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Opinion | Alabama is still a great place to live

We just need more people to tout the good things Alabama has to offer.

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Living in Alabama all my life, I am protective of my state’s reputation.

Often, I have traveled regionally and abroad hearing all the negatives about living here. Some of it true, most of it not.

It’s no secret there are plenty of things we need to work on, and we are doing that. We are in a constant state of moving toward improvements on so many levels, and that’s a good thing.

However, many people — including our own — complain about our low numbers in certain areas such as education and our high numbers in things like unwed births. People often poke fun of our traditions and values and toss out sarcastic comments about our conservative values and political views like mullets at the FloraBama.

There are underlying comments about the need to relocate to a better place or at least providing all the reasons one should. Are we really that bad?

I don’t think so!

I was recently reading MoneyWise, a website which “aims to become the leading provider of personal finance information, advice, news and tools on the web.” Striving for that goal, they “publish high-quality articles than are clear, trustworthy and engaging.”

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They named 20 states people are moving out of and 20 states people are moving into. Things aren’t too bad because Alabama is not a state people are moving out of — quite the contrary.

We are No. 6 on the list of states people are moving into. Why? For all the good reasons few people write about. We have low property taxes. Our state has a low unemployment rate. Travel is easy in most areas, and we’re one of the most “ecologically diverse states,” meaning there is a ton to see and do in nature without spending much.

Plus, Alabamians are mostly friendly people and have a strong work ethic.

We have a low cost of living, a beautiful gulf coast and scenic mountains. Our home prices and rent costs are below the national average. And there is so much more.

Alabama is home to the place named the best city in the country to live – Huntsville. I could go on all day, but I know I’m preaching to the choir, because most of you choose to live here, too.

With our tainted image from the past, and our low rankings combined with the plethora of problems we face (but are working on diligently), we are still a blessed state in which to live, work and play.

We just need more people to tout the good things Alabama has to offer. The best place to start? That is with each of us.

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Beth Chapman is the former Alabama state auditor and 51st secretary of state. She now owns and operates Beth Chapman & Associates LLC. She can be reached at [email protected].

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