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

(M. Roby/Facebook)

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

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

334

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

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

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

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

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

Roby: Highlighting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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

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

244

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

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

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

Roby: White House honors Army Aviation, Fort Rucker

(M. Roby/Facebook)

Every year since 1981, the White House Historical Association has designed the official White House Christmas ornament. It is always interesting to learn about the history of each year’s design, and this year’s ornament is particularly special for Alabamians – and especially for those of us who live in the Second District.

This year’s White House Christmas ornament features a helicopter to honor President Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, who was the first U.S. president to fly in a helicopter while in office. According to the White House Historical Association, the 2019 ornament is meant to symbolize Eisenhower’s commitment to innovation.

351

After Eisenhower first traveled by helicopter in July of 1957, the helicopter became a feature of White House life. Through the years, the helicopter has often been used for short-distance commutes. As the first president to regularly use a helicopter, Eisenhower had two Executive Flight Detachments for his transport, which were provided by flight crews of the Army and the Marine Corps.

Since 1957, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company that also has an extensive operation in Pike County, has built the presidential helicopter. The 2019 White House ornament honors that special legacy, but it also pays tribute to Army Aviation and Fort Rucker, as Fort Rucker is the location site of the original Army One used by Eisenhower.

The White House Historical Society recently held an event at Fort Rucker to celebrate this historic honor, and I was glad to participate alongside Governor Kay Ivey and other leaders. As Alabamians, we know how special and critically important Fort Rucker and Army Aviation are – not only to the Wiregrass and our state – but to the safety and defense of our nation. It is wonderful and appropriate that the White House has chosen to honor Army Aviation and Fort Rucker in this way. I know my family will certainly display the ornament proudly and treasure it for years to come.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have considered it a privilege and responsibility to represent a district that is home to Fort Rucker, home of the United States Center of Aviation Excellence. I will continue to use the platform I have been given to ensure that Fort Rucker remains a strong component in our national defense infrastructure.

We all should be incredibly proud that President Eisenhower first began using Army helicopters as a mode of presidential transportation. This historic honor by the White House is a true testament to the legacy and continued success of Army Aviation in our country. You can read more about the White House Historical Association and year’s ornament by visiting www.shop.whitehousehistory.org/holidays/ornaments.

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

Rep. Martha Roby: Supporting STEM education

U.S. Rep Martha Roby (R-AL2)

Did you know that four billion people on the planet use a mobile phone? Over the past two years alone, 90 percent of all the world’s data has been generated. NASA plans to put man on Mars within the next 20 years, and self-driving cars are being tested around the world.

Right now, we are living in the “future” we’ve talked about for generations, and our modern world requires a workforce educated in science, technology, engineering, and math, commonly known as STEM.

Between the years 2000 and 2010, STEM-related jobs grew at three times the rate of non-STEM jobs. But, at the end of 2018, nearly 2.4 million STEM jobs went unfilled, because STEM education is not readily available for many students, especially in rural areas of our country. This is a critical problem, and I will briefly share some numbers to demonstrate just how important it is that we fix it.

340

The number of STEM jobs is projected to increase by 13 percent by 2027, compared to nine percent for non-STEM jobs. Opportunities in computing, engineering, and advanced manufacturing will lead. The average median hourly wage for STEM jobs is $38.85, while the median earning for all other types of jobs in the United States is $19.30. The national average for STEM job annual salaries is $87,570, whereas the national average for non-STEM occupations is $45,700 – roughly half.

The STEM fields provide fantastic career opportunities, but according to the National Math and Science Initiative, only 36 percent of all American high school graduates are ready to take a collegiate science course. According to the Department of Labor, universities in the United States are only expected to produce 29 percent of the number of graduates necessary to fill the 1.4 million vacant computer specialist job openings.

The demand isn’t going to disappear, so it is our responsibility to expose the next generation of workers to STEM education so they will be equipped to fill these important jobs that will lead us further into the future we envision.

I recently participated in a Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on STEM engagement, during which I had the opportunity to speak directly with experts from NASA and the National Science Foundation. Since we are experiencing such a severe workforce shortage, I brought up the issue of how we can generate increased interest in STEM-based jobs for the next generation. I also asked for an update about the programs currently in place to target underrepresented, rural areas across our country. I appreciated their time and thoughtful responses to my questions, and I was encouraged by what I learned.

In Congress, I have and will continue to support strong funding for STEM education opportunities. We must do all we can to expose more young people to these increasingly important fields so that today’s workforce is ready for tomorrow’s jobs.

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

Roby: Never forget what they fight for

(M. Roby/Facebook, PIxabay)

On the fateful morning of September 11, 2001, our nation stood still as news came in of horrific attacks on American soil. Most all of us will never forget where we were that day when the world changed right before our eyes. Now, 18 years later, we mark this spot in history each year by remembering the more than 3,000 Americans who lost their lives that day in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. We also prayerfully honor the families who lost loved ones and give thanks for the many heroes who emerged that day and, in the months, and years that followed.

September 11, 2001, changed our country forever, but in the nearly two decades since that day, Americans have understandably pressed on. We have gone about our daily lives, working hard to provide for our families. Certainly, doing anything less would be a victory for those who committed these atrocious acts against our freedom. But, as we continue to move forward, may we never take for granted the heroic acts of the thousands of Americans that sacrifice to keep us safe and ensure this type of attack never happens again.

266

Every day and every night, 365 days a year, there are men and women working to defend our country and everything it stands for. And, while each year, September 11 provides an important occasion for us to give thanks for our service members, we should be mindful of their sacrifices every single day. Perhaps the best way for us to honor the men and women who wear the uniform is to simply never forget what they fight for.

Our service members fight for the American ideals of freedom, liberty and justice. Let us all use this occasion each year to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to these ideals and remember how truly blessed we are to live in the greatest country in the world. May we feel overwhelming gratitude for the members of our Armed Forces every day, keeping September 11 a solemn day to reflect upon how much has been sacrificed by so many.

Around this anniversary each year, it is important for us all to remember the heinous acts of hatred committed against us by those who oppose our liberty and freedom, the unspeakable suffering of those who lost people they love, the personal effect it has had on so many of us, and the brave men and women who continue to stand guard each day to keep us safe. May God bless each and every family that suffered loss during this time 18 years ago. My prayers are with you, and your sacrifice has not been forgotten.

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

Roby: We’re tackling the opioid crisis head-on

(M. Roby/Contributed)

There are countless important issues currently facing our state and country. From ongoing conversations about border security to the pressing need to come to an agreement on government funding, there is no shortage of topics that warrant serious discussion. Perhaps one of our most critical ongoing issues is the horrific opioid epidemic that continues to grip Alabama and communities throughout our country.

To understand the scale and the seriousness of this crisis, we must first have a clear grasp on its history and the numbers. In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe these drugs at increasing rates. This increased prescription led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications can, indeed, be highly addictive.

