The Wire

  • Nation of Islam Birmingham chapter leading Hoover boycott efforts

    Excerpt:

    The Birmingham chapter of the Nation of Islam – which is deemed an “extremist,” “deeply racist, antisemitic” “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and led nationally by the infamous Louis Farrakhan – is heading up the boycott effort in Hoover in the aftermath of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr.’s death in an officer-involved shooting at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.

    In a recent Facebook live video posted by Iva Williams, a spokesperson and the vice president for the activist organization led by self-proclaimed Hoover protest leader Carlos Chaverst, Jr., Williams confirmed that Tremon Muhammad, the student minister (pastor) for the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Mosque No. 69 in Birmingham, is leading the boycott.

    He also detailed that the boycott is specifically meant to harm businesses owned by white people, with the activists planning on finding ways to help black-owned businesses in Hoover until their leases are up, at which time the businesses will be expected to move into majority-black areas of Birmingham.

  • AG Marshall: Prosecution of corruption remains a priority after Matt Hart’s departure

    Excerpt:

    On Friday’s episode of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall downplayed the departure of now-former Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart.

    Hart formerly led the AG’s Special Prosecutions Division and was perhaps best known for his prosecution of former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.

    In the interim, Hart had become somewhat of a media darling, and Marshall’s critics had charged politics was a motivation in Hart’s resignation. Marshall dismissed those claims and touted Hart’s successor, Clark Morris.

  • Women’s clothier raises $4,500 for police, others with ‘#HooverStrong’ T-shirts sales

    Excerpt:

    There’s no question that the last two weeks have been trying for Hoover retailers in the wake of the tragic shooting at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.

    With protests flaring up over dissatisfaction with law enforcement’s handling of the incident’s investigation, the circumstances have been trying for local retailers that were already dealing with the busy shopping season.

    However, one Hoover retailer is making the most of the situation.

Martha Roby: Honoring the life and legacy of President George H.W. Bush

(Wikicommons)

As Americans, one of our most important, solemn duties is to honor our great heroes and patriots as we lay them to rest. On November 30, 2018, President George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed on from this life surrounded by some of the people he loved most in this world. He was a great leader and a truly good man, and our country will be forever shaped by his legacy.

George H.W. Bush was born on June 12, 1924, to Prescott Sheldon Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. He graduated from high school on his 18th birthday and immediately enlisted in the U.S. Navy, becoming one of the youngest naval aviators. In September of 1943, George Bush was assigned to the squadron that would end up being victorious in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, one of the largest air battles of World War II.

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A year later, junior Lieutenant Bush piloted one of the four planes that attacked the Japanese on Chichijima. His plane was shot down, and he was stranded for hours in an inflated raft before being rescued by a U.S. submarine. Between 1943-1944, Bush flew 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in September of 1945, one month after Japan’s surrender.

During his final year of naval service, George Bush married Barbara Pierce, and they had six children together, five of which are still living. Their second child and oldest daughter Robin passed away at age three from leukemia. At the time of Barbara’s death earlier this year, the couple had been married for 73 years, the longest presidential marriage in American history by nearly 20 years.

Upon receiving his military discharge, George Bush enrolled at Yale University where he continued his remarkable leadership track by serving as his fraternity’s president and captain of the university’s baseball team. After graduating, he moved his family to West Texas where he became very successful in the oil industry.

In 1966, George Bush was elected to serve Texas’ Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was reelected in 1968, and then unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 1970. In 1971, George Bush was appointed by President Richard Nixon to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations. During his impressive career, he also served as the U.S. Liaison to China and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Bush was President Ronald Reagan’s Vice President from 1981-1989. He succeeded Reagan as President in 1989 and completed one term, losing his reelection bid to former President Bill Clinton in 1993.

While President George H.W. Bush’s resume is certainly impressive, it’s not his professional achievement that will stand out in the hearts and minds of Americans for generations to come. President Bush was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was also a dedicated public servant who placed significant emphasis on volunteering as a way to improve American communities.

He often used the “thousand points of light” theme to describe the power American citizens have to solve problems. In his 1989 inaugural address, President Bush said, “I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good.” Four years later, he offered an update to the country on the Points of Light Movement, saying, “Points of light are the soul of America. They are ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to touch the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, care and friendship. By giving so generously of themselves, these remarkable individuals show us not only what is best in our heritage but what all of us are called to become.”

President George H.W. Bush lived his life as a shining example of these words he spoke. He is truly among what is “best in our heritage.” President Bush gave our country the very best of himself, and thereby inspired countless Americans to voluntarism and public service. May we never forget his outstanding leadership and his remarkable legacy. I hope you will join me in keeping the entire Bush family in your prayers as our country mourns the passing of their loved one.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

Roby: Border security is a priority for Alabamians

(Congresswoman Roby/Facebook)

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, one of my jobs is to work alongside my colleagues to see that the government is funded on time each year.

It’s no secret that the process is far from perfect and Congress often falls short of executing this important responsibility in the way our founding fathers intended, but this year, I am glad to report that we have taken steps in the right direction.

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As you may know, current government funding expires on December 7, and as of now, we have already funded 75 percent of the government under regular order. We have done our job to fund our military and the Department of Veterans Affairs on time, and now it is imperative that we build upon this positive momentum by properly funding the rest, including the Department of Homeland Security, in order to crack down on our country’s illegal immigration problem.

I’m sure you have seen the recent news reports about the caravan of individuals trying to force their way across our southern border. This situation is deeply troubling, and it is a direct threat to our national security. The unfortunate truth, however, is that this isn’t the first time something like this has occurred, and until we truly secure our border, it won’t be the last.

Let me be clear: Our immigration system is broken, and it badly needs to be reformed. But, any real, meaningful discussions about reforms to the existing system absolutely must begin with securing the border. As I always say, if you have a leak in your house, you don’t replace the drywall until you fix the leak. In the same way, we cannot attempt to solve the larger problem with our immigration system until we stop the flow of illegal immigrants across our border.

That’s why it is critical that Congress fully fund the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border security and immigration, to provide the resources and tools necessary to secure the border, including President Trump’s request for a border wall. Last year, we put a down payment on construction of a wall along our southern border, and this year, it is our responsibility to direct additional funds towards this important measure and others.

With my seat on the House Appropriations Committee, I’m in a strong position to ensure that many of our Alabama priorities are properly funded from year to year. Border security is one of those priorities, and I am eager to get this important work done.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

3 weeks ago

Roby: A season of thanksgiving and rebuilding

(Rep. Martha Roby/Facebook)

Thanksgiving is a uniquely special holiday because it provides us an entire day each year to pause as a country and give thanks to God for the countless ways He has blessed us. The stress and craziness of everyday life often make it easy to lose sight of just how much we have to be thankful for, so as we all have the opportunity to gather with loved ones this Thanksgiving, I hope we all take time to count our numerous blessings.

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While we have a lot to be thankful for in our state and country right now, there are also people in our district and throughout the Southeast who are in the midst of a very challenging recovery period in the wake of Hurricane Michael. When this horrific storm made landfall just over a month ago, areas of Alabama, Florida and Georgia were completely ravaged. Hundreds of people lost everything, and more than 30 people were killed. Needless to say, this Thanksgiving will be a very emotional time for many people in our country.

Here in our district, the agriculture community faces the most significant devastation. While the full scale of damages is still being assessed at this time, Hurricane Michael dealt a terrible blow to our cotton, timber, and peanut farmers.

In the aftermath of the storm, I have traveled to the Wiregrass several times to be with our farmers and to see firsthand what they are experiencing. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to visit a farm in Houston County with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan to assess damage and discuss recovery efforts with some local farmers.

I appreciate the local leaders and hardworking farmers who took the time to sit down with Secretary Perdue, Commissioner McMillan, and me. Secretary Perdue is a friend to Alabama, and I’m deeply grateful that he made this visit happen and participated in this important dialogue with Alabama farmers. I will work alongside Secretary Perdue and my colleagues in Congress to provide the proper resources and assistance to our farmers. My job is to be on the front line fighting for Alabama, and we are making the push to get this done quickly and correctly. We must get this right, and we must ensure that Alabama’s farmers are included in all recovery efforts.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have made it a priority to fight for our farmers of all commodities. Their work to provide the food and fiber we depend on is vitally important. I will continue to advocate for them, especially during this time of uncertainty as we work to put the pieces back together for these hardworking men and women who have suffered tremendous loss to their livelihoods.

