By Rep. Darrio Melton
Four years ago, the Alabama Republicans stormed the state house and ended 136 years of the Democratic majority. They unveiled their plan, the handshake with Alabama, to reform what they felt was broken in this state.
Four years later, what do we have to show for it?
They campaigned on improving education for Alabama’s children. In reality, they’ve improved education for a select number of students at the cost of $25 million each year to Alabama taxpayers. College tuition is skyrocketing, students have few opportunities for technical trainings and our teachers make less today than they did when the Republicans took office.
They campaigned on bringing jobs to the state, but failed to note that most new jobs are created by small businesses. They spent millions of our tax dollars to bring in huge corporations while mom and pop stores struggled to get by. They halted our minimum wage bill in its tracks and doubled down on your employer’s right to fire you for no reason.
They campaigned on fighting Obamacare, but have found that the state legislature has zero authority to fight federal law. All they’ve managed to do is protect the health care monopoly that keeps prices high and deny Medicaid to 300,000 Alabamians in order to try to prove a political point to the President.
They campaigned on ethics reform, promising to clean up the corruption in Montgomery, and they successfully passed an ethics law so strong that many of its own authors are struggling to comply. Allegations of inappropriate conduct have run rampant from Montgomery to Lee County and the judicial system will sort out whether or not inappropriate behavior has occurred under the GOP leadership.
There’s a trend here: Republicans will say and do anything to get elected, but their actions in office speak for themselves. We have the option to choose a different path for Alabama on November 4.
Amid voter ID laws and the overturning of the Voting Rights Act, the ballot box is still the sacred place where everyone’s voice carries equal weight. The millionaire company CEO and the night janitor who makes minimum wage each only get one vote on Election Day.
The only way to make your vote count is to cast the ballot. This is your shot. It’s time to speak up for the kind of Alabama you want to live in.
Representative Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010.