361

In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency and announced their strategy to combat the crisis. In 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S., and the sharpest increase occurred among deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic narcotics. It is estimated that more than 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids in 2017 alone.

In 2017, Alabama health care providers wrote 107.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. This was the highest prescribing rate in the country and nearly double the national average. These numbers clearly show that we have a serious problem on our hands, and I am glad to report that the Administration has recently taken further action to continue to combat this crisis that takes American lives daily.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced more than $1.8 billion in funding to states to continue efforts to crack down on the opioid epidemic, and Alabama will receive $13 million. These funds will expand access to treatment and support the collection of real-time data related to drug overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced more than $900 million in new funding for a three-year cooperative agreement with states, territories, and localities to advance the understanding of this epidemic and strengthen prevention and response efforts. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded approximately $932 million to all 50 states as part of its State Opioid Response grant program.

By the end of this year, the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services will have awarded more than $9 billion in grant dollars to states and local communities to increase access to opioid addiction treatment and prevention services. For the first time in more than two decades, we are seeing a decrease in overdose deaths, more Americans are accessing treatment, and lives are being saved. Much work remains as we tackle this crisis head-on, but we are finally headed in the right direction, and I will continue this fight with my colleagues in Congress and the Trump administration.

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

2 months ago

The Alabama Fusion Center is working to protect our students and schools

(Martha Roby/Facebook)

It’s hard to believe that the summer months are behind us and we will soon be welcoming Fall and cooler temperatures. Students across our state are working hard to make this new school year successful, and college football season is officially underway.

Since the school year is in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some important information about school and student safety I recently received during my visit to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Fusion Center a few weeks ago. For those who might not be aware, the Alabama Fusion Center exists to improve our state’s preparedness against terrorist attacks and to deter criminal activity in general. It is an information-sharing organization designed to combine – or “fuse” – information between federal, state and local governments, private sector entities, and the intelligence community.

350

The Fusion Center has very dedicated personnel who cover several specific areas, including the issuing of AMBER Alerts, rural crime, cybercrime, terrorism, narcotics, gangs, and human trafficking. The center is also responsible for the Alabama Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Importantly for school children, teachers, and families, the Fusion Center has a system in place to help schools know whether threats made against them are real or not.

During the 2018-2019 school year, there were more than 1,600 threats across the United States, ranging from guns brought on campus to bomb threats to actual school shootings. During my recent visit to the Fusion Center, Director Jay Moseley explained to me that once notified of threats, the center can determine where threats are coming from and whether they pose immediate danger. The Fusion Center relies on law enforcement entities across the country as well as members of the public to alert them to suspicious activity on the Internet and social media. Director Moseley has asked the public to report anything suspicious. You can contact the Fusion Center by calling (334) 517-2660.

In addition to monitoring outside threats to schools, the Fusion Center helps train school resource officers to recognize the signs of a student who is being bullied, experiencing suicidal thoughts, and more. It is critically important for those who work with children daily to have the tools they need to identify at-risk students before the situation becomes life-threatening, and I really appreciate our Fusion Center’s work in this matter.

I always enjoy spending time with the hardworking, dedicated professionals at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Fusion Center. I appreciated their time and the informative update about the critically important work they are doing each day to combat crimes, especially those against children. These men and women are on the front lines fighting some of the most serious problems that plague our state, and I am grateful for their work. In Congress, I will do all I can to support their efforts.

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: Alabama’s Second District is open for business

(M. Roby/Facebook)

We don’t often hear about it on cable news, but we have a lot to be proud of in our country right now. In June, our economy added 224,000 jobs, and in July, we added 164,000. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) this month released a survey indicating that optimism among small business owners is strengthening, and I saw this trend firsthand during my time on the road in the Second District last week.

335

During my recent district travel, I had the opportunity to participate in two NFIB roundtables, one in Headland and the other in Opp, where I heard directly from farmers, small business owners, and community leaders about what they’re experiencing on the ground. While the energy is largely positive, one major challenge they face is finding qualified workers to fill the jobs they’re creating.

In Alabama, we are fortunate to have a strong, vibrant community college system that offers countless educational and professional opportunities to students in our communities, ultimately creating the workforce that our small businesses rely on. In Congress, I have been a vocal advocate for properly supporting and funding our two-year schools, and I will continue to fight for their interests. We must always ensure that our community colleges have the tools they need to train today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.

Of course, our state has many large manufacturers and chain stores that make significant contributions to our economy, and we should always be thankful for that. However, it’s the local small businesses that are the heartbeat of our cities and towns, passed down through generations, defining the culture of our communities. As the representative for countless small businesses here in the Second District, I consider it a tremendous responsibility to fight for their well-being by advancing policies that foster economic growth. I remain committed to continuing this important work on their behalf.

I cannot express enough how beneficial it is for me to hear directly from the people I represent, and I greatly appreciate all the hardworking people who took time out of their busy schedules to share their views with me this month.

The bottom line is that Americans are confident in our economy, and rightfully so. I will continue to work alongside my colleagues in Congress and the administration to hopefully deliver more policies that unleash our economy and create jobs here in our country.

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: A recap from the road

(M. Roby/Facebook)

Each year, during the month of August, Congress is out of session for a month-long district work period. This is an excellent time for me to travel throughout the Second District to hear directly from many of the people I’m honored to represent. During my recent time on the road, I made several productive stops in Enterprise, Dothan, Headland, Montgomery, Troy, Opp, Andalusia and Red Level, and I would like to take this opportunity to share what I learned.

745

In Enterprise, I visited Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) with several members of my staff, and we received a very warm welcome. I received updates from ESCC President Matt Rodgers, division chairs and directors, and State Representative Rhett Marques. It was exciting to learn more about the college’s many facility improvements, as well as new programs and opportunities ranging from academics to athletics. As I told ESCC leadership, I will continue to do all I can in Congress to support their critical role in workforce development. We are certainly fortunate to have this outstanding school in the Wiregrass.

In Dothan, I had the privilege of speaking to the Associated General Contractors (AGC) during their monthly lunch meeting. We had a fantastic discussion, and I appreciated the opportunity to update the group on my committee assignments for the 116th Congress and how I will continue to fight for their priorities in Washington. AGC has been a friend to me over the years, and I am thankful for their diligent efforts to keep me informed about what’s important to their organization.

On my second stop in Dothan, I visited Key Fire Hose Industries, Inc. (KFH) to talk with company leadership and greet employees. I was truly blown away by their impressive operation designing and manufacturing hoses for firefighting, forestry, the military, agriculture industry, and more. KFH has more than 300 distributors reaching more than 70 different countries worldwide, and the company has sold a fire hose to every continent. I was glad to see the work they perform firsthand.

In Headland, I participated in a roundtable discussion with local farmers and business owners. We had a very productive conversation about some of the challenges they’re facing and how I can be helpful. I sincerely appreciate all who took the time to speak with me.