During this season of Thanksgiving as you’re gathered with family and friends, I hope you will join me in prayerfully remembering our neighbors in the Wiregrass and throughout the Southeast. While the challenge of rebuilding won’t be easy, I am confident that we will get through it together.

In the spirit of the holiday, I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I am thankful for the responsibility to serve our state and country in the United States Congress. It is a true honor to be in a position to make a difference on behalf of Alabama’s Second District, so thank you for allowing me to serve you. From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

1 month ago

Martha Roby: YouthBuild Eufaula is making a difference in Barbour County

(M. Roby)

Did you know that there are an estimated 4.9 million 16 to 24-year-old individuals in this country who are not in school and are also unemployed? This is an unfortunate but true statistic, and roughly 3 million of these young people are living in poverty.

During the recent district work period, I had the opportunity to visit Eufaula Housing Authority’s (EHA) YouthBuild program, an organization in Alabama’s Second District that is really making a difference in the lives of these individuals in Barbour County. YouthBuild is a youth development program that serves these out-of-school youth by providing them with the opportunity, hope, and support to rebuild their lives while equipping them with the necessary skills to facilitate success in both the workforce and their communities.

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EHA’s YouthBuild program serves young people ages 16 to 24 who are not currently enrolled in high school or have recently dropped out and re-entered. Participants also represent at least one of these six disadvantaged groups: low-income household, parent(s) incarcerated, youth aging out of foster care, youth with a disability, homeless, and adjudicated. Students who meet these criteria must complete a three-week mental toughness orientation before being accepted into the program. During this time, applicants learn more about YouthBuild, participate in daily physical training exercises, teambuilding activities, various skills workshops, and a community service assignment designed to teach the importance of giving back.

This mental toughness orientation is important because leadership and giving back are two ideals YouthBuild works extremely hard to instill in each and every participant. The program is well-equipped to facilitate growth in these important areas because they’ve partnered with various organizations, such as Youth Leadership Barbour County, to offer skills training and leadership development workshops.

In addition to fostering personal growth and development, YouthBuild provides excellent educational opportunities for participants by partnering with Wallace Community College and the Eufaula Career Center. Because of these local partnerships, YouthBuild is able to offer classes for GED preparation, Ready to Work (soft skills certification), welding, air conditioning and refrigeration, and electrical line work.

On top of these great opportunities, YouthBuild also offers its participants exceptional professional opportunities in construction. If they desire, students have the option to receive classroom and lab training in addition to hands-on training on construction sites. Oftentimes, these opportunities lead to paying jobs for students.

It’s no secret that at-risk youth often, understandably, need strong support to overcome the conditions that contributed to their challenging circumstances. YouthBuild offers students supportive services to help them overcome these barriers. Each student has access to career coaching, legal advocacy, tutoring, transportation and childcare vouchers, a graduation stipend, job placement assistance, and post-graduate follow-up engagement.

When I stopped by EHA’s YouthBuild, I saw firsthand the positive impact these service-driven educators and mentors have on the students in the program, and I was especially moved by personal testimonies I heard about how YouthBuild and its staff helped two young men in particular turn their lives around. The YouthBuild philosophy is to convey the importance of post-secondary education as a vehicle for personal advancement and growth, and during my visit, it was very clear that this ideology truly guides the program and all the hardworking men and women who dedicate their lives and careers to making it successful.

YouthBuild is invaluable to at-risk youth and young adults in Barbour County, but when I talked with staff there, I was informed of a tough challenge they face: Demand is so high that they’re continually forced to turn away applicants due to funding and space limitations. As a member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS) Subcommittee, I have proudly supported funding for YouthBuild, and I will continue to advocate for proper support for these important programs. They are meeting critical needs in our community, and it is imperative that we do all we can to ensure they are able to grow and thrive. I enjoyed my visit to YouthBuild and am already looking forward to next time.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

1 month ago

Roby: Reflecting on October

(Congresswoman Roby/Facebook)

There have been several exciting, noteworthy developments for our district, state, and country lately. For starters, now that November is upon us, President Trump has again declared this month the second annual National Veterans and Military Families Month to “salute the brave and dedicated patriots who have worn the uniform of the United States, and… celebrate the extraordinary military families whose selfless service and sacrifice make our military the finest in the world.”

I am glad that the president has once again demonstrated that we are committed to veterans and military families more than just on Veterans Day.

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Next, you may be aware that each year the month of October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness and raise funds for research. It was recently brought to my attention that Medicare and Medicaid only cover two options for women following a mastectomy: surgical breast reconstructive surgery or a prefabricated breast prosthetic. The latter has been described as shapeless, heavier than the normal breast, and cumbersome to wear – but there’s another option.

Custom fabricated breast prosthetics exist, and while they are significantly less expensive than reconstructive surgery and are custom-fit to a woman’s body shape, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has deemed this option not reasonable or necessary for coverage. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I sent a letter to the CMS Administrator urging her to modify this coverage determination. I believe it is only right that women who have battled breast cancer be given the options that work best for them and not be subjected to a one-size-fits-all approach. I will keep you informed on any developments.

In still more news, we recently learned that the Air Force is directing $18 million for the construction of a new air traffic control tower at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery. I have advocated for this project for years and have personally climbed up the antiquated tower. It badly needs to be replaced, so I am very pleased that this issue is being addressed through the recently passed military funding bill. I look forward to seeing this improvement become reality as Maxwell continues to support the needs of the Air Force in the River Region, including the 187th Fighter Wing’s missions. Construction is expected to begin in June of 2019 and conclude in December of 2020.

Amid all of this news, I also had the opportunity this past week to spend more time traveling throughout Alabama’s Second District as the October district work period continued. I had productive visits in Wetumpka, Montgomery, Tallassee, and Dothan.

In Wetumpka, I sat down with Keith Barnett, the new Director of the Elmore County Emergency Management Agency, and other community leaders to discuss infrastructure, rural broadband, prison reform, and economic growth in the region. I also appreciated this group giving me an update on Elmore County’s priorities. In Montgomery, I met with members of the Alabama Ag Credit, officials from New York Life, folks from Cardiovascular Associates, and more.

While in Tallassee, I had the opportunity to speak to the Lions Club during their lunch meeting. I appreciated being able to give them an update from Washington and fill them in on my priorities as their representative in Congress.

In Dothan, I spoke to our community leaders at the annual Second Congressional District dinner. Each year, this event serves as an excellent time for those of us in public service to discuss the ways we can better assist the people we represent. I reminded the group of the many ways my office can be of service to them as we work to serve our shared constituency.

The month of October brought several positive developments to our region, state and country, and I was glad to be part of the excitement on your behalf. I am looking forward to seeing what the month of November holds for Alabamians and all Americans, and I am eager to spend more time on the road visiting with the people I am grateful to represent in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

2 months ago

Roby report from the road — Hurricane Michael, education and meeting with business leaders

(M. Roby/Facebook)

With Congress out of session for an October district work period, I have taken this valuable time to be on the road in Alabama’s Second District visiting with the people I represent and sharing with them an update from Washington. I believe this time we spend together is truly invaluable. It’s so important for me to hear from local leaders, business owners and employees about how the issues of the day impact them in their daily lives so that I can better represent their views in Congress.

During this district work period, I spent time in Columbia, Headland, Dothan, Gordon, Luverne, Goshen, Opp and Troy. Since parts of our district were ravaged by Hurricane Michael this month, I have been especially grateful for this time away from Washington to visit impacted communities to assess the damage and talk with our farmers on the ground.

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In Columbia, I met with Mayor Rhonda Freeman, and she updated me on the damage her town is facing. In Headland, I had lunch with a group of Henry County farmers, and we discussed agriculture recovery efforts. The farmers in our district are truly facing unprecedented losses, and I will remain engaged as we push through this rebuilding process together. In Dothan, I sat down with Chris Judah, Director of the Houston County Emergency Management Agency. In Gordon, I toured several farms to assess the Hurricane Michael damage.

In Luverne, I had the opportunity to address the Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce during a lunch meeting. We had a conversation about the numerous successes our unified government has had over the last two years. As I told the group, the American people are much better off now than we were before. While in town, I also stopped by Hicks, Inc. They’re the number one national wholesale distributor of fishing, hunting, marine, archery and other outdoor products. I was very impressed by their extensive operations and impressive facility.

