First, I want to thank Danny for the honor and privilege of posting my thoughts, here. I look forward to working with Senators Keahey and Ward and Representative Merrill to provide readers of the Parlor with timely and insightful feedback on our legislative process.
Week One certainly got off to a fast start in the House. The number of prefiled bills was cut in half (in large part due to Sen. Ward moving up to the 7th floor), but we have some very good legislation working its way through our chamber. The big issues right now are obvious: balancing the budgets and creating jobs. Other important issues are working their way into the mix as well, such as immigration reform and the renewal of Forever Wild, both of which are generating a good bit of buzz amongst the membership.
I want to also take a moment to comment on the political mood in the House right now. Perhaps the happiest surprise for me as a Freshman was to see how ready most of my colleagues are to put partisan election-year politics behind us. Many of us are working together across the aisle to craft timely and necessary legislation. For example, I introduced a campaign finance reform bill in the House yesterday after visiting with Sen. Ward about his efforts on campaign finance reform. Sen. Ward committed to helping me with the bill in the Senate, and he suggested co-sponsors from his own Caucus in the House. In the end, a number of my colleagues across the aisle co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Ward’s support. Sen. Ward also discussed the bill with the Speaker, who commended the legislation, describing it as “much needed” and “a long time coming.”
This is the kind of cooperation the people in my District expect of me, and I dare say the people of Alabama expect no less cooperation of all of us in the Legislature. We would all do well to remember that the pressing challenges of the day are not Democratic or Republican issues; they are people issues. If we continue to work together and put the needs of the people above the politics of the day, I do believe that we will see a new day in Alabama politics.