In Montgomery, I was honored to offer the keynote address at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues event. I always appreciate the opportunity to speak with friends in my hometown, and I am glad the event was a success. My next stop in Montgomery was to the Alabama Fusion Center where I received an informative update from Secretary Hal Taylor, Fusion Center Director Jay Moseley, and others. I appreciated their presentation about the important work they’re doing each day to combat human trafficking and other heinous crimes against humanity. These men and women are on the front lines fighting the terrible crimes that plague communities throughout our state, and I am tremendously grateful for their work.

In Troy, I attended Rex Lumber’s open house and was given an awesome tour of their extensive operation. Rex is one of the most technologically-advanced sawmills in the South, and I am so grateful they’ve chosen to invest in the Second District. I am looking forward to partnering with their company and others as we work to strengthen our economy and create more jobs for Alabamians.

In Opp, I visited with local leaders and small business owners. I was glad to hear directly from these hardworking folks on the ground in Covington County, and it was especially great to see my good friend, Mayor Becky Bracke.

Down the road from Opp in Andalusia, I enjoyed lunch at the Buckboard Restaurant with my friends at PowerSouth, the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce, and many other constituents. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to speak one-on-one with some of the people I represent, and I appreciate all who attended.

My next stop in Andalusia was to the South Alabama Regional Airport (SARA) for a tour and an update from Executive Director Jed Blackwell. SARA is a major job creator for the area, and we are fortunate to have this economic activity in our district.

Last, but certainly not least, in Red Level, I stopped by the municipal complex where I sat down with Mayor Willie Hendrix, Water Clerk Sandy Williamson and Town Clerk Tonya Cook. We discussed some of the ways we can help each other improve the lives of our shared constituency.

My time on the road during the August district work period was very productive, and it would not have been possible without the many constituents and local leaders who took the time to share their thoughts with me. Spending this valuable time with the people who live and work in Alabama’s Second District enables me to better represent our shared priorities in Washington.

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: A season of new beginnings

(M. Roby/Facebook)

This time of year represents a season of new beginnings for many of us. Students across the country have gone back to school and are preparing to tackle another year of learning and growing. Teachers in every community throughout the nation are welcoming new faces to guide and mentor this school year.

It’s also an important season for the agriculture community as these hardworking men and women are in the midst of a critical time for crops before harvest. If you are able, now is a great time to buy local and support our state’s farmers by purchasing Alabama-grown products. Fortunately, shoppers will soon have a new, easier way to identify Alabama products thanks to the newly-formed “Sweet Grown Alabama” non-profit foundation overseen by a group of leaders in the agriculture industry.

335

Sweet Grown Alabama’s mission is to enhance marketing opportunities for our state’s farmers by connecting retailers and consumers to Alabama-grown foods and other agriculture products. Farmers will have the opportunity to join this program and brand their products with a special logo, so consumers have the option to buy local and support our state’s agriculture community. This is an exciting opportunity for both farmers and consumers throughout our state. You can learn more about the program here.

Here in Alabama’s Second District, our agriculture community is facing an especially challenging time since Hurricane Michael made landfall during harvest last October. Now, more than ever, our district’s farmers need our support, and I have continued my efforts to help on the federal level.

Earlier this month, I led my Alabama colleagues in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urging swift approval of the Alabama Agriculture Recovery Relief Program. This program will allow the State of Alabama to administer disaster aid to producers who were impacted by last year’s devastating hurricane.

The program makes available disaster aid block grants, which are separate from the individual payments to farmers, and will help our agriculture industry get back on its feet after the severe setbacks. I am hopeful that this program finally helps farmers get the assistance they need to continue to feed Alabama and our entire country.

During this time of year, as many people are going through different seasons of new beginnings, I offer my best wishes and strongest support. I will be praying for a productive and successful school year for our district’s students and educators, and I will always serve as a strong advocate for Alabama’s farmers and producers, especially as they work towards a new harvest season.

It is an honor to serve Alabama’s Second District in Congress. Do not hesitate to reach out to my offices if I can ever be of assistance to you.

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: How my offices can help you

(M. Roby/Facebook)

As your representative in Congress, I have the privilege of offering numerous services and resources to the people who live and work in the Second District. My offices provide quite a few constituent services, and it is important that you’re aware of them so that you can take full advantage of the many ways my offices can help you.

My district offices in Montgomery, Dothan and Andalusia assist constituents with casework, meaning if you’ve placed an inquiry with a federal agency, like the VA or Social Security Administration, and haven’t received a timely response, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, my district offices might be able to help resolve the problem. At the very least, they can provide the information you need. If you are currently experiencing issues with one of the federal agencies, I encourage you to contact one of my offices as soon as possible so we can do our best to help you resolve the issue.

298

If you are planning a trip to our nation’s capital, my staff in Washington is available to help you obtain tickets for tours of the U.S. Capitol building and other attractions, including the White House, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and more. Please be advised that advanced notice is usually necessary, so if you are planning a visit to D.C., I encourage you to contact my office as soon as possible. Our goal is to help you have a wonderful experience.

Did you also know that you can purchase an American flag through my office? You can even request that your flag be flown over the Capitol building before it is sent to you. This is a really special way to commemorate important occasions for yourself or a loved one. If you are interested in taking advantage of this service, contact my office in Washington, and we will make it happen.

There are many, many other services available to you through my offices, including service academy nominations, congressional internships for college students, presidential greetings, assistance with federal grant applications, and more. I hope you will pass this information along to your friends and family, so they are aware of what is available, too.

Below you will find the contact information for all of my offices, and this information can also be found on my website: www.roby.house.gov/constituent-services. Always remember that my staff and I work for you, and we are eager to assist you.

Washington, D.C., office:

504 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C., 20515

(202) 225-2901

Montgomery office:

401 Adams Avenue, Suite 160

Montgomery, AL 36104

(334) 262-7718

Dothan office:

217 Graceland Drive, Suite 5

Dothan, AL 36305

(334) 794-9680

Andalusia office:

City Hall

505 E. Three Notch Street, Suite 322

Andalusia, AL 36420

(334) 428-1129

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: Summer interns served the Second District with distinction

(M. Roby/Facebook)

As a member of Congress, each summer, I have the privilege of offering internship opportunities to college students. The internship program is a competitive experience ideal for students who are interested in learning more about our nation’s legislative process, constituent services, and the general day-to-day operations of a congressional office. Interns’ tasks vary, but they include conducting tours of the United States Capitol building, drafting and presenting a policy proposal on a legislative topic of their choosing, assisting constituents with their requests, attending committee hearings, and helping my staff with district-specific projects of importance.

This summer, I was fortunate to have some truly outstanding students serve as interns in my offices. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you more about these young men and women and the hard work they did for the people of the Second District.

488

Katherine Albrecht, a Montgomery native, is a rising sophomore at Mississippi State University where she studies history.

Everett Bossard, a Huntsville native, is a rising senior at Troy University where he studies criminal justice and legal studies.

Melissa Carter, a Berryville, Virginia, native, is a rising senior at the University of Mississippi where she studies education.

