The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby: Together we will combat COVID-19

(Representative Martha Roby, Alabama Public Health/Facebook, YHN)

The novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is accelerating across our state, country, and in more than 150 countries globally.

On Thursday, the state of Alabama exceeded 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced the state’s first COVID-19 related deaths. Alabamians as far as all four corners of the state feel the challenges faced by this unfamiliar pandemic.

The past few weeks have been marked with a feeling of uncertainty, but that has not stopped the great people of Alabama from rising above the unknown and putting all best efforts forward to help lower the spread in our communities. It is important to remember the advice and guidelines we have all become familiar with during this period of time:

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  • Social distancing can greatly decrease the spread of COVID-19 in your community and potentially save lives when properly practiced. It is best to stay home as much as possible and to only leave when it is absolutely necessary. This is the biggest way Americans can do their part to lower infection rates across the country.
  • Practice keeping yourself and your home clean. It is crucial to wash your hands as often as possible and to disinfect commonly used surfaces in your household.
  • Take steps to protect others. If you feel you may be sick, stay home and away from others in your household. If someone in your family is sick, stay home as well. Cover a cough or sneeze with your elbow instead of your hand. Avoid any close contact with others. These practices are especially important for people who are at a higher risk of getting sick.
  • Do not immediately seek testing if you do not show symptoms of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ADPH recommend contacting your primary care physician before seeking any medical care. This way, your doctor can evaluate your situation and take steps to prevent infection within their office. If you believe COVID-19 symptoms are present, contact your doctor immediately.

It is important that we recognize and remember the perseverance and dedication of our healthcare workers, and it is especially essential that we acknowledge those efforts during this global pandemic. Doctors and nurses not only in our state, but around the world, are putting their lives at risk in order to save the lives of others.

During a time where hospitals may be over-capacitated and medical supplies are in high demand, resources can run dangerously low. If you want and are able to help, FEMA encourages donations, volunteering your services in your community, or even donating medical supplies.

As communities across the state and country continue to provide assistance, it was imperative that Congress did its part to provide aid to Americans who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The House on Friday passed the CARES Act following the Senate’s passage of the bill on Wednesday night.

This legislation brings immediate assistance to American healthcare workers, small businesses, industries and families. The bill includes up to $1,200 per person, $2,400 per couple and $500 per child in direct payments to qualified individuals, grants and loans to small businesses in assistance to meet payroll, rent, and other business expenses, and provides resources, materials, and medical supplies to hospitals and healthcare providers.

The CARES Act also boosts unemployment insurance benefits and expands eligibility. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the state of Alabama is estimated to receive $1.9 billion to combat COVID-19.

Congress has acted on behalf of the American people, and these resources will help with our recovery as we fight this virus and maintain our economic strength as a nation.

As always, my office stands by to assist with any constituent questions or concerns. My staff and I are working hard to ensure the people of the Second District are provided with the most accurate information, guidance, and resources in order to overcome the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I remain committed to keeping my constituents informed and up-to-date on the latest news and newest discoveries surrounding this crisis.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

Rep. Martha Roby: COVID-19 update

(Representative Martha Roby, Alabama Public Health/Facebook, YHN)

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has created a sense of uncertainty for many Americans during these unprecedented times.

Although we are in the midst of an unfamiliar global pandemic, there is a sense of unity that is present. Over the past week, Americans have joined together to follow instruction and guidance given by local, state and national leaders in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19. Our nation’s leaders and healthcare professionals are dedicating all their efforts to keeping the American people informed and as safe as possible. As I have stated before, I feel it is my responsibility as your representative in Congress to keep all of my constituents updated on the latest news surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Thursday issued a statewide health order in efforts to reduce transmission of COVID-19 including no gatherings of 25 or more people, no gatherings of any size where individuals cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance, the closing of all public and private beaches, no restaurant, bar, or brewery may permit consumption of food or drink on the premises, the closing of preschool and child care centers, all hospitals and nursing homes are prohibited to allow visitors except for end-of-life or maternity cases, and the delay of all elective dental and medical procedures. These regulations are in the best interest of all Alabamians, and it is critical that we follow these orders to do our part in slowing the spread of this virus, as well as continuing to exercise these guidelines provided by the White House.

My staff and I are working our hardest to be a helpful resource for any constituents who may have encountered time-sensitive issues or situations resulting from COVID-19. It has recently come to my office’s attention that there are several people of the Second District who are currently traveling overseas. If you know of a friend or family member traveling abroad and unable to secure passage back to the United States, my office highly encourages them to register any international travel with the U.S. Department of State through the STEP Program. This will provide the State Department with the most accurate data and will enable those traveling abroad to receive the most up-to-date travel information. Please know that my office is working with our counterparts at the State Department to ensure that Alabamians can find their way back home.

As we continue to do what we can to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, it is crucial that my constituents feel they have easy access to resources that may be of great help to them during this time:

ADPH established a toll-free hotline at 1-888-264-2256 for any Alabamian who has questions regarding testing locations and options. You can also visit ADPH’s website for detailed updates on COVID-19 cases across the state, news releases, and information on what to do should you or a family member need to be tested.

The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) announced Monday that workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. Eligible workers are encouraged to file online here or by calling 1-866-234-5382.

Break for a Plate is offering free meals for students until April 6 during temporary school closures affecting students across the state. You can find locations in each county here or by calling 334-694-4659.

Alabama Power announced they will not discontinue services for any customer affected by COVID-19. Alabama Power is also reminding customers that they do not call requesting immediate payment, bank, or credit card information. If customers are unsure if a call is a scam, Alabama Power encourages them to contact customer service by calling 1-800-245-2244 or by visiting their website.

The Social Security Administration has closed offices to all in-person visits but will continue to provide phone and online services. Individuals will still continue to receive benefits, and Americans should remain aware of any scammers who attempt to convince you otherwise. The Social Security Administration has created a webpage strictly addressing needs due to COVID-19.

As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, I remain committed to keeping the people of the Second District informed and knowledgeable on current news and newest discoveries regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. To follow along with constant updates from my office, please continue to check my Twitter and Facebook pages.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

2 weeks ago

Roby: Latest information and resources on coronavirus disease outbreak

(M. Roby/Facebook)

As our country moves forward with addressing the challenges associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is incumbent upon my office to provide the people of Alabama’s Second Congressional District with the most recent information surrounding COVID-19.

Government agencies at the state and federal levels are working hard to ensure Americans are receiving this information. As there are many outlets to turn toward, it can become somewhat overwhelming when determining what advice to take in. As your Representative in the U.S. Congress, I feel it is my responsibility to keep you up-to-date with this ongoing situation.

