As I sit down to write today’s recap of the week, the one thing that overshadows everything else that happened in the Statehouse was Wednesday’s storms. Yes, we passed the General Fund budget out of the House, and, yes, we had a pretty good debate on occupational taxes, but all of that pales in the wake of a storm that scattered death and destruction across our State.
For those who haven’t been to Tuscaloosa since the storm, the entire town has been ravaged. Two elementary schools, University Place Elementary School and Alberta Elementary, have been completely destroyed. Neighborhoods have been completely wiped out. The Alberta City area has been destroyed, and the entire Forest Lake community next to the lake on 15th street is gone. The tornado created a path almost a mile wide from interstate 459 to Holt — cutting a long swath of destruction through the heart of Tuscaloosa.
Yesterday, the Speaker brought the House to order, and, after prayer and some necessary business, he adjourned us. He told us that our work in the House, while important, was not anywhere near as important as the work that lay ahead in taking care of friends, family, and neighbors who are suffering in the wake of this tragic storm. I couldn’t agree more. We must join hands now as Alabamians to lend a shoulder to those who have lost a loved one and to lift up those who are homeless, jobless, and hurting. In doing so, God uses our hands as his to share grace and mercy to help those that need it most.