Baylee Clark, a Montgomery native, is a rising senior at the University of Alabama where she studies public relations and political science.

Wyatt Davidson, a Montgomery native, is a rising sophomore at Samford University where he studies global and cultural studies and business.

Natalie Henry, a Selma native, is a rising senior at Louisiana State University where she studies political science and sociology.

Claudia Hubbard, a Montgomery native, is a rising sophomore at Auburn University where she studies law and justice and philanthropy and non-profit studies.

John Koo, a Montgomery native, is a rising junior at Auburn University where he studies business administration and political science.

Morgan Kull, a native of St. Charles, Illinois, is a rising senior at Auburn University where she studies political science.

Trent Mann, a Montgomery native, is a rising senior at Auburn University where he studies business management, political science, entrepreneurship, and family business.

Greyson Matthews, a Montgomery native, is a rising senior at the University of Alabama where she studies public relations and psychology.

Katie McIntyre, a Montgomery native, is a rising sophomore at Auburn University where she studies finance.

Will Merrill, a Montgomery native, is a rising sophomore at Auburn University where he studies biomedical sciences, law and justice, and the classics.

Murry Mothershed, a Prattville native, is a rising sophomore at Troy University where she studies criminal justice.

Alex Reynolds, a Dothan native, is a rising senior at Troy University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN).

Annabel Roth, a Montgomery native, is a rising senior at the University of Alabama where she studies public relations and political science.

Hayden Sledge, a Mountain Brook native, is a rising sophomore at Wheaton College where she studies political science.

Caroline Smith, a Dothan native, is a rising senior at the University of Alabama where she studies English, Spanish, and creative writing.

Hannah Streitman, a Dothan native, is a rising sophomore at Auburn University where she studies finance and political science.

Bo Torbert, a Montgomery native, is a rising senior at Washington and Lee University where he studies global politics.

These students worked very hard for our district, and I really appreciate their dedication and eagerness to serve. I am confident they will be successful in their future endeavors. You can find out more about my internship program and the application process on my website: www.roby.house.gov/student-resources/internships. I encourage you to pass this information along to any college-aged students who might be interested. I truly believe a congressional internship is a valuable way to gain firsthand exposure to the inner-workings of our nation’s government.

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: Celebrating 50 years of Alabama’s role in Space exploration

(NASA/Contributed)

Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 became the first spaceflight to place humans on the Moon when Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin successfully landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle. Armstrong became the first person to ever step foot onto the lunar surface, and Aldrin joined him just minutes later. Command module pilot Michael Collins flew the command module Columbia alone in orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were outside the spacecraft for more than two hours collecting lunar material to bring back to Earth.

This 50th anniversary is a special milestone for Alabamians because Apollo 11 was launched by a Huntsville-built Saturn V rocket. For decades, many of us have heard stories from family members, friends, and neighbors who watched the launch in awe or played a role in executing this historic mission. To this day, traces of Alabama’s impact on American space exploration can be seen across our state and country.

421

North Alabama is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and continues to be a world leader in the space industry. This NASA center in Huntsville is very important to our state’s economy, as it supports approximately 22,000 jobs and provides $3.8 billion in economic impact. On top of this, more than half of Marshall’s contracts are sourced in-state and yield an additional $1.4 billion in economic activity.

As Alabamians, we are rightfully proud of the role we play in American space exploration, and I’m confident we will accomplish even more in the near future. The Trump administration has made it clear they are committed to supporting NASA’s growth and once again sending humans to the Moon.

In mid-May of this year, NASA unveiled its Artemis program, which aims to put astronauts on the lunar surface in 2024 and give history the first female moonwalker. Preparations for Artemis have already begun, as NASA plans for the maiden flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket as soon as next year.

During my time in Congress, I’ve had several opportunities to meet with the companies who work on the SLS program, which is managed at Marshall in Huntsville. Notably, of the many jobs supported by NASA in Alabama, the SLS program accounts for 13,000 and generates $2.4 billion in economic output.

The goals NASA hopes to accomplish with Artemis are significant, and NASA will need support from Congress to get the job done. For Fiscal Year 2020, NASA asked the Administration for an additional $1.6 billion in funding, and it is up to Congress to authorize the request.

In my role on the House Appropriations Committee, I am honored to serve on the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over funding for NASA. I’m proud to have this opportunity on behalf of our state, and I will continue to push for strong support for space exploration.

NASA has already achieved the unimaginable, and with continued support from Congress and the administration, and with the help of hardworking Alabamians, we will make history again.

In Congress, I will always fight for NASA’s legacy as we aim to build upon Alabama’s storied history and once again send man – and woman – to the Moon.

As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 11, I encourage you to share your stories and memories from this historic event with younger generations as we look towards the promising future of American space exploration.

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: Be prepared during hurricane season

(Rep. Roby/Facebook)

It’s hard to believe that July is halfway over, and summer will be ending soon. Temperatures here in Southeast Alabama continue to reach nearly 100 degrees on any given day, but fall and cooler weather will be here before we know it. In less than a month, students across our district and state will begin another school year, and shortly after that, college football season kicks off.

While this time of year brings a lot of excitement, be mindful that hurricane season lasts until the end of November, and it’s extremely important that we take the necessary precautions to protect our loved ones and property. Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive forces. On average, 12 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes, form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico during this time each year.

540

Unfortunately, many people who live in the Second District recently experienced the devastation this season can bring when Hurricane Michael made landfall last October. Last month, I shared that Congress approved and the President signed into law disaster relief legislation that will aid our farmers. It is my understanding that the process of making these funds available will soon be underway.

As we continue to rebuild together, and as we monitor the ongoing severe weather events happening in the Gulf of Mexico, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some safety tips from the National Weather Service (NWS) to prepare for storms that may impact us in the months ahead. Here’s a useful checklist to review prior to warnings of a hurricane:

  1. Know your zone. The Second District doesn’t have any hurricane evacuation zones, but our neighbors in Baldwin and Mobile Counties reside in hurricane evacuation areas. Keep this in mind if you’re vacationing nearby in the upcoming months or if you have friends and relatives who live further south in Alabama. A list of evacuation zone maps is available at www.flash.org/2017EvacuationZones.pdf.
  2. Assemble an emergency kit. Your kit items should be stored in airtight plastic bags, then placed in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as plastic bins or duffel bags. Your emergency kit should include the following items: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a manual can opener, battery-powered radio, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a whistle to signal for help, and local maps. You can download the rest of the recommended supplies list and read about additional suggested supplies by visiting www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
  3. Write or review your family emergency plan. Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family and close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in a weather emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency kit. You can start working on your plan by visiting www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
  4. Review your insurance policies. This is an important step to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
  5. Understand the NWS forecast language. There’s a difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning, and it’s important to have a strong understanding of the two. Read about this by visiting www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-ww.

