Senator elected to prominent post

Published 3:51 pm Friday, December 28, 2018

The Alabama Senate Democrats recently elected a new slate of membership to lead their party for the upcoming 2019-2022 quadrennium. Among those named to prominent positions within the party was Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier, D-Selma, who was named Vice Chair of the Senate’s Minority Caucus.

“I’m new and just started out so I didn’t go into these meetings with any expectation of being named to a position,” Sanders-Fortier said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve in that capacity.”

Sanders-Fortier was nominated by another Black Belt legislator, Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Clayton, who currently serves as the Senate Minority Leader. The Minority Caucus voted and Sanders-Fortier was named to the Vice Chair post, which will require her to serve in the absence of caucus Chair Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, and work beside her in advancing the caucus’ agenda.

On that front, Sanders-Fortier is looking to lead outreach efforts, specifically listening sessions across the state, to hear the concerns of constituents. Additionally, she will be helping to draft a strategy to ensure that the priorities of the caucus make their way to the floor in a Republican-dominated legislature.

“We want to make sure the caucus is able to hear from people across the state,” Sanders-Fortier said. “We can’t just walk in there and say ‘We think this is a good idea, let’s vote for it,’ because we don’t have the numbers.”

Among the priorities for the upcoming session, according to Sanders-Fortier, are Medicaid expansion, prison reform and education.

“Those are things that line up with issues I’m concerned about,” Sanders-Fortier said.

While Sanders-Fortier believes there will be extensive work done in regard to prison reform, she is most concerned with issues surrounding healthcare.

“Healthcare is a basic right,” Sanders-Fortier said. “The government has a role to play in that and Alabama hasn’t done its job to ensure that people have that.”

For her part, Sanders-Fortier is aiming to advance a three-pronged attack to tackle the issue of healthcare in the state – personal responsibility, community involvement and governmental support.

“We live in a political world where everybody points the finger,” Sanders-Fortier said. “But things work well when we come together.”