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Opinion | Ainsworth’s Workforce Commission is a chance to change Alabama for the better

Ainsworth’s commission offered up really good ideas that will be both popular and positively transforming for the state.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth speaks during a video message. LT. GOV.'S OFFICE

Hold onto your seat, because you won’t believe this. 

On Tuesday, a commission made up mostly of Alabama lawmakers unveiled its recommendations for ways to improve Alabama’s workforce and better the lives of Alabama’s workers, and those ideas were … really good. 

No. For real. 

At a press conference, the Lt. Governor’s Commission on 21st Century Workforce highlighted 11 different recommendations, including expanding child care tax credits, consolidating several governmental agencies that mostly duplicate work, forming public-private partnerships, reinvesting in career tech centers at the county level, implementing housing tax credits and expanding mental health and addiction diversion programs to make them more accessible. 

Honestly, when I read these, I couldn’t have been more surprised if I woke up with my head sewn to the carpet. 

They’re outstanding. 

And within a few minutes of the recommendations being announced, it was easy to see just how popular they all are. There were hundreds of comments and likes and shares on various social media platforms, and I have yet to find anyone who had negative comments. 

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Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, progressives – they all thought these were great ideas. Because they are. 

To put it more bluntly: These ideas … they’re how government is supposed to work. 

This is what you’re supposed to be doing – studying the people you serve, observing their problems and barriers, talking to them about what would help them, and then proposing solutions that actually address those problems. 

It’s a little depressing that this is so rare that I’m going to spend an entire column gushing over the commission actually proposing good ideas that address actual problems, but that’s where we are now. 

Imagine a world in which politicians aren’t running around making up fake problems to solve – problems that you and your family have never once even considered, much less worried about – but are instead spending their time figuring out ways to help working families afford daycare or getting that kid who isn’t great at math into a trade program that will allow him to lead a good life and raise a family. I mean, maybe doing such things wouldn’t get you booked onto rightwing screaming radio, but you’d help a whole bunch of people and sleep better at night. 

That’s worth something, right? 

Plus, I can’t believe you’d exactly be hated if you both expanded mental health and addiction diversion programs and managed to consolidate agencies, thereby shrinking government and making it more efficient. 

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Of course, coming up with the ideas is only part of the job. It’s an important part, but only part. 

The much bigger challenge will be making these changes, implementing these programs, and getting the do-nothing, pandering goobers serving in our legislature to actually do some good work. That won’t be easy. 

But the general public can help. We’ve all sat around and complained about our lawmakers plenty. And with good reason. They’ve turned this state into a perennial laughingstock nationally. 

As a former governor once bemoaned: We’re last in everything good and first in everything bad. 

But this is a chance to inject a little good. So, maybe if we push for this, if we let our lawmakers know that we’re watching, that we want these things to move forward, that we want them to stop focusing on transgender furries with porn library books, or whatever it is they’re focused on, and instead get this done, maybe we’ll have a shot at something good. 

Maybe, just this once, Alabama could get the government it so desperately needs.

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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