United, the Black Belt stands

Published 10:30 pm Monday, November 8, 2010

As a region, it’s important to understand our role — our niche — when it comes to the state of Alabama politics and that of politics on the national level. Both of which are now dramatically changing.

Over the past few days, we have talked to political leaders about the diminishing level of influence our area can expect to have in Montgomery now that the Alabama Legislature has a Republican majority. But, while some see it as a negative — the change in political power — others have seen it as an opportunity.

State representative-elect Darrio Melton, himself a newcomer to the state political arena, said the political shift gives those representing the Black Belt more of a reason to unite and work for a common vision. For Melton, the new role is his chance — and that of Alabama Democrats — to play the loyal opposition to the Republicans and have a chance to hold them accountable for the agenda they push forward.

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It is also a chance for Black Belt legislators — both young and somewhat older — to take a step back and evaluate the decisions they have made when in power and see if they were truly right.

In some cases, taking a step back — letting go of some authority if you will — can give you a new, much clearer perspective on just what you, as an elected official, were sent to Montgomery or Washington, D.C. to do.

As a region, we must remain united and positive about the direction we are headed and find ways to gain the support of others. We cannot turn around the stalled economics of this region by ourselves. It will take others and it will take compromise to reach the partnerships we need.

Today we applaud the mindset state representative-elect Melton has taken and encourage others to join in.