In Goshen, I visited the high school to check out their career tech facility. I was blown away by the numerous outstanding opportunities that are available to students right here in our district. Did you know that most Goshen High School students graduate having already obtained an Associate degree? It’s true. The students I met while on campus were truly remarkable young men and women.

In Opp, I participated in a roundtable discussion with local business leaders. We had a very productive conversation about ways we can work to bring new opportunities to Opp and the surrounding communities. While I was there, I also had the opportunity to meet former Alabama football Head Coach Mike DuBose and his wife Polly.

In Troy, I met with Troy University officials, and they briefed me on a $3.2 million grant the university recently received from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This is the largest grant Troy University has received in the school’s history, and it will establish the Center for Materials and Manufacturing Sciences at the university. This research will focus on polymers and plastics recycling, and it will go a long way towards preparing the next generation of the workforce in this industry. We are so fortunate to have Troy University in Alabama’s Second District, and I’m always proud to learn more about the ways the school is growing and thriving.

It has been a productive month so far, and I really appreciate the many individuals who took time out of their busy lives to talk with me. I am looking forward to many more opportunities to hear directly from the people I represent. My priority is always to be the very best representative of our shared beliefs that I possibly can.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

2 months ago

Rep. Roby: Alabama farmers ‘in the midst of a very real crisis’ as Hurricane Michael recovery continues

(M. Roby/YouTube)

As Hurricane Michael recovery efforts continue, we are gradually learning the full scale of damages portions of our district are facing. The setback for the agriculture industry is severe, to say the least. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, I traveled to the Wiregrass to see firsthand what some of our farmers are experiencing. The devastation is heartbreaking.

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Agricultural damage from Hurricane Michael across Alabama, Florida, and Georgia is projected to top $1.3 billion in total losses, with cotton, pecans, and poultry commodities hit the hardest. An expert with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System estimates the loss to our state’s cotton crop alone could eclipse $100 million. That sum does not include the impact the storm had on livestock, peanuts, and timber. When I was on the ground in the Wiregrass, I even saw 1,500 acres of cucumbers that might not make it to harvest. Our farmers are in the midst of a very real crisis.

In Alabama’s Second District, agriculture is the backbone of our economy, and throughout my time in Congress, I have always made it a priority to fight for our farmers of all commodities. Their work to provide the food and fiber we depend on is vitally important. I will continue to advocate for them, especially at this very uncertain time as we work to put the pieces back together for these hardworking men and women who have suffered tremendous loss to their livelihoods.

In the wake of this disaster, Governor Kay Ivey requested that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue declare our hurricane-damaged counties in Alabama as agriculture disaster areas. She also requested the maximum assistance be made available to our state through existing Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs.

I, too, have been actively engaged with Secretary Perdue, and recently penned a letter to him voicing my support for the Governor’s request. It is imperative that our farmers receive the most fitting and best available assistance from USDA during this time, and I am confident Secretary Perdue understands the severity of the devastation that occurred to agriculture in our state. I will remain in close contact with USDA to address any further needs the Department may require in getting our farmers the help they need in the weeks and months to come.

As we work through this season of rebuilding together, I’ve been encouraged to see and hear about so many acts of kindness and charity in our district and throughout the Southeast.

As a local example, when Tate’s Supermarket in Hartford lost power during the bad weather, they were unable to keep their refrigerated food stock cold. So, they emptied their freezers, prepared the food, and gave it away on to-go plates for anyone in Geneva County who needed a meal. This time of recovery will not be easy, but if we continue to help each other in whatever ways we are able, we will get through this.

If you or someone you know needs assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, please contact one of my offices. My staff and I work for you, and we are committed to ensuring that you know the options available to you during this trying time. Most importantly, please continue praying for the families who were impacted by this disaster.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

2 months ago

Roby: Rebuilding together

(M. Roby/Facebook)

Hurricane Michael, the third most powerful hurricane to ever make landfall on the United States mainland, ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia on October 10th. While only early estimates are available at this point in time, it has been reported that more than 650,000 homes and businesses across the Southeast lost power, and 60,000 of those are in Alabama. Thus far, the Coast Guard says it has rescued 30 people, mostly from badly damaged homes. Hundreds of families lost everything, and it has been confirmed that at least half a dozen people were killed.

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While Hurricane Michael appears to have done its worst in Panama City, Florida, and the nearby areas, Barbour, Dale, Henry, Geneva and Houston Counties in our district were also impacted. It could potentially take days, or even weeks, before we know the full scale of the damage, but we do know that Hurricane Michael is the most powerful storm to ever hit Houston County according to recorded history.

According to The Dothan Eagle, Dothan Fire Chief Larry Williams said crew members performed 22 rescues during the storm. We’ve not yet received official word on how many injuries there are, but we have been told there are several, some of which are severe. Crews across the Wiregrass remain in search and rescue mode to date.

Our farmers face significant troubles as well. While the full scale of the damage to local agriculture is still being assessed, Hurricane Michael dealt a devastating blow to cotton farmers in the area. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to view some of the cotton crop firsthand, and it was clear that our cotton farmers were set up to have a very good yield this year. Wiregrass peanut farmers are waiting to see the full extent of devastation to their crop, too.

As our cotton farmers, peanut farmers, and farmers of other commodities in our district learn more about the impact of this storm on their crops, my office is eager to assist in any way and will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on assistance that may be available to impacted farms. Agriculture and its related industries are the engine of our economy in Alabama’s Second District, and this catastrophic storm has unfortunately resulted in an economic setback.

Hurricane Michael was an unprecedented disaster for our district and the Southeast. While the threat of severe weather is no longer hovering over us, those who live in the Wiregrass – and not to mention the people across the Florida Panhandle and parts of Georgia – are facing terrible damage. My office has been engaged with FEMA, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, and others throughout this difficult time. We stand ready to assist in whatever ways we can as we work through the aftermath of this storm. I encourage anyone who lives in Alabama’s Second District to contact my office for help, and we will do all that we can to provide assistance and point you in the right direction. We are committed to ensuring no one endures this time of rebuilding alone.

Above all, please join me in praying for all those impacted by Hurricane Michael. Some families have lost their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. I encourage everyone to help out with relief efforts in whatever way you can. We should all be deeply thankful for the first responders and all those working to repair the damage. This is a very, very trying and difficult time for so many people across the Southeast, and we will get through it together.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

2 months ago

Roby: Much work remains in this fight against the opioid crisis

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

While the news of the day and partisan bickering often distract from the issue, it is important that we remember our nation is in the midst of an urgent public health epidemic that is ravaging virtually every community in this country. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been cut short by opioid addiction and abuse in recent years. Last year alone, more than 72,000 Americans lost their lives due to complications from drug overdose. Of those fatalities, nearly 50,000 were related to opioids.

In Congress, we have made great strides towards addressing this tragic epidemic that is gripping the State of Alabama and the entire country, and we recently made even more progress by passing H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This bill authorizes critical funding to assist states in combatting the opioid crisis, expand patient access to addiction treatment, and improve the detection of importation of illegal drugs, including fentanyl. H.R. 6 has passed both the House and Senate and now awaits President Trump’s signature. I am eager to see it become law.

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One aspect of H.R. 6 that is especially worth highlighting is the bill’s increased attention to addiction treatment. This legislation will create a grant program for comprehensive recovery centers that provide housing and job training in addition to mental and physical health care. The bill will also increase access to medication-assisted treatments that help individuals with addiction disorders safely wean themselves off of opioids.

Another significant element of H.R. 6 is the change it would implement to an outdated rule that prohibits Medicaid from covering patients with substance abuse disorders who were receiving treatment in a mental health facility with more than 16 beds. This legislation will lift that rule and allow up to 30 days of residential treatment coverage.

In addition to House and Senate passage of H.R. 6, Congress has allocated $8.5 billion this year for opioid-related programs. While there’s no guarantee of this level of funding in future years, I believe that Congress is taking this public health crisis seriously and will remain committed to properly funding efforts to combat it.

The opioid crisis has devastated both rural and urban communities of all sizes in every corner of our country. The problem has grown too large to solve itself, and while I am proud of the steps we’ve taken in Congress, much work remains in this fight. Opioid overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, causing more fatalities than car accidents.