Hurricanes can happen along any U.S. coast and can impact areas more than 100 miles inland. I hope you will share this information with loved ones during this time of year especially, remembering that hurricanes are typically most active during the month of September. In many cases, planning and preparation can make a huge difference, so I encourage you to prepare now and remind your friends and family to do the same. In the meantime, my family and I will be praying for an uneventful hurricane season in Southeast Alabama.

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: Why does it matter?

(M. Roby/Facebook)

I have always held a deep appreciation for the musicians, songwriters, television and film producers who work hard to create the music, songs, shows and movies people around the world know and love. At one point in my life, I even aspired to work in the Nashville music industry, which I ended up doing for a period of time, but God had a different plan for my life long-term.

Now, this dream has come full circle. With my role in Congress, I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the top Republican 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 our culture.

Just recently, the Judiciary Committee held a Copyright Office oversight hearing to focus on this issue that is critical to our economy. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance, core copyright industries, like music, television, and film, contribute more than $1 trillion to our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and make up almost 7% of the economy.

650

In Alabama specifically, the music industry contributes $636.09 million to the GDP and supports more than 14,000 jobs. The motion picture and television industry is responsible for more than 10,200 jobs and $387 million total wages in our state. There are 958 music businesses in Alabama and nearly 720 motion picture and television businesses, including 381 production-related companies.

So, you see, these industries have a significant impact on the economy, both on a state level and on the national level, but unfortunately, these hardworking, creative professionals don’t always receive the recognition and compensation they deserve due to several factors that we’re tackling in the House Judiciary Committee.

First and foremost, we must work to ensure our copyright laws are up-to-date and address the needs of today’s hyper-connected, digital world. Many of these laws are decades old and no longer function as they were intended. This subject was covered in-depth in our recent committee hearing.

Still, even when copyright status is in place, and even with the rise of legal streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, creative industries face significant challenges with illegal piracy in this digital age. A quick Internet search of the word “piracy” yields the following definition: the unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work. The definition also includes a handful of synonyms, like illegal reproduction, plagiarism, copyright infringement, stealing, and theft.

In our efforts to combat piracy and ensure the creative industry receives the compensation it deserves, we face several major hurdles:

1) It is shockingly easy to download, stream, and reproduce almost any movie, television show, song, etc. with a quick Internet search.
2) Since it is so easy and so common, some people don’t even realize they are doing anything wrong, much less committing a crime.
3) Sometimes, even when people know they’re doing something wrong, they don’t view it as being “that big of a deal.”

But, illegally downloading and streaming someone else’s creative content is a big deal, and I would like to take this opportunity to explain why it matters.

Many, many more people and entities besides just big-name celebrities are involved in creating music, television shows, and movies. In fact, these creative industries support thousands of indirect jobs that most of us probably wouldn’t even think of. Consider a movie set, for example. From a personnel standpoint, all types of professionals are necessary to make a movie happen, from camera crews and lighting specialists to scriptwriters, makeup and hair artists, florists, caterers, seamstresses, and the men and women who perform manual labor to build and take down sets. This doesn’t even account for the many dollars’ worth of materials required to put together any given movie set.

I say all this to make the point that when an individual illegally streams, downloads, or shares creative content, they are stealing from all the many hardworking people who offer their labor, skills, and products to make a song, movie, or show happen – and most of these people aren’t the lead actor or actress; most of them go unnoticed at the very end of the long credits list.

Of the more than 10,000 jobs in Alabama supported by the motion picture and television industry, the vast majority of them aren’t actors and actresses, but rather the many other professionals that don’t immediately come to mind.

As we continue to enjoy our favorite music, movies and television shows, I hope we all strive to be responsible and ethical consumers, being mindful and cautious when using the Internet to download and stream to make sure we are only obtaining these creative works legally.

Many Americans and Alabamians are severely and negatively impacted by illegal piracy, and I will remain engaged with this issue in my role on the House Judiciary Committee to ensure we are fiercely combatting these copyright infringements while improving the industry for its many hardworking individuals.

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: Advocating for Alabama’s military installations

(M. Roby/Facebook)

In Congress, I consider it a tremendous privilege and responsibility to represent a district that is home to two of our country’s finest military installations – Fort Rucker down in the Wiregrass and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery. Even beyond the Second District, Alabama as a whole has a significant military footprint, and we should all be very proud of our state’s role in defending our freedom.

I just recently had the opportunity to attend the Change of Command ceremony at Fort Rucker. Major General David Francis is now the Commanding General of USAACE and Fort Rucker, taking over the post from Major General William Gayler.

386

I have enjoyed working with Gen. Gayler, and I appreciate his steadfast leadership. I wish him the very best as he moves forward with his impressive career. Of course, congratulations are also in order for Gen. Francis. I look forward to continuing to build a strong relationship with him as we work together to advocate for Fort Rucker. It was a really exciting time to be in the Wiregrass, and I was glad to be on-post again to visit with some of our district’s military leaders.

Shifting focus to another part of our state, I also recently had the opportunity to speak on the House floor during consideration of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee Fiscal Year 2020 funding bill to raise awareness for the facility updates needed at Dannelly Field in Montgomery to support the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter mission.

In December of 2017, we received the exciting news that the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field was selected as a preferred location for the bed down of the coveted F-35 mission. The first aircraft is scheduled to arrive in the next few years, and Dannelly Field needs a correctly sized and properly configured maintenance facility to support and repair this next-generation fighter. The existing facilities that currently service the F-16 Red Tail’s squadron are inadequate. Aircraft maintenance is housed in three temporary trailer facilities, maintenance shops are 43 percent undersized, and the required tool storage is kept in aircraft parking spaces inside the hangar.

As we await the arrival of this cutting-edge aircraft, and as we continue through the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process, I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to address this pressing issue. We must provide our men and women in uniform adequate and acceptable working spaces so they can perform their jobs accurately and efficiently, and I will continue to advocate for these necessary facility updates at Dannelly.

The military installations in our district and across our great state perform vital work for the security of this nation, and I will always advocate for their proper support through my role in Congress. It is a true honor to have this platform to fight for the men and women who serve us all.

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: Honoring our symbol of freedom

(M. Roby/Facebook, PIxabay, YHN)

On June 14th, 1777, our country’s flag was officially adopted by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Many years later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that established June 14th as Flag Day, and on August 3, 1949, this day of observance was officially established by an Act of Congress.

Now, every year on June 14th, our country has a special opportunity to celebrate our flag and reflect upon what it symbolizes. The American flag displays 13 horizontal stripes alternating red and white with a blue rectangle, specifically referred to as the “union,” that bears 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine horizontal rows. As you may know, the 50 stars on the American flag represent our 50 states. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the United States.

554

While the design of the American flag has been officially modified 26 times since its initial adoption in 1777, the symbolic meaning has remained the same. Whether flown on front lawns across Alabama, in front of schools, universities and businesses of all sizes, or proudly displayed at military installations across this great country, for centuries the American flag has been an inspiring emblem of pride, hope, and freedom for countless people throughout the world.