I have compiled below helpful information and resources for anyone with questions or concerns on COVID-19:

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has several resources available online relating to the COVID-19 outbreak including how to keep your home and workplace safe and clean, best practices to slow the transmission of germs, signs and symptoms of the virus, what to do if you become sick, frequently asked questions, and many more helpful tools. The CDC is constantly updating nationwide and global statistics on the outbreak including where people have become infected and how many people have tested positive for COVID-19. The CDC also offers information on travel including resources for those who may be traveling on airlines, cruise ships or returning to the United States from high-risk countries.

The U.S. Department of State recently began advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. The State Department’s website is continuously updating the latest travel advisories, which you can find here. Many families across the Second District are approaching spring break, and some of you may have international vacations planned. You may have decided to cancel these plans after the administration’s most recent travel advisory suspending travel from certain European countries to the United States. This advisory does not apply to any lawful permanent resident of the U.S. If you do decide to continue with your travel abroad, you can enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is a free service for American citizens to register your international trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

It is also important to pay attention to our state agencies such as the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). COVID-19 testing turnaround time is currently estimated by Alabama healthcare professionals to be between 24 and 72 hours. Alabama Public Health announced they are in the process of setting up 20 laboratory testing sites across the state. ADPH recommends any person who has questions about being tested for COVID-19 to contact their healthcare provider ahead of time so that the provider can take steps to prevent others in the office from being infected. ADPH suggests discussing any health concerns with your primary care provider, as they are knowledgeable on your past medical history and know-how to best move forward with treatment. Any members of the public or healthcare providers with questions pertaining to COVID-19 can also call 211 or 334-206-5347 during business hours. Providers who have patients with symptoms should call 1-800-338-8374.

As we have learned over the past few weeks, this situation is ever-changing. I will remain committed to making sure my constituents are given the latest news and information on the coronavirus outbreak. It is crucial to remember the simple steps we can all take to help slow and prevent the spread of germs like washing our hands, refraining from touching our faces, and staying home if we are sick. I am hopeful that community and national leaders along with health professionals across Alabama will continue to stay on top of this situation and implement strategic plans of action in order to provide sufficient testing and care to any persons suffering from possible cases of COVID-19. The president’s declaration of a national emergency Friday afternoon will free up federal funding immediately to support the coronavirus response.

My office will continue to put out information on COVID-19, and please follow my Facebook and Twitter accounts or contact my office to stay knowledgeable on these updates.

Representative Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

3 weeks ago

Roby: Combating the sale of counterfeit goods online

(Pixabay, YHN)

Online shopping has become an everyday occurrence for millions of Americans. By ordering products online, people have almost endless opportunities for purchases all while saving time in their daily lives. Plus, you can have your purchases delivered right to your door in a matter of days.

This method of shopping has become increasingly popular, especially for Americans who are balancing the responsibilities of family and career. No matter what type of product you are buying, the safety and reliability of that product is important. As online shopping has become more prominent in today’s culture, the sale of counterfeit goods has become a growing issue around the world.

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I have always said if it is illegal in the real world, then it should also be illegal online. Consumers should feel the same confidence and assurance buying a product from an online platform as they do when they buy a product in store. Counterfeit sellers commonly take advantage of online platforms to appear as legitimate sellers, therefore causing consumers to naively purchase ingenuine products. There are bad actors we must be aware of in every industry, but the bad actors who are selling counterfeit goods have an easier time getting away with these harmful actions as they are able to hide behind an online veil.

I am grateful to serve as co-chair of the Congressional Trademarks Caucus. I have dedicated my efforts during my time in Congress to propose solutions to this pressing issue. Last summer, I participated in a roundtable event with several companies and online platforms as well as lawmakers to discuss ways to block online counterfeit goods from flowing into the United States. It is critically important that we get this right in order to protect consumers and brands from these health and safety hazards.

I recently co-sponsored a bipartisan piece of legislation called the Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce (SHOP SAFE) Act with Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) and Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA). The SHOP SAFE Act protects consumers and businesses from the sale of counterfeit goods online and incentivizes e-commerce platforms to adopt best practices in order to decrease the sale of these goods.

Counterfeit products directly impact not only brands but consumers as well. The circulation of these products poses serious threats to Americans’ public health and safety. Consumer lives are at risk due to the sale of these dangerous products, and it is our job as embers of Congress to create accountability for these online platforms in order to prevent counterfeit products from entering American homes. E-commerce platforms must take fraud seriously and remain accountable for any fake goods sold on their sites. We must do what we can to help combat the sale of these harmful products.

Representative Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

4 weeks ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Congressional internships offer unique opportunities

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

Each summer, I am pleased to offer college students from Alabama’s Second District with congressional internship opportunities.

My summer internship program is a competitive experience intended for students who have completed at least their undergraduate freshman year and are interested in learning about our nation’s Legislative Branch.

With opportunities in my Washington, D.C., office and all three of my district offices located in Alabama, students are provided a unique experience to observe the daily operations of a congressional office.

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A congressional internship, whether it be in Washington or in the district, is a valuable experience that provides students with a greater understanding of the day-to-day operations of our government. It is also a wonderful opportunity for students to expand their knowledge on the Second District, current events and different policy issues affecting our state and country.

The experience gained by completing a congressional internship is invaluable, leading to personal and professional growth. Many students leave a congressional internship feeling confident they have further developed key skills that will prove useful in any future endeavors.

In my Washington office, responsibilities of interns include a variety of tasks, such as drafting and presenting a policy to propose to my staff, assisting constituents on the telephone, researching legislation, attending hearings and briefings, and several others. Interns in my Washington office are fortunate to also lead tours of the beautiful U.S. Capitol building for constituents who are visiting.

In our district offices located in Montgomery, Dothan and Andalusia, interns are tasked with answering constituent phone calls and assisting with possible inquiries. In addition, district office interns may be asked to help with casework and district-based projects.

I have been fortunate to host many students as interns in all four of my offices throughout my time in Congress. It’s hard to believe that summer 2020 will be my 10th summer to present students with this opportunity. These bright students have always put forth their best efforts toward serving the people of Alabama’s Second District. I greatly appreciate students who are willing to dedicate a portion of their summer to bettering their communities while also learning more about the legislative process.

This summer I will offer three, month-long internship opportunities in my Washington and district offices. The first session will be from May 11 to June 5, the second is June 8 to July 3 and the third is July 6 to July 31. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 6, 2020.

We are always looking for hardworking, young people to help my staff and me better serve the people of Alabama’s Second District. If you or someone you know may be interested in a congressional summer internship, please make sure to submit an application before the March 6 deadline that is quickly approaching.

