Connect with us

Guest Columnists

Can’t never could

Craig Ford

Published

on

Rep. Craig Ford

One of the things I learned from my dad when I was young, is that you can accomplish the things that may seem impossible; things that other people tell you can’t be done.

More than once, somebody (sometimes even me) would tell my dad that something couldn’t be done. But dad would just smile at them and say, “Can’t never could.”

As a legislator, my dad fought for a lot of projects that some people doubted would ever become a reality. Dad fought for I-759 before it ever existed (years later, they named it the “Joe Ford Highway” in honor of him).

When I was still a boy growing up in East Gadsden, I remember Dad taking me out into the middle of the woods and telling me how there was going to eventually be a four-lane road coming through there to connect East Broad Street to Gadsden State’s campus. I thought he was crazy. But today, none of us think twice about driving down George Wallace Drive.

Advertisement

Even near the end of his life, Dad was still fighting for projects in Etowah County. When he told me that there would be a multi-million dollar building constructed on Gadsden State’s campus that would act as a consortium with Jacksonville State University (making it the only community college in Alabama to have such a facility), I didn’t doubt him. I knew right then and there that that building would become a reality, and sure enough it did!

I guess that never give up attitude is a common trait in my family. They told my Uncle Danny that he would never be able to coach a national championship-winning team at Clemson. But at age 33, Danny Ford became the youngest coach to ever win a national championship in college football.

My dad and my Uncle Danny proved that old saying right. If you believe you can’t get something done, then you won’t. But if you believe that you can, then you can make the impossible become possible.

I have seen this proven in my own life, as well.

When I began fighting for a sports complex in Etowah County, there were those who told me it would never happen and that I should just give up. I didn’t give up, and now we are on the verge of making a major announcement of where the new sports complex will be located. The sports complex will be built, and the project is moving forward despite the doubters.

I was also told that the extension of I-759 to Highway 278 was just a dream that would never happen. But I continued to fight for this project, and now we will see it become a reality! The surveying is almost complete, and the next phase of the project will soon begin.

We must complete the extension of I-759 and the construction of the sports complex, and then we must move on to the other projects that some people say can’t be done.

We need to focus on completing the widening of Highway 411 into a four-lane road. The right-of-way acquisition has already been bought, and the project can be completed for $20 million (for reference, the Dept. of Transportation will be getting more than $487 million in State funding this year).

Etowah and Cherokee Counties are among the few counties in our State that neighbor each other aren’t connected by a four-lane road. That needs to change, and it needs to change as soon as possible.

Another major project that needs to be taken on is the completion of the Southside Bridge. While Southside is not in my district, finishing the bridge is essential for Etowah County, and I will be introducing a bill in the next Legislative Session to help make this happen.

In addition to the Southside Bridge, we need to make progress on the Meighan Boulevard Bridge. Right now, we have six lanes of traffic feeding into a four-lane bridge. Widening the bridge to six lanes is not only a matter of economic development; it is a matter of public safety!

Some people will continue to say funding all these projects will never happen. But the lessons I’ve learned from my dad and my Uncle Danny, as well as the lessons I’ve learned from my own experience, have taught me that we can make these projects become a reality if we continue to put our minds to it and never give up the fight.

The first step to accomplishing anything is believing that it can be done. Like the old saying goes, “Can’t never could.”

And “can’t” isn’t in my vocabulary.

Rep. Craig Ford represents Gadsden and Etowah County in the Alabama House of Representatives. He served as the House Minority Leader from 2010-2016.

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | Pro-growth policies are working in AL-02 communities

Martha Roby

Published

on

Over the last year and a half, Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration have worked tirelessly to unleash our economy and foster growth right here in the United States. Since November of 2016, 3.7 million jobs have been created, and one million of those came after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law. Unemployment numbers are at the lowest point they’ve been in decades. Job openings are at a record high – 213,000 jobs were added in June alone. Also last month, there were 6.7 million job openings, which marks the first time since the year 2000 that the number of job openings is larger than the number of people unemployed.

