Perry’s Turner running after Davis’ seat

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 18, 2004

Infrastructure improvements must occur in the 7th Congressional District if the area is to become self-sufficient.

That’s why Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner is running for U.S. representative.

Turner declared his candidacy for the 7th congressional seat in a statement on Tuesday. In his statement, Turner notes that improvements in roads, bridges, and sewage and water systems must be established before economic development can commence.

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A congressman can get funds for a state, Turner said, but he must have a working relationship with state officials to ensure the Alabama Department of Transportation fulfills the congressman’s instructions.

Turner asked the question, &uot;Are we better off now two years later with Davis than we were with (former U.S. Rep. Earl) Hillard?&uot;

Turner states that the area still has double-digit unemployment, insufficient healthcare and substandard schools due to the No Child Left Behind legislation.

He adds that the district needs a strong, compassionate and truthful representative who knows where to lead the area and how to get there.

Turner states that as assistant director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, he located millions of dollars for the state’s rural infrastructure problems.

The foundation of Turner’s highway infrastructure plan focuses on linking Black Belt counties to interstate highways. He states that more than $600 million is secured for the Alabama Department of Transportation. He supports the completion of U.S. Highway 80 and the Corridor X Project, which seeks to connect Birmingham and Memphis with Interstate 22.

Concerning education, Turner states that he would invest in the America College Fund. The plan would enable students with a C average or better to attend college for free; the Federal government would pay the cost. He adds that if President George W. Bush can request $87 billion to fight a war, $27 billion can be found to fight the war on rising tuition costs. &uot;This is a real tax break for the working class American,&uot; Turner states. &uot;This idea is not new. The Federal government paid tuition and fees for more than eight million veterans after World War II under the GI Bill.&uot;

Turner also focused on his urban renewal plan, which would shift families from multi-family homes to single-family ones. &uot;The 7th Congressional District does not have 10 years to waste,&uot; he states. &uot;We need a man with a vision and a proven record that he can make his vision become a reality. Home ownership is important to community building. Reinvesting in downtown development will also be a high priority.&uot;

Turner also wants to find funding for a dome stadium in Birmingham to bring in more tourist dollars. The University of Alabama in Birmingham must also receive more funds in order to further research into medicine and economic development.

As for Tuscaloosa, Turner termed it &uot;a diamond waiting to be discovered.&uot; Tuscaloosa needs major highways and medical and economic resources to advance it to the next stage, Turner states. He notes that his vision and willingness to work on that vision was just votes away.

Turner is the son of the late civil rights activist Albert Turner Sr. and Evelyn Turner of Marion. He is a graduate of Mile College and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.