To access my office’s application, please visit https://roby.house.gov/student-resources/internships. My staff and I look forward to hearing from you, and we are excited to welcome a new group of talented, intelligent students this summer!

Representative Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

1 month ago

Roby: Celebrating career and technical education

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

The modern workplace is constantly changing, and it’s imperative that educators and facilities keep up with this rapid pace.

For almost 40 years, federal funding has helped support career and technical education programs at the state and local level. Career Tech programs help connect students with rewarding careers and boost local economies by enhancing the workforce. These programs ensure our future workers have the necessary skills that are foundational to our society. The Career Tech Education (CTE) programs across the country and in the state of Alabama have greatly improved over the years to offer training that our students are sincerely interested in.

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Our state is fortunate to have a strong CTE network, offering a wide array of career training that works in accord with industry to guarantee the training corresponds with jobs that await these bright students upon the completion of their coursework. There are about 180,000 secondary students and 45,400 post-secondary students currently enrolled in CTE programs in Alabama. According to the U.S. Department of Education, CTE participants at the secondary and postsecondary levels in the state have ranked at least ten percent higher than the national level when it comes to their performance in these programs. It’s clearly evident that Alabama’s CTE system is succeeding, but this should never hinder us from putting forth our best efforts to make improvements.

The enactment of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act in 2018 reauthorized the federal stream of money so many CTE programs depend on. Last year, Alabama received a total of $21.4 million in funding to support these quality programs.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Geneva High School for the Career Tech proclamation signing. I appreciated seeing firsthand the value these programs have in our local communities. It is evident that the CTE programs across our state are providing a well-trained workforce meeting the needs necessary to continue with our nation’s positive economic progress.

The momentum in Alabama is incredibly strong as we work to provide a well-trained workforce in related industries. Our youth are the future of our workforce, and it’s critical we do all we can to ensure they have the education they need in order to succeed. Governor Ivey recently proclaimed February as Career and Technical Education Month, encouraging educators and industry leaders to participate in order to demonstrate the importance of CTE programs. It’s crucial our students are well-resourced with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to jumpstart their careers. I will remain committed to the significant work happening across our state and country, and I’m hopeful that we will continue to see an increased number of opportunities for young Alabamians.

Representative Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

1 month ago

Roby: Creating and protecting new ideas

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

Throughout the years, advancements in technology have altered and changed the world we live in.

Talented and bright minds are constantly pitching new ideas in industries all across the board, but it is the ability to protect these intangible creations that gives them their value. As technology has changed over time, so have the policies that protect these notable developments. With technological progression comes a more complex legal environment for businesses and organizations. It’s critical that strong protections are in place to safeguard the innovative ideas of the American people, ultimately stimulating innovation, fueling economic growth, and building stronger communities.

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I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, where I am in a unique position to advocate for the core copyright industries and related workforce that contribute so much to our economy and culture, both in Alabama and across the country. I believe our government must work to ensure our Intellectual Property (IP) laws are up-to-date and that they address the needs of today’s digital world. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) recently released the 2020 International IP Index, evaluating the IP framework between 53 global economies, ranking the United States in first place. Although the U.S. received the highest rating, Congress still has a lot of work to do.

More than 45 million American jobs rely on IP-dependent industries. Alabama has a large IP footprint, as there are currently 910,062 IP-related jobs in the state. Last year alone, there were 5,393 innovations registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alabama. Unfortunately, these hardworking, creative professionals don’t always receive the recognition and compensation they deserve due to several factors that we’re working to tackle in the House Judiciary Committee. With the strong IP presence we have in the American workforce, it’s important to understand the need for considerable protections.

Many colleges and universities in Alabama have established learning environments that give guidance to students who construct innovative works as part of their education. The University of Alabama is home to the Office for Innovation and Commercialization, and Auburn University houses the Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization. These offices, along with others across the state, provide knowledge and expertise to students who are seeking licensing agreements with commercial entities. Another way to expand this knowledge is by engaging with professionals. In Huntsville, the USPTO is hosting a roundtable event later this month to engage in a discussion on the emerging issues surrounding IP enforcement.

As creative minds are hard at work across our country, my hope is that members of Congress, including myself, are working to craft meaningful policy that will protect these innovative ideas. With the recent celebration of National Innovation Day, I’d like to encourage young people to exercise their creativity and ingenuity. While our youth are the future of the creative industry, it’s imperative that we motivate people of all ages to innovate and create. I will remain engaged with this issue in my role on the House Judiciary Committee to ensure we are advocating for the proper IP protections necessary to preserve the unique creations of the American people.

Representative Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

2 months ago

Roby: Preventative actions to take during flu season

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

The Coronavirus outbreak which originated in China has taken over news headlines across the world during the past few weeks. I recently attended a briefing for members of Congress on the Coronavirus, and this outbreak does raise direct concerns for us in the United States, as the virus is not currently spreading across our country.

There are viruses currently circulating the United States that deserve our attention. As the winter season commences, so begins an annual season we do not necessarily look forward to: flu season. Let’s focus on something here that affects millions of Americans and even several thousands of Alabamians.

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The flu virus is one that comes to our attention each year, and it’s no secret that we all try to avoid catching it. Unfortunately, it is such a common sickness that many people do not realize how dangerous the flu virus really is. During the 2018-2019 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that up to 42.9 million Americans got sick, 647,000 were hospitalized and 61,200 people died as a result. These statistics are devastatingly high, and they have a direct effect on the people of Alabama.

The CDC releases a weekly “FluView” surveillance report highlighting new statistics and trends of the flu virus in each state across the nation. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, as of February 1, statewide flu-like illnesses increased by 41% since the last report was released the week prior. Numbers of those infected with flu-like sicknesses are rising across Alabama and the Second District, so it is critical that we all do our best to take simple precautions in order to diminish the spread of germs.

It is imperative to know about the flu virus itself and ways in which we can do our best to prevent the spread. Flu activity is most common during the fall and winter seasons, typically peaking between December and February. The timing, severity, and length varies season to season, and the virus is constantly changing. The CDC recommends three actions to protect yourself and others against the flu: take preventative steps to stop the spread of germs, get vaccinated and seek treatment if you are ill.

It’s equally as important to educate your family as it is yourself on preventative steps that can be taken to lessen the chances of spreading germs during flu season. The CDC suggests to avoid close contact with anyone who may be sick, stay out of public if you are sick, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, keep your hands away from your face, wash your hands consistently, and make sure to disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

Many times, coming down with an illness like the flu is unavoidable. By following and incorporating these easy steps into our day-to-day routines, we can feel confident that we are doing our part in reducing the risk of flu-like illnesses within our communities. I encourage you to share this information with your families, friends and colleagues. The distribution of this information helps raise awareness among others on this topic, and it is just as important as taking preventative steps in order to decrease the spread of illness this flu season.