Whenever I see our flag, I am especially reminded of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have fought to defend it and all it represents. This year, Flag Day comes during an especially important time, as I recently was proud to announce my 2019 appointees to our United States service academies.

Each year, it is my distinct privilege and honor as a member of Congress to nominate students from the Second District to be considered for appointment to the United States Air Force, Naval, Military and Merchant Marine Academies.

This year, I am very pleased to announce that I nominated the following students who received official appointments to the service academies:

  • Daniel Brayden Banner is the son of Dan and Amanda Banner. He is a graduate of Providence Christian School in Dothan, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.Theodore Maxwell Dowd is the son of John and Donna Dowd. He is a graduate of Northview High School in Dothan, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
  • Amore Jacarra Hardy is the daughter of Regina Hardy. She is a graduate of Booker T. Washington Magnet High School in Montgomery, and she received an offer of appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Timothy Jurard McClendon is the son of Emma Lee McClendon. He is a graduate of Carroll High School in Ozark, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Johnny M. Montgomery, III, is the son of Johnny Montgomery. He is a graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Jackson Scott Parker is the son of Scott and Hannah Parker. He is a graduate of Abbeville High School, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
  • Isaac Taylor Sherman is the son of Jeremy and Morgan Sherman. He is a graduate of Prattville High School, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Seth Cameron White is the son of Steve and Terri White. He is a graduate of Wicksburg High School, and he received an offer of appointment to the United States Naval Academy.

In the spirit of Flag Day, I believe these students from our communities are to be commended not only for their academic excellence, but more importantly, for their eagerness to serve our great country. I am incredibly proud to join their families, friends, teachers and hometowns in offering my sincerest congratulations and thanks. Our flag will continue to shine as a symbol of freedom because of young leaders like these men and women.

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: Help is on the way for farmers

(M. Roby/Facebook)

As those of us who live and work in the Second District remember well, last year on October 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall and ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. This storm was the third most powerful hurricane to ever descend upon the United States mainland. The destruction left in its wake was devastating, and many people are still trying desperately to recover.

After eight long months, I am glad to finally report that Congress approved and the president signed into law H.R. 2157, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, which includes more than $3 billion for agriculture disaster relief. I am very glad that we have at last delivered this long-overdue assistance for farmers in the Wiregrass and throughout the Southeast. Now, we can begin the process of helping the many Americans who have suffered extreme devastation. I believe it is important that the people I represent understand what this process looks like moving forward, so I would like to take this opportunity to briefly lay it out.

303

Now that the bill has been passed by Congress and signed by the president, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin implementing the law and its programs. Farmers will have to sign up for relief assistance through USDA, and more information about USDA disaster assistance programs is available online at www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/. Next in the process, USDA will determine who receives these disaster assistance funds. Once these decisions are made, USDA will begin the process of distributing these dollars.

While I am very glad that Congress at last delivered on our responsibility to make these funds available, there remains a road ahead for USDA’s actions before assistance is distributed. Still, I want the farmers I represent in southeast Alabama to know with confidence that help is on the way. I encourage you to share information about this process with the farmers you know who might benefit from hearing about it, and of course, if you are a farmer seeking assistance funds, make sure you sign up through USDA when the time comes. No sign-up deadline has been issued yet, but I will be sure to keep you updated as we move forward through the process.

Agriculture is the largest industry in Alabama and in the Second District, so it is vitally important that we quickly provide assistance to those who need it. When your farm, your family member’s farm, or your neighbor’s farm is flourishing, that is a good sign that our entire state’s economy is strong, too. A vibrant agriculture economy means we have a vibrant Alabama economy, and that is something we all want. I remain committed to ensuring that Alabama’s farmers get the help they need as we work to rebuild together.

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: A productive week of travel in the Second District

(Congresswoman Roby/Facebook)

For the last week of May, Congress was out of session for a district work period, and I had the opportunity to travel around the Second District. Throughout the week, I visited with constituents and local leaders, toured businesses and industries and spent time with some of our servicemembers at Dannelly Field in Montgomery.

During my week of district travel, I made several stops in Brundidge, Ozark, Montgomery, Eufaula and Dothan. I cannot express enough how truly valuable it is for me to spend quality time with the people I represent here in Southeast Alabama. My candid conversations with constituents enable me to be a stronger representative for our shared views in Washington, and I am grateful for every opportunity I get to interact directly with you.

729

In Brundidge, I paid a visit to City Hall where I talked with Mayor Isabell Boyd and a group of constituents. I really learned a lot during our time together, and I thank those who showed up to make our conversation productive.

In Ozark, I stopped by Bell Helicopter to visit with leadership and employees and toured their impressive facility. Bell currently employs 76 people, and they perform incredibly important work supporting our military. I was glad to see their work firsthand, and I am eager to see the company continue to thrive and grow right here in the Second District.

After visiting Bell Helicopter, I spoke to the Ozark Kiwanis Club during their weekly lunch meeting. I gave the group an update from Washington, perhaps most importantly about our efforts to deliver a disaster relief bill. Since the Senate recently passed their version of a bill, the House will act on this legislation very soon. I am optimistic we will send it to the President’s desk shortly. Farmers in the Wiregrass and throughout the country desperately need help recovering, and I remain committed to pushing this over the finish line.

Next, I visited Chris and Monica Carroll, fifth-generation owners of a beautiful farm in Dale County. The Carrolls produce cattle, poultry, soybeans, and wheat, and I toured their extensive operation and was able to see firsthand the very hard work they do. I appreciate the Carrolls for graciously hosting me and sharing their insight and experience. Since agriculture is the backbone of our district’s economy, it is vitally important for me to spend time on the ground with our farmers to hear directly from them.

I also spent a fantastic day in Eufaula. During my time there, I stopped by Humminbird Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics where I was given a very engaging and informative site tour. I enjoyed visiting with employees, and I was especially glad to learn more about the innovative work they perform. Johnson Outdoors currently employs 240 people in Eufaula, and we are fortunate to have these job opportunities in our district.

While in Eufaula, I also visited American Buildings Company for a meeting with company leadership to learn more about their legislative priorities. I enjoyed our time together and appreciated the conversation about ways we should improve our country’s infrastructure.

For my last visit in Eufaula, I stopped by the airport with Mayor Jack Tibbs for a briefing on tornado recovery efforts. That area of town was badly damaged earlier this year when a tornado made landfall, and my office remains engaged and ready to assist where we are able. I am grateful for my strong relationship with Mayor Tibbs and for his dedication to keeping me informed about all developments in Eufaula.

In Dothan, I attended a ceremony at Glasstream Powerboats celebrating their business’ expansion. I was glad to have the opportunity to give congratulatory remarks alongside local leaders, including Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba. I’m always thrilled any time I have the chance to celebrate the creation of new jobs here in our communities. Glasstream Powerboats’ hard work has delivered an additional 40 jobs for the Dothan area, and that is an accomplishment we should all be proud of.

