The Wire

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

    Excerpt:

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

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

Rep. Martha Roby: Be sure to dispose of unused drugs

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

While the news cycle is currently centered around the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is important we remember and shed light on other potentially devastating issues that impact our nation.

Aside from the pandemic, the United States is in the middle of a serious public health crisis that is hurting communities of all sizes. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost due to opioid addiction and abuse in recent years. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 70,000 people died from drug overdoses last year. Seven out of 10 of those deaths resulted from the use of opioids.

Prescription drugs can be a safe and effective way to manage certain conditions when carefully used as prescribed and monitored by your doctor. However, if misused, these drugs can cause much harm and destruction – especially when they find themselves in the wrong hands. A common example of mishandling opioids is when individuals leave unused prescription pills in their medicine cabinet and forget they are there.

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Saturday, October 24, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which aims to address this critical health issue. This annual initiative provides Americans an opportunity to responsibly dispose of unused prescription drugs while also raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse. Over 23 million pounds of medications have been effectively collected across the nation since the first Take Back Day in 2010.

Due to the Coronavirus, collection sites may be limited in your area. If you or someone you know is looking to safely drop off any unconsumed medications, you can find more information about Take Back Day and specific collection sites on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website at takebackday.dea.gov. If you are unable to participate in Take Back Day, unused drugs can also be disposed of year round.

In Congress, we have made great strides toward addressing this tragic epidemic that continues to destroy lives in the state of Alabama and the entire 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.

American lives depend on leaders at both the federal, state, and local levels, and our work is far from being complete. We must remain unified and coordinated in our efforts so that we can continue to fight this battle with the aggression it requires.

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

2 weeks ago

Roby: Why our teachers make a difference

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

Earlier this month, we celebrated World Teachers’ Day – a day dedicated to showing gratitude to all of our wonderful educators. As students have learned to adapt to new methods of schooling as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, teachers have worked overtime to ensure their students continue to receive a proper and meaningful education. Our educators play a significant role in the lives of our children, expanding their knowledge and abilities and preparing them for the future.

A solid education has the power to change a life. Educators show up to their classrooms each morning motivated to impact their students. Teachers are some of the best role models for our children giving them purpose, setting them up for success, and inspiring them to do well.

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Not only is a good education important for the individual student, but access to education affects the world around us. The education of our youth is vital to the growth and development of our communities as well as the prosperity of our nation. Giving students the opportunity to learn provides skills that are needed to compete in the global marketplace. Knowledge is a powerful tool that changes the world around us for the better.

Our local schools throughout this pandemic have certainly demonstrated their ability to make their own decisions regarding the education and well-being of their students and faculty. The Alabama State Department of Educationand the Alabama Department of Public Health have provided resourceful information regarding the return to school in the 2020-2021 school year.

Although World Teachers’ Day has passed, I encourage you to communicate your appreciation to any teachers who have impacted you and your children. These are surely challenging times for all, but especially for our teachers. Though my words cannot express the admiration I have for all of the incredible teachers across our state and country, I would like to give a special thank you to each and every educator for your passion and hard work.

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

3 weeks ago

Roby: Fighting for a cure

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook)

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international campaign aimed at increasing awareness of this common disease, with the long-term goal of someday ending it entirely. Although deaths from breast cancer continue to decline, they’re falling at a slower rate than in previous years, and the number of cases we’re seeing is rising. It is important that we take this opportunity to talk about breast cancer facts, warning signs and risks, treatment options, and more.

Each year in the United States, over 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 42,000 lose their battle with this terrible disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that around 276,480 new cases will be diagnosed this year with 42,170 deaths. Breast cancer is not as nearly as common among men as it is with women, but it is still possible for men to develop this disease. An estimated 2,620 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020.

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Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the U.S., and there are currently more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors across America. Although certain risk factors like age, gender and genetics cannot be prevented, there are some steps you can take to lower your risk of developing breast cancer. The American Cancer Society says maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly can help. It’s also essential to visit your doctor for regular screenings if you are above the age of 40.

Every summer, female members of Congress play against the women of the Washington press corps in the friendly, yet competitive, Congressional Women’s Softball Game. This annual occasion is a charity event that benefits breast cancer survivors. Although this year’s game was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I am honored to have had the great privilege to participate in years past throughout my time in Congress. I’m inspired by this bipartisan group of women who come together – putting politics aside – to focus on bringing attention to this dreaded disease.

If you are currently battling breast cancer or have lost a loved one to this disease, please know that my prayers are with you. Please take the time this month to expand your knowledge surrounding breast cancer. For more information, visit https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html.

