Davis delivers state of the Black Belt

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 26, 2004

Two days after President George W. Bush addressed the nation and gave his State of the Union speech, U.S. Representative Artur Davis spoke about the state of the Black Belt and its future.

Amid the applause and the ceremony of the 151st annual meeting of the Selma – Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, Davis shared his vision for the Sixth Congressional District he represents.

Speaking to a crowd of about 260 at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center Thursday night, Davis spoke of the Black Belt’s future, and he spoke of a wish.

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Davis pointed to Kathi Needham and John Crear as examples of Selma’s future. Needham is the first woman chairperson of the chamber. Crear is the first black chairperson-elect. &uot;People would be amazed to see the people in this room tonight,&uot; Davis said. &uot;We’re still trying to redeem ourselves in God’s eyes, but look how far we’ve come. There is a representative from Lear Corporation here tonight. I say to this person, ‘You will not be disappointed by what you will find.’ Lear is the beginning of the beginning of Selma becoming a world-class city.&uot;

Lear Corporation is a Hyundai supplier poised to open multiple tier II plants in Dallas County. The plants are expected to provide 100 to 400 jobs.

Davis spoke about public service and the role of government. According to Davis, a good and generous government can help those in need. &uot;The work of bringing in money to build up the runway at Craig Field Industrial Park to bring in parts didn’t happen on some island,&uot; Davis said. &uot;The work that’s been done to fix health care didn’t happen in a faraway land. When you look at what government can do, public service can do, it’s nothing less than extraordinary.&uot;

Davis noted that many people he represents are anonymous and left behind &045; a reality of living in the Black Belt. Some children only get meals at school. Some adults want to work, but can’t find jobs.

Davis concluded his speech with a note of thanks and humility. &uot;It’s a pleasure to wake up, and know I represent Selma and the Black Belt,&uot; he said. &uot;People don’t always agree with all I believe, but I want to use what God gave me to improve this area.&uot;

If the sound of applause was any indication, the crowd agreed.