Shift focus to issues that matter to families

Published 8:56 pm Monday, April 6, 2015

Every four years, Montgomery politicians come back to their districts to run for office, promising to fix everything that is wrong in Montgomery.

One of their recurring campaign themes is promoting “family values” at the State House. Yet we’re a little over a third of the way through session and I haven’t seen many pieces of legislation pushing these “family values.”

Yes, my colleagues in the House have been successful at bringing back the electric chair and passing some discriminatory measures, but family values? They haven’t come through the Alabama House of Representatives.

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In fact, the Alabama Republicans have been making news by promoting exactly the opposite. Senator Larry Stutts put forth a bill to revoke women’s right to a hospital stay after delivering a baby and to take away notification protocol for women who are at a higher risk of breast cancer.

If that’s “pro-family,” I’m the Easter Bunny.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have put forth measures that would actually help working Alabama families.

Issues like expanding Medicaid and removing the tax off groceries aren’t issues that just affect a small percentage of the population — the numbers show they will make life easier for all Alabamians.

If we raise the minimum wage and make health care both accessible and affordable, we can expect that couples will choose to start families and raise children in a stable household.

If we repeal the tax on groceries, all families can afford 10 percent more milk and vegetables.

Because while the Republicans want to present themselves as “pro-family” and “pro-life,” the true measure of their position is whether or not they are “pro-child.”

It’s easy to toss out unconstitutional bills like the one from Rep. Terri Collins to make abortions illegal after a fetal heartbeat can be detected (approximately 6 weeks into a pregnancy), but its very difficult to stand up to the high-powered lobbyists and make sure that no child grows up in poverty.

Here in Alabama, about one in three children do, by the way.

It’s easy to stand up in your district and say you’re “pro family” but its hard to stand up for the issues that matter to Alabama families — the pocketbook issues that put a roof over families’ heads and food on their tables.

Because when we work in Montgomery to build strong families, those families will build a stronger Alabama for the future.