Hypocrisy, injustice from the Alabama Legislature

By Rep. Craig Ford

State Legislatures and the US Congress typically have the lowest approval ratings of any government branch or agency, and last week the Alabama Legislature showed exactly why that is.

The same State Legislators who made their own pay raises part of the State Constitution, and are subsequently receiving more than a $2,000 pay raise this year for their part-time job, have decided our it isn’t a question of money. The budget passed by the House of Representatives is holding back $97 million “for future needs and uncertainties,” while the cost of a four percent pay increase would only be one-fifth of that (about $19 million).
Read More

Is the Legislature about to pass a $250 million backdoor tax increase?

By Rep. Craig Ford

It doesn’t claim to be a $250 million tax increase, but that’s exactly what would happen if the State Legislature passes a proposed bill to privatize the state’s ABC stores.

Though it may seem like a reasonable, pro-private sector bill that would decrease government bureaucracy and expenses, in reality this bill would hurt small businesses, cost the taxpayers $250 million (or more) a year and worsen the “wild west” situation we already have with private liquor stores.
Read More

Public leaders set the example, whether we like it or not

Rep. Craig Ford

Bullying and intimidation are nothing new to American politics. In 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks famously beat Senator Charles Sumner with a walking stick. Just ten years ago, State Senator Charles Bishop assaulted state Senator Lowell Barron on the floor of the Alabama Senate.

People can be passionate about their beliefs – especially their political beliefs. For the most part, these passions are not expressed in violent ways. But recently we have seen our country become more violent over politics, and part of that increase in violence is due to the example our leaders have set.
Read More

My Hope For The Future Of Alabama And The Democratic Party

By Minority Leader Rep.Craig Ford

For the last six years, it has been my privilege to serve as Minority Leader in the Alabama House of Representatives. On Wednesday, I will step down and a new leader will be elected.

While I will continue to serve in the Legislature and represent the great people of Etowah County, I would like to share my outgoing thoughts on our state and the Democratic Party.
Read More

Are Our Schools Really Failing?

House Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

A lot has been said about the state of Alabama’s public school system. And for the last six years, State leaders have been obsessed with defining public schools as failing, even going so far as to require by law that at least 6 percent of all schools must be labeled as failing.

Making the situation worse is that students and schools have seemingly been set up to fail. Read More

The Goal of Education

House Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

When it comes to education policy, I don’t often agree with my colleague, Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur). But this year she plans to bring legislation that would set education goals for our state, and I like this idea.

I like this idea because it finally forces us to address the most important and fundamental question concerning education: What is the goal?

It’s a question that I’m afraid too often gets lost in the debate over education policy and reform. It certainly gets lost in our obsession with standardized test scores. Read More

A sports complex would be big for our local economy

By House Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

Etowah County has produced a lot of great athletes over the years, including several NFL players like Dre Kirkpatrick and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. In November, the “Lady Fusion 03” soccer team won the state championship in the U13 division.

We have a proud sports tradition here, and now more than ever we need a sports complex to accommodate these teams. Whether its you soccer like our state champion Lady Fusion team (soccer is the fastest growing sport in the country) or travel ball and little league baseball and softball teams, there is a significant need for a sports complex. Read More

Remembering Christmas

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford 

What does Christmas mean to you? It’s a question that will probably get a different answer from every person you ask. Every family has their own traditions and customs that make Christmas unique to them.

Of course, certain things about Christmas are universal. For every Christian, Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He is literally the reason for the season; the “Christ” in “Christmas.”
Read More

Prison bill could be defining moment

By House Minority Leader Craig Ford

Prisons could be the issue that defines the Alabama Legislature in 2017. Gov. Bentley has said he may call a special session to address the issue, and has indicated that he will revive the prison construction bill he first proposed in his 2016 State of the State address.

In recent years, numerous lawsuits have been filed relating to the conditions in our prisons. Violence and riots have increased as the number of corrections officers has decreased, and even the federal government has begun an investigation of violence, rape and overcrowding in our prisons.
Read More

Alabama’s public schools do not “suck”

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

Gov. Bentley made headlines a few weeks ago when he told an audience at a public forum that our public school system “sucks.”

But Gov. Bentley is wrong about our public school system.

Alabama’s high school graduation rate rose 18 percent between 2011 and 2015. Today, 89.3 percent of students graduate high school in Alabama: the third highest graduation rate in the country!

Our increase in the number of graduating students who take an AP exam in high school also outpaces the national rate, and our statewide math proficiency on the ACT Aspire test is up across all grades.
Read More

© Copyright 2017 Alabama Political Reporter