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Opinion | A better Alabama is up to you

Hand of a person casting a vote into the ballot box during elections
  • A decent lottery that, if approved by voters, we could use to establish a college scholarship program, additional tech training in high schools, expanded pre-K and free two-year college tuition.
  • Commercial casinos that, if approved by voters, would contribute around $100 million annually in tax revenue to the state, along with the creation of at least 13,000 jobs.
  • A lottery that, if approved, would generate around $400 million annually.
  • Expanded Medicaid that would save many rural hospitals that are currently on cusp of closure and create more than 30,000 jobs.
  • Access to health care for tens of thousands of Alabamians through Medicaid expansion and rural doctors’ programs.
  • Expanded access to opioid addiction treatment programs.
  • Medical marijuana legalization.
  • A reduction in opioid addiction through marijuana treatment programs that have been successful in other states.
  • Tougher ethics laws that don’t make exceptions for large groups of people to profit off “economic development.”
  • Larger raises for teachers and state workers.
  • A more targeted infrastructure plan with better monetary oversight.
  • Church daycares that are forced to adhere to the same safety rules as non-church daycares.
  • Daily fantasy sports wagering would be legal and the state would make millions off an activity that Alabamians are already participating in.
  • You wouldn’t be able to hunt an animal you’ve been feeding for the past nine months.
  • Non-certified teachers wouldn’t be allowed to teach for more than two years in Alabama classrooms.
  • A rework of teachers’ health insurance and retirement benefits to address the growing teacher shortage in the state.
  • The incessant attacks on public education, along with the taking of public ed dollars to support private businesses, would be over.
  • We wouldn’t be a national laughingstock.

These are the things we could have had if so many people in this state hadn’t marched into a polling location last November and checked the box for straight ticket Republican.

Think of the state we could be going forward.

Instead of these things — and it’s OK to admit that you’re in favor of all of them, because the polling says you are, regardless of your political affiliation — we are stuck with another poop sandwich from the ALGOP-led Legislature.

The biggest accomplishments this session, instead of all those things I listed above, will be a gas tax that costs you at least 10 more cents per gallon as you fill up to go to work. And while that money will allegedly go towards fixing are awful roads and crumbling bridges, it took lawmakers less than two months to start filing bills that would divert the cash to other pet projects.

It’s also worth stressing that Alabama wouldn’t be a national embarrassment — again! — for the Handmaid’s Tale-like abortion law passed last week. A law that will be shredded by federal courts, cost us millions to defend and will not result in one single change to abortion laws in this country.  

It’s time to take a hard look at the way we’re doing things in this state, starting with our voting tendencies and decide what’s important to us.

Is it more important to wear the jersey with the R on it, to fit in, to be part of the conservative club, to own the libs?

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Or would we actually like to live healthier lives, have nicer things, send our kids to better schools, have a better government and maybe give all Alabamians a shot at a better life?

It’s a tough decision, I know. But maybe you should think about it.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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