John 15:13 reads, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Thousands of men and women in the United States Armed Forces have not only given their life for their friends, but for all of us. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those men and women who lost their lives for
What if Etowah County and the 4th Congressional District had the same leadership in our congressional representative as they do in South Alabama?
Last week, Congressman Bradley Byrne of Mobile made a strong public stand for construction of a bridge on Interstate 10 over the Mobile River. The congressman called the project “a national priority” and warned that inaction would endanger
I have always believed in the power and value of education. That is why I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all those who are graduating this month.
Whether you are finishing high school, a vocational program or a college degree, you should be proud of how hard you have worked and what you have accomplished!
Getting an education is a
The storms that hit Etowah County and Alabama last week left a devastating impact on our community. While the EMA is still working on a damage assessment, it is already clear that in Etowah County we have suffered far more damage than the required threshold to be declared a federal disaster area.
In my opinion, if even one house or business
Earlier this month, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau briefly granted approval to a new powdered form of alcohol. A couple of weeks later, the agency withdrew its approval, saying it was given in error.
The incident brought powdered alcohol to the national media’s attention, as well as the attention of many parents and addiction experts. I believe Alabama
“Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.”
It’s an election year, and you have probably seen that campaign slogan on billboards and yard signs all across the state. But are we really creating jobs here in Alabama? Or is job creation just more election year rhetoric, like the teacher pay raise?
The news seems to be mixed at best. On the one hand, economists at the
Despite months of promising a pay raise for educators, it turns out that all the governor’s talk was just that - more election year rhetoric.
After four years of constant assaults on our public schools, this budget and the governor’s empty promises for a pay raise are just one more attack on education from the Republican Supermajority in Montgomery.
Gov. Robert Bentley
Another legislative session has ended in Montgomery. And like most years, this session had its share of disappointments.
While there were some positive things that came out of this legislative session, the $400 bonus and conditional 4 percent pay raise for state employees next year, as examples, the bad outweighed the good.
Once again, legislative leaders refused to pass bills
There is no doubt that I would not be the man I am today had it not been for the women in my life. From my mother to my wife and daughter, they have all shaped who I am. But more importantly, they have also helped shape the community we live in. I have seen in all of them a
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