In order to fight this battle with the aggression it requires, we must be unified and coordinated in our efforts. Action must be taken by leadership in local communities, in state governments, and in the federal government. I am glad that in Congress, this fight has garnered the widespread support it deserves. American lives depend on all of us, and our work is far from being complete. I’m eager to see President Trump sign H.R. 6 into law, and I will continue to support efforts to combat the opioid epidemic on behalf of Alabama’s Second District.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

2 months ago

Roby: Protecting our greatest responsibility

(M. Roby)

As a society, our children are perhaps the greatest, most precious responsibility given to us. They are vulnerable, innocent and wholly dependent upon the adults surrounding them for protection. While horrible and unthinkable, the unfortunate reality is that not everyone takes this responsibility seriously, and there are even those who would do children harm.

The National Center for Victims of Crime reports that while the prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often unreported, experts still agree that the number of incidences is vastly greater than what is reported to authorities.

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Children are the most vulnerable members of our society, and there is perhaps no greater responsibility before Congress than the call to protect them. I believe it is our job to provide the most effective tools available to confront, fight, punish and ultimately prevent horrific crimes against children. Our legal protections for children and the punishments for those who harm them must be as strong as possible.

That’s why I was grateful that the House of Representatives recently passed my bill, H.R. 6847, the Preventing Child Exploitation Act of 2018. This bill combines four pieces of legislation in an effort to fight the abuse and exploitation of children and strengthen protections for them under the law. I’d like to take a moment to share with you more specifics on what this package of bills would accomplish.

First, my bill includes H.R. 1842, the Strengthening Children’s Safety Act, which makes our communities safer by enhancing penalties for sex offenders who fail to register in the national sex offender registry, and then commit a crime of violence.

Second, the bill includes H.R. 1862, the Global Child Protection Act, legislation I previously introduced to combat global sex tourism by closing loopholes that allow child predators to go unpunished for their abuse of children overseas.

Third, this bill includes H.R. 1761, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act, to add legal measures to strengthen protections for victims of child pornography.

Fourth, and finally, my bill includes H.R. 1188, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act, to continue our support for programs that help prevent child abuse by ensuring that the public has access to information about known sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

In addition to introducing the Preventing Child Exploitation Act, I was also proud to join my colleagues in cosponsoring the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2018. As you may know, the Victims of Child Abuse Act was first passed in 1990, and it provides federal funding for the development of Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC).

The primary mission of a CAC is to prevent further victimization of a child by ensuring that child abuse investigations are comprehensive and that intervention and healing services are age-appropriate for the needs of each individual child.

Congress unanimously reauthorized the Victims of Child Abuse Act reauthorization in 2014, but it is set to expire this year. I am hopeful that the House will take up this important piece of legislation soon to ensure that CACs have the resources necessary to serve the children who need them most.

In Congress, I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve on the Judiciary Committee where we have worked very diligently to combat crimes against children. In recent years, we have made remarkable progress in this fight – but we can, and we must, do more. I’m encouraged by House passage of the Preventing Child Exploitation Act, and I am hopeful that the Senate will act on this bill quickly to protect the most vulnerable among us. We must use every tool available to prevent horrific crimes against children.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

3 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Tax reform 2.0 gains momentum

Less than a year ago, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to simplify our complicated tax code and lower rates for all Americans. Thanks to tax reform and other pro-growth policies, our economy is booming. You don’t just have to take my word for it – here are some numbers from the month of August:

–U.S. employers added more than 200,000 jobs as wages increased at the fastest year-on-year pace since June of 2009.

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–Unemployment claims reached a 49-year low. The last time jobless claims fell to this point, it was December of 1969.

–Small business optimism hit a new record high.

–The number of individuals employed part-time who would prefer full-time work but could not find it has fallen to the lowest level since before the 2008-2009 recession.

–U.S. manufacturing grew at the fastest pace since May of 2004.

These numbers all serve as proof that the American people are better off now than they were just two years ago. I am eager to see this strong momentum continue, and I am glad to report that we aren’t slowing down our efforts to foster economic growth right here in the United States. Recently, the House Ways and Means Committee passed Tax Reform 2.0, a series of bills that would modify and build upon the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The first bill in the series, H.R. 6760, the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018, would put in place several changes to the individual income tax rate. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions are set to expire at the end of 2025, perhaps the most important changes H.R. 6760 would implement are making the tax rate changes and the Child Tax Credit permanent.

According to a Tax Foundation study, making these individual income tax changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent would increase long-term Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2.2 percent and create 1.5 million new full-time equivalent jobs.

The second bill in the series, H.R. 6757, the Family Savings Act of 2018, includes a number of important reforms to retirement accounts. For example, individuals would be able to contribute up to $2,500 into a savings account annually, and any withdrawals would be tax free.

The third bill in the series, H.R. 6756, the American Innovation Act of 2018, would allow businesses to deduct their start-up costs. Businesses could either deduct the lesser of their start-up expenses, or for firms with more than $120,000 in expenses, deduct a flat amount of $20,000.

Our tax reform overhaul provides much needed relief to American families, creates jobs here in the United States, grows our economy, and allows hardworking taxpayers to keep more of their own money in their pocket. We now have a unique opportunity to continue delivering on our promise to give the American people more of the results they deserve.

Committee passage of Tax Reform 2.0 is just the first step in the legislative process to make parts of our tax overhaul permanent. I will continue to listen to the people I represent in Alabama’s Second District and work alongside my colleagues in Congress to improve this package of legislation as we move towards advancing these pro-growth policies to the House floor for a vote.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

3 months ago

Rep. Roby: We’re one step closer to regular order

(M. Roby/YouTube)

We’re about halfway through the month of September, which means the September 30 expiration date for our current government funding is quickly approaching. I am pleased to report that in the House and Senate, we are unified in our motivation to send final funding packages to the President’s desk before the upcoming fiscal deadline. I am committed to doing all I can to keeping the government open and running for the sake of our priorities and needs as a nation.

It is imperative that Congress works to bring certainty to government funding, especially for our military, including the critical operations that happen in our district at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base and Fort Rucker.

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As you might remember, Senate Democrats shut down the government at the beginning of this year over policy that was totally unrelated to government funding. While Congress and the Trump administration were able to find common ground on a funding solution at that time, much work still remains to fund the government in an orderly, process-driven manner. The way we have been operating is not the way it was designed to work.

In order to fund the government by what we call “regular order,” both the House and Senate are supposed to pass all twelve of our respective funding bills through the subcommittees, through the full committees, and then on the House and Senate floors. After both chambers have passed twelve bills, we are then supposed to go to conference and work out the differences that exist between the versions of each bill. Once a finalized version is agreed upon by both chambers, the bills are sent to the president’s desk where they are hopefully signed into law.

Last year, the House did operate by regular order. The Senate did not, which is what caused us to go into crisis mode earlier this year with four people in a room deciding how to fund the government with a shutdown looming. The product that came out of this broken process was far from perfect, and it will continue to be until we come together and decide to operate the way our founding fathers intended – where the American people have their representative at the table with a vote to reflect their views and priorities.

This year, in the House and Senate, we have truly made progress towards returning to regular order with our appropriations bills. Under the leadership of Senator Richard Shelby who now chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate has made historic progress. They cleared seven of their twelve appropriations bills by the month of August. This has not happened in almost 20 years, and it is a very big deal. I’m optimistic that with Senator Shelby’s leadership, we are on a more responsible path than in years past.

Now that both chambers have made significant progress in passing appropriations bills for the Fiscal Year 2019, select members have been conferencing to work out the differences between the two versions of each bill. I am proud to report that the House and Senate have both passed the Conference Report for H.R. 5895, the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, a combination of three of the twelve appropriations titles. It now heads to the White House where it awaits President Trump’s signature.

This is great progress, but we still have nine of the twelve funding bills to conference, pass out of both chambers, and send to the president. I am glad to have been selected as a conferee for the Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services and Education package, which combines two very important funding bills.

One of Congress’ most fundamental constitutional duties is to “provide for the common defense.” In both the House and Senate, we have done our due diligence to pass funding bills that provide strong support to rebuild our military after years of devastating cuts. This funding package also includes a Labor-HHS bill that has several priorities that are important to the people of Alabama’s Second District.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am in a strong position to ensure that our Alabama priorities are properly funded from year to year. I am very hopeful that we can finally begin to operate in a way that ensures your voice is heard, and I am eager to ensure that our government is fully and properly funded before the September 30 deadline.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

3 months ago

Martha Roby: Finalizing the Farm Bill

(Congresswoman Roby/Facebook)

The farm bill is a critically important piece of legislation that sets agriculture policy in our country for about five years at a time, meaning every five years or so, it is Congress’ responsibility to craft and then ultimately pass a new – and hopefully improved – version to provide our farmers with the certainty they need.

