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Why Storming the State House is Bad for Alabama

By Rep. Darrio Melton

Last week, another Republican legislator joined the ranks of those who have chosen to leave public service mid-term and take a lucrative private sector position.

These former public servants used their connections as elected officials to make private-sector associations, then turned their backs on their districts and followed big checks to work as lobbyists.

In 2010 the Republicans stormed the State House, but they didn’t tell us what they were going to do when they got there. They ran on a platform of “we dare defend our rights,” but what rights have they defended?

They certainly haven’t defended our right to vote. They’ve passed district lines that have been gerrymandered in order to dilute the voices of minority voters, and they’ve passed an identification bill that provides an additional hurdle to casting a ballot. They have also made it harder to register to vote before an election by shortening the length of registration time and making absentee voting more complicated.

They certainly haven’t defended our right to a public education. They’ve passed the Accountability Act to codify segregation and used fear tactics in the Immigration Bill to keep Latino students from getting an education.

And they certainly haven’t defended our right to be represented by our elected officials. We’re awaiting yet another special election to fill vacated seats from resigned legislators. And as we wait, those constituents have no representative to call to voice concerns or complaints. They have shut down debate in the House and Senate more times in the past three years than ever in the history of Alabama. Within a true democracy, a representative would be allowed the opportunity to express the concerns of his or her district.

The Republican supermajority finally has a record to run from, and they are certainly running. Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, the people of Alabama all agree that we want good government. Every Alabamian wants and deserves their voice to be heard.

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What better way to express yourself than by sharing your voice at the polls in 2014? Remind the legislators what Alabama stands for–and that we don’t stand for storming the state House, pillaging the school house, and then running for the safe house.

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