Next in Dothan, I attended the grand opening of a new Five Star Credit Union location. It was wonderful to meet employees and tour their brand new facility. This was another fantastic opportunity to celebrate new jobs in the Wiregrass, and I was glad to be involved in the festivities.

Last, but certainly not least, in Montgomery, I spent time at the 187th Fighter Wing for Col. William Sparrow’s Change of Command ceremony. Col. Sparrow has led the 187th with distinction, and I am tremendously grateful for his service to our country and to the River Region. I congratulate the new commander, Col. Edward Casey, for his achievement and look forward to working with him as we strive to strengthen our district’s military footprint together.

I share all this information to let you know that the May district work period was informative and very productive. I welcome every opportunity to engage with the people who live and work in Alabama’s Second District, and I extend my thanks to each person who made these meetings meaningful. It is a tremendous honor to serve you in Congress.

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

5 months ago

Roby: We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all members of our Armed Forces

(M. Roby/Contributed)

Every year, on the last Monday in May, our country takes a collective pause to remember the men and women who gave their lives in service to this nation. Memorial Day isn’t simply a day off work, and it is much more significant than just marking the unofficial start of summer. This special holiday is intended to be a day set aside for us to stop and acknowledge those who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy.

There are many ways to honor our fallen heroes, whether by visiting a national memorial to pay respects, attending a Memorial Day parade or another event in your community, or supporting organizations that aid our wounded soldiers. It is also very important to remember that this day is especially somber for the many families who lost loved ones in the line of duty.

402

Another special way to pay tribute to fallen soldiers around Memorial Day is to acknowledge the active duty servicemembers and veterans all around us. Our district is home to two of our nation’s finest military installations, thousands of active duty and reserve personnel, and nearly 16,000 military retirees and veterans. It is because of their sacrifices, and those of the many men and women who gave their lives in service to this country, that we are free today. In the spirit of this important day of remembrance, I encourage you to make a point to thank a veteran, current servicemember, or a fallen soldier’s family members for their dedication and sacrifices.

While we set aside one day specifically to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, our veterans, servicemembers and military families are always at the forefront of my mind, and advocating for improved veterans’ services is one of my top priorities in Congress. If we are to truly honor and respect the sacrifice made by those who gave their lives for this country, it is imperative that we properly care for the veterans and military families right here in our communities. It is no secret that much work remains on this front here in Central Alabama, and I will remain actively engaged until we get this right by our veterans.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all members of our Armed Forces – 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. In Congress, I know that one of my most pressing responsibilities is to honor these sacrifices by fighting to improve veterans’ care, and I remain committed to that duty on your behalf.

In the spirit of Memorial Day, I extend my sincerest gratitude and condolences to all families who lost a loved one in the line of duty. My family and I mourn with you during this time especially. To all those who have served or who are currently serving, thank you. America shines as the Land of the Free because of you and the brave men and women who carried the torch before you. May we always remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.

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: A pro-life update from the federal level

(M. Roby for Congress/Facebook)

Throughout my time in Congress, I have been staunchly and unapologetically pro-life. I will continue to use this platform to fight for life at every stage because unborn babies cannot fight for themselves. Since much of the news in our state and throughout the country lately has focused on recent pro-life efforts, I would like to take this opportunity to share an update about my work on the federal level to defend the unborn.

In February of this year, the Trump Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule that would restrict Title X family planning grants from being steered to entities that are not physically and financially separate from abortion providers. A series of court injunctions have frozen these rule changes, and as a result, hundreds of abortion facilities, like Planned Parenthood, are still receiving federal tax dollars through Title X grants.

561

While the rule is going through the judicial process, the Democrat majority on the House Appropriations Committee has elected to tie the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services through legislation stating that the Department may only act in accordance with regulations established prior to January 18, 2017, just two days before Donald Trump became President. This is unacceptable – we simply cannot handcuff the current administration to regulations of the past.

During the recent full Appropriations Committee markup of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Fiscal Year 2020 funding bill, I offered an amendment that would allow the courts, rather than the Democrat majority in the House, to decide the fate of the Trump administration’s proposed rule restricting Title X family planning grants from being awarded to facilities that provide abortions. Despite the inclusion of the Hyde Amendment, abortion providers have been able to get their hands on American tax dollars through these Title X funds. I am unapologetically pro-life, so I don’t want this to happen, and the majority of the people I represent don’t want this to happen.

The Trump administration’s proposed rule would draw a clear, bright line between family planning services and abortion providers. Unfortunately, my amendment did not pass, but to ensure that the rule has a fighting chance of becoming law, we must allow it to go through our judicial process – not block it legislatively as part of a political game.

In addition to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also taking measures to stand up for the unborn. Two foreign companies, Aid Access and Rablon, have been known to distribute chemical abortion drugs to customers in the United States by mail-order. This practice is already illegal, and the FDA has taken action against it, but it is still happening.

This abortion drug, called Mifeprex, is approved by the FDA, but it is only legally available to patients in the United States through health care providers. It is not available in retail pharmacies, and it is certainly not legally available on the Internet. However, these abortion-by-mail providers, primarily based in Europe, have widened their consumer base to include the U.S. They provide remote consultations, send prescriptions to be filled in India, then send the abortion drug to U.S. customers by mail.

By violating the FDA’s safety protocols, these companies are endangering the health of American women and their children. The FDA has been combating these practices, but I recently led a letter, signed by 117 of my colleagues, that was sent to Dr. Norman Sharpless, acting FDA commissioner, urging him to further crackdown. I was proud to join my fellow pro-life colleagues in sending the clear message that we will not tolerate these dangerous, illegal practices, and I applaud the steps the FDA has already taken to protect women and unborn children.

I share these updates to make the point that while we still face challenges, our pro-life momentum is strong, and I will keep pushing forward on the federal level. I want the people I represent in Alabama’s Second District to know that defending the unborn remains a top priority of mine, and I will continue to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

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: A report from my eighth Mother’s Day visit with troops overseas

(M. Roby/Facebook)

On May 7th, I returned from a bipartisan female congressional delegation (CODEL) to Afghanistan and Jordan, led by my good friend and colleague Congresswoman Susan Davis from California. This CODEL marked my eighth year traveling to visit with deployed U.S. soldiers and Afghan women around Mother’s Day. During the trip, I had the privilege of meeting with U.S. service members and top military commanders as well as Afghan and Jordanian leaders.

It is a tremendous honor to make this trip each year to spend time with our brave military personnel. The visit always serves as a reminder of our servicemembers’ sacrifices: They spend months at a time away from their families, often in harm’s way, defending our freedoms. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to thank some of our heroes in person for the difficult work they do to keep our nation secure.

337

This annual trip is also important because it affords me the opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to improving circumstances for Afghan women. I am glad to report that Afghan women have recently experienced progress toward obtaining basic human rights, and they are also playing an increased role in the Afghan National Defense Security Forces. It is critical that American leaders remain engaged to ensure continued forward momentum for these women. The success of Afghan women is indicative of the entire country’s success, and I am optimistic about the process toward reaching peace.

