Sewell looks back on 2018 achievements, ahead at 2019

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, released her annual report detailing her office’s work over the past year and some of her goals for the upcoming year.

“I believe that transparency and accountability are central to the strength of our democracy,” Sewell said in a message to voters. “For Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District, 2018 was a year of new challenges and hard-fought victories.”

Among her noted achievements for the year, Sewell noted that she spent time in all 14 counties in her district and hosted 96 district events, including workshops, industry tours, seminars and town hall meetings.

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Further, the statement says, constituents in Sewell’s district “recovered $2.6 million in favorable benefits and received $1.1 billion in federal grants.”

Another focus for Sewell was job growth.

“In order for Alabama to succeed, everyone in our state needs better opportunities to climb the economic ladder and strengthen their competitiveness in today’s job market,” Sewell said.

To that end, Sewell supported “free and fair trade” for Alabama farmers and manufacturers, and opposed trade barriers that would negatively impact the state’s growing automotive industry, from her position as the only Alabama representative on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Sewell hosted a series of workshops throughout the district to assist job seekers in being prepared for new work.

Further, Sewell hosted the Seventh Annual Congressional Job Fair at Alabama State University (ASU) in Montgomery.

Additionally, Sewell introduced the Workforce Development Tax Credit Act to ensure the “tax code promotes apprenticeship training and creates an employer incentive to invest in human capital.”

Some of Sewell’s premier achievements for the 2018 legislative year were in relation to upgrading Alabama’s crumbling infrastructure.

In March, Sewell led the charge to include an additional $1.8 billion of funding for wastewater and water infrastructure through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“In Alabama’s rural Black Belt, I have toured homes with no wastewater systems and communities that rely on unsafe spray fields for wastewater treatment,” Sewell said. “The funding we secured gives rural communities access to resources for modernizing their wastewater systems for the 21st Century.”

Also on this front, Sewell was able to work with her coutnerpart in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Doug Jones, D-AL, and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-AL, to pass the Rural Septic Tank Access Act, which provides funding for installing, repairing and maintaining wastewater systems in underserved communities.

Sewell also noted her efforts to protect people’s right to vote, which is “under attack” according to a report from the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR).

“Since the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to gut the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, voter ID laws, cuts to polling places, reduced voting hours and other voter suppression tactics have restricted access to the ballot box,” Sewell said.

By the end of the year, Sewell’s Voting Rights Advancement Act had 192 co-sponsors in the House and she plans to continue advancing that bill in the upcoming session, a task made infinitely easier since Democrats are now the majority in that chamber.

Finally, Sewell touted her work to expand access to “quality healthcare, by opposing efforts to chip away at Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Further, Sewell noted her work to protect rural hospitals and gain support for her bill to increase Medicare reimbursements across the state.

“These are just a few of the ways we are fighting for a better health care system,” Sewell said. “Next year, we will continue our work to expand access to the prevention and treatment services families need.”