Donna Strong is touting her experience as an educator in her bid to win the Republican nomination for Alabama House District 49 special election. Strong is a veteran educator with 31 years of teaching experience at the middle, high school and college levels. She hopes to bring that experience and educational knowledge to the Alabama House of Representatives, she said.
“Most Alabamians don’t realize the degree to which politics controls our public education system,” Strong said in a statement. “When everything from class sizes, curriculum programs, school calendars, lunchroom menus, educator salaries, and standardized testing are legislatively mandated, public schooling is largely dictated by career politicians who have never walked in a teacher, bus driver or cafeteria worker’s shoes.”
Strong said that she wants to cut wasteful spending and see curricula implemented that will help all students learn to think critically, communicate clearly and solve problems in their everyday lives now and for their future. Strong said that she believes health and safety resources should be significantly enhanced for students.
“Educators at all grade levels have seen an increase in the number of students who come to school with mental health or behavioral problems,” Strong explained. “Learning is just too challenging when children are depressed, scared or angry. Every school should have a qualified nurse and easy access to trained mental health professionals.”
Strong said that she will make enhancing infrastructure in District 49 a high priority.
“The events of the past several months have brought a new awareness of the critical dependence we all have for a strong and stable economy,” Strong continued,. Safe roads, effective schools, accessible local health care, and adequately funded police and fire departments are the key elements to encourage both small and large business growth. As a state we also need to continue to upgrade 5G (5th Generation) wireless so that every student and every worker has fast and reliable access to the online resources they need to succeed. As a legislator, I will always focus on these important local and state issues for every citizen in District 49.”
Strong grew up in Shelby County. She was a member of 4-H and later was on both the Auburn University Livestock and Dairy judging teams.
“I always enjoyed the time we spent visiting and practicing at farms throughout Alabama,” she said. “Agriculture is still a very important way of life for many Alabamians and this industry needs to be fully funded and supported.”
Strong is a science teacher, nature enthusiast and animal lover. Strong says that she is dedicated to protecting our environment.
“From the scenic mountains of north Alabama to the beautiful beaches of our southern coast, we have one of the most biodiverse states in the country,” Strong said. “Some Alabama plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world. And importantly, our unique and picturesque landscapes are critical to the people and jobs that depend on the tourism driven by our beautiful landscapes.”
Strong said that she wants to encourage community recycling programs and see tougher sanctions on companies and individuals who harm the environment.
Strong is a graduate of Chelsea High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in education from Auburn University. She also has a Ph.D. from Penn State University.
She and her husband Russell live in Alabaster. They have two children.
In addition to Strong, Russell Bedsole, James Dean, Chuck Martin, Jackson McNeely and Mimi Penhale are all running in the special Republican primary on Tuesday, Aug. 4. If a Republican runoff election is needed, it will be held on Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2020. The eventual Republican nominee will face Cheryl Patton in the special general election on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
The vacancy in House District 49 was created when State Representative April Weaver, R-Briarfield, announced her resignation to accept an appointment with the Trump administration as a regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services.
House District 49 consists of portions of Bibb, Shelby and Chilton Counties. The winner will serve the remainder of Weaver’s term which ends in late 2022.