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

4 weeks ago

Roby: Tips for a healthy fall

(M. Roby/Facebook)

It is hard to believe autumn has arrived and the holiday season is right around the corner. As you know, with colder weather comes peak flu activity, and the world is still dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Health officials are warning Americans to take certain precautions as these two viruses collide in hopes that the healthcare system will not be overburdened. While we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, it’s important to take extra steps in order to stay healthy and well this fall.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says because of this pandemic, reducing the spread of flu-like illnesses this fall and winter is “more important than ever.” Although there is certainly much more to learn about the novel coronavirus, health officials say it is possible to simultaneously contract the flu and COVID-19. The CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommend the following tips for a healthy fall:

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  • Individuals 6 months and older are encouraged to get a flu vaccination before October 31.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid spreading germs by not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.
  • If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

Another way to help slow the spread of germs during flu season is to follow the guidelines implemented by our public officials. Governor Kay Ivey recently announced a five-week extension to the Safer at Home order now expiring on Sunday, November 8. This current public health order includes an extension to the statewide mask mandate, which went into effect in July. Health experts, including White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, say the mandatory mask ordinance has saved many lives in Alabama.

Over the past few weeks, Alabama has made real progress. The number of daily new cases and hospitalizations are decreasing, and there was no surge in cases following the Labor Day weekend. Let’s work together to keep up this significant progress. Please continue to adhere to all state and local guidelines to protect your families and your communities this fall.

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

1 month ago

Roby: We must work together to help prevent suicide

(Martha Roby/Contributed, YHN)

Each September, National Suicide Prevention Month is recognized as we draw attention to the causes, warning signs, and treatment options for those affected by this tragedy. You may think to yourself that this annual campaign is certainly important, but how does it impact you? The truth is, we can all help to reduce and prevent suicide.

As you know, the Second District is home to thousands of veterans. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 20 veterans die by suicide every day – a rate of 1.5 times higher than non-veteran adults. I have spent my tenure in Congress fighting for better care of our veterans and sponsoring legislation to address these significant issues. We cannot allow suicide rates to be just a number. We must do what we can to ensure we are all educated on this crisis in order to help prevent it.

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Here are some ways in which you can do your part to assist with suicide prevention:

  • Know the risk factors. A number of factors can point to someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts including anxiety, alcohol or substance abuse, hopelessness, self-isolation, impulsive or aggressive tendencies, loss of relationships, family history of suicide, and more.
  • Know the warning signs. There are many warning signs including an individual ominously talking about death, having no purpose, feeling trapped, behaving recklessly, withdrawing themselves, mood swings, and many others.
  • Contact a professional. Although it may be a difficult decision to make, it is important that you get help for someone you know is suffering. You can call 1-800-273-8255 to find available local resources or even encourage your loved one to call themselves. If you or someone you know is in an emergency, always call 911 immediately.

During these unprecedented times, it is critical that we pay close attention to mental and public health. Suicide is among the leading cause of death in the United States, and the national suicide rate reached historic highs prior to the pandemic. These troubling thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. The National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine reported a 65% increase in communication over the phone and online since March, according to a recent study.

I encourage you to reach out to someone you are worried about and have the courage to check on them. Sometimes a simple “Are you okay?” is enough to make all the difference in the world. If you are struggling personally, please text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to someone who can help. Both resources are available 24 hours, seven days a week, and they are free and confidential. Let’s work together to prevent suicide.

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

1 month ago

Roby: Updates on Hurricane Sally, Military Academy appointment nominations

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook)

Hurricane Sally Recovery Efforts

As you know, Hurricane Sally made landfall in Alabama early Wednesday morning as a Category 2 hurricane. On Wednesday afternoon, the storm downgraded to a tropical storm but continued to produce significant flooding, wind damage and power outages across the Second District. My team and I closely tracked the storm upon its arrival, and we stand ready to be helpful with any recovery efforts in the days to come.

I have been in close communication with Governor Ivey’s office throughout the duration of this storm, and she ensured us that the appropriate state agency resources will be available to our counties and municipalities in the Second District. My team has also been in contact with leaders and elected officials across the district to communicate with them our readiness to assist with recovery efforts.

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As these efforts continue, we are gradually learning the full scale of damages that portions of our district are facing. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this powerful storm. Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of my offices if you or someone you know needs assistance.

Thank you to all of the linemen, first responders, rescue teams and county EMA officials for your hard work to ensure adequate cleanup and power restoration occurs fast and safe for Alabamians. Most importantly, please continue to pray for the families who were impacted by this disaster.

Military Academy Appointment Nominations

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

If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing this wonderful opportunity, please remember to submit all necessary application materials to my Montgomery office by October 2 at 5:00 p.m. I can nominate up to ten individuals for each vacant slot allotted to the Second District.

If you are pursuing entry to one of our nation’s distinguished service academies and strive to serve our country, I would like to offer my sincere gratitude and wish you the very best. It is because of our veterans, active duty personnel, and young leaders with hearts for serving this nation that we enjoy our uniquely American freedoms.