Representative Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

2 months ago

Roby: Today’s youth are tomorrow’s future

(M. Roby for Congress/Facebook)

Education is one of the most critical components of our society today. It is how we formulate opinions and perspectives, gain exposure to different ideas and cultures, and develop new skills. With the knowledge and understanding gained from a solid education, we are able to learn how to be successful in our careers, family lives, and personal lives. Education also stimulates the whole country, furthering economic growth and stability. With education, one is able to take in the world around them and turn it into something better.

This past week, January 26 through February 1, was National School Choice Week as declared by the President. Governor Kay Ivey also issued a proclamation pronouncing the same timeframe as Alabama School Choice Week. During this week long initiative, schools, organizations, and individuals planned thousands of events across the state and country in order to raise public awareness of the value of school choice. It is extremely important that children throughout the nation are able to receive an education that best fits their needs. National School Choice Week highlights the many different K-12 education options that are available for our children and their families.

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I am proud to join state and national leaders, parents, and students in recognizing this significant initiative. National School Choice Week addresses the many options available to families throughout the United States and in the Second District, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online schooling programs, and home schooling programs. All of America’s children deserve an education that benefits, challenges, and motivates them regardless of their background. Because each individual was created to be unique and different, it is crucial that learning environments reflect and meet those individual needs.

One component of education that I believe is vital to the future of our country is the engagement of youth in our nation’s government process. Our youth are the leaders of tomorrow, and it is essential that they learn about, understand, and participate in the government process as they mature. This year is an especially significant year for youth engagement, as we are in the midst of much action – an upcoming presidential election and here at home as the annual 2020 Alabama State Legislative session kicks off. I highly encourage parents of the Second Congressional District youth to urge your children to turn their focus on current events happening in our state, country, and even around the world. Our children are the future of this country, and it is imperative that we do our best to equip them with all we can to ensure they succeed.

Representative Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

2 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: We must stand for life

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

Every year, thousands of Americans gather in our nation’s capital to participate in the March for Life. This annual event is an opportunity for pro-life advocates from across the country to join together and demonstrate their concern for protecting all life.

With a single ruling, the Supreme Court deemed abortion legal throughout the United States. We are now 47 years removed from the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, and the advocates for life around the country are stronger than ever.

Many traveled far and wide to be in Washington for this year’s March, which occurred this past week. I know that some pro-life supporters traveled from Alabama’s Second District – almost 900 miles – to defend the unborn.

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It’s no secret that I am unapologetically pro-life. That is a belief I have always held close to my heart, and I have made it known since my first day in Congress.

I believe that human life begins at conception, and our laws and policies should reflect a commitment to protecting life at every stage. I feel a strong responsibility to do everything in my power to fight for the unborn.

This platform I have been given is a special opportunity to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

I have repeatedly spoken out in the House of Representatives regarding my strong opposition to abortion, and I have proudly cosponsored several pro-life bills in Congress. I have always been and will always remain a strong advocate against American taxpayer dollars being used to fund abortions and aiding in the destruction of human life.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have helped craft legislation that directs federal funding away from organizations like Planned Parenthood and instead toward community health and women’s organizations that provide family planning care in place of abortions.

While not everyone here in Congress may share my convictions about life or certain policies surrounding the rights of unborn children, our pro-life momentum is still powerful. We now live in a society where abortion activists are celebrating victories for so-called “women’s health” when it comes to this issue, though we have recently seen several pro-life victories across the nation.

Governor Kay Ivey signed the Alabama Human Life Protection Act into law in May 2019 banning abortion in the state of Alabama at any stage of pregnancy. This piece of legislation was a significant step taken to advance the pro-life agenda in the state. Additionally, a 2014 Louisiana abortion law will come before the Supreme Court this spring, and it could be a potential vehicle for the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade.

I admire all federal and state leaders who stand firm in their beliefs to defend America’s unborn children. I recently spoke on the House Floor regarding my strong opinion on this subject. I would like to say “thank you” to each and every American who continues to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.

America was founded on the principle that every human being has rights, dignity, and value. Although we continue to fight the good fight here in Washington and back home in Alabama, our work is far from complete. I promise to not stop fighting until our laws protect life at every stage, and I hope you won’t stop either.

Every life deserves a voice, and I will not back down until we accomplish our goal.

Representative Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

2 months ago

Roby: More flexibility for America’s working parents

(M. Roby for Congress/Facebook)

The American workforce has witnessed considerable change in dynamics during the 21st Century: it is more diverse than ever before.

Statistics consistently show the percentage of U.S. families with at least one working parent is on the rise, and it’s no secret that today’s working parents struggle to balance the demands required of them by their jobs and their children.

Time is the most precious resource, especially for mothers and fathers who are putting forth their best efforts to manage families while simultaneously excel in their careers. These hard-working parents deserve and need more choice and flexibility in their daily schedules in order to accomplish both. As a working mom myself, I understand the challenges parents face in managing these responsibilities. I always say that Congress cannot legislate another hour into the day, but we can update our laws to allow more choice and fairness in how employees choose to use their time.

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As the dynamics of the workplace have changed over time, our policies that govern the workplace have not adapted to keep up with these changes. I am proud to again introduce the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2020. This piece of legislation offers compensatory time, or “comp time,” benefits in lieu of cash wages for overtime, allowing private-sector workers the same opportunity that currently exists in the public sector.

This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and removes an outdated and unnecessary federal restriction on the use of comp time in the private sector for hourly employees. Comp time would be completely voluntary for the employer and employee with strong worker protections to prohibit coercion. This is the same legislation I have introduced numerous times, and it passed the House on several occasions. This change in law would provide more flexibility for working moms and dads who need more time to manage their families.

Think about it this way: should a working dad be forced to use all of his vacation time to be involved in his child’s school? Should a military mom have to take sick leave in order to make sure her child is properly taken care of? Whether it’s a parent coaching a child’s sports team, caring for a sick or elderly family member, or getting children to and from school and extracurricular activities, family responsibilities often require parents to take time away from work.

As times have changed, so have demands on our time. This is one proposal that would offer private-sector American workers more freedom and more control over their time in order to spend it the way they choose. This piece of legislation is about the working moms and dads across the country who value their time. I am honored to introduce this bill again in order to show my support for all of the working parents across our nation and to hopefully make life a little easier for the moms and dads in our American workforce.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

3 months ago

Roby: We can all help fight human trafficking

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

The state of Alabama reached several significant milestones and experienced many successes in 2019. We commemorated the 200th anniversary of Alabama’s statehood, saw a record low unemployment rate and witnessed new economic growth and development taking place across the state.

