As legislators prepare to return to Montgomery next week for the 2013 Legislative Session, one of the biggest issues we will address will be public education.
Last week, Republicans in the state legislature announced their legislative agenda for this year. Their only education proposal was a school flexibility bill that would allow local school systems to seek waivers on state statues,
“…there is nothing greater in all the world than freedom. It’s worth going to jail for. It’s worth losing a job for. It’s worth dying for. My friends, go out this evening determined to achieve this freedom which God wants for all of His children.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jan. 1, 1957
As our country celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As legislators prepare to return to Montgomery on Feb. 5, we have to determine what issues will be our priorities in the coming legislative session. In the coming weeks, House Democrats will announce our official legislative agenda for the year. But today, I’d like to discuss what the legislature’s top priorities should be when we return to the capitol.
Schools should be a safe place where our children can learn and grow without fear or danger. And when you consider
I don’t envy Gov. Bentley. He has a tough job to do and has had to make some tough choices over the past two years. But one of the choices he has made should not have been tough at all. Yet he took months to make his choice, flip-flopped on that choice, and ultimately made the wrong decision.
I’m talking about
The holidays are a time for giving. We give gifts to our friends, families and co-workers. We give money and other donations to charities like Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army or a local food bank. But money and presents are the only gifts we can give, and sometimes are not the gifts that are most needed.
One thing we all
This week, I lost a true friend, colleague and mentor when Rep. Yvonne Kennedy passed away.
When I first heard the news, I was shocked. It was very unexpected. But as I began to mourn her passing, the thought occurred to me that this shouldn’t just be a time for saying goodbye to a friend we lost.
This should also be a
When our founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights, they made the “right to keep and bear arms” a priority. In fact, the right to own a firearm comes second only to the First Amendment rights to free speech, freedom of religion and the freedom of the press.
The founding fathers were wise to provide constitutional protections for gun ownership.
I have been very disappointed to read that Gov. Bentley has chosen to hand over control of the state’s health insurance exchange to the federal government.
Federal law requires the state to set up an insurance exchange. Because the governor has refused to follow the law, the federal government is going to set up the exchange anyway and without any input
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, and, in my opinion, it could not come soon enough.
This year has been filled with political fights, Hurricane Sandy and a scandal involving the head of the CIA.
With all of that, it can be easy to get consumed with the bad and forget all the good we have in our lives.
I was deeply disappointed last week when I read about the Republican leaderships’ hypocrisy on gambling in Alabama and the subsequent threats they made to the papers that printed the story.
Disappointed, but not surprised.
For years, there have been accusations that the Alabama Republican Party and its leadership have actively sought out contributions from gaming interests in Alabama and Mississippi while
November is a special time of year. The leaves begin changing, the fall becomes winter, and there is plenty of great football on television. Every November, our nation takes a day to give thanks for the blessings God has given us.
But November is also the month when we take a day to honor America’s veterans and to thank them for
Recently, I wrote an article about the 11 statewide amendments that will be on our ballots next week. Today, I want to talk a little more about Amendment 4, which would remove some of the racist language that is currently in our state constitution.
If you only read the description of Amendment 4 that will appear on our ballots, it appears
In two weeks, we will cast our votes in several crucial elections. But there will be more than just political offices on our ballots. This year’s ballot also includes eleven statewide amendments, some of which will have significant impacts on our state.
To help voters have a better understanding of what these amendments will do, I have written a summary of
Recently I wrote an editorial about October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and what we can do to help raise awareness and support the work to end breast cancer.
But did you know that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?
Domestic violence occurs when one person uses force or threats to control another person. This is typically done through
We must repay the trust fund sooner and with interest
One of the reasons that voters approved the constitutional amendment to allow the state to borrow $437 million from the state’s Trust Fund was because the Governor and legislative leaders promised that they would repay the money.
The bill that Republican Sen. Bryan Taylor filed would require the state to
Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s an illness that can affect any woman, regardless of age, race, where they live, or their socio-economic background.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012 alone, 226,870 more women will be diagnosed with new cases of
Last Tuesday (Sept. 18), the people of Alabama will have decided the fate of the constitutional amendment that would allow our state government to borrow $437 million from the state’s Trust Fund. I recently wrote about why I believe voters should vote no on the constitutional amendment. Today, I would like to offer three proposals that legislators and the governor
This week, our nation celebrates Labor Day – a day meant to honor and show appreciation to hard-working Americans throughout the country. But this year, the celebrations seem bittersweet.
For four years, our nation has struggled to climb out of this recession. Some states have been more successful than others in recruiting or keeping jobs, and until recently, Alabama appeared
In previous columns, I have written about the mistakes I believe Republicans are making in regards to our public education system. I have also written about the need to provide competitive compensation to keep and attract the best and brightest to the education profession.
