I’ve stayed busy with meetings and events across Senate District 2 over the last two weeks that the Senate was not in session. Highlights include visiting Clements High School, Piney Chapel Elementary School, Endeavor Elementary School, Cedar Hill Elementary School and Sparkman 9th Grade Academy. I was able to attend the Tennessee Valley Republican Club and Madison Republican Men’s Club’s monthly meetings as well as the WVNN “Legislative Get Together” at Bridge Street. I attended the Athens “State of the City” luncheon and a meeting with elected leaders across Limestone County regarding roads and infrastructure supporting economic development. I attended the Congressional and State Board of Education redistricting meeting held in Huntsville. I also attended the annual Police Memorial Day and monument dedication in Ardmore, Alabama. Additionally I visited with several people, and churches in neighborhoods affected by the recent tornados. I visited both the FEMA centers in the district (Limestone County Event Center and Monrovia Church of Christ) to introduce myself and ensure the FEMA staff had everything needed to complete their mission. I attended the annual Sherwood Park Community Pride Day in Huntsville. I was honored to provide greetings at the Athens State University graduation and was able to attend the Bob Jones High School graduation at the VBC.
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the Sparkman High School or Monrovia Middle School graduation ceremonies (the only other ceremonies I received invitations to attend) due to my work schedule in Montgomery this week. I wish the best to all graduates across the District – job well done!
Redistricting – I spent two days in Montgomery last week as a member of the reapportionment committee. We worked on and approved two plans that will be introduced to the legislature this week. One plan is for Congressional redistricting, the other for State School Board. A copy of the two plans, focused on North Alabama, can be viewed here (BOE and Congressional). Please note, we are in the early stages of this process, changes to these plans may occur as the plans move through the legislative process in the final days of the current session. I am honored to be a part of this historic process.
On the topic of redistricting, the redistricting committee will begin work on the state legislature redistricting next year. Our goal has been to complete the congressional and State Board of Education during the 2011 session as these new lines need to be set prior to the 2012 elections. The state legislative lines should be complete during the 2012 legislative session.
Potential outcomes of the redistricting process have started to raise some concerns. In an article in Sunday’s Athens News Courier on redistricting, former Limestone County Probate Judge Mike Davis is quoted as saying. "Is it fair to wholesale slice up the fifth-largest growing county in the state in the name of representation?" "In reality, there is no representation when it comes to local matters. What kind of interest does a representative who is elected from another county with the majority of registered voters have for the people of another county who has less registered voters and whose interests are in direct conflict? Where is their loyalty and interest going to lie?"
While I respect Judge Davis’ 30 years of service as a Democrat serving the people of Limestone County as their Probate Judge, and not having an opportunity to speak with him concerning his comments, I find them somewhat troubling. His concerns are based simply on the assumption that a legislator is not going to support their constituents. In the article Davis goes on to say, "We need a representative who lives here who has the right to play in the game with Madison County on local legislation".
First, I’d like to remind Judge Davis that Senate representation has not lived in Limestone County for at least the past 12 years as former State Senator Tom Butler (D), Madison lives in the city of Madison. Second, I simply ask that Judge Davis and others give the newly elected leadership a chance – there may have been issues in the past with local legislation but, as the Senator who represents the largest population in Limestone County, I feel certain that I can and will represent the interest of the people, regardless of where I live.
You see, I live in Senate District 2 which is comprised of Limestone and Madison Counties. I will continue to work to represent the people - all of them. Judge Davis may not realize that 63% of Limestone County registered voters turned out to vote in the 2010 election - I certainly have not, and will not forget that!