As you may know, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act roughly doubled the standard deduction while lowering tax rates. Because of this historic tax reform, 90 percent of Americans have seen bigger paychecks this year. Plus, more than four million Americans have seen increased wages, bonuses, and expanded retirement options.

Thanks to tax reform and our efforts to spur economic growth, Americans are working and businesses are growing – and Alabama’s Second District hasn’t missed out on the momentum. Since the enactment of our tax overhaul last year, several businesses have announced they are opening branches in our district, expanding existing ones, offering pay increases to employees, and more. I would like to take this opportunity to briefly share some of the great economic news we’ve received so far.

Most recently, Alabama manufacturer Sabel Steel, which has locations in Montgomery and Dothan, announced they will provide pay increases to all employees, invest in new equipment, expand existing facilities, and hire additional workers thanks to tax reform. I believe the company’s CEO Keith Sabel said it best himself: “There’s optimism. With the previous administration, we were hammered by rule changes and regulations. It was like trying to drink water out of a firehose. The change in policy under President Trump was enormous, and the attitude among businessmen and especially other steel manufacturers has been incredibly optimistic. Tax reform and other policies psychologically have made an enormous difference.”

James Hardie Building Products announced plans to open a new manufacturing plant in Prattville. This project is the largest industrial development in Autauga County in 50 years, and it will have a significant economic impact on the area.

Advertisement

U.S. firearms maker Kimber Gun Manufacturing also announced a project in AL-02. By early 2019, the company will open a $38 million production facility in Troy that will create more than 350 high-paying jobs over the next five years.

Also in Troy, Rex Lumber Co. will soon open a state of the art sawmill operation that will employ more than 100 people. This $110 million investment will create quality employment opportunities and a significant new timber market in Pike County.

In Coffee County, Wayne Farms has announced a $105 million expansion at their Enterprise fresh processing facility. This investment will bring a strong economic boost to the area.

Last, but certainly not least, Great Southern Wood Preserving based in Abbeville recently announced it will use savings from the tax overhaul to invest in additional employee benefits, including lower health care costs, more paid time off, and a new scholarship program. In addition, the company has given pay increases to employees across the board.

So you see, thanks to our pro-growth policies and a commitment to fostering economic growth in this country, Americans are confident in our economy – and rightfully so. Hardworking people in our very own communities have already benefited tremendously as a result of these important efforts, and I am eager to see this positive forward momentum continue for all Alabamians.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

 

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | Americans are better off now

Bradley Byrne

Published

on

Two years ago, I joined other Republican House members in unveiling our “Better Way” agenda. The agenda covered everything from national security to tax reform to the economy. It was a bold vision about a different path for America that wasn’t driven by a larger, more powerful federal government. Instead, we advocated for a better way where we got government out of the way and allowed the American people to flourish.

 Working with President Trump, we have held true to our promises to the American people. Two years later and with many parts of the agenda in place, we can safely say that Americans are better off now. Our communities are safer. The economy is booming. Our military is being rebuilt. Our “Better Way” is paying off.

 Our communities are safer because we have made supporting law enforcement a top priority. We have passed historic legislation to address the opioid crisis, which is having a horrible impact on communities in Alabama and throughout the country. In addition to better policy, we have invested $4 billion in grants and programs to help combat the opioid crisis.

 We passed legislation to devote more resources to school safety, and we have made real progress in the fight against human trafficking. In fact, we have seen a 60 percent decline in online advertising for sex trafficking.

Also, important to keeping our communities safe, we set aside $1.5 billion for physical barriers and technology along the southern border and provided for over 90 miles of a border wall system. Border security is national security.

Advertisement

No one can deny that the American economy is booming. Just consider these numbers: 90 percent of Americans are seeing larger paychecks under our tax reform bill. 3.7 million jobs have been created since November 2016. There are 6.6 million job openings in the United States as of May 2018, meaning more jobs than job seekers. And, $4.1 billion has been saved in agency regulatory costs by rolling back burdensome government regulations.