If you would like to learn more about obtaining a nomination to the service academies from my office, please contact my staff in Montgomery by calling (334) 262-7718. Additional application information is also available on my website: roby.house.gov/student-resources/service-academy-nominations.

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

2 months ago

Roby: We will never forget

(M. Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

No American will ever forget where they were and what they were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001. The world changed in an instant before our own eyes, and it is hard to believe these tragic events took place nearly 20 years ago.

Like many, I remember watching the horror unfold on television. I had a feeling of helplessness knowing that people were suffering and dying right before our eyes. No one that experienced the sheer terror of this day will ever forget the feelings that came with it. Though this solemn anniversary brings many terrible emotions with it each year, we all remember the resilience of the American people when we think back to this day and the days that followed. Our people responded in unity, with determination to defend this land and one another.

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The victims of that fateful day and the heroes who emerged will live forever in the hearts of the American people. Today and every day, we remember their brave sacrifice. I hope Alabamians will join me in marking this day by remembering those we lost: the first responders who ran into flaming buildings, the soldiers who volunteered to serve in the aftermath, the bystanders, and many more. My deepest prayers remain with the families of those who lost loved ones.

Although this day brings about grievous memories, I am reminded today of the well-known photograph of three New York City firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero of the World Trade Center following the attacks. During the country’s darkest hours, the American flag served as a symbol of hope for a heartbroken nation. This image still stands as a reminder that our country will always persevere, no matter what may come our way.

I encourage you to take some time today to reflect on how our world has changed and to renew our commitment to work together as Americans to ensure the United States remains a nation of greatness, strength and resilience.

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

2 months ago

Roby: Celebrating American workers

(M. Roby/Facebook, PIxabay, YHN)

America’s essential workers continue to work tirelessly and selflessly throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Over 55 million workers in various industries are deemed “essential” at this time.

Almost half – 48.7% – of Alabama’s labor force works in essential industries. From doctors, nurses, first responders and law enforcement officers to grocery store employees, manufacturers, truckers, educators and many more, these frontline laborers continue to put forth their best efforts to keep the American economy going, and they are true American heroes.

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Labor Day recognizes and honors the contributions that American workers have made to the strength and prosperity of our country. As we celebrate Labor Day this year, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to each and every frontline worker across the Second District, the entire state, and our nation. There are no words that can adequately express my gratitude for all who have contributed generously to our communities during this difficult time. Without their hard work, our country would not be on the current path we are on right now. Many cities and towns across the country have designated a moment in the evening to collectively applaud and cheer on essential workers. I encourage you to show your appreciation to these special workers in your community.

These essential workers deserve recognition every day. They take care of us and our loved ones, and they fight continuously to keep our communities healthy and safe. Our frontline workers go to work each day with the knowledge and understanding that they are risking their lives for the sake of others. We are eternally grateful for those who are willing to sacrifice their own well-being to help move our nation forward during this health crisis. I am confident we will continue to make much progress together and see healing among our communities.

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

2 months ago

Roby: Now is the time to be vigilant

(Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

Recently, the number of daily new Coronavirus cases has declined nationwide. Several experts credit an increase in mask wearing for this recent decrease. Governor Kay Ivey implemented the statewide mask order on July 16, and Alabama has seen a sharp drop in the percentage of positive tests over the past month. The number of daily confirmed cases in Alabama has gone from over 2,100 new cases a day at its peak in mid-July to an average of about 728 new cases per day this past week. These statistics display the dedication Alabamians have put forth to follow guidelines adopted by state and local officials, as well as our determination to slow the spread of Coronavirus among Alabama communities.

Although the state is currently headed in the right direction, this virus remains a significant threat to the health and well-being of many, and Alabamians must continue to heed advice from public health officials. Governor Ivey on Thursday extended the current Safer at Home order which is now set to expire on Friday, October 2, at 5:00 pm. This extension includes the statewide mask ordinance, enforcing individuals to wear a mask or facial covering in public. The order also requires students and employees at K-12 schools and colleges to wear a mask.

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Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris stated Thursday the mask mandate is the first order that has brought significant improvement statewide since the onset of the pandemic in March. Dr. Harris said the daily number of cases, Coronavirus-related deaths, and hospitalizations due to the virus have tremendously decreased since Governor Ivey’s mask order was put into effect.

With Labor Day weekend right around the corner, it is vital to the progress we’ve made that you continue to be vigilant by practicing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. As we move forward on the road to recovery, please continue to listen and adhere to all guidance and orders given by our state leaders and public health officers. Your participation is crucial to protect your families and those around you. Every decision our state and local leaders are making throughout the course of this pandemic prioritize the health and safety of all Alabamians, and they will continue to always put the people of Alabama first.

