The 2014 legislative session should not be wasted

November 22, 2013 chris

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

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Recognizing the costs of freedom

November 15, 2013 chris

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

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Creating jobs starts with supporting our schools

November 8, 2013 chris

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

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How we can create jobs again

November 1, 2013 chris

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

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Accountability Act hurting Republicans in state legislature

October 25, 2013 chris

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

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Another unnecessary waste of taxpayer money

October 18, 2013 chris

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

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How you can help make a difference in the fight against breast cancer

October 11, 2013 chris

 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

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Elected officials should pay for special elections when they resign

October 4, 2013 chris

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

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Raising rates the same as raising taxes

September 27, 2013 chris


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.

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Holding the Republican Supermajority accountable on the Accountability Act

September 20, 2013 chris

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

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Not supporting Medicaid a disservice to taxpayers

September 13, 2013 chris

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

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How we can climb out of the recession

September 6, 2013 chris

 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

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Is the Accountability Act helping our children?

August 30, 2013 chris

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

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Doing what’s best for our children’s education

August 23, 2013 chris

Education should not be a partisan issue. We should always do what is in our children’s best interests.

I believe strongly in working with the business community to develop curriculums that prepare our children not just for a college education, but also for entering the workforce.

Last week’s announcement of the new Business Education Alliance (BEA) brings this idea to the center

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Time to invest in public education and stop punishing educators

August 16, 2013 chris

I have always been a believer in the value of education. And that is why I have always fought to protect our public schools and to fund them to the level that our children deserve.

But over the past three years, state leaders in Montgomery have done a very poor job of supporting our schools. And - for no other reason

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Alabama needs leaders who will be your representative to government, not the government’s representative to you

August 9, 2013 chris

When I was growing up, one of the most important lessons my parents taught me was to always remember who got me to where I am. Like that old saying goes, “you dance with the one that brung ya.”

As a state representative, I have tried my best to be true to that principle. So when I vote in the state

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Bi-partisan support for education reform begins with AMSTI

July 26, 2013 chris

I was very glad to see Gov. Bentley come out this week in support of the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative, more commonly known as the AMSTI program.

This program is something that Democrats have long been in support of, and I am glad to see Gov. Bentley and other Republicans joining with us Democrats in supporting AMSTI.

It is obvious

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Why we must inspire our children to public service

July 19, 2013 chris

Earlier this month, a new Gallop poll was released showing that sixty-four percent of Americans do not want their children to pursue a career in politics.

While I understand why Americans feel this way, I am also deeply disappointed by the results of the poll.

Certainly, politics has earned a bad reputation. There’s no shortage of stories about corrupt politicians

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What makes America great

July 12, 2013 chris

Last week, in recognition of Independence Day, I wrote about freedom and democracy and how these are both a right and a privilege. Freedom and democracy are what makes this country great. They are the reason that people are willing to risk their lives to come to this country.

But freedom and democracy are not the only the reasons why this

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Freedom and Democracy: a privilege and responsibility

July 5, 2013 chris

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. It is a special time each year when we celebrate our nation’s birthday (this year is our 237th birthday) with fun, food, fireworks, family and friends.

But it should also be a time when we reflect on what it means to be free and to have democracy.

Thousands of Americans have given

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Governor playing politics with people’s livelihoods

June 28, 2013 chris

Alabama’s state employees work hard. They make our state and local governments function. They keep our courts running and our streets safe. And for the past five years, they have done so while having their pay and their budgets cut. Even merit raises, which are given solely on the basis of the employee’s performance, have been frozen for the past

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Sneaking in the back door

June 21, 2013 chris

It is no secret that things in Montgomery have become much more partisan and tense since 2010. Some of that you would expect. After all, politics is a contact sport.

But over the past three years, our legislature - under the leadership of the Republican Supermajority - has embraced dishonest tactics to sneak radical legislation in through the back door.

This strategy

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“Stand in Schoolhouse Door” - a lesson about opportunity

June 14, 2013 chris

One of the things I love about the summertime is the celebration of our country and all that our nation represents, values such as freedom and opportunity.

A couple of weeks ago, we honored our fallen men and women in uniform with Memorial Day, and in about a month we will celebrate our nation’s freedom with Independence Day.

But this week also

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Republican Supermajority embraces anti-education agenda

June 7, 2013 chris

If there was any doubt before as to whether the Alabama Republican Party and the Republicans in the Alabama Legislature are waging a war on public education, those doubts have been put to rest now.

Last week, the Alabama Republican Party ann-ounced that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would be the party’s keynote speaker at its summer dinner in Montgomery this August.


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For veterans and families, every day is Memorial Day

May 31, 2013 chris

Earlier this week, we took a day to remember our veterans and fallen heroes who have sacrificed their lives for our country.

We have all heard the famous quote: “Freedom is not free.” And it is good that we take time to remember those who have given their lives so that we can be safe and free.

Since the Civil War, Americans

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Republican divide shows itself in legislative session

May 24, 2013 chris

It has been a telling year in the Alabama legislature. The taxpayers have learned a lot about their representatives in Montgomery from what has taken place over the past few months.

Of course, the most notable event was the Republican supermajority’s decision to deceive the people of Alabama (and even their own education advisors) by ramming through the Accountability Act with

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Republicans in Montgomery take one last jab at public education

May 17, 2013 chris

For the past three years, the Alabama legislature, under the leadership of the Republican Supermajority, has waged a war on public education in Alabama.

It started with cutting educators’ take-home pay. Next, the Republicans “dropped the DROP program,” though they waited until they could get their payout from it first.

This year, it started with the Accountability Act. Plenty has been said

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Another lost opportunity to debate Accountability Act

May 10, 2013 chris

I learned a lot of values from my dad. He served in the state legislature for 26 years, and one of the most important values he practiced as a legislator and that he passed on to me is that our government should operate honestly and out in the open so that the taxpayers can see what they are getting for

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Attempts to “fix” Accountability Act only serves to make a bad law worse

May 3, 2013 chris

This week, the Alabama House of Representatives once again has to vote on legislation that is meant to “fix” a bill that was rushed through the process and not thought-out before it became law.

If there has been a theme for the past three years since the Republican Supermajority took control of the state legislature, it has been “unintended consequences.”

Unintended consequences

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General Fund Budget is insufficient

April 26, 2013 chris

It’s that time of year when the state legislature writes the budgets that will fund our schools and government services.

Last week, the Alabama House of Representatives passed the Education Trust Fund, which funds all things related to public education. This week, the House will turn its attention to the state’s General Fund budget, which funds all state departments, agencies, and

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