When the legislature returns to Montgomery next year, Democrats will offer a full agenda to support
As Republicans like to point out, for 136 years, Alabama voters continued to re-elect Democrats to represent them in Montgomery. During those 136, Alabama’s taxes were among the lowest in the nation, yet we still balanced the budget every year without gutting our schools, or the state’s Medicaid program. Even in the Great Depression and the economic stagnation of
There are several factors that can influence a child’s ability to learn - economic situation, parental involvement, access to resources like modern technology and current textbooks, and classroom sizes.
But a key ingredient to child’s academic success is having good teachers and support personnel in our schools. We have all known teachers who impacted our lives or inspired us to
The new leadership in Montgomery has been quick to pat itself on the back for its performance since it took total control of our state government in 2010.
But what has the Republican Supermajority really accomplished?
Since the Republicans took over, our state has lost thousands of jobs, many of them critical public sector jobs in education and mental
Mid-July is the very heart of summer, when the temperatures are high and the cool breezes of fall seem a distant dream.
Fall once was associated with school starting back up, though few think like that now. Over the past decade, the school start-date has crept earlier and earlier, with most schools beginning the first week of August. Most
For four years, our country and our state have struggled to recover from what economists are calling “The Great Recession.” It is no surprise that all the public opinion polls show the number one issue on voters’ minds is - by far - jobs and the economy.
Republican leaders in Montgomery have been claiming that Alabama is recovering and
This week, our nation celebrates its 236th birthday. Most of us will spend the day celebrating with family and friends, barbequing and watching fireworks. But between the fireworks and cheeseburgers, it is important that we take a moment to think about what it means to be an American and pause to remember those who have fought for this country.
Ask most people and they will tell you Alabama is still in a recession. People are worried, and despite what we may hear on the national news, it certainly doesn’t feel like we’re making progress here.
A recent report confirms what we have all been feeling.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Alabama economy was one
The most important responsibility given to the Alabama Legislature is to write the state’s budgets each year. What a legislator fights for and how they vote on the budgets is the strongest indicator of that legislator’s values.
This year’s budgets became a war over what was more important - protecting corporate tax loopholes or protecting funding for Medicaid, schools and
On June 1, seventeen Veterans’ Affairs offices across Alabama were closed, including an essential office located in Centre.
Our legislature in Montgomery has one job above all others, and that is to write a budget every year. The Republican Supermajority that controls our legislature has the power to pass any budget it wants to without even talking to Democrats.
Was anybody really surprised when Artur Davis announced that he is now a Republican and considering running for office in Virginia?
For the past two years, everyone in Virginia and Alabama has watched this man’s public breakdown. But in defeat, we have seen the real Artur Davis - a man with no principles and no understanding of what it
By State Rep. Craig Ford
After the 2010 elections, there were many who said the Democratic Party was dead in Alabama. But this year, Democrats in the Alabama legislature have proven that we are alive and fighting harder than ever to protect the people of Alabama.
Democrats have stepped up and provided leadership and solutions on a number of
What if you learned that the state had a program that could improve your child’s math and science skills so much, they could be a year ahead academically by the time they graduated? The program would make it more likely they would get into college - and get scholarships. Even if your child weren’t going to college, by participating…
For the 136 years that Alabama Democrats led our state, we had the lowest taxes in the nation. Even today, Alabama collects fewer dollars in state and local taxes per person than any other place in the nation.
Yet, Alabama does not have the lowest taxes for everyone. If, for example, you work for $10 to $15 an hour,…
As a state representative, and especially as a Democrat, I am a strong believer in the value of education and the need to support our children’s schools. But I am deeply concerned about the charter school bill that has been introduced by Rep. Phil Williams and the Republican Supermajority.
While legislators should always be considering ways we can improve…
This year, we will see significant cuts to both the state General Fund budget and the Education Trust Fund budget. Education spending will especially suffer this year.
Education spending has been cut by 20 percent from what we spent just four years ago. We have not purchased new textbooks in years, and we have lost thousands of teachers and…
After two years and $50 million taxpayer dollars wasted, the Alabama bingo trial has finally come to an end. This investigation was an unprecedented abuse of federal authority.
The purpose of this investigation was always about influencing the outcome of the 2010 elections. That is why no arrests or indictments were made until one month before the election.
Much to the chagrin of students everywhere, homework is an essential part of a good education. When students do math problems or go over a history lesson at home, homework solidifies what they learned in class.
Yet, one in five Alabama students don’t have a textbook to bring home. Many Alabama textbooks are in terrible shape because they are…
By State Rep. Craig Ford
Since 1993, Alabama has focused its job recruiting efforts on bringing in large companies and growing the automotive industry. These efforts started with Governor Folsom and continued under Governor Siegelman. Over a period of just a few years, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai took Alabama from dead last in the number of autos built to…