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

2 months ago

Roby: Back to school

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

Students of all ages from kindergarten to college are starting back to school, whether with in-person instruction or virtual learning. Every school across the state continues to adapt to accommodate students’ return, all while keeping them as safe as possible during this pandemic. Although the start to this school year looks quite different than most, it is beneficial for our students to be back learning and continuing their education, even if it calls for following unique and new routines.

With updated guidance and restrictions in place for students, faculty, and staff to have the ability to interact on a school campus, I am reminded of how dedicated and determined our teachers are to educating our youth. We have seen the hard work of so many essential workers across the country throughout the entirety of this pandemic. I would like to give my continued thanks to each of you, especially our educators, as we kick off this unprecedented school year. Not only do teachers increase children’s knowledge and understanding, but they give children purpose and inspire them to succeed.

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With students across the state participating in virtual learning, access to necessary resources and tools is essential to ensure their education is as effective as it would be in the classroom. Last month, Governor Kay Ivey announced the allocation of $100 million in federal funding through the CARES Act to increase internet access for K-12 students participating in distance learning. Reliable high-speed internet is a necessity, especially for children who are completing their education remotely, and there is much room for improvement on more permanent broadband infrastructure across our state.

For parents of those students who are back in school for in-person instruction – please remember to adhere to all orders and guidelines to help your children and their classmates stay safe. The current Safer at Home public health order expires on August 31 at 5:00pm, or until further notice from Governor Ivey. Please continue to do your part and wear a mask, follow social distancing instructions, and make smart choices about congregating in groups. Your participation helps to keep you, your families, and your communities healthy.

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

3 months ago

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby: Celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage

(M. Roby/Facebook, PIxabay, YHN)

On August 18, we commemorate 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote. This centennial anniversary is a significant milestone in our nation’s history. This landmark event gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate a pivotal moment in our past and recognize the progress that has been made over the years.

Securing the right to vote for women changed the course of American history, and I am honored to celebrate this momentous occasion alongside fellow Alabamians. The Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute celebrates Law Day annually on May 1 honoring the rule of law. This year’s Law Day focused on the importance of the Nineteenth Amendment, and I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the events.

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Additionally, a group called the Alabama Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee (AWSCC) was formed in 2019 and is comprised of educators, historians, public leaders and citizens from across the state. AWSCC is set to host several events honoring the many Alabama women who contributed their efforts to ensuring women obtained the right to vote.

Our diversity is what makes the United States of America so great, and it is vitally important that each American has the opportunity to contribute to our democracy as afforded to us by the Constitution. It took years for American women fighting for this essential right in our democracy.

I want to give a special thanks to all the women of the past who paved the way for women today and women of the future. May we remember to value their hard work and never take this right for granted. I look forward to continuing this year in celebration as we observe the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

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

3 months ago

Roby: Stay prepared during hurricane season

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

It’s hard to believe that we have reached the month of August, and summer will be ending soon. Although many schools have delayed start dates or chose to begin the school year virtually, students across the state will soon be back to school in some form or fashion. Typically, we are gearing up this time of year for the start of college football season. The current health pandemic has pushed back many of our most anticipated fall events, but there is one season that will persist regardless of the coronavirus: hurricane season.

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Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive forces. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday released an annual August update stating the 2020 hurricane season is expected to be an “extremely active” season, one of the “most active seasonal forecasts NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks,” according to the agency.

NOAA predicts 19 to 25 named storms this season, which began on June 1 and runs through November 30. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico, and there have already been nine so far this season. Last week, Tropical Storm Isaias swept across the East Coast, leaving millions without power. Alabama Power sent several lineworkers and support personnel to assist FirstEnergy, an electric utility company.

As we navigate a path forward to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is also important to remember to stay aware of any severe weather and implement a plan to keep you and your family safe. Now is the time to organize plans and make any necessary preparations; do not wait until danger approaches, and it is too late. Below are suggested questions to discuss with your family from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help prepare:

Another important factor to keep in mind during hurricane season is making sure you and your family understand National Weather Service (NWS) forecast language. There’s a difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning, and it’s essential to have a strong understanding of the two. Read about this by visiting www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-ww.

I hope you will share this information with loved ones during this time of year, especially as we continue to focus on the impacts of Coronavirus and how to move forward. In many cases, planning and preparation can make a huge difference. I encourage you to prepare now and remind your friends and family to do the same.

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

3 months ago

Roby: Celebrating the life of John Lewis

(M. Roby/Contributed)

John Lewis once said, “You cannot be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.” He also encouraged us to “Get into good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” John Lewis’ journey through this world started right here in the middle of the Second Congressional District. His life and legacy were well honored this past week with services in Alabama, Washington, D.C., and Georgia.

I had the privilege to attend John’s celebration of life service in Atlanta and remember the remarkable life of not only a colleague but a very dear friend. It is no secret that he was a true American patriot who dedicated his very existence to the pursuit of equal justice for all. John has been an inspiration to countless individuals throughout the entirety of his meaningful life.

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As many Alabamians know, John has a deep connection to the state of Alabama. He was born in Troy in 1940 and made a commitment as a child to become a part of a movement of great importance to him – the civil rights movement. He went off to college and dedicated much of his time to non-violent protests and the organization of several activists groups. He was a keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington and marched alongside his childhood inspiration, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma on Bloody Sunday.

John Lewis’ long list of accomplishments throughout his life speaks volumes about the substantial footprint he left on the fight for equality. In Former President George W. Bush’s remarks earlier this week, he said, “The story that began in Troy isn’t ending here, nor is the work. John Lewis lives forever in his Father’s house, and he will live forever in the hearts of Americans, who act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God.”

Before he left us, John spoke to us one more time in a piece to be published the day of his funeral. He stated, “While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society…”

John’s final words leave us with a call and duty, to always stand up for what is right. His legacy will be everlasting, inspiring many for generations to come. Thank you, John Lewis, for your selfless courage and fervent passion. This world is a much better place because you were in it, and we will do our best to follow in your footsteps.

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

3 months ago

Roby: Honoring our service members

(M. Roby/Facebook)

As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to be a top focus throughout the country, it is important we do not forget about the selfless service members who dedicate themselves to protecting us all.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have considered it a tremendous privilege and responsibility to represent a district that is home to two of our country’s finest military installations – Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery. One of my top priorities in office has always been to support and advocate for military members, their families, and our veterans in the Second District.

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The numerous lifestyle modifications made over the last several months to combat the current health crisis have required major adjustments for all – adults and parents are working remotely, students are participating in virtual schooling, and millions are following state and local public health orders. As the school year approaches, I want to especially remember the mothers and fathers who are deployed, doing their duty to protect us while also ensuring their children are adjusting to an unprecedented return to school.

Each year, Congress passes legislation that authorizes the various military programs and defense activities in the Department of Defense. The House and Senate passed their own versions this past week of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. I am hopeful both chambers of Congress can work together to ensure our military has all the necessary resources to protect this great nation.

Our men and women in uniform sacrifice so much to defend this country, especially during these challenging times worldwide. I would like to give a special thank you to all our military members. Your bravery and unwavering service to the United States is never forgotten. Because of your service and sacrifice, America remains the Land of the Free. I continue to pray for our military families as our nation navigates a path forward and a road to recovery.

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

4 months ago

Roby: Your census response matters

(Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

As I recently wrote about all the ways government agencies are assisting during the current health pandemic, I want to focus on a significant action Alabamians can take now to support our state for years to come. As you know, the U.S. Census Bureau is in the process of conducting the 2020 Census. Several census operations were adapted or delayed due to Coronavirus in order to protect the health and safety of the Census Bureau staff and the public. The Census Bureau is dedicated to ensuring the population is counted, even amid this global pandemic.

According to the Census Bureau, information provided daily to the Bureau from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and local officials regarding the Coronavirus is used to guide the Bureau’s next steps with timing decisions. Particular field operations will resume on a phased schedule and a geographic basis. The original “self-response phase” began March 12 and was scheduled to end at the end of this month. The revised deadline for individuals to submit a self-response online, in the mail, or over the phone is now set for October 31.

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This new deadline allows for an additional three months to respond to the census, which can greatly impact the number of responses submitted to the Census Bureau. The most up-to-date data from the U.S. Census Bureau on July 16 shows the national self-response rate is 62.1 percent, Alabama’s rate is 59.8 percent, and the Second Congressional District’s rate is 58.2 percent. In the 2010 Census, the final self-response rate for the Second District was 63.5 percent.

Your response is critical for the future of our state. The census not only counts the American population, but it also determines Alabama’s congressional representation in Washington, the amount of federal funding the state receives, and data that will impact our communities in the future. My office is dedicated to dispersing 2020 Census guidance and data as well as informing Alabamians on how to participate. My staff and I have been talking with state agencies and the Census Bureau to learn more about ways in which we can encourage participation and help spread insightful information regarding the Census, and I recently began weekly social media updates spotlighting the 2020 Census.

I want to thank each individual who has done their part by completing their census response. If you have not yet answered your 2020 Census, you can do so online now. You can also complete your response by mail or telephone (1-844-330-2020). Responding is quick, easy, secure, and confidential. The future of our state’s representation in Congress and the Electoral College are at stake, and we must ensure that Alabama receives its fair share of federal funding for numerous programs. Your response will help to direct billions of federal dollars to support our local schools, infrastructure projects, emergency services, and many other public services. Alabama needs an accurate count, and your response makes a difference.

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

4 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Available COVID-19 support for Alabamians

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

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to present challenges to individuals and businesses across our state and country. It is no secret that many have struggled as a result of this novel pandemic. All levels of government have come together to provide support for those families and businesses in need.

Governor Kay Ivey just recently announced the Revive Alabama grant program which provides funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support small businesses affected by COVID-19. This program includes relief for our state’s farms, which have greatly been impacted by this virus.

Revive Alabama will provide assistance through reimbursements to ensure qualifying Alabama businesses have a chance to recover. Applications can be accessed beginning at noon on July 16 until midnight on July 26 at the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website.

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Many of you also know, when Congress passed the CARES Act, it established the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide direct incentives to keep employees on small business payrolls. Both chambers of Congress recently approved the application extension of PPP funding for five additional weeks, as roughly $135 million of unused funds remained in the program’s budget upon the original June 30 deadline.

Small businesses now have the opportunity to submit applications until August 8, while Congress works to propose possible additional Coronavirus relief legislation. For more information on applying for small business loans, visit the SBA’s website.

Additionally, the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) announced that beginning on July 5, the state started offering Extended Benefits (EB) for those who qualify and have exhausted earlier benefits.

The expanded weekly benefits under the CARES Act for those who filed for unemployment as a result of COVID-19 is set to expire at the end of this month. Visit ADOL’s website for more information on unemployment benefits.

The United States was founded on the notion that strength is found in unity. As this pandemic continues to impact those in our communities, we must remain unified and hopeful for the future.

Please continue to do your part by abiding by all issued guidelines in your area, from wearing a mask or facial covering in public to practicing social distancing and personal responsibility.

We are stronger when we stand together and do what’s right for the good of our families and our neighbors.

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

4 months ago

Roby: Happy Independence Day

(M. Roby/Facebook, PIxabay, YHN)

The Fourth of July is one of America’s most celebrated holidays each year, honoring the birth of American independence dating back to 1776. Americans gather from state to state to participate in beloved traditions such as fireworks, parades, barbecues, and many more. With all that is happening across the country right now, I hope that we each stop and reflect on the meaning of this special day.

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Our Founders had the incredible courage to risk their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to defy a king and conceive a new nation based on freedom, equality, and government empowered by the consent of the governed. As they declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Now more than ever, our nation craves unity during these unprecedented times throughout all our communities. As we navigate a global pandemic that continues to sweep across the United States, already tragically claiming more than 130,000 precious lives, my greatest hope is that we stand together as one united people.

May we be ever vigilant in making sure the United States always embodies the ideals in that bold declaration by our Founders. May God bless each of you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. From the Roby family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Fourth of July!

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

4 months ago

Roby: Protecting our Alabama communities

(Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

Several states across the country have seen a surge in reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases over the past few weeks. On Thursday, June 25, the United States set a new single-day record for new coronavirus cases, with state health departments reporting 39,327 cases. Over the past week, Alabama has seen the most troubling numbers to date. The Alabama Department of Health (ADPH) reported 1,129 new cases that same day, setting a record for the highest number of new cases reported in a single day since the pandemic began.

Infections and hospitalizations are rising across the state and continue to remain a threat to the health of all Alabamians. State public health officials have recently spoken out regarding the importance of wearing facial coverings or masks. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “We simply aren’t headed the right way in Alabama … the bottom line is masks do prevent infections and masks do save lives.” Dr. Scott Harris along with ADPH highly encourage all individuals to wear some type of facial covering when necessary.

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Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, pleaded for Alabamians to wear masks and demonstrate proper social distancing practices if they must be out in public. “What I would plead for is a change in people’s behavior with a realization that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something,” Williamson said.

The current Safer at Home public health order is set to expire on July 3. As Alabama has already eased restrictions allowing the reopening of several businesses and venues, each Alabamian should practice personal responsibility in order to slow the spread of coronavirus across the state. It is up to each of us to protect those in our communities. I urge Alabamians to abide by official guidelines and direction, including those suggested by ADPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Let’s put forth our best effort to protect this beloved state and all of us who call it home.

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

4 months ago

Complete your 2020 Census today

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook)

As Americans have dealt with the hardships and consequences surrounding the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, visualizing a “back-to-normal” routine remains challenging for many. Although these times are unprecedented and the future is uncertain, life continues to carry on. In the midst of the pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau is conducting the 2020 Census, marking the twenty-fourth time the country has counted the population since 1790.

As you know, the Census Bureau conducts a count of every resident in the United States every ten years, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of our Constitution. This action is critically important to understanding current facts and figures about our country’s people, places, and economy. The accuracy of this year’s Census is vital to the future of our state’s representation in Congress and the Electoral College System. Alabama currently has nine Electoral College votes, and if everyone throughout the state does not fully participate, that number could drop down. This is something we, as Alabamians, do not want to see happen. The Census also dictates the amount of federal dollars that come into Alabama, specifically to hospitals, job training centers, schools, infrastructure, and other emergency services. Inaccurate or miscounted numbers mean we as a state are having to do more with less.