As you may know, over the summer, the House and Senate both passed our versions of the new farm bill, and I was proud to support our bill in the House. Now, it is up to select members of the House and Senate to conference and work out the differences between our two pieces of legislation. I am glad to report that this process is underway, and I’m hopeful the Conference Committee will agree on a final product soon, as the September 30th deadline for the expiration of the current law is quickly approaching.

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In Alabama’s Second District, agriculture is the largest employer, so we fully understand how very important it is that Congress get this policy right. Agriculture legislation doesn’t just affect the farmer who puts the seed in the ground. We’re also affecting the ones who sell the seed, who build the equipment to cultivate and harvest the crop, and those who help process the goods to their final products.

In Congress, I consider it one of my top responsibilities to be a strong voice for our farmers and to represent their concerns. That’s why I’m pleased that in the House, our version of the farm bill addresses many of the issues that the hardworking farmers in AL-02 have told me they face, including reducing regulatory burdens, addressing invasive species like feral hogs, maintaining the crop insurance program, and more.

In addition to these important priorities, the House’s version of the farm bill authorizes substantial funding for rural broadband and implements strict work requirements for food stamp recipients.

Since the Senate is currently bound by a 60-vote threshold to pass legislation, their farm bill is quite different than our version in the House. That said, the final farm bill that ultimately comes out of the Conference Committee will very likely be a combination of both versions.

No matter what differences exist between the two chambers, Alabama’s farmers and producers deserve a strong, consistent, improved, and on-time farm bill to plan for the future. I will remain actively engaged with my colleagues on the Conference Committee to deliver agriculture policy that gives fair treatment to our Alabama commodities, like cotton, peanuts, timber, poultry, soybeans, and catfish. We’ve come too far to not get this done.

Our farmers produce the food and fiber that we all depend on, and it is our responsibility to move forward with strong, commonsense policy that enables them to do their jobs. I am looking forward to sending the final farm bill to the President’s desk, and I will keep you informed on developments.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

3 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Hearing from constituents ‘enables me to better represent your views’

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

Over the last month during the August district work period, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout Alabama’s Second District to meet with constituents, local leaders and business owners. Having this time to hear firsthand from the people I represent is tremendously important, and I believe it enables me to better represent your views in Washington.

I recently wrapped up my district travel for the month, and I would like to briefly share with you an update on some of my visits and meetings I had towards the end of August.

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I met with leaders from Ingram State Community College in Deatsville. We had a great conversation about our state’s excellent community college system and ways we can continue to improve higher education and opportunities for AL-02 students. I also sat down with some folks from the Alabama Association of School Boards, and they updated me on some of the issues our local school systems face. I appreciated hearing from them and learning more about their perspective.

One afternoon, I had the privilege of speaking to the Montgomery chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers during their monthly luncheon. We discussed a number of important topics, including efforts in Congress and the Trump Administration to reinvigorate our nation’s aging infrastructure. I appreciated this opportunity and everyone who took the time to visit with me.

I also visited the Army Aviation support facility in Hope Hull for a briefing and an overview of their facility. I enjoyed talking with General Gordon, Colonel Bass, and others during my time there.

I stopped by Sabel Steel to meet with company leadership, including owner Keith Sabel. As you may know, Sabel Steel recently announced that thanks to our historic tax overhaul, they will use their significant savings to provide pay increases to all employees, invest in new equipment, expand their existing facilities, and hire additional workers. I enjoyed visiting this outstanding company, and I wish them continued success as we work to implement even more pro-growth policies to assist job creators across the district.

In Dothan one afternoon, I visited the Dothan Behavioral Medicine Clinic where I talked with staff and received a briefing on the Clinicom technology that is used to diagnose mental illness. Mental health is an acute problem facing our country, and I was pleased to learn more about their work.

One morning, I had the opportunity to speak to the Squadron School at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base. We had a great conversation about leadership qualities and my role in Congress as an advocate for our military. I really appreciated the many thoughtful questions I received and am already looking forward to my next visit!

One day, I sat down with Jay Moseley, Teresa Collier, and John Hamm from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Fusion Center. They updated me on the status of the human trafficking problem in our state and their efforts to eradicate this horrendous plague on our communities. I appreciate these leaders and their work to combat this atrocious problem.

I also toured Common Ground Ministries’ Mercy House and helped serve lunch one afternoon. I really enjoyed meeting some wonderful people and having several deeply meaningful conversations. We are fortunate to have Common Ground and all its dedicated volunteers as a resource in the River Region.

These are just some of the many productive, informative meetings I had over the second half of this August district work period. Now that the month is behind us and fall is quickly approaching, I would like to extend a sincere “thank you” to all the individuals, businesses, local officials and others who hosted me and visited with me over the last several weeks. It is always a true joy to visit various communities in AL-02, and I look forward to more opportunities to learn from the people I represent.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

4 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Republicans continue to dismantle Obama-era regulatory regime

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook)

Throughout the eight long years of the Obama administration, Alabamians suffered under an overly-empowered regulatory state that burdened hardworking men and women and their businesses with countless harmful federal regulations.

This type of overreach was seen across the many federal agencies, but perhaps none more blatantly than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I am very pleased that over the last year and a half, our unified Republican government has worked to dismantle this Obama-era regulatory regime.

I am glad to report that important progress has been made recently, as the Trump administration’s EPA announced it intends to replace the Obama aministration’s Clean Power Plan with President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. This is great news that represents an important step towards returning power to the states and further breaking down the regulatory state.

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When the Obama administration first rolled out its so-called “Clean Power Plan,” they touted it as the “single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” What they didn’t say was that despite the significant increase it caused in energy bills, the “Clean Power Plan” actually didn’t do much to alter the impact of future climate change. Under this plan, the EPA implemented stringent regulations that limited carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, thus hiking rates and shutting down energy plants – especially in the coal industry.

Of course, I think we can all agree that achieving more affordable, reliable, and safe energy is a priority, but adding more regulations and burdensome expenses to Americans are not solutions. That is why the Trump administration’s proposed ACE rule is so important. The rule would empower states with the flexibility to determine how best to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing modern, reliable, and affordable energy for the American people. This is a far better solution than the Obama administration’s “one-size-fits-all” approach that treated every state the same.

It’s no secret that for eight years, the EPA and other federal agencies went beyond their rightful authority and pushed for unnecessary regulations that negatively impacted our economy, discouraged investment, and stifled job creation here in the United States. These agencies became known for “backdoor legislating” by frequently attempting to circumvent Congress to set policy.

I am proud that over the last year and a half, Congress has worked to reverse course by passing several Congressional Review Acts, which is the process of striking rules and regulations left over from previous administrations. These actions, along with the steps taken by the Trump administration, have already and will continue to unleash our nation’s economy.

Among the many challenges we continue to face as a nation, I believe making America energy independent and not reliant on foreign nations must continue to be a priority. While I am pleased that energy exploration methods have improved over the years, we must continue to look for ways to secure America’s energy for future generations.

I believe American innovation and our entrepreneurial spirit are the keys to meeting the energy challenges of the 21st Century. President Trump’s proposed ACE plan embraces this outlook and will give Alabama companies certainty to create jobs and prosper as we move forward.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

4 months ago

Rep. Roby: Meeting constituents ‘enables me to be a better representative of our priorities in Washington’

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

Each year, members of Congress take the month of August to spend time on the ground in their respective districts meeting with constituents and local leaders, visiting businesses and industries, and ultimately listening to the concerns of people at home. Having this opportunity to hear firsthand from the people in Alabama’s Second District is very important, and I believe it enables me to be a better representative of our priorities in Washington.

It has been a busy month, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share an update on my travels in our district during this district work period. So far, I have spent time in Montgomery, Ozark, Hartford, Geneva, Millbrook, Troy, Dothan and Fort Rucker.

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I met with Elmore County Commissioner Troy Stubbs in my Montgomery office to hear about some exciting projects happening in his community. I also had a productive meeting with David McCurdy, the Alabama Farm Service Agency Director.

While in Ozark, I visited the recently-opened Wayne Farms feed mill. I had the opportunity to visit with leadership and employees to learn more about their operation. Wayne Farms is the sixth largest vertically integrated poultry producer in the country, with over $1.9 billion in annual sales. I am grateful for the economic impact they provide in our district.

