Great work, but more needed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gov. Bob Riley will be in Demopolis today to celebrate the two year anniversary of his Black Belt Action Commission.

Officials will discuss the accomplishments of the 13 subcommittees of the commission. With support from State Sen. Hank Sanders and U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, Riley started the Black Belt Action Commission in 2004 by an Executive Order.

The Commission’s goal is certainly an attainable one – to work toward substantive solutions that will improve the quality of life in Alabama’s Black Belt.

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The subcomittees deal with the areas of manufacturing, health care, education, skills training and infrastructure needs.

Earlier this year, Riley was in Selma to discuss the progress of the Commission’s Black Belt Eye Care Consortium.

More than 12,000 children in the Black Belt have received free vision screenings and all those who failed the initial screening were provided follow-up eye care.

The Consortium provided vision screenings to 12,088 children. After the initial screenings, 1,569 children received eyeglasses and other follow-up eye care and 269 received treatment that saved their vision.

The commission also worked to install computer labs in seven schools and successfully applied for 40 free computers that were donated to schools.

While the Black Belt Action Commission has accomplished much in its two years, local residents see that more work needs to be done.

Today’s swing through the state should be about more than just an election year campaign.

Riley should listen to residents and hear what those needs are.

If he does go back into office for another four years, Black Belt residents should expect much more progress.