Craig Ford: Gadsden, Etowah County should remain in Congressional District 4

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By Craig Ford

Next week, state lawmakers will return to Montgomery for a special legislative session to draw new congressional districts as ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court. There are a few plans being considered, with some of them moving Gadsden and Etowah County from the 4th Congressional District, represented by Congressman Robert Aderholt, into the 3rd Congressional District, represented by Congressman Mike Rogers.
Congressman Rogers has certainly been an outstanding public servant and excellent representative for his district. His influence in the Republican Party and his leadership role in Washington add to his value for his constituents. Should he end up representing Etowah County in the U.S. Congress, he would no doubt do a fine job for us.
But the question is not, “Would Congressman Rogers be a good representative for us?” The question is, “Who would be the BEST representative for us?”
Robert Aderholt has represented Etowah County in Congress since he was first elected in 1997. The people of Etowah County have chosen him 14 times over those years for a reason. He understands our needs and is in a powerful position to deliver for our district.
There is a lot to be said for having a congressman who already has long-standing relationships throughout the community and with local elected leaders. For better or worse, being a United State congressman has become a full-time job, and replacing over a quarter of a century of relationships and history with a community is not easily done with the wide range of issues congressmen face in their day-to-day roles.
Certainly, new districts mean that some changes to the boundary lines must be made somewhere in the state. But there are maps being considered that accomplish the task without moving Etowah County out of District 4, and those maps are in the best interest of our community.
There are 105,000 residents spread throughout a dozen different municipalities in Etowah County. Our needs are diverse, unique and complex. Some of our projects have taken years and even decades of work and could only happen with the partnership between our locally elected officials and Congressman Aderholt. Changing our congressional district would mean those projects could likely become stalled and perhaps even lost entirely.
For these reasons and more, I recently joined Etowah County Mayor’s Association Chairman Scott Reeves and Etowah County Commission Chairman Craig Inzer, Jr., in a joint letter to the state legislative redistricting committee supporting Congressman Aderholt’s request to keep Gadsden and Etowah County in District 4.
Changes are obviously coming to our state’s congressional district map. But those changes should not come at the expense of the people of Gadsden and Etowah County after voters for more than two decades have re-elected Congressman Aderholt as their delegate to the United States Congress.
Craig Ford is the mayor of Gadsden, and owner of Ford Insurance Agency and The Messenger newspaper. He previously represented Etowah County in the Alabama House of Representatives.

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