When there are so many positives to celebrate, it can be simple to overlook the unwanted storylines hiding in the shadows. While it was a year full of monumental moments and exciting celebration in Alabama, there are still serious issues across the state and country that are desperate for our intention: one major problem being human trafficking.

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The White House recently issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring January 2020 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This proclamation also highlights the 20-year anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). With the enactment of TVPA, the United States took significant steps in the fight against human trafficking and related offenses by making them a federal crime attached with severe penalties. I have pushed efforts, along with my colleagues in Congress, and working with the Administration to prevent human trafficking by passing and signing several pieces of legislation into law, including the Abolish Human Trafficking Act, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act and Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Rest assured that we will continue our best efforts in this fight as 2020 progresses.

Human trafficking, unfortunately, affects millions across the world. Many times, unseen problems are the most dangerous of them all. It may seem easy to write off human trafficking as an action that only takes place in Third World countries, but it happens in our very own Alabama communities and around the United States every single day. Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise and one of the fastest-growing illegal industries in the world, and it is growing at an extremely alarming rate. The International Labour Organization estimates that there are nearly 25 million victims worldwide. The underground nature and secrecy of these operations make it difficult for authorities to accurately estimate the total number of victims across the United States. Until we beat this horrific problem altogether, there is much work to be done.

Human trafficking can take many forms, and it is hard to know the full scale of its impact. Even though it is a larger issue that is faced no matter the country you live in, there are ways in which we can take responsibility to tackle trafficking head-on. It is crucial to be aware of what is going on around you in your community. If at any point you have information on a potential trafficking case or believe you have witnessed something questionable, act fast and immediately contact the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation at (334) 242-1142 or visit their website to file a report at https://www.alea.gov/sbi. Hotlines and helplines are also critical components of human trafficking prevention, and they can be powerful tools. You can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline by calling 1 (888) 373-7888 or texting 233733.

Even if you are unsure of your suspicions, it is always best to contact someone about what you may have seen. Your efforts can help raise awareness and even potentially save lives. Let’s all do the absolute best we can to look out for one another in our communities. We must continue to make it evident that this terrible form of modern-day slavery has no place in our country and that we will remain committed to fighting it every step of the way.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

3 months ago

Roby: Looking back and moving forward

(M. Roby/Facebook, PIxabay, YHN)

It is hard to acknowledge that 2019 has come to an end, and a new year is upon us. Not only are we stepping into a new year, but we are moving into a new decade. We have seen a significant surge in development for Alabama, and the effects can be found as far as each corner of the state. With this new decade comes a fresh opportunity for greater growth and development across our state.

As I take a moment to look back on the year of 2019, I am reminded of all the many accomplishments we made this year in Congress. The House of Representatives passed several critical pieces of legislation that greatly impacted our nation and the state of Alabama including: a disaster relief package that included aid for Wiregrass communities affected by Hurricane Michael, NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 to support our defense, USMCA to bring trade negotiation improvements with our neighboring trading partners and a spending package to keep the government funded throughout the year.

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Focusing closer on Alabama, our state saw a great amount of successes this past year. The Alabama Department of Labor announced that the state reached a record low unemployment rate. From November 2018 to November 2019, Alabama’s unemployment rate fell from 3.8% to 2.7%, which was the largest drop across the country. We witnessed extreme job growth and development across the state, along with the announcement of the creation of thousands of new jobs for Alabamians.

We are fortunate to experience this remarkable time in our state’s history. Aside from our stable economy and major economic growth, Alabama recently celebrated 200 years of statehood. I was proud to attend festivities commemorating this memorable time in our Capital City, and these events brought Alabamians from North Alabama all the way down to the Wiregrass together in celebration.

With the end to another significant year in Congress, I am quick to remember what an honor and privilege it has been to represent Alabama’s Second Congressional District for the past nine years. I want to thank the people of the Second District for trusting me to serve them and be their voice here in Washington. I am grateful for this unique platform that allows me to dedicate my efforts to serving the needs of my constituents. The cares and concerns of our District are guiding principles for every decision I make in Congress. I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents in this new year, and I am hopeful to see the excellent progress we will continue to make together in our state.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

3 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Sharing the joy of Christmas

(Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, and it is easy to get caught up in all the responsibilities that come along with it. These obligations can be quick to distract us from the true meaning behind the Christmas season. With everything happening across our country and around the world, it is inevitable that our attention is focused elsewhere.

As we gather with family and friends this year to celebrate, I pray that we do not forget the reason behind this special holiday: the birth of Jesus Christ and His message of hope in a troubled world. This powerful message rings as true today as it did centuries ago for the shepherds and watchmen who gathered to bear witness to Jesus’ birth.

Although it is easy to get caught up in the stress and chaos of our promises and commitments, the nativity story and this important holiday serve as reminders that there is always a source of hope, no matter the circumstances.

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Jesus lived his life on earth displaying love, kindness, and joy to all, regardless of their situation or struggles, and we are called to follow His example and do the same. Many of us are fortunate enough to celebrate in the company of our loved ones. Let’s do our best to ensure that everyone in our communities enjoys the Christmas holiday by remembering those who are not as fortunate.

My thoughts are with those who are suffering: those who are battling illnesses, fighting financial struggles or spending Christmas in the absence of loved ones. Many mothers and fathers selflessly serve in our military, and they will not be able to celebrate Christmas at home with their children. We owe much gratitude to these devoted servicemembers for sacrificing time with their families to protect our country.

In the spirit of the holiday, I am encouraged by all those who are able to reach out to those in their community who may need a helping hand. Whether you decide to donate toys to children in need, write letters to soldiers overseas, collect food for local food banks, or bake delicious Christmas treats for your neighbors, every heartfelt action makes a difference.

Each bit of compassion makes the world brighter. Let’s spread kindness with every opportunity that comes our way. Joy is contagious, and our efforts will have a positive impact across our communities.

I am extremely honored to represent the people of the Second Congressional District in Congress. It has been a blessing to have so many unique opportunities over the years to dedicate my efforts to serving the needs of my constituents. I hope that we will all remember to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and spread joy this holiday season. From the Roby family to yours, we wish you a wonderful and Merry Christmas.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

4 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Supporting our military

(M. Roby/Facebook)

This past week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 with a vote of 377-48. This annual bill authorizes the various military programs and defense activities in the Department of Defense. It does not provide budget authority, which will be provided in future legislation.

