By Rep. Darrio Melton
Last week, the Republicans won huge races and picked up historic gains across America. They gained seats in the United States House of Representatives and took control of the US Senate. They elected governors in traditionally blue states and took a stronger hold on the state and local levels, around the country and here in Alabama.
In our own elections, the Alabama Republicans strengthened their supermajority in both chambers of the legislature, unseating several Democrats without losing any Republican seats.
Despite his 23 felony ethics indictments, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was reelected to his House seat in Lee County and will remain Speaker of the House, even while he’s on trial.
Tuesday night was bad. It was bad for Alabama Democrats, and it was bad for the people of Alabama.
Speaker Hubbard said that the Republicans were going to be “bolder” about their legislation if they were reelected in a supermajority.
We can’t combat their “bold” new legislation on the floor of the legislature–they have the ability to tell us to sit down and be quiet if we voice our dissent. In fact, they shut down debate more times in the last four years than in all of Alabama history combined–and I think we can expect that number to double in the next four years.
The only way we can combat their “bold” new plans is for you, the voters, to be bolder, too.
Last week, the Republicans won because the Democratic base didn’t show up at the polls. We have to be bolder by casting our ballots every time we have an opportunity.
The Republicans are going to push through legislation that cripples our public schools, undermines our economic foundation and closes the door on healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Alabamians. We have to be bolder by speaking out and showing that we will not be silenced.
The Republicans are going to march through Montgomery for four more years before there’s an opportunity to vote again–but we can march to Montgomery and demand they listen to all constituents, not just big businesses and high-powered lobbyists.
They say they’re going to be bolder–and I’m going to be bolder, too. I need you to be bolder with me. We have to stand together for these next four years and demand a legislature that represents all Alabamians, not just the GOP base.
Together, we can still have an impact, even when the odds are stacked against us. We can’t give up and sit back. Be bolder. Be stronger. Be heard.
Representative Darrio Melton is a Democrat from Selma. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010. He now serves as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus.