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.

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.

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.

3 weeks 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.

1 month 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.

1 month 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.

2 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.

2 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.

2 months ago

Roby: Steps towards brighter days

(M. Roby/Facebook)

For the past several weeks, the people of Alabama participated in following a statewide public health order implemented by the governor and public health officials as an effort to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This unprecedented order required individuals and families to make drastic lifestyle changes in order to adapt to these guidelines. The stay-at-home guidelines put in place by state officials highly prioritized the health and safety of all Alabamians and aimed to slow the spread of coronavirus among Alabama’s communities. As the original stay-at-home order expired on April 30, Governor Kay Ivey announced a new set of guidelines that continue the implementation of critical mitigation practices while also taking a measured approach to reopen Alabama’s economy.

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It is crucial that all Alabamians understand the changes applied in this new public health order so that we can continue to do our part to flatten the curve of the virus. The new “Safer at Home” guidelines went into effect on April 30 at 5:00 p.m. and expire on May 15 at 5:00 p.m. An important change to note is that under the previous order, individuals were ordered to stay home. Under the new guidelines, individuals are encouraged to stay home. Some businesses are now open subject to sanitation and social distancing guidelines, but those high-risk businesses remain closed. Visit the governor’s website for a full breakdown of changes made in the “Safer at Home” guidelines and items that remain the same.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought many challenges and uncertainties along with it. Unfortunately, no one is able to predict the exact timing of when our country will be free of this virus. The degree at which we each decide to abide by the guidelines will determine the process in which we return to our daily routines. Each individual has an important role in the fight to end the spread of coronavirus, and we are not alone in this battle. The more we listen and adhere to the advice given by health officials, the sooner we will see the return to normal life.

Now more than ever, it is in the best interest of the people of Alabama and vital to the health and well-being of all Americans that we do not deter our efforts to combat COVID-19. Please be diligent in following the governor’s new set of guidelines, and know that your full participation in this process greatly impacts the state and the nation’s road to recovery. We all want to see the economy booming and the American people healthy again. I am hopeful that the leadership of government and public health officials, as well as our individual contributions, will lead to better and brighter days ahead.

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: Do your part

(Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

As we approach the end of the month, the current directives and public health orders established to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will begin to change in some form.

We must continue to follow all the regulations that are put in place. These orders prioritize the health and safety of all Alabamians and are an imperative part of the process in allowing us to return to more normal day-to-day routines and activities. Governor Kay Ivey implemented a statewide stay-at-home order earlier this month that is set to expire on Thursday, April 30. Please make sure you are knowledgeable about what these stay-at-home guidelines entail, as well as the social distancing guidelines issued by the administration.

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The coronavirus pandemic has drastically impacted the health of hundreds of thousands of Americans. This crisis has also affected the economy of our great nation. Before the COVID-19 outbreak hit the United States, we were seeing record-low unemployment rates statewide and nationwide compared to the last 50 years. The resources and various programs in place are to ensure this pandemic does not ruin this great progress. Congress this week passed additional legislation that provides critical support for our hospitals, COVID-19 testing capacities, and replenishes funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the CARES Act and additional resources in disaster loans.

We all want to see the American economy continue to boom, but we also need to see major improvements surrounding the health and safety of individuals in our communities during these unparalleled times. By adhering to all guidelines whether they remain the same or enact an element of change, we are each doing our part in protecting ourselves and others around us. Following proper protocols will help determine how we all progress to fight this virus and the economic impacts it has brought with it.

Let’s be sure to remember as we do our part by staying home, there are many Americans who are selflessly serving on the frontlines every day, specifically our healthcare workers. We recently celebrated Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, or Lab Week, honoring the work of lab and medical professionals across the country. These men and women are working around the clock to treat Coronavirus patients, research potential treatments and therapies, and develop vaccines to fight this virus. I would like to give a very special “thank you” to all those involved in combatting the spread of COVID-19. I am hopeful that the steadfast efforts of Alabamians and the American people will lead us to conquer the many challenges COVID-19 has brought upon us.

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: Alabamians lend helping hands

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to sweep across the state of Alabama and the nation, there are several inspiring stories of Alabamians coming together to support those in need. Whether it be sewing personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals, delivering meals to the pandemic’s frontline workers, or making donations to those affected by COVID-19, the people of Alabama have certainly demonstrated a genuine care and concern for their neighbors.

Our medical and healthcare professionals are dealing with a major nationwide shortage of PPE. This protective equipment is worn by doctors, nurses, and other caregivers in hospitals and healthcare facilities to reduce the spread of infection and keep those working on the frontlines safe. PPE includes face masks and shields, gloves, gowns, respirators, shoe coverings, etc. The limited availability of PPE puts anyone who comes in contact with COVID-19 patients at serious risk. Healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients do not have the option of engaging in social distancing, especially while treating patients for a prolonged period of time. Access to PPE is critical to the health and safety of these dedicated workers and allows them to continue performing their jobs.

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Many gracious Alabamians from North Alabama down to the Wiregrass and Gulf Coast have stepped up to the plate to provide assistance. Several Alabamians, specifically in the Second District, have formed groups dedicated to sewing face masks for local healthcare workers and hospital facilities. Thousands of individuals across the state have gathered at homes, businesses and churches to quickly volunteer their efforts and offer their services to those healthcare workers and first responders in need across their communities. Many volunteers have also cooked or catered large quantities of food to be delivered to the pandemic’s frontline workers, ensuring these workers have food to eat as they continue to treat COVID-19 patients. Others have donated supplies and funds to organizations in need.