Despite COVID-19, it is crucial you do your part by completing the 2020 Census questionnaire. Several methods are available:

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  • Respond Online – You can respond online using your computer, smartphone, or tablet at my2020census.gov. If you are responding online, please note that you cannot save your progress and that you must complete the census in one sitting.
  • Respond by Phone – Call 844-330-2020.
  • Respond by Mail – You can mail back the paper questionnaire sent to your home. Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in March.

Even if you did not receive an invitation to respond from the Census Bureau, you can respond online or visit the Census Bureau’s “Contact Us” page to call the phone line at 2020census.gov/en/contact-us.

As of June 17, the national self-response rate was 61.5 percent, Alabama’s rate was 59.3 percent, and the Second Congressional District’s rate was 57.8 percent. If you live in the Second District and have not yet filled out your 2020 Census accounting for yourself and your family, I challenge you to respond today, and I encourage all Alabamians to participate. These results will shape the future of our state for years to come, and you will be proud to have been a part of it. For more information, visit the official 2020 Census webpage at 2020census.gov.

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

5 months ago

Roby: The road to recovery

(M. Roby/Contributed)

The American economic landscape has changed considerably over the past few months as coronavirus (COVID-19) has extremely halted activity across the country. Several weeks have passed since Alabama’s economy slowly began to reopen following a phased approach with the amended Safer at Home public health order.

The bold action taken by government and public health officials instructing all Alabamians to follow various stay-at-home orders during this time has certainly contributed to the mitigation of the virus and has helped to slow the spread. Although these practices prevented many from falling sick, coronavirus remains a threat to the health and well-being of Alabamians and the American people.

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Through both health and economic suffering, individuals, families, business leaders and employees have been dramatically impacted by this novel pandemic. Parents must manage family responsibilities while navigating new challenges, many are still out of work, and numerous businesses have closed nationwide. Particularly, small businesses have been severely impacted by the pandemic, and some continue to be at great risk of closing permanently. Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment, unsure of when their next paycheck or job will return.

Congress has come together to assist these businesses and their employees in many ways. In March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed, which established several programs and funding resources to assist the American people, including the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program provides loans to small businesses to keep their doors open. In April, Congress passed legislation to replenish the PPP, bringing more support for businesses in need. Just last week, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which made regulatory changes to the PPP. These changes include extending the loan life from eight weeks to 24 weeks, reducing payroll expenditure requirement from 75% to 60%, extending the repayment period from two years to five years, and allowing businesses to delay their payroll taxes. Alabama small businesses have received a great amount of support through the PPP. As of June 6, there have been 61,576 approved loans totaling approximately $6,122,930,463 for businesses throughout the state.

The road to recovery for Alabama and America will not be simple. It will be a process that takes much time, dedication, and determination. As time goes by, we will see the resilient people and communities of Alabama begin to heal, much like we have these past few weeks. I encourage you to continue to adhere to the guidelines issued by Governor Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and practice social distancing as the nation continues to combat COVID-19.

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

5 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Raising mental health awareness during COVID-19

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

As you may know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health has become a pressing issue, impacting tens of millions of people each year in the United States. Nearly one in five American adults live with mental health disorders and illnesses according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has surely heightened stress, fear, and anxiety for many Americans. During uncertain times like these, it is important to care for yourself and those close to you by focusing on mental health.

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The current state of the nation due to COVID-19 can be overwhelming. Taking proper care of yourself and others can help manage this anxiety. Be sure to find ways for you and your family to reduce stress such as connecting with friends and family over the phone or participating in exercise and other outdoor activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises these quick tips for stress management during COVID-19:

–Take breaks from COVID-19 news and social media content.
–Make time to sleep, exercise, and unwind.
–Take care of your body.
–Reach out and stay connected.

One way to lower stress that surrounds COVID-19 is to ensure the information you take in regarding the pandemic is factual. Contradictory information exists online that can create unnecessary and avoidable stress, which can further impact one’s worrisome feelings toward the virus. Find a reliable source that is trustworthy to gather information. A resource that several public officials have recommended as a dependable outlet for information is the state health department. Know the facts about coronavirus, and help stop the spread of rumors.

Americans continue to adjust to unaccustomed lifestyle changes. With these rapid changes implemented in our daily routines, it is normal to feel uncertain or skeptical. Alabama has been under some form of stay-at-home order for over two months now, and the participation has played an important role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in many communities across the state. That does not mean adjusting to new, unfamiliar routines has been easy. Investing in care and protecting your mental health is essential during these challenging times. For more information on coping with stress during COVID-19, visit the CDC website. For general information on mental health, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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

5 months ago

Roby: The importance of Memorial Day

(M. Roby/Facebook, PIxabay, YHN)

This Memorial Day comes at an unprecedented time for our country. Americans for several weeks have dealt with the harsh reality of having to face major challenges accompanied by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. At a time when the American people are suffering devastating loss and experiencing hardships, it is vital to remain united, hopeful, and grateful.

