by Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey
This week I had the opportunity to participate in the launch of a very worthy initiative to address the pressing issue of child hunger and food insecurity in our state. I am proud to serve as the spokesperson for the “Ending Child Hunger in Alabama” campaign. It is the first initiative of the newly established Auburn University Hunger Solutions Institute.
I joined Superintendent Tommy Bice, Hunger Solutions Institute Executive Director Dean June Henton, and many other stakeholders in this issue to kick-off the campaign at Wares Ferry Elementary School in Montgomery against the backdrop of the school’s vegetable garden. Students gathered around us and patiently waited as we officially announced the program. And as I waited my turn to speak, I looked at the students of Wares Ferry Elementary where 85 percent participate in the free/reduced lunch program, and I realized that for many of them, hunger is a very personal issue. It’s something most people are aware exists or may have even experienced for a short period of time, but for many of those young students, it’s an issue they face every day. Some may wake up hungry and go to bed hungry and wonder where their next meal may come from in between.
Seeing the face of hunger confirmed in my heart and mind that we must take action. If we do not, we stand to starve our state of healthy and productive citizens.
Another issue about which I feel strongly is advocating for our military in Alabama. As Chair of the Military Stability Commission, efforts to strengthen our military installations, protect our military members and veterans, and contribute to making Alabama BRAC-ready are a high priority for me. It’s unclear when BRAC will come up again, but we want to be ready when it does.
Several bills supporting that mission have been introduced this Legislative Session. Bills relating to predatory lending to military personnel; extending in-state tuition rates to service members and veterans; and establishing treatment courts for veterans have passed the House and are awaiting action in the Senate. I sincerely thank the House and Senate members who have sponsored legislation.
Time is running short, but these bills are positioned well to move forward and further the mission of strengthening our military installations and protecting our nation’s service men and women.