For Selma to grow, things must change

February 23, 2017

By Mayor Darrio Melton

Growing up inI never thought I would have the opportunity to be elected mayor. I always had a passion for this city, and I’ve spent my life working in the church and on all levels of government to try to make it a better place for all of us.

Selma comes with a rich history — from the Battle of Selma during the Civil War to the Bloody Sunday and Montgomery March that culminated with the passage of the Voting Rights Act. We’ve overcome tremendous obstacles together, but we still have work to do.
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We Can Do Big Things If We Do Them Together

June 7, 2016

Rep. Darrio Melton

On June 4, 1968, California voters went to the polls and resoundingly supported a man who has been regarded as an icon of their generation: Robert F. Kennedy. Only four hours after the polls closed, Kennedy declared victory and addressed his supporters. As he made his way out of the ballroom, he was shot and fatally wounded.

On the anniversary of his death and the eve of the California primary, I can’t help but think about the legacy “Bobby” left, summarized succinctly in one of his most famous quotes: “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
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Republicans Aren’t Practicing What They Preach

May 24, 2016

By Rep. Darrio Melton

As a member of the clergy, “practice what you preach” has a very literal meaning in my life. When I deliver a sermon or lead a Bible study, I’m called not just to be a messenger, but a teacher and example of the lessons set forth on Sundays. That’s not to say I don’t fall short, because we all fall short. But it is to say that I have an obligation to my parishioners not to lead a Bible study on Wednesday then go out and act like a fool on Friday.
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We Have No Choice Except a Special Session to Fund Medicaid 

May 17, 2016

By Rep. Darrio Melton

The 2016 regular session is in the books, but for many politicos on Goat Hill, session seemed more like a rush to get out of school for the summer so we can get to the “fun stuff” in the coming months.

Unfortunately for most Alabamians, the trials and investigations don’t impact their lives and communities the way the decisions made in the legislature do. For those people, the end of the legislative session meant they’re left without solutions to their problems and without answers to their questions.
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Poor Leadership Wastes Time, Costs Taxpayers With Countless Special Sessions

May 10, 2016

By Rep. Darrio Melton

I would start this piece by talking about how the Legislature finally adjourned for 2016, but the past few years have shown that adjourning from session is really more of an intermission in the legislative process.

Over the past few years, the “regular session” has simply been “part one” to the circus of Republican leadership, because we know we’re always coming back for at least one special session to finish what wasn’t accomplished the first time.
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The underlying message: Bentley believes prisons are the future of Alabama

May 3, 2016

By Rep. Darrio Melton

Last week, the legislature voted to issue a bond for $800 million to build new, super-max style prisons in Alabama.  When it’s all said and done, this prison plan will cost our children and grandchildren nearly $1.5 billion–and when, or if, it finally gets paid back, these prisons will be 100 years old and in need of another $1.5 billion upgrade.

Republicans try to paint themselves as fiscally conservative, but this prison plan is anything but fiscally conservative. It’s an irresponsible decision and evidence of poor leadership at all levels of our state’s government.
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The Prison Bill is a Bad Investment

April 26, 2016

By Rep. Darrio Melton

As elected officials, looking for solutions to our state’s problems is often a delicate balancing act. We have to determine the best way to use the resources we have while maximizing the benefit per dollar to the taxpayers–in the business community, this is called Return on Investment.

It’s clear Governor Bentley didn’t go to business school, because his $1.5 prison bill would get laughed out of a boardroom.
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Montgomery Republicans are Blind to the Problems Facing Alabama

April 19, 2016

By Rep. Darrio Melton

Each year when the Legislature starts discussing the budget, the first items on the chopping block are always social services for our neediest neighbors.  While legislators have turned a blind eye to $60,000 pay raises for staff and trips to Vegas in the state airplane, they’ve been quick to set their sights on these programs that they consider “wasteful spending.”

It’s no secret that our budget is in trouble–but we absolutely must balance it wisely. When we look at these programs, it’s important not to forget how heavily they’re subsidized by federal dollars. For every dollar spent on Medicaid in Alabama, 30 cents comes from the state government.  That’s the equivalent of getting Medicaid on sale at 70 percent off.
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This is a Rare Political Win-Win for Governor Bentley

April 12, 2016

By Representative Darrio Melton

With all the chaos coming out of the Governor’s Mansion in the past month, it’s been easy to overlook the chaos coming out of the State House.  While the Governor has been tied up in a scandal, the Legislature has continued to meet and vote on legislation, which has all subsequently made it to the Governor’s desk.

One such piece of legislation is the General Fund budget.  For the past few years, we’ve argued over whether we need more cuts or more funding, and the truthful answer is that we need a little bit of both.  The Legislature doesn’t have an appetite for new taxes, so the General Fund budget that made it to Bentley’s desk underfunded Medicaid by around $85 million.
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Uncertainty Killing Growth, Hurting Our Communities

April 5, 2016

By Rep. Darrio Melton

Over the past 5 years, Alabama has invested millions to bring businesses to our state. We have sent representatives around the world to declare Alabama “open for business” to recruit top-tier corporations into Alabama.

But if there’s one thing any investor knows, it’s that uncertainty is bad for business.

In the past two weeks, our “family values” Governor has shocked the nation by his inappropriate comments to a female staffer, allegations of misuse of his office and state funds, and further rumors about the implications of the firings at ALEA.
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