Although Coronavirus has greatly affected the health and well-being of our people, it cannot touch the founding principles and values of our country. As the end of another month nears in our efforts to combat against COVID-19, let’s not ever take for granted those who were willing to lay down their lives to fight for and preserve the freedom we have today.

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Memorial Day is a time for all of us to pause and remember the courageous Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend this great nation. Everyone should take this opportunity to honor and reflect on those men and women in uniform who lost their lives fighting to protect the freedoms we enjoy.

On Memorial Day and every day, it’s important to remember and honor the sacrifice made by the members of our military – those who gave their lives in service to our country, the veterans who are still with us today and those who have passed, and the brave men and women who are currently wearing the uniform. I extend my sincere condolences to those who lost a family member in the line of duty and my gratitude to those who served or are currently serving. America continues to shine as the Land of the Free, even in the midst of a global pandemic, because of the heroic men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country’s future and prosperity.

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

6 months ago

Roby: We are safer at home

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread across the nation, impacting individuals and families from coast to coast. As the American people have been under various stay-at-home and public health orders for the last few months, several states are beginning to move into the next phases of modified guidelines. Governor Kay Ivey last week announced Alabama’s amended Safer at Home guidelines which went into effect on May 11 at 5:00 p.m. While Alabamians begin to gradually return to the workplace, visit retail stores, and dine in at local restaurants, it is critical to continue to abide by the advice given by government leaders and public health officials.

The most recent Safer at Home guidelines issued include key changes to note:

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  • Non-work gatherings remove 10 person limit but must keep six feet distance between those not from the same household.
  • Restaurants, bars, and breweries may open with limited seating, six feet between tables, and subject to additional sanitation rules.
  • Athletic facilities may open subject to social distancing guidelines and additional sanitation rules.
  • Close-contact service providers may open subject to social distancing guidelines and additional sanitation rules.
  • Beaches are open with no limit on gatherings but must maintain six feet of separation.

These changes now allow for many to leave their homes and visit various local establishments for the first time in several weeks. I urge Alabamians to follow all guidelines implemented by Governor Ivey, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Plus, people across the state are still encouraged to only leave their homes when necessary. Remember to continue practicing social distancing when you must leave, as well as proper hygiene practices. The continuation of these important protocols will protect you and others around you, especially the most vulnerable.

The American people have sacrificed and adapted to several unfamiliar lifestyle changes in order to contribute to the mitigation practices helping to slow the spread of coronavirus. While these practices have certainly contributed to flattening the curve of coronavirus, this vicious virus is still very much present in our country. As of right now, it has taken the lives of over 85,000 American men and women. As time passes, Alabama will continue to move into the next phases of amended guidelines. Although there is no way to predict when these changes will occur, please remember full participation with all safety precautions is necessary to make our communities healthy and well again. The state of Alabama is full of resilient people, and this virus will not knock us down.

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

6 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Happy Mother’s Day

(Congresswoman Roby/Facebook)

These uncertain times have brought many challenges and changes in the lives of individuals and families around the world. I believe that with every obstacle comes an opportunity to grow.

Although the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, it has brought with it the unique chance to pause and truly be present, which is rare in today’s society. During this time of uncertainty, one important job undoubtedly continues – being a mother.

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Mother’s Day this year may look different due to unforeseen trials accompanied with the coronavirus pandemic. For many, this might be the first Mother’s Day spent apart from family.

I have had the unique opportunity throughout my time serving in Congress to travel to Afghanistan for eight of the last 10 Mother’s Day holidays, spending time with our brave military men and women who are on the ground there. This annual visit has become deeply important to me.

Spending time with our troops, especially the mothers during these trips, always serves as a significant reminder that those who wear the uniform sacrifice so much, including being away from their families in harm’s way for months at a time, for the security of our nation. I am grateful to be able to have this time annually with some of our heroes in Afghanistan and thank them for the difficult work they do to keep our country secure.

In light of COVID-19, my plans to return to Afghanistan this year were regretfully canceled. I am disappointed that I will not have the chance to connect with deployed mothers and caregivers as they are away from their families, but I am surely thankful to be safe and healthy with my family, on this special day. Although I am celebrating here in the United States, my thoughts remain with our servicemembers overseas and all those impacted by COVID-19.

I can say as a working mother that it is truly one of the biggest challenges for a mother to be away from her children. I pray this Mother’s Day we recognize and remember all the moms who may not have the opportunity to be surrounded by their children.

To all the mothers out there – I hope you have a very blessed Mother’s Day, no matter how you may be spending it. Thank you for your daily sacrifices and selflessness, and know you are appreciated every day.

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