Our state is in a crisis. It’s the same crisis we’ve been facing for the last seven years. Pretending everything is okay is not okay. If we don’t do something today, there will not be a tomorrow with safe infrastructure, access to healthcare, and good paying jobs.
It’s time for a New Covenant between our leaders in Montgomery and the people they serve. A Covenant where our leaders wake up every day ready to fight for the people and not parties.
By placing results above rhetoric, we will forge a New Covenant that will make a real difference in the issues facing Alabamians.
Today, 600,000 Alabamians are either unemployed or working in jobs that don’t match their skills or their needs. Making matters worse, over 100,000 Alabamians commute to other states for work. This trend must stop. Without better and higher paying jobs, our schools, health care, roads and bridges will never meet the standard we deserve.
As Governor, we will make workforce training and development the cornerstone of rebuilding our economy to meet the 21st century. We will make college affordable in our state, providing all Alabamians with an opportunity to be career and/or college ready.
ROADS AND BRIDGES
Our roads and bridges are crumbling.
Alabama has nearly 102,000 miles of public roadways, and yet so many are deficient with nearly 50 percent rated as fair, poor, or very poor. Driving on badly maintained roads means more than $320 annually in vehicle operating costs alone for each Alabama citizen. More disturbing, unsafe roadways contribute to one-third of traffic deaths in Alabama.
There are 16,000 bridges in Alabama and more than 20% are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Across our state, one in six drivers drive over these bridges daily.
When our roadways and bridges are not safe, Alabamians are not safe, and new jobs will not come because they can’t pass along our roads to develop the industry. Alabamians are cut-off from the economy, health care, and ultimately, their future.
We cannot ignore this problem any longer. As Governor, we will pass bipartisan legislation supported by the Alabama Alliance for Infrastructure and begin rebuilding Alabama’s roads and bridges.
Alabama’s health ranking is 47th in the nation, and if you live in rural Alabama, then your life expectancy is six months less than your fellow Alabamians and three years less than the rest of the nation. In the past seven years, seven rural hospitals have closed or are scheduled to be closed. Pediatricians, dentists, nursing home providers and mental health professionals are leaving smaller communities jeopardizing the continuum of care for tens of thousands of Alabamians, and eroding peace of mind for many more.
Knowing all of this, Montgomery has refused to expand Medicaid which would have provided a $1.8 billion infusion into Alabama’s health care system by providing medical coverage for 331,000 working Alabamians, veterans, children and disabled. Instead, solely because of politics, medical care in Alabama has been vastly diminished and an opportunity to grow a new economy has been wasted.
Currently, Alabama is failing its children by not providing every child with a top-notch education and the opportunity to succeed. It is past time that we put a lottery to the vote of the people. Without raising taxes one penny, my proposal of the Alabama Education Lottery will transform Alabama's public education system.
The Alabama Education Lottery has four pillars: scholarships for higher education and workforce development, expansion of Pre-K, creation of the Promise Program to relieve funding inequities, and the creation of Community Innovation Grants for support programs that affect the quality of education.