One afternoon, I visited Hartford where I enjoyed lunch downtown at Ketchum’s Restaurant. I also had the chance to drop by the Hartford Civic Club meeting with my friends State Representative Donnie Chesteen and Mayor Jeff Sorrells. Afterwards, I met with constituents at the Wiregrass Electric Cooperative to receive an update on their rural broadband project that they hope will deliver expanded highspeed broadband internet to rural communities in the Wiregrass.

In Geneva, I enjoyed touring the newly-completed Geneva Career Tech Center, also known as G-Tech. I was very impressed by the students I met at this outstanding new facility. As I told the group there, I will always support measures to strengthen and improve the career tech programs throughout our district, state, and nation.

I also had the opportunity to visit the Gift of Life Foundation’s office in Montgomery to meet with leadership and tour their facility. The Gift of Life’s work to strengthen and improve our local community is truly invaluable. I deeply appreciate the hardworking people, like those at Gift of Life, who strive to make a difference in the lives of others.

In Millbrook, I spoke to the Millbrook-Coosada Kiwanis Club during their weekly meeting. I was glad to have this opportunity to give an update on the work we’re doing in Congress to make life better for all Americans. Even more importantly, I had the chance to hear firsthand from my constituents about the issues they’re facing. Afterwards, I stopped by the MOOseum at the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association where I was given a tour and an update on the cattle industry in our state.

During another trip to the Wiregrass, I visited Troy Cable to learn more about their upcoming projects and some of the issues they’ve recently been facing in their work. In Dothan, I spoke to the Wiregrass Chapter of the Associated General Contractors at their luncheon. We had a great discussion about efforts in Congress to revitalize our nation’s badly aging infrastructure.

Last, but certainly not least, I stopped by Fort Rucker to tour the aeromedical research laboratory. I talked with many employees there about the importance of Army Aviation to our national security and the innovation happening on post here in the Second District.

It’s been an exciting and informative August district work period so far. I deeply appreciate everyone who has taken the time to meet with me and share their ideas and concerns. I am looking forward to continuing my travels throughout Alabama’s Second District this month, and you can rest assured I will take everything I learn on the road back to Washington to better serve you.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

4 months ago

Rep. Roby: Congressional internship a valuable way to gain firsthand exposure to the innerworkings of our nation’s government

(M. Roby/Facebook)

It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down and most students are already back in school. As the mother of two school-aged children, I know firsthand how precious the summer months are and how quickly they always fly by. The Roby family is geared up and ready to take on another school year, and if you have children in school, I wish your family a happy and healthy school year, too.

As a member of Congress, each summer I have the privilege of offering internship opportunities to college students from our district. Students have the choice to intern in my Washington, Montgomery, Dothan, or Andalusia office. Typically, we offer four-week internship opportunities during the months of May, June, July, and August, but we do our very best to accommodate students’ and universities’ varying schedules.

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This internship program is a competitive experience designed for those students who are interested in learning more about our nation’s legislative process, constituent services and the general day-to-day operations of a congressional office. Interns’ tasks vary, but they include conducting tours of the United States Capitol building, drafting and presenting a policy proposal on a legislative topic of their choosing, assisting constituents with their various needs and requests, attending committee hearings, and more.

This summer, I was fortunate to have quite a few outstanding students serve as interns in my offices, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you more about these young men and women and their hard work on behalf of the people of Alabama’s Second District.

In my Washington, D.C., office, over the summer we enjoyed having several impressive students join our team for a few weeks:

Agnes Armstrong is a graduate of the Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School. She is a junior at Auburn University where she studies Accounting and Nonprofit Studies.

Ford Cleveland is a graduate of the Montgomery Academy. He is a sophomore at the University of Virginia where he studies Chemistry.

Noah McNelley is a graduate of Trinity Presbyterian School. He is a junior at Auburn University where he studies Political Science, Business, and French.

Meredith Moore is a graduate of Trinity Presbyterian School. She is a junior at the University of Alabama where she studies Marketing and English.

Hayden Pruett is a graduate of the Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP). She is a sophomore at the University of Alabama where she studies Political Science and Social Welfare.

Brandon Redman is a graduate of Prattville Christian Academy. He is a senior at Faulkner University where he studies Political Science.

William Chandler is a graduate of the Montgomery Academy. He is a junior at Sewanee where he is pursuing double majors in Politics and English.

Bates Herrick is a graduate of the Montgomery Academy. He is a senior at Sewanee where he studies Economics with double minors in Political Science and Business.

Hunter McEntire is a graduate of Houston Academy in Dothan. He attended Birmingham Southern College where he earned a degree in history with a minor in Political Science.

I was also glad to host some bright young men and women in my district offices over the summer:

Allyssa Morgan, a native of Opp, worked in my Andalusia district office. She received an Associate’s degree from Lurleen B. Wallace Community College and is now attending Troy University.

Kimberlee Perry served as an intern in my Dothan district office. She graduated from New Brockton High School earlier this year, and she now attends George Wallace Community College.

Tyrese Lane, Savannah Williamson, and Spencer Andreades all held internships in my Montgomery district office. Tyrese, a Prattville native, is a graduate of Marbury High School and is currently a student at Marion Military Institute. Savannah, from Troy, is a graduate of Pike Liberal Arts and currently attends Auburn University. Spencer is a graduate of the Montgomery Academy and now attends the University of Alabama.

These students worked very hard for our district, and I really appreciate their dedication and eagerness to serve their communities. I’m confident they will be successful in whatever paths they pursue.

You can find out more about my internship program and the application process on my website. If you know a college-aged student who might be interested in being part of the legislative process for the summer, I hope you will pass this information along to them. I truly believe a congressional internship is a valuable way to gain firsthand exposure to the innerworkings of our nation’s government.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

4 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Spreading the word on constituent services

(M. Roby)

As your representative in Congress, one of my top priorities is assisting the people of Alabama’s Second District with various issues that may arise with the federal government in addition to offering numerous other resources. My offices offer a number of constituent services, and I’d like to take a moment to share a few of them with you so that you can take full advantage of the assistance my offices can provide.

Perhaps most importantly, my district offices in Montgomery, Dothan and Andalusia help our constituents with casework. This means if you’ve placed an inquiry with a federal agency like the VA or Social Security Administration and haven’t received an answer in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, my district offices might be able to help resolve the problem or provide the information you need. If you’re currently experiencing issues with one of the federal agencies, I encourage you to contact one of my offices as soon as possible so we can do our best to get the issue resolved.

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Secondly, if you are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., my staff is available to help you obtain tickets for tours of the U.S. Capitol building and other attractions, such as the White House, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and more. Of course, please be advised that advance notice is often necessary, especially when requesting to tour the White House. If you are planning to visit our nation’s Capital, I hope you’ll contact my Washington office as early as possible. We want to help you have a wonderful experience.

Third, did you know that you can purchase an American flag through my office? You also have the option to request that your flag be flown over the Capitol building before it is sent to you. I believe this is a really unique, special way to commemorate any important occasion for yourself or a loved one. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this particular service, make sure you contact my office in Washington, and we would be happy to make it happen.

There are many other services available through my office, including service academy nominations, congressional commendations, presidential greetings, assistance with federal grant applications, and more. I am glad to offer these services, and I hope you will pass this information along to your friends and family so they are aware of what’s available to them, too. Below you will find the contact information for all of my offices, and of course, all of this information can be found on my website – just visit this link. My staff and I work for you, and we look forward to assisting you in the future.

Washington office:
442 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-2901

Montgomery office:
401 Adams Avenue, Suite 160

Montgomery, AL 36104

(334) 262-7718

Dothan office:
217 Graceland Drive, Suite 5

Dothan, AL 36305

(334) 794-9680

Andalusia office:
City Hall
505 E. Three Notch Street, Suite 322

Andalusia, AL 36420

(334) 428-1129

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

5 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: How to meet the demands of our growing workforce

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

Last month’s jobs report showed that job openings are at a record high, confirming our country’s continued positive economic progress. For the first time since the year 2000, the number of job openings is larger than the number of people unemployed. Our country’s gross domestic product also grew at a 4.1 percent pace in the second quarter of this year, marking the fastest rate of growth since 2014. This is great news for the American people, and our focus moving forward must be to continue this momentum.