 One of my biggest concerns during the Obama Administration was the hollowing out of our military. We had planes that couldn’t fly and ships that couldn’t sail. We were not making the continuous critical investment in our military necessary to keep up with our adversaries. Thankfully, those days are over.

 We have made the largest investment in our military in 15 years. This means 20,000 new troops, the largest pay increase for our service members since 2010, more training time, better equipment, new ships, and much more.

 On the world stage, countries know that the United States means what we say. ISIS is on the run in the Middle East, North Korea has come to the negotiating table, and China is being held accountable for their dangerous trade practices.

 Now, I want to make clear that much work remains. For example, we have to keep working to fix our broken immigration system and ensure that our borders are finally secure. We also cannot give up on our efforts to improve health care in our country. Costs remain too high and rural communities right here in Alabama are facing dangerous hospital closures.

 But, despite what some on the other side of the aisle and the national news media want you to believe, the American people are better off now than they were two years ago. That’s a testament to our pro-growth agenda, but, more importantly, it is a testament to the spirit and drive of the American people.

Want to know more? I encourage you to visit Better.gop to learn more about the various ways the American people are better off now.

Continue Reading

Guest Columnists

Opinion | Pro-Life Movement momentum is strong

Martha Roby

Published

on

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have the privilege each year to advocate for the priorities most important to the people who live and work in Alabama’s Second District.  Among many other key issues, I have been proud to stand up and fight for a strong military and smart agriculture policy on this committee. On the reverse, I am also in a strong position fight against funding from being steered towards programs or organizations that I adamantly oppose. Recently when the Appropriations Committee approved our Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Fiscal Year 2019 funding bill, I had the opportunity to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves: the unborn.

As a member of the Labor-HHS Subcommittee, I am extremely proud to report that our bill passed by the full Committee includes the strong pro-life language I have fought for year after year and implements additional policy riders to defend life. Every single one of these measures is critically important and further ensures that no taxpayer dollars can be used for abortions.

Among the key pro-life provisions included in the Labor-HHS FY19 funding bill are the Hyde Amendment, which directs that no taxpayer dollars be used to fund abortions, and the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bans Labor-HHS funding from being used on research that harms human embryos.

In addition to these longstanding pro-life measures, our bill also includes several other important pro-life provisions that continue our efforts to assign greater protections for life under the law. These measures include the Conscience Science Protection Act, which protects the rights of health care providers that do not participate in abortion.

In addition, the bill includes language that prohibits funding for fetal tissue research obtained from abortion. This measure might sound familiar because it is a direct response to the 2015 scandal that revealed how Planned Parenthood officials were systematically altering abortion procedures to preserve babies’ organs in order to sell them to researchers for profit. Planned Parenthood’s action was sick, callous, and completely inhuman.

Advertisement

Finally, the bill includes language to prohibit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving any available funding, including through Title X family grants. This measure works hand-in-hand with the Trump Administration’s “Protect Life” rule, which also directs that Planned Parenthood is not eligible to receive Title X grant money. As I have said many, many times: Abortion is not family planning. Abortion is not health care. Organizations that offer these services should not receive taxpayer dollars that are intended for family planning.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have remained unapologetically pro-life. I believe life begins at conception, and our laws and policies should reflect a strong commitment to defending life at every stage. I have considered it a great privilege to have a platform with which I can serve as a voice for the voiceless.

After eight long years of coming up short pro-life victories, I am encouraged that we now have a President who supports our efforts and is willing to sign important measures into law. The pro-life movement’s momentum is strong, and I look forward to seeing it grow as we continue to impact meaningful change on behalf of the unborn. I am eager to support our Labor-HHS funding bill when it comes before the full House for a vote.

 Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband Riley and their two children.

Continue Reading

Authors

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending

Can’t never could

by Craig Ford Read Time: 4 min
0