “shortfall” in quotes like he doesn’t believe we have a budget crisis. Gov. Robert Bentley himself has predicted a minimum $265 million shortfall in the general

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Grow with the one you know

There’s a saying in the insurance business: “Grow with those we know.” It means when you are out looking for new business, always think of your existing customers first. I think this is a good concept that we need to apply to job creation here in Alabama.

Many of our state’s leaders have been touting a declining unemployment rate,

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A legacy to live by

“I have decided to stick with love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here, 1967

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one I have spent years trying to not only fully understand, but also to live up to. I am amazed by how powerful

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The importance of working together

  “You can’t work across party lines when there aren’t many of them. So I’m going to work across Republican Party lines because there are a lot of divisions in the Republican Party.” - Gov. Robert Bentley

I was very disappointed when I read this quote from the governor earlier this week. Partisanship is a part of politics. And it’s

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Still haven’t quite figured out how to help students

One of the things that makes our government work is the self-reporting of financial information. This self-reporting, and in some cases, outside auditing, allows the people of Alabama to know exactly where their money is going. And each year, at the end of the year, the Alabama Department of Revenue puts out these reports for all to see.

The

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The hope of a new year

There’s no doubt that 2015 will be a difficult year, as our state is facing many difficult challenges. From plugging a massive hole in the budget to reforming our prisons, the legislature has its work cut out for it this spring.

Considering how daunting these challenges will be, it would be easy to be pessimistic about what will be coming. We’ve

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The most wonderful time of the year

Christmastime has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s a time of giving to others and a time for visiting with family, some of whom we haven’t seen in a year or more. Most importantly, for me as a Christian, Christmas time is a time to honor and praise our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This time of

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Should Montgomery be the new Washington?

If there was ever any doubt about how politicians in Alabama feel about the federal government, just look at some of their campaign ads. During this past election, Alabama politicians spent millions of dollars on ads about how they would stand up to Washington and “fight Obama”. The phrase “federal overreach” is about as common now as hearing “Sweet Home

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Good ideas are bigger than political parties

Without question, the biggest issue facing our state legislature this spring will be funding our state budgets, and specifically addressing the crisis in the General Fund budget. While the Education Trust Fund is expected to be in decent shape, Gov. Robert Bentley has projected a potential shortfall of anywhere between $250 million and $700 million in the General Fund budget.

Several

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Ford to sponsor lottery bill, resolution to negotiate compact with Poarch Creek

When our state legislature returns to Montgomery, legislators will have to take on a major problem: funding our state budgets.

There are no easy solutions to our budget problems. But there are simple solutions that can generate millions of dollars for our budgets and put us on a path to fiscal stability without raising income or property taxes, or other taxes

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Protecting democracy, our American birthright

There are many things about this country that make us great - our economy, our military and our people, to name a few. But perhaps our greatest accomplishment has been democracy. Democracy is our most precious and cherished blessing, and it is the foundation of our freedom.

Before America, kings with absolute power ruled nations. While there are still

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Alabama Democrats ready to build a better Alabama

Last week, a journalist wrote an article claiming that the Alabama Democrats are making “phony” attempts to “whitewash diversity” in an attempt to keep white voters from leaving the party and taking their money with them. We’ll ignore the ridiculous assumption that Black Democrats don’t donate and that Black leadership can’t fundraise. We’ll even look past the Republican Party’s lack

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“Thank you” doesn’t always cover it

This week we had the pleasure of celebrating our nation’s true heroes - our veterans. This is always one of the most important holidays of the year in my mind. Not because I am a veteran, but because I believe it is important that we take time to appreciate and understand the sacrifice members of the military (and their families)

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