By Beth Chapman
So, what can be read in five minutes in a column that was said in a 30-minute, seven-page speech – the State of the State Address given by the governor? Here is my Cliffs Notes version. For those who never used them before, it is a short, condensed version of a much longer book or in this case, speech. Here are 392 words in place of thousands.
Alabama has a lot of money right now, but it’s not permanent. The governor and Legislature will use it to continue to face the corrections problem, work on roads and bridges, expand broadband, enhance our port, assist our healthcare facilities and improve our water and sewer infrastructure.
Alabama’s economy is “rock solid.” New jobs and new businesses have come here in the past four years in record numbers. Our tourism numbers are up to an all-time high. We have one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates.
State employees and teachers will receive a well-deserved 4% pay raise. Retired state employees will receive a bonus.
Our governor and Legislature have fought against federal mandates.
Approximately $12 million will be committed to mental health care with Gov. Ivey, doing more than any governor since Lurleen B. Wallace. Two million dollars will be spent on mental health crisis centers.
Rebuild Alabama will make it possible to expand Alabama’s Deepwater Port in Mobile where exports are up 25%.
The governor’s budget proposal will “fully fund our rainy-day accounts, pay down our debts and make robust investments . . .”
Our “single, most-important issue here in Alabama and in our nation is our children’s education.” There will be after school programs started to teach core curriculum – reading, writing and math. A math task force will be established to get our third graders up to par in math. We will recruit more third-grade teachers and work on retention. We will “no longer accept failing elementary schools in Alabama.” There will be grants for failing elementary schools, and we will confront the COVID challenges to our education system.
The governor has done an excellent job and held true to her campaign promises. She continues to strive to make Alabama a better place to live and work. This is a condensed version of the State of the State. I hope you enjoyed the Cliffs Notes.