Budgets are about priorities. Whether it’s your personal budget or the state’s budgets, we find a way to pay for the things that are most important. What we have learned this year is that a pay raise for our educators and retirees is not important to the leadership in the Alabama legislature.
Just compare the budget proposed by Gov. Robert Bentley
We are now more than two-thirds of the way through this year’s legislative session in Montgomery and, once again, our state leaders have denied the voters of Alabama the chance to vote on a statewide lottery.
This goes beyond just arguing over the merits of a state lottery. This is about democracy!
How can we trust the voters to elect us but
State employees play a vital role in our state’s economy and in providing critical services that we rely on. We ask a lot of our state employees and trust them with tremendous responsibility. They run the state’s Board of Nursing and the Medical Licensure Commission. They maintain our roads as well as operate our courts and the Department of Forensic
We’ve all heard the old saying that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” There’s a lot of wisdom in those words. Our founding fathers understood this concept and the necessity for and value of compromise. So when they created our government, they created it to operate within a system of checks and balances in order to avoid extremism. They also created it
Expanding dual enrollment has been a goal for both Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature this year. Last week, we came one step closer to achieving that goal when the members of the State House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass a bill that will increase funding for dual enrollment by $10 million.
This is a big step in the
When it comes to education, it’s not often that Alabama Democrats and Republicans agree. But one issue where we have found common ground is supporting dual enrollment for Alabama’s high school students.
Dual enrollment allows kids to get a head start on their college degrees or vocational training programs by enrolling in college courses while still in high school. The program
Alabama has seen its share of weather disasters in recent years. From snow and ice storms to horrific tornados, we all have been impacted in one way or another. But these situations have also shown how we come together as a community and help one another in times of need.
Last week was no different. From the good Samaritans who opened
There is a disturbing trend happening in Alabama - the growing number of people enrolling in Medicaid and what this says about our economy and job creation.
Every year for the past five years, Medicaid’s enrollment has dramatically increased. In 2010, the state spent $307 million on Medicaid, with a significant portion of that coming from the federal stimulus money. Last
If you watched Gov. Robert Bentley’s State of the State Address last week or read about the budgets he has proposed, then, like me, you are probably both encouraged and disappointed.
I was very encouraged to see the governor so strongly support our state’s pre-k program and vocational and workforce development training. These are things that Democrats have supported for years,
I am proud to represent the people of Etowah County in the Alabama House of Representatives. On Jan. 14, I had the honor of giving the Democratic response to Gov. Bentley’s State of the State address.
We heard the governor talk about the condition of our state.
And to his credit, the governor and his administration have had to deal with some
Most of us would agree that every child in Alabama deserves a quality education. That is why we have a public education system. Most families cannot afford a private school, so without public schools their children would not have a chance to get an education.
It is also true that some of our public schools are struggling to keep up with
The two most important issues that the state of Alabama will be facing in 2014 are education and job creation. These two issues are usually tied together because education is so critical to getting a good job, as well as recruiting and growing business.
But education and job creation are also connected to two other important issues: gaming and a statewide
Christmas is a special time of year for so many reasons.
Most importantly, it is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is truly the reason for the season, and every day I am grateful for the miracle of His birth and the salvation that He has given us.
Christmas is also
What would you do if you had $40 million to spend on education? Would you spend it on classroom supplies like textbooks and computers? Would you improve school security by hiring resource officers? Would you invest in academic programs like the Alabama Math, Science Technology Initiative (AMSTI), the Alabama Reading Initiative or the state’s pre-k program?
This year, every public school
Next year is an election year, and one of the topics you will hear the most about is jobs.
You don’t have to be a politician or a pollster to know that jobs are the number one issue on most voters’ minds - and with good reason!
For the past five years, our economy has been limping along, struggling to create jobs.
One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. I love it for many reasons.
It’s a time of year to be with family, and of course, there is always so much good food. But I also love Thanksgiving because I think it is important that we take some time out of the year to think about all the blessings that
In two months, the state legislature will reconvene for the final time before the next election cycle. State leaders have announced that this session will move faster than normal.
That is to be expected in an election year. Legislators want to finish business before the primary elections get underway.
A faster legislative session is also good for the taxpayers. The fewer trips
We are very good in this country of remembering our veterans and celebrating our freedom.
Every year, we devote three holidays to our country and those who have served in the military: Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day.
As a veteran, I am proud and grateful that our country honors it’s veterans. But sometimes I wonder if our country truly understands
Over the past five years, Medicaid enrollment in our state has increased more than 20 percent, while at the same time the number of Alabamians on food stamps has increased over 61 percent. This means that the jobs we are creating do not come with health benefits or pay enough to feed a family.
Over the course of that same five
Without a doubt, the biggest issue our state is facing is creating jobs and getting our economy back on track.
Recent reports show that our statewide unemployment rate is at 6.3 percent, which represents more than 134,000 Alabamians who can’t find a job.
We have seen thousands of jobs leave the state, while the jobs that we have been creating do not
Ever since it was passed, the Accountability Act has been controversial and politically damaging for those who supported it. The most recent and obvious example of this was the recent special election in Montgomery.
Two weeks ago, a special election was held in Montgomery to fill a state House of Representatives seat left vacant after former Rep. Jay Love resigned to
One of the most sacred things a person can trust you with is his/her money. For elected officials, this is the most important responsibility we hold. We have a duty to make sure that we are careful stewards of the taxpayers money, and that we spend your tax dollars as wisely and efficiently as possible.
But for too many politicians, this
Normally, I write my editorials about political issues facing our state is facing. But sometimes it is better to use my position as an elected official to help raise awareness for worthy causes that aren’t political but need our support.
As you may be aware, October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a time when we help raise
It’s not often that Sen. Del Marsh and I agree on political issues (take the Accountability Act, for example). But there is one issue that he and I strongly agree on, and that is the need to stop the revolving door that has become elected office.
Since the 2010 elections, there have been 10 elected officials who have resigned. Some
That is the only word to describe the state’s decision this week to raise insurance premiums on state employees instead of choosing to tap into the board’s reserves for next year.
It would be one thing if this were a small increase or if there were no other options. But this is not a small increase we are talking about.
When the Republican Supermajority in Montgomery rammed the Accountability Act through the legislature, it did so without any idea as to how much it would cost.
So when the supermajority wrote the education budget, it took a guess and set aside $40 million of your tax dollars (just for this year) to pay for tax credits to send kids in certain
One of the signs that our economy is still struggling to recover is the fact that over the past five years, Medicaid enrollment in Alabama has increased more than 20 percent. It means that more and more Alabamians are struggling to meet their basic needs.
Last year, 52 percent of the babies born in Alabama were born under care paid for
This week we celebrated Labor Day, a time to recognize and honor the contributions made by working and middle class families to our nation’s economy.
But for many families, Labor Day is just a reminder that they are unemployed or cannot find a job that comes with quality pay and benefits.
Job creation and economic growth are among the most
As the new school year has begun, the Accountability Act has once again made its way into the headlines of newspapers across Alabama.
The Accountability Act was sold to the public as giving families with children “trapped in a failing school” the opportunity to claim a $3,500 tax credit to send their children to a better-performing private school.
Federal law already allowed