The United States Armed Forces are the world’s most powerful military. It is imperative for our country’s national security and the performance of our military that Congress provide ample support for our defense. This bill allows us to make progress toward increasing the strength and agility of our military.

The FY 2020 NDAA bill provides a 3.1 percent pay raise to our troops, which is the largest pay increase in a decade. The bill will also establish the U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the military within the U.S. Air Force.

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As a representative in the U.S. Congress, it is my duty to be a voice for my constituents in Southeast Alabama, and supporting our military is one of my top priorities. The Second Congressional District is home to two of our nation’s finest military installations – Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass and Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. Not only do we have a strong defense industry in the Second District, but the state of Alabama’s military footprint is largely significant as well.

Several service members and active duty military families reside in our District, so it is vitally important that I commit my support to them. Their sacrifice and dedication to keeping our country safe must never be forgotten.

By representing these men and women, I know the extreme importance of providing the members of our military with the best resources possible to ensure they are fit for whatever challenges they may face. From my first day in Congress until my last, I will continue to fight for sufficient military funding to safeguard the security of our nation.

Providing for our common defense is a fundamental duty of Congress as laid out in the Constitution. I am proud to have voted in favor of this critical piece of legislation.

The decisions and votes I cast in Congress express the overall voice of our District, and I will always advocate for proper support of our nation’s defense. By supporting this bill, I believe I am doing what’s right by the servicemembers of the Second District.

It is truly an honor to represent the remarkable servicemembers and veterans of my constituency. I am thankful for the opportunity to have this unique platform to fight for these men and women who selflessly dedicate themselves to defend and protect our nation.

Thank you to all of our men and women in uniform.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

4 months ago

Roby: Celebrating 200 years of Alabama

(Martha Roby, Alabama 200/Facebook, YHN)

For many, December 14 will be just another day to cross off the calendar; it’s another day closer to the holidays and the new year. For Alabamians, it marks one of the greatest celebrations to date in the history of our state. On December 14, 1819, Alabama was incorporated into the Union as the nation’s 22nd state. From North Alabama all the way down to the Wiregrass, Alabamians join together to commemorate the 200th anniversary of statehood to honor the beloved place we call home.

There are many incredible stories to be told about the historical impact made by our fellow Alabamians. The state has deep roots in our nation’s history.

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Many Alabama natives, some temporary and some permanent, were involved in critical turning points in American history. Alabama emerged as the center of the American Civil Rights Movement half a century ago and was home to pivotal events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Ms. Rosa Parks, a civil rights activist and Montgomery native, is widely known as the “first lady of civil rights.” Montgomery leaders recently unveiled a statue in downtown Montgomery recognizing Rosa Parks for her bravery and to serve as a reminder for future generations to continue down a path of righteousness. Ms. Parks’ actions changed the course of history, and her legacy will be remembered forever. Atlanta native Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., served as a pastor at Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and led the fight for equal rights. Parks and Dr. King represent faces of courage, strength, and equality for all. History changed right on our very own Alabama soil.

Not only is our state widely known for central moments in history, but we are also globally recognized for our presence in industries that are vital components to the success of our country. The agriculture industry is the state’s largest industry and is the largest employer in the Second Congressional District. Our state is home to thousands of acres of fertile farmland. Approximately half of the peanuts grown in the United States are cultivated within a 100-mile radius of the city of Dothan, also known as the “Peanut Capital of the World.”

Additionally, Alabama plays an integral role in the aerospace and defense industries with these two industries contributing to over 60,000 jobs in the state. North Alabama is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Redstone Arsenal, and the Anniston Army Depot, while Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base and Fort Rucker are located across the southern region of the state.

These are just a few examples of the incredible, rich history that our state has to offer, and I wish I could include them all. One initiative that does honor each of these milestones is ALABAMA 200 which was designed to celebrate the people, places, and history of the state over a three-year time span. Beginning in 2017 and culminating with the state’s 200th birthday in 2019, ALABAMA 200 curated events and activities across all 67 counties to engage with Alabamians far and wide. Teachers, students, organizations and local leaders are among those included in these exciting events bringing local community residents and even visitors together. On Saturday, December 14, the state will participate in a finale commemoration in the Capital City. It will be the largest birthday celebration the people of Alabama have seen, and it is a unique and special opportunity to gather and honor the history and people that make the state of Alabama great. I am extremely excited to join the people of Alabama to celebrate our state’s history.

If you are able, I highly encourage you and your family to attend the events of the ALABAMA 200 finale celebration. There is no better way to pay tribute to the state we each hold so close to our hearts than by gathering in the Capital City to praise our great state.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

4 months ago

Roby: A time to give thanks

(M. Roby for Congress/Facebook)

Each November, Americans gather with family members and friends to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This special day serves as a time for us to pause as a nation and remember all that we are grateful for. It can be easy to lose sight of our blessings when our attention is focused on all that is happening across the country and around the world. As we congregate around tables full of delicious cooking and conversation with people we love, I hope that we all remember just how blessed we are.

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity and responsibility to serve the people of Alabama in the United States Congress for the past nine years. It is my highest honor to come to work every day and be an advocate for those I represent. From assisting veterans with casework, setting up tours for families visiting Washington, or corresponding with my constituents, I am thankful to serve the people of the United States and fight for the greatness of our country.

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I am grateful for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. We owe much gratitude to the men and women in uniform who fight to defend and protect our freedom. Many who serve in our Armed Forces spend their Thanksgiving holiday away from loved ones. Let us remember the servicemembers and their families as they celebrate the holiday apart from those they love, and let us always remember their dedication to our great nation.

I am especially thankful for my family. My husband Riley and our two children Margaret and George bring me immense joy and happiness each day. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be their mom, and we are thankful for our parents, families and friends. I am appreciative to be able to spend Thanksgiving with them each year.

In the spirit of the holiday, I want to thank you for allowing me to represent Alabama’s Second Congressional District. We are fortunate to call the great state of Alabama our home. Alabama is experiencing extreme economic growth and development, especially with all the new business developments and expansions leading to increased job opportunities over the past year. In fact, our state has reached a record low unemployment rate of 2.8%. Additionally, we are approaching a time of celebration and commemoration of the bicentennial anniversary of Alabama’s statehood. As Alabamians, we have much to be thankful for.

My hope for all on this unique holiday is that we dedicate time to thank God for the ways in which He has blessed each of us. No matter where you are, who you are with, or what your plans are this Thanksgiving, remember that we have many blessings to count. I hope that you all enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday full of your favorite foods and traditions. From the Roby family to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

5 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Encouraging the Second District’s creative youth

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook)

Each year, the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors an art competition that is open to high school students across the nation. The Congressional Art Competition is a unique opportunity to recognize the artistic talents of students from all over the country, including those in Alabama’s Second Congressional District.