The heartwarming stories that have circulated the state these past few weeks are ones that are filled with encouragement. During a time of uncertainty, these examples of selfless service from Alabama’s very own people bring much hope. I want to give a very special thank you to all of those individuals and businesses who have stepped up to support those in need during this unprecedented health crisis. As we all do our part to continue combatting this horrific virus, I encourage you to lend a helping hand if you feel inclined to do so. Many volunteer groups are specific to your communities and have been highlighted by local news outlets. You can also visit the state’s official COVID-19 response webpage, AL Together, for more information on ways to get involved. Alabama is full of resilient people, and we will continue to work together to fight this virus.

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: Easter brings an abundance of hope

(M. Roby/Contributed)

For the past several weeks, all the world’s focus has been distinctly turned to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This current health crisis and its effects have taken center stage globally, halting the everyday lives of billions.

The outbreak and rapid spread of the coronavirus has allowed uncertainty, worry, and stress to invade the lives of many. During this unprecedented time when a sense of fear is present, it is important that we have a source of hope.

Although this year’s Easter holiday looks much different than those in the past, it arrives at the perfect time when many are seeking hope.

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For Christians, Easter is one of the most special days of the year, as we gather with family, friends, and the Christian community to celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection. The biblical story of Jesus being raised from the dead is one that is full of hope. It is a constant reminder that our hope is in Heaven, and whatever obstacles life puts in our path are temporary situations that we will overcome.

While churches across the nation will be empty on Easter Sunday, I believe we have a unique opportunity to be united now more than ever. As we are facing the challenge of staying at home and following social distancing guidelines, I encourage you to spend some time remembering just how blessed we are to be Americans, where we can enjoy the freedom to worship however we please.

Whether you are spending this Easter at home with your family or even by yourself, let’s take this opportunity to spread the true joy of this significant day and give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

We are a strong nation full of resilient people, and we will not let this health crisis knock us down. From the Roby family to yours, Happy Easter and may God bless you!

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: Efforts continue in Alabama’s response to COVID-19

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

The state of Alabama late this week surpassed 1,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), and the United States exceeded 265,000 cases. The total number of COVID-19 cases globally on Friday officially passed 1 million.

It is evident that the virus is continuing to accelerate across our state and local communities. During these uncertain times, it is imperative that leaders on all levels make each decision with the well-being of all Americans at the forefront of those choices. It is equally as important that our citizens heed the advice of government officials. As our nation continues to work toward combatting this unprecedented pandemic, the health and safety of our people is a top priority now more than ever.

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It is important that Alabamians are prepared to follow the advice and guidance of the officials who are working day and night in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Governor Kay Ivey on Friday issued a statewide stay-at-home order effective Saturday, April 4, at 5:00 p.m. Central Time until Thursday, April 30, at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. Governor Ivey said Friday that she along with many state government and public health officials thoroughly reviewed all possible COVID-19 response options, and they determined that a statewide stay-at-home order put the safety of Alabama’s people first. I believe this public health order does just that, and will be beneficial as we continue to fight COVID-19 and practice mitigation among our communities. It is crucial that we take these public health orders seriously and stay at home except for essential errands such as going to the grocery store and seeking medical care.

As the governor’s statewide stay-at-home order goes into effect and currently lasts until the end of the month, we have the potential to drastically slow the spread of COVID-19 among our Alabama communities. Please remember to continue to follow the administration’s “30 Days to Slow the Spread” social distancing guidelines, wash your hands, disinfect your home, stay home if you are sick and avoid any social gatherings in order to protect yourself and those around you from infection.

As I have stated before, I feel it is my responsibility and remain committed to providing the people of Alabama’s Second Congressional District with the latest information and most helpful resources surrounding COVID-19. I have added a “COVID-19 Resources” tab on my official website that includes materials ranging from general health and prevention methods from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to economic support for individuals and businesses from federal and state agencies like the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL). I will also continue to keep my constituents up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 news on my Twitter and Facebook pages. It is vital to the health and well-being of those in our communities that Alabamians all across the state follow the guidance of state and healthcare officials. The people of our great state remain united, and together we will combat COVID-19.

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: Together we will combat COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: COVID-19 update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 months ago

Roby: Latest information and resources on coronavirus disease outbreak

(M. Roby/Facebook)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 months ago

Roby: Combating the sale of counterfeit goods online

(Pixabay, YHN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: Congressional internships offer unique opportunities

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 months ago

Roby: Celebrating career and technical education

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 months ago

Roby: Creating and protecting new ideas

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 months ago

Roby: Preventative actions to take during flu season

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 months ago

Roby: Today’s youth are tomorrow’s future

(M. Roby for Congress/Facebook)

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

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

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

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

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

5 months ago

Rep. Martha Roby: We must stand for life

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, YHN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 months ago

Roby: More flexibility for America’s working parents

(M. Roby for Congress/Facebook)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 months ago

Roby: We can all help fight human trafficking

(Representative Martha Roby/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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