Leadership is being proactive

Published 8:24 pm Monday, September 10, 2012

Over the past few months, I have been approached by voters from all over the district concerning my thoughts on the proposed constitutional amendment that will appear on the Sept. 18 special election ballot. I encourage people to vote yes, but I believe that we deserve to know how we got to this point.

Our present condition did not occur overnight. Every government is led into each circumstance or predicament in which they find themselves. Nothing just happens, changes, improves, or corrects itself without leadership. In short, leaders are indispensible. We cannot live without them. Everything rises and falls because of leadership.

Due to the lack of leadership in Montgomery, we are facing a General Fund budget crisis within our state. We have many leaders, but sadly, not much leadership.

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As elected officials, one of our constitutional responsibilities is to balance the state’s two budgets. This issue should have been settled during the last legislative session. However, many in leadership lacked the courage to do what was right.

When ratifying the General Fund Budget, Gov. Robert Bentley and the Republicans had two options; they could raise revenue or cut the General Fund Budget to the bone. Instead of settling the issue they decided to kick the can down the road by offering a constitutional amendment that will allow the state to transfer or “borrow” $145.8 million each year for the next three years from the Alabama Trust Fund. That is not leadership.

Republican leaders have been selling this constitutional amendment to the voters of Alabama by arguing that without it, the state will not have enough money for vital services such as Medicaid. When there is a vacuum of leadership, those in position use fear instead of progress. In the past two years, we have consistently witnessed Republican leaders make reckless and irresponsible decisions about the well being of our state.

They continue to show us that they are willing to go down an imprudent road, such as Bentley’s recurring vow to not increase revenue, if the constitutional amendment does not pass. However, if the Alabama Medicaid Amendment does not pass on Sept. 18, Bentley should call a special session and consider all options.

The constitutional amendment is like placing a bandage on a chronic wound, it’s only a temporary fix. However, Medicaid is a vital state program that’s in serious trouble; it needs a permanent solution. We cannot afford to play politics with healthcare. This amendment will only keep us in survival mode while we should already be on a more progressive course. Leadership is not about being reactive; instead, it is more about being proactive.