The winning artwork is displayed in the U.S. Capitol building for one year, and the exhibit includes the winning artwork from all participating congressional districts. High school students have been participating in this annual creative competition since 1982.

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My office partners with a local Alabama museum each year in order to professionally judge and select a winner to represent the Second District. This year, our partnering museum is the Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA).

The WMA holds the 2020 Youth Art Month every year to celebrate student artists throughout the Wiregrass area. Students of all ages are given the opportunity to have their artwork displayed at this local museum in order to highlight the value of art and art education. Although the 2020 Youth Art Month is a separate contest, artwork submitted will automatically be considered for the Congressional Art Competition if it meets the established criteria.

On November 7, I was proud to introduce the Artistic Recognition for Talented Students (ARTS) Act alongside Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

The ARTS Act directs the Register of Copyrights to waive the copyright registration fee for winners of the Congressional Art Competition. This piece of legislation encourages young artists to participate in the copyright system and helps them to learn the benefits of copyrighting their works.

We have an abundance of brilliant, young creators across the country who are the rising generation of America’s creative industry, and the ARTS Act is a great way to incentivize copyright registration within our youth.

Although the deadline for the Congressional Art Competition is in January 2020, I want to provide students with ample time to create and submit their artwork. I recently sent out a letter to all 117 high schools in the Second Congressional District, drawing attention to the competition for those who might be interested in participating. The letter outlines the concept and rules of the competition in order to ensure students and teachers fully understand the guidelines.

I highly encourage any student who wants to express their creativity to participate in this encouraging competition. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their talents and take part in an exciting nationwide contest.

For students or teachers who would like more information on the competition, please visit my website. My office will also continue to release updates on the competition as the deadline for entry approaches.

I am proud of the artistic abilities and talents of our students in Alabama’s Second Congressional District.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

5 months ago

Roby: We will always stand by our American heroes

(M. Roby/Facebook)

Each year on Veterans Day, Americans pause to recognize those who have served our country in uniform. Originally known as Armistice Day, Congress later passed a resolution signed by President Dwight Eisenhower that officially designated November 11 as Veterans Day. It is important that we honor these heroic men and women not only on this holiday but every day. We are indebted to the selflessness of those who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. This special day of remembrance is not simply just a day off work. It is a day set aside to acknowledge the servicemembers who sacrificed for the freedoms we may sometimes take for granted.

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One way to show tribute to our heroes is by attending a local Veterans Day event. It is always an honor to be in the presence of those who fight to defend our nation, but it is especially humbling on this significant holiday. I highly encourage you and your family to attend a Veterans Day ceremony in your hometown. Many cities and towns throughout Central and South Alabama will hold special observances in which you and your family can attend. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to express your gratitude, but it is also a great way for your children to meet servicemembers and better understand the endless sacrifices made on our behalf. If you cannot attend an event in person, please make sure you take time to thank the people you may know who have served our country in uniform.

It is my highest honor to represent the people of Alabama’s Second Congressional District and to fight for the men and women who serve us all. One of my top priorities since my first day in Congress is working on behalf of America’s service members and veterans, particularly because the Second District is home to a notable population of veterans and thousands of active duty and reserve personnel. My offices do the best we can to represent our veterans and provide them with adequate assistance every day because they deserve proper care and attention. If I can ever be helpful to you or someone you know, please do not hesitate to call my office or visit my website for more information on the assistance my office can supply.

It is imperative that we remain committed to honoring and caring for our veterans and military families more than just one day each year. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to all members who have served in our Armed Forces. Thank you to every service member, young and old, across our nation. Your gracious devotion to our country and its people has never gone unnoticed, and it never will. America is great because of your willingness to make sacrifices on our behalf.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

5 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Continuing the fight against the opioid epidemic

(Rep. Roby/Twitter)

The opioid epidemic is one of our country’s most dire ongoing issues. The term is one that has become too familiar in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, this epidemic is tragically taking the precious lives of Americans across the country, including those of Alabamians in the Second Congressional District.

As an elected official, I believe that we must do all we can to help bring attention and awareness to this serious problem. I also believe it is our duty as leaders to educate the public on the proper resources that are available to help fight this battle, both on state and national levels.

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Governor Ivey recently announced that the Alabama Drug Enforcement Task Force (ADETF) under the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has been awarded over $1.4 million by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat illegal drug use. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer these grants to ADETF’s seven regional offices across the state. Each regional office accounts for eight to 12 counties, which allows them the opportunity to focus their efforts closely on a designated area of the state. Federal grants are an important resource in which state and local governments, law enforcement agencies and related organizations can apply for funds that aid in the fight against the opioid crisis.

Additionally this week, the White House released an update to the website FindTreatment.gov to improve the resources it can provide to those battling drug abuse. The website outlines services to drug abusers who are interested in seeking help through treatment programs. The site can also set up search filters to make navigation more easily accessible for specific users such as veterans. Resources like this website are crucial tools for those who want help overcoming drug addiction.

It is imperative that leaders on all levels are dedicated to ending this crisis that is tearing apart homes and families across our nation. We cannot continue to let this devastating epidemic steal hundreds of thousands of American lives. My hope for all those suffering is to reach out and use the various resources put in place. However, we all must be knowledgeable about the care available, and not just those who are suffering from addiction and abuse, but also those who are willing to act against this epidemic. I remain committed to fighting against this plague to ensure it comes to an end.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

5 months ago

Roby: Staying alert against fraudulent scams

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

Every day, we consume information in a variety of ways from our cell phone screens to our computers. With having several types of options available, the amount of content can be overwhelming and easily inundate even the most avid consumer. The ability to understand if information is fraudulent or real is becoming ever more difficult to immediately recognize. This month is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and there are so many fraudulent scams that we all must stay alert against.

Have you ever clicked on a suggested ad on Instagram, liked a normal looking product for sale on Facebook or clicked on a link from an unsolicited email? If so, you most likely have been viewing deceitful companies at least a few times. According to a recent Better Business Bureau’s report on those who documented a scam, 91% directly engaged with the fake company and 53% of those ended up losing money. These types of companies do all they can to appear legitimate from a professional website to consumer reviews and proper looking forms to enter in your credit card information. When scrolling down your own social media page or that of a friend’s you feel safe and secure, but it is the sense of regularity that can invite normal-looking fake products and websites to appear welcoming.

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I invite everyone to utilize the tools from the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org to review questionable product advertisements and websites. Additionally, if you do unfortunately fall victim to an online scam, you can easily report that information here as well. Everyone should practice the same amount, if not more, awareness online for products and companies as you would if you walked into a store to buy a product.

