Friday, August 5, 2011

This past week we received great news with the announcement that Wrangler is coming back to Hackleburg. Not only are they rebuilding, but they are going to rebuild bigger, better, and employ an additional 50 workers for a total employment of around 200 workers at the new Hackleburg plant.

As you know this has been one of my top priorities since the tornado hit. It is crucial to Hackleburgís future and all of Northwest Alabama to have Wrangler built back and Iím proud to have worked at the Federal, State, and local level to help make this happen. This has been a team event and I want to congratulate everyone that has been involved in it.

Wrangler has been a great employer for many years now. Theyíve helped put food on tables as well as helped families send children to college. I look forward to them remaining a great corporate citizen for Marion County and all of Northwest Alabama for many years to come.

I also want to thank Wade Hagadorn, the Supervisor at Wrangler, who not only sent the first shift home, but called off the second shift coming into work. His foresight and that of the other employees, and leadership at Wrangler saved many lives on that dreadful day in April.

Iím also pleased to see the houses being rebuilt and restored throughout the tornado damaged area. Whether itís Habitat for Humanity, private insurance, FEMAís help, and the Mennonites or church building groups; it really makes you proud to see such generosity. We all realize that this will be a marathon and not a sprint, but we are starting to move down the road not only to wellness but to rebuilding. Please call on me if I can help with any problems or assistance considering the storm rebuilding efforts.

I had an opportunity to view the temporary classrooms being put up in Hackleburg. I emphasize they are to be temporary, not permanent, and Iím glad to see the progress made. Iím very proud of the teachers, not only in Hackleburg, but Phil Campbell, Mount Hope, and East Franklin for dealing with the tragedies that struck our area. Our friends and neighbors are to be congratulated for the Christian love and generosity theyíve shown. The outpouring help from the strangers both in Alabama and outside our state continues to humble us with their generosity. Iím very thankful for Godís healing grace and a love of our Christians, neighbors, friends, and complete strangers that continue to help us with our rebuilding efforts. As Iíve said from the beginning this will be a marathon and not a sprint. How beautiful it is to see the generosity, community support, and team effort especially when you compare it to the disaster when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It makes you proud to be an Alabamian and an American.

In a time of difficultly for many of our school systems because of the tragedy of the tornados; itís great to see that the National Society of High School Scholars announced that Hackleburg High School student, Kaitlon Elizabeth Isom, was selected for membership. This Society recognizes top scholars who have achieved academic excellence. While there are many other great, worthy students who have received this honor in our Senate district itís always good to see someone overcome an adversity like the tornados, and I congratulate this fine lady and her family, as well as the other recipients.

Iíd like to congratulate Sue Reed of the Winston County Board of Education, on receiving a grant for $100,000 which I was proud to support. The purpose of this grant is to provide funds to purchase and install energy efficient improvements at the Double Springs Elementary School, Double Springs Middle School, Lynn High School, and Meeks High School. We must do more to conserve energy and stretch our tax dollars further. I was also pleased to see that the United Way of Northwest Alabama will receive a grant which will benefit Marion and Franklin counties in the amount of $314,412. The national emergency tornado grant will provide temporary employment on projects for clean up, demolition, repair, renovation, and reconstruction of destroyed or damaged public structures, facility and land for the infected area. Temporary employment may also be providing humanitarian assistant jobs throughout Marion and Franklin County. This ADECA grant will do a lot to help us recover from the devastation that came though our area on April 27th.

I hope all of you had an opportunity to take advantage of the State Tax Free holiday on August 5th through the 7th. I hope that you also had an opportunity to shop at home where our dollars go even further. A few years ago we passed this in the Alabama Legislature, and I was proud to be a supporter of it. This gives families and business people an opportunity to take part in a discount so that students can receive their much needed school supplies and clothing at a discount to parents and no harm to the merchants. The Alabama Legislature voted to give up the state tax for this on certain school related items.

Itís hard to imagine that school is about to start up. Next week weíll begin attending the teacher in-services for as many of the school systems as I can reach.

It was certainly a pleasure for me to support the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coaches golf outing again this summer. Iím proud to report to you that Russellville High School took 1st place. Also closest to the pin on par 3 went to Pierre Coggins of Russellville High School. I think this is a wonderful way to support the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ministry and allow our coaches to have some well deserved time off before