Our time in Jordan was also very rewarding. I am grateful for our country’s important relationship with this ally and for the stability they bring to the region.

I am thankful for our servicemembers every single day, but as a mom myself, I am especially grateful for these women – and men – around holidays like Mother’s Day. If you are a parent, I think we can probably agree that parenting, while a precious blessing, is challenging in its own right. I am overcome with gratitude for the brave men and women who wake up each day striving to be the best parent they can be while also dedicating their own lives in service to this country so that we can be safe and so future generations can experience the freedom that is uniquely American.

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to all servicemembers, but especially to the moms and dads who wear the uniform. Many of us spend this special holiday with our families and loved ones, and we are only able to do this because of your sacrifices. Finally, I hope we will all keep in our thoughts and prayers the parents who are currently deployed, including those I was fortunate to spend time with in Afghanistan and Jordan, and the children here at home awaiting their safe return.

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. Roby: An Accurate 2020 Census is Vitally Important to Alabama

Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count of every resident in the United States, 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. It’s hard to believe that a decade has almost passed, and we are just eleven months away from next year’s April 1 Census.

It goes without saying that a lot has changed over the last ten years, especially on the technological front. As times and trends change, it is important that the method by which we conduct the Census also evolves to ensure we are reaching the most people possible. That said, it’s no surprise that in 2020, we will largely depend on an Internet system to count Americans, relying heavily on digital advertising and social media platforms to spread the word.

612

As the Census Bureau works to modernize its various platforms ahead of the 2020 Census, I was glad to hear about these efforts directly from Dr. Steven Dillingham, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, during a recent Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. During this hearing, I had the opportunity to discuss with Director Dillingham how important it is that all Alabamians be accurately counted in 2020.

Back in 2010, our state did not do a great job accounting for all of our people, especially children below the age of six and those individuals in rural communities. As I told Director Dillingham, we must make sure that is not the case in next year’s count. You see, the Census doesn’t just decide the number of congressional seats Alabama has, it also decides our number of Electoral College votes. We currently have nine Electoral College votes, and if the 2020 Census is not accurate, that number will drop to eight. This is a very big deal, and it is something we Alabamians do not want to see happen.

The Census also determines the amount of federal dollars that come into Alabama, specifically to hospitals, job training centers, schools, infrastructure projects, and other emergency services. Inaccurate Census numbers force our state to do more with less, and that cannot happen again in 2020.

As we all know, Alabama’s Second District and the rest of the Southeastern corner of the state are made up of very rural communities. To achieve the most accurate count possible in next year’s Census, it is critical that we reach the men, women, and children living in the rural areas throughout the country.

During my conversation with Director Dillingham, I asked him how the Census Bureau plans to use its resources to partner with our state and community-based organizations to encourage participation in the Census, especially in hard-to-count, rural communities. I made sure Director Dillingham understands that a large part of our district, and many areas of our state, lack access to reliable broadband and thus may not utilize the Internet and social media enough to encounter online advertising about the upcoming Census. This will certainly be a challenge, but it is one we must address.

I also brought up another challenging reality that we must face: Over the last year, Alabama and other states in the Southeast have been beaten with hurricanes, tornadoes, and other powerful storms. There has been flooding throughout the Midwest and fires ravaging California. These disastrous events have caused thousands of Americans to be displaced from their homes, and we must ensure that they, too, are counted in next year’s Census.

To make sure the 2020 Census is as accurate as it can possibly be, it is important that leaders on all levels of federal, state, and local governments are communicating about ways we can spread the word and reach the most people. I believe the modernization of our Census process will lead to excellent results next year, but it is critical that we make every effort to reach those who have been displaced by severe weather as well as the people in rural communities who may not have reliable access to social media and online advertising.

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 we all depend on. I encourage you to start spreading the word about the April 1, 2020, Census. It will be here before we know it, and Alabama needs an accurate count.

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: An April recap from the road

(M. Roby/Facebook)

While Congress was out of session for the April district work period, I had the opportunity to spend time on the road, traveling throughout Alabama’s Second District, meeting with constituents, businesses, industries and local leaders. As I always say, I appreciate every chance I get to hear directly from the people I represent, and I believe our interactions enable me to be a stronger advocate for our shared beliefs in Congress.

During the April district work period, I spent time in Prattville, Greenville, Evergreen, Castleberry, Tallassee, Montgomery and Dothan. Along the way, I had very productive conversations and am grateful to every person who took the time to share with me their thoughts, opinions and concerns.

In Prattville, I spoke to members of the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce about my committee assignments for the 116th Congress and my priorities on behalf of the Second District. During the visit, I was glad to catch up with friends from the Business Council of Alabama, and I was honored to receive the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise award recognizing my continued efforts to enact pro-business laws. In Congress, I will always push for an economic environment that enables companies of all sizes to flourish and succeed.

452

In Greenville, I met with Mayor Dexter McClendon and other community leaders. We had a productive discussion about issues facing the Butler County area and ways my office can be helpful. In Evergreen, I spoke to a joint meeting of the Evergreen Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs and offered a legislative update from Washington.

In Castleberry, I stopped by the Weyerhaeuser lumber plant to visit with leadership and tour the impressive plant. Afterward, I paid a visit to Castleberry City Hall where I spoke with Mayor Henry Kirksey and others.

In Tallassee, I had the fantastic opportunity to speak to the Tallassee High School government class. I always enjoy any invitation to spend time with Alabama students and share with them the importance of service and leadership. This was a particularly impressive group of young people – they asked several thoughtful questions.

In Montgomery, I participated in a roundtable discussion with members of the Alabama Roadbuilders Association. I was grateful to hear their thoughts about ways we can reinvigorate our state and nation’s badly aging infrastructure. After this meeting, I visited MGMWERX for a tour. I was glad to learn more about their partnership with Air University and their ongoing projects to help our military remain on the cutting edge.

While in the Wiregrass, I joined Governor Kay Ivey, Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba, and other leaders to celebrate the Dothan Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary. It was truly a privilege to honor this tremendous occasion alongside so many individuals who have worked tirelessly to make Houston County and great place to live and work. One hundred years ago, the Chamber started as a small office that helped establish the prices of produce and cotton. Today, the organization is comprised of more than 950 businesses, professionals, and individuals who are all focused on serving as a catalyst for business and community growth in Dothan. I am looking forward to many more years of continued success.

After the Chamber’s event, I stopped by Ready Mix USA in Dothan to tour the facility and catch up with leadership. This great company has plants in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. The Dothan Ready Mix facility employs 24 people, and I was glad to see their operation firsthand.

This April district work period was informative and productive thanks to the many individuals and businesses who hosted me and shared their thoughts about a wide range of issues facing our nation. I am looking forward to having many more of these interactions in the days and weeks to come. It is an honor to serve Alabama’s Second District in Congress, and I encourage you to reach out to my office if I can ever be of assistance.

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