While scams and fraudulent activity online remain the most likely avenue of interaction with consumers, bad actors continue to use unsolicited calls to cell phones as well. In fact, just this past week, I received numerous calls to my cell phone from people who identified themselves as being from the Social Security Administration. These calls claimed criminal activity was pending against me, and I must call them back immediately with my Social Security number to rectify the situation. Most of these type of calls can easily be determined to be fake on the onset, however, every situation for each person is different. Think of the person who had recently interacted with the actual Social Security Administration or had indeed just participated in some sort of court case. With online fraudulent activity receiving the most oversight and awareness, I want to remind everyone that those claiming to be actual government agencies continue to exist over the phone.

While it can be alarming to get a call like this, it is important to protect yourself and your identity. First, it is very important to know that you should never give out any personal information on these types of calls. It is best to hang up and immediately report the phone call directly to the actual government agency. In the case of the Social Security Administration there are two ways you can report the call, by phone at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov.

There have been safeguards implemented on social media platforms and unsolicited phone calls have decreased over the years, but the ability to protect your identity and defend yourself from getting scammed continues to get more difficult as corrupt individuals adapt to the consumer. At the end of the day, you ultimately are in control by what ads you click on, websites to visit, or phone calls to call-back. Asking questions and always double-checking the legitimacy of any new online interaction or entity is the best practice to follow.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

5 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: An update on progress for Afghan women

(M. Roby/Facebook)

Throughout my time in Congress, I have had the privilege to serve on several committees that directly influence our country’s defense and foreign policy initiatives, namely the House Armed Services Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. Most recently, this Congress, I was asked to serve on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee.

In this role, I have been part of many negotiations regarding funding levels for the many important programs we have overseas. Over the years, I have also used Congress’ constitutional oversight to question members of the Executive Branch about our country’s strategy abroad. I believe that this process is deeply important, and we must remain committed to upholding our country’s system of checks and balances when making critical military and foreign policy decisions.

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On top of my committee-specific duties related to foreign policy, for the past eight years, my colleague, Congresswoman Susan Davis, and I have led an all-female Mother’s Day trip to Afghanistan. During these trips, we have been given the opportunity to meet with our servicemen and women who are away from their families on Mother’s Day. I believe it is so incredibly important for members of Congress to see firsthand how our policy decisions impact the lives of Americans at home and abroad. I have been able to use what I’ve learned during these trips to make more informed decisions about military spending and defense policy.

Also, importantly, these trips have afforded me the opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to improving circumstances for those in Afghanistan, especially Afghan women. While gains have undoubtedly been made since 2001, it remains critical that American leaders stay engaged to ensure continued forward momentum for these women.

I recently addressed a group at the United States Institute of Peace, and I told them that it is my belief that a peace deal – a true, lasting peace in Afghanistan – will not be reached until all facets of the Afghan community have a seat at the negotiating table. This means Afghan society must continue to see an increased number of women serving in all societal roles – in the military, police force, as educators, and more.

During this time when the future of Afghanistan is uncertain, these conversations I have participated in are so vitally important, and I have been honored to be a part of them. We have made great strides towards improving life for Afghan women over the years, but we must keep moving the ball down the field. The country simply cannot truly move forward until all its citizens have a bettered quality of life, and I will remain engaged in this fight.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

6 months ago

Roby: U.S. service academies nomination deadline is quickly approaching

(M. Roby/Facebook)

It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through the month of October. November will be here before we know it, and with it comes Veterans Day. This is a uniquely special holiday, and as it approaches, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on the endless sacrifices made by those who have worn the uniform.

It is a tremendous honor to serve the Second District, which is home to two of our nation’s finest military installations, thousands of active duty and reserve personnel, and a large veteran population. Working on behalf of our service members and veterans has always been a top priority of mine in Congress, and it continues to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job. With Veterans Day on the horizon, I am personally reminded of the great debt of gratitude we owe the men and women of our military.

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As this important holiday nears, I believe now is an appropriate time to remind high school seniors in the Second District that the deadline to apply for nomination to the United States service academies through my office is less than one month away on November 8 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing this fantastic opportunity, please remember to submit all necessary materials to my Montgomery office by the deadline.

As a member of Congress, one of my distinct privileges each year is to nominate candidates for appointment to four of the five service academies: The United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The fifth service academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, does not require a congressional nomination for appointment.

I can nominate up to 10 individuals for each vacant slot allotted to the Second District. If you are pursuing entry to one of our nation’s distinguished service academies and endeavor to serve our country, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude and wish you the very best. It is because of our veterans, active-duty personnel and young leaders with hearts for serving this nation that we enjoy our uniquely American freedoms.

In the spirit of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, I offer my sincerest thanks to all who have served our country in uniform. It is an honor to represent you in Congress, and I hope you will call on me if I can ever be of assistance to you. If you are a high school senior in the Second District and are interested in learning more about obtaining a nomination to the service academies from my office, please contact my staff in Montgomery by calling (334) 262-7718. Additional application information is also available on my website: www.roby.house.gov/student-resources/service-academy-nominations.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

6 months ago

Roby: Highlighting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the second most common cancer in women, with the goal of someday ending it entirely. Although deaths from breast cancer continue to fall, they’re declining at a slower rate than in previous years, and the number of cases we’re seeing is rising. It is very important that we take this valuable opportunity to talk about this dreaded disease and increase our knowledge on the topic.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 271,000 new cases of breast cancer this year alone, 99% of which will be diagnosed in women. Of course, risk factors like age and genetics cannot be avoided, but there are steps you can take to lower your own breast cancer risk, and most of them are related to maintaining good health in general. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and getting regular screenings if you are older than 40.

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Unfortunately, most of us have either faced a cancer diagnosis personally or been close to a friend or family member who has. Until we eradicate this terrible disease altogether, it is important to know about the resources available to those in the fight. Throughout my time in Congress, I have considered it a privilege to play in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game, a charity event benefiting the Young Survival Coalition (YSC). YSC aims to improve the quality of life for young adults affected by breast cancer. My team didn’t quite pull off a win during this year’s game, but I could not be prouder of what we accomplished. We raised more than $365,000 – a new record – to benefit YSC and their important mission supporting individuals battling breast cancer.

A cancer diagnosis is certainly never easy, but organizations like YSC make it possible to navigate these challenging circumstances, and I am grateful for their work. During the month of October, I encourage you to increase your own awareness about breast cancer and the risks associated with the disease and tell your loved ones to do the same. As with many other forms of cancer, early detection is critical and saves lives. If you are currently battling breast cancer, please know that my prayers are with you. You can access valuable information by visiting www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.