As I have said many times before, over the last year and a half, our unified Republican government has worked very hard to deliver meaningful results on the economic front. I am proud of our efforts to foster economic growth and opportunity, and I believe it is critical that we provide a well-trained workforce to meet the demands. That’s why I am glad to report that Congress has officially sent the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, an important workforce development bill, to the President’s desk for his signature.

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This important piece of legislation reauthorizes the Perkins funding that supports career tech programs at the state and local levels. The bill also makes needed improvements to the system to ensure these crucial dollars are spent effectively and efficiently. In addition, this legislation updates the federal investment in career tech education to provide increased flexibility to states to ensure these CTE programs are high quality, engaging, and above all, successful.

As you know, our state is fortunate to have a very strong network of community colleges that offer a wide variety of career training. Alabama’s Community College System has more than 79,000 students enrolled in career tech programs, and more than 70 public high schools in our state offer CTE courses. They are working in lockstep with industries to ensure the educational training matches the jobs that will be waiting for these students when they complete their coursework.

Our district is home to quite a few excellent career tech programs, including those at Trenholm State Community College in Montgomery, Wallace Community College in Dothan and their Sparks Campus in Eufaula, the Enterprise State Community College campuses in Enterprise and Ozark, Ingram State Technical College in Deatsville, Reid State Technical College in Evergreen, and the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College campuses in Andalusia, Opp, and Greenville. To broaden this extensive network even more, many high schools enjoy partnerships with nearby community colleges to offer students courses closer to home. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to visit many of these campuses and see firsthand the quality training they offer. Most recently, I stopped by Lurleen B. Wallace’s MacArthur Campus in Opp for a tour, and I was truly blown away by the wide variety of courses available.

There’s no question that in Alabama, our current CTE system is working well, but that shouldn’t stop us from making every effort to improve it. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act for the 21st Century, which I hope will soon be signed into law, provides proper investment in quality career tech programs – but this is about so much more than just funding. This important bill provides greater flexibility to states and program administrators on the ground so they are able to adjust to ever-changing needs. The bill also improves accountability to require CTE programs to deliver results.

Career tech programs are so important because they meet the demands of our steadily changing workforce by equipping students with the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to be competitive and fill these roles. Rest assured as your Representative in Congress, I will always support measures to improve and strengthen the CTE programs throughout our state and nation. And as always, I am hopeful that we will continue to see increased numbers of job openings and opportunities for all Alabamians and all Americans.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

5 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Pro-growth policies are working in AL-02 communities

(Congresswoman Roby/Facebook)

Over the last year and a half, Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration have worked tirelessly to unleash our economy and foster growth right here in the United States. Since November of 2016, 3.7 million jobs have been created, and one million of those came after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law. Unemployment numbers are at the lowest point they’ve been in decades. Job openings are at a record high – 213,000 jobs were added in June alone. Also last month, there were 6.7 million job openings, which marks the first time since the year 2000 that the number of job openings is larger than the number of people unemployed.

As you may know, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act roughly doubled the standard deduction while lowering tax rates. Because of this historic tax reform, 90 percent of Americans have seen bigger paychecks this year. Plus, more than four million Americans have seen increased wages, bonuses, and expanded retirement options.

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Thanks to tax reform and our efforts to spur economic growth, Americans are working and businesses are growing – and Alabama’s Second District hasn’t missed out on the momentum. Since the enactment of our tax overhaul last year, several businesses have announced they are opening branches in our district, expanding existing ones, offering pay increases to employees, and more. I would like to take this opportunity to briefly share some of the great economic news we’ve received so far.

Most recently, Alabama manufacturer Sabel Steel, which has locations in Montgomery and Dothan, announced they will provide pay increases to all employees, invest in new equipment, expand existing facilities, and hire additional workers thanks to tax reform. I believe the company’s CEO Keith Sabel said it best himself: “There’s optimism. With the previous administration, we were hammered by rule changes and regulations. It was like trying to drink water out of a firehose. The change in policy under President Trump was enormous, and the attitude among businessmen and especially other steel manufacturers has been incredibly optimistic. Tax reform and other policies psychologically have made an enormous difference.”

James Hardie Building Products announced plans to open a new manufacturing plant in Prattville. This project is the largest industrial development in Autauga County in 50 years, and it will have a significant economic impact on the area.

U.S. firearms maker Kimber Gun Manufacturing also announced a project in AL-02. By early 2019, the company will open a $38 million production facility in Troy that will create more than 350 high-paying jobs over the next five years.

Also in Troy, Rex Lumber Co. will soon open a state of the art sawmill operation that will employ more than 100 people. This $110 million investment will create quality employment opportunities and a significant new timber market in Pike County.

In Coffee County, Wayne Farms has announced a $105 million expansion at their Enterprise fresh processing facility. This investment will bring a strong economic boost to the area.

Last, but certainly not least, Great Southern Wood Preserving based in Abbeville recently announced it will use savings from the tax overhaul to invest in additional employee benefits, including lower health care costs, more paid time off, and a new scholarship program. In addition, the company has given pay increases to employees across the board.

So you see, thanks to our pro-growth policies and a commitment to fostering economic growth in this country, Americans are confident in our economy – and rightfully so. Hardworking people in our very own communities have already benefited tremendously as a result of these important efforts, and I am eager to see this positive forward momentum continue for all Alabamians.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

5 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Pro-life movement momentum is strong

(Congresswoman Roby/Facebook)

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have the privilege each year to advocate for the priorities most important to the people who live and work in Alabama’s Second District.  Among many other key issues, I have been proud to stand up and fight for a strong military and smart agriculture policy on this committee. On the reverse, I am also in a strong position fight against funding from being steered towards programs or organizations that I adamantly oppose. Recently when the Appropriations Committee approved our Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Fiscal Year 2019 funding bill, I had the opportunity to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves: the unborn.

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As a member of the Labor-HHS Subcommittee, I am extremely proud to report that our bill passed by the full Committee includes the strong pro-life language I have fought for year after year and implements additional policy riders to defend life. Every single one of these measures is critically important and further ensures that no taxpayer dollars can be used for abortions.

Among the key pro-life provisions included in the Labor-HHS FY19 funding bill are the Hyde Amendment, which directs that no taxpayer dollars be used to fund abortions, and the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bans Labor-HHS funding from being used on research that harms human embryos.

In addition to these longstanding pro-life measures, our bill also includes several other important pro-life provisions that continue our efforts to assign greater protections for life under the law. These measures include the Conscience Science Protection Act, which protects the rights of health care providers that do not participate in abortion.

In addition, the bill includes language that prohibits funding for fetal tissue research obtained from abortion. This measure might sound familiar because it is a direct response to the 2015 scandal that revealed how Planned Parenthood officials were systematically altering abortion procedures to preserve babies’ organs in order to sell them to researchers for profit. Planned Parenthood’s action was sick, callous, and completely inhuman.

Finally, the bill includes language to prohibit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood from receiving any available funding, including through Title X family grants. This measure works hand-in-hand with the Trump Administration’s “Protect Life” rule, which also directs that Planned Parenthood is not eligible to receive Title X grant money. As I have said many, many times: Abortion is not family planning. Abortion is not health care. Organizations that offer these services should not receive taxpayer dollars that are intended for family planning.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have remained unapologetically pro-life. I believe life begins at conception, and our laws and policies should reflect a strong commitment to defending life at every stage. I have considered it a great privilege to have a platform with which I can serve as a voice for the voiceless.

After eight long years of coming up short pro-life victories, I am encouraged that we now have a President who supports our efforts and is willing to sign important measures into law. The pro-life movement’s momentum is strong, and I look forward to seeing it grow as we continue to impact meaningful change on behalf of the unborn. I am eager to support our Labor-HHS funding bill when it comes before the full House for a vote.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

5 months ago

U.S. Rep. Roby: House takes steps to rebuild our military

(Martha Roby/YouTube)

Over the last year and a half, our unified government has taken big steps to unleash our economy and foster growth here in the United States. Because of this work, our economy is strong today. In fact, since the enactment of our historic tax overhaul six months ago, more than one million new jobs have been created. Because of this work, businesses are growing, Americans are working, and our economy is strong.

Now, we must do the work required to ensure that our military is strong, too, especially after the damaging sequestration cuts and funding limitations put into place by the Obama Administration. As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I have been grateful to have a seat at the table  as we’ve worked to properly fund our military through H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 359-49.

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I was proud to vote in favor of the legislation, and I spoke on the House floor to urge my colleagues to support it, too. Alabama’s Second District is home to two of our nation’s finest military installations, Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, and Fort Rucker down in the Wiregrass. I am especially glad that this funding bill provides the resources to support their critical missions.

H.R. 6157 contains an overall amount of $674.6 billion in military funding. This amount covers important funding for Army Aviation programs important to Fort Rucker, including resources for four additional Lakota helicopters, 58 additional Blackhawk helicopters, and 66 additional Apache helicopters. The bill also provides support for other key Alabama programs, including additional funding for a total of three Littoral Combat Ships that are built in Mobile, resources to upgrade the Stryker Vehicle, and strong funding for missile programs, including THAAD, Hellfire, and LRASM. Also importantly, the bill allocates funding for 93 F-35 aircraft, some of which will soon be flown by the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery.

This bill is of critical importance to our national security and the missions in Alabama’s Second District. By passing this legislation, the House has kept our promise to rebuild our military and support our servicemembers. I’d like to share a few more reasons why this bill is so very important.

First, it provides a 2.6 percent pay increase to our men and women in uniform – the largest raise they have received in nine years. Our servicemembers sacrifice their own personal safety to protect us, and they deserve this pay raise.

Second, the bill allocates $34.4 billion for the Defense Health Program so troops, their families, and retirees can receive the care they need. This program includes funding for cancer research, psychological health research, and more.

Third, it addresses our military readiness problem. It is no secret that our military faced damaging cuts under the Obama Administration that have significantly hindered readiness. This bill makes investments in training, maintenance, and other military readiness programs.

Fourth, the bill upgrades our military equipment. The legislation provides more than $145 billion to upgrade and secure military equipment across all branches of the military, including replenishing our Naval fleet.

Fifth, this legislation supports counterterrorism efforts. The bill directs funding towards our military’s current operations against terrorist organizations by supporting additional personnel, facilities, and equipment. Our country still faces real and serious threats across the globe, and it is imperative that we enable the Pentagon to not only plan for today, but to be prepared for emerging threats around the world.

The bottom line is that the Fiscal Year 2019 Defense funding bill continues our efforts to rebuild our military after several years of harmful cuts and hollowing out. Now, we are making sure the military has the tools and resources it needs to rebuild. One of Congress’ most fundamental constitutional duties is to “provide for the common defense.” This important legislation fulfills that responsibility and ensures that our military not only remains the tip of the spear, but that it grows stronger and well-equipped to face whatever challenges come our way.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

5 months ago

Rep. Roby: Touring Southeast Alabama farms with Ag Chairman Conaway

(J Poor/YHN)

With Congress recently out of session for the Independence Day district work period, I took the opportunity to travel throughout Alabama’s Second District to share an update from Washington and hear directly from the people I represent. I spent time in Clayton, Eufaula, Andalusia, Montgomery, Troy, Slocomb, and Brundidge, just to name a few. Throughout my recent time on the road, one issue that came up frequently was agriculture policy, and I was glad to be able to share a timely update about the lay of the land as it relates to farm policy.

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During one day of this district work period, I had the privilege of hosting House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and his wife Suzanne for an agriculture tour of Alabama’s Second District. Together we held a large farmers’ roundtable discussion in conjunction with the Alabama Farmers Federation at the Pike County Cattlemen Association in Troy. This was a truly valuable opportunity for the farmers I represent to ask questions and get some answers. During the roundtable, we had conversations about the status of expanding access to rural broadband, possible solutions for our country’s feral hog problem, the importance of strict work requirements for welfare recipients, maintaining a strong crop insurance program, and more.

After the roundtable, Chairman Conaway and I visited two family farms in Coffee and Geneva Counties for tours and briefings on their respective crops and operations. In Coffee County, we stopped by a beautiful farm that produces a variety of crops, including peanuts, cotton, and corn. In Geneva County, we visited a cotton farm that just recently planted a crop in early June.

Chairman Conaway’s visit comes during a key time for agriculture policy in this country. As you may know, the House and Senate have passed our own different versions of the farm bill, and we will soon go to conference committee to work out the differences. In the House, we passed a conservative farm bill that includes strict work requirements for welfare recipients. I believe it’s important that we offer assistance to the most vulnerable Americans when they truly need it while providing tools to help them improve their circumstances. I have always said that we absolutely must encourage able-bodied individuals to work instead of incentivizing them to remain dependent on the federal government. The House farm bill reflects our conservative position on this issue, and I was proud to support it.

Since the Senate is currently bound by a 60-vote threshold to pass legislation, their farm bill is considerably different than our version and doesn’t include conservative work requirements. When we go to conference to work through our differences, the bill that we ultimately pass will likely be a mixture of both versions. As I told the farmers in southeast Alabama, I am eager to continue working alongside my colleagues in Congress to get the work done and send a smart, strong farm bill to the President for his signature.

I deeply appreciate Chairman Conaway and his wife Suzanne for making themselves available to the farmers I represent. We were able to have many one-on-one conversations with the hardworking men and women who are impacted by agriculture policy each and every day.

I am also grateful to every farmer who attended the roundtable, asked meaningful questions, and hosted us on their properties. As Chairman Conaway said, “The decisions are made by the people who show up.” Thanks to the farmers who showed up, our day of agriculture policy discussion was very successful. I will continue to work alongside the Chairman and my colleagues to deliver agriculture policy that gives fair treatment to our Alabama commodities while making the farmers’ work easier, not more difficult. At the end of the day, my goal is for our farm bill to enable the farmers I represent to do the work they do best: provide the food and fiber that feeds our state, our country, and the world.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.

6 months ago

Alabama’s Rep. Roby: Summertime softball tradition benefits a worthy cause

(Congressional Women's Softball Game/Facebook)

One of my favorite traditions I’ve been able to participate in as a member of Congress is the Congressional Women’s Softball Game that takes place each summer. During the game, female members of Congress face members of the Washington, D.C., press corps in a friendly softball game to raise funds and awareness for the Young Survival Coalition (YSC).

YSC is the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. The organization offers resources to help women feel supported and hopeful. Since 2009, the Congressional Women’s Softball Game has raised more than $1 million for YSC.

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 Each year, players in the game honor real women who are battling cancer, defeated cancer, or lost their lives in the fight. This year, I was proud to play in honor of Courtney Pruitt, a Montgomery native and recent graduate of Alabama Christian Academy (ACA) who is currently undergoing intense treatment to fight leukemia. Courtney is a bright, intelligent, and beautiful young woman who played softball for most of her life. Shortly before she graduated from ACA this year, she received the heartbreaking diagnosis and is now courageously battling this disease. Courtney is the daughter of my dear friend, Montgomery City Councilman Glen Pruitt. It’s a true honor to be able to show my support for their family in this way, and I believe this annual tradition demonstrates what we can accomplish when we put our differences aside to rally for a worthy cause.

Cancer is something few people ever think will happen to them, especially at an early age. I deeply admire the bravery of those, like Courtney, who fight this dreaded disease, and I’m glad to have opportunities like the Congressional Women’s Softball Game to raise awareness and support for cancer patients and survivors across the country. I believe that our government should do whatever possible to ease the burden on cancer patients and survivors during what I can only imagine would be a terribly frightening and trying time.

One of my constituents in Alabama’s Second District recently brought to my attention that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) currently does not cover custom breast prosthetics for women who are either not candidates for reconstructive surgery or who do not prefer to endure additional surgery following a mastectomy. CMS only covers a reconstructive surgery, which is significantly more costly than custom prosthetics, or a prefabricated breast prosthetic.

It is deeply concerning to me that CMS has taken this position, so I am gathering a coalition of members of Congress to request that they reconsider and modify this lack of coverage. I was proud to lead the charge on this on behalf of the many women who are living with breast cancer, those who have defeated it, and those who will be diagnosed in the future. Women who battle breast cancer should be given the options that work best for them and not be subjected to a one-size-fits-all approach.

I am inspired by those who fight cancer of any kind, and I truly enjoyed participating in the Congressional Women’s Baseball Game again this year. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t hold out for the game, so the umpires called it while Team Press was leading. If the rain hadn’t ended things early, I know Team Congress would have made a comeback. Win, lose, or draw, it is my hope that the proceeds raised during this great event better the lives and outlooks of many women across our country who are bravely battling cancer. My even greater hope is that we will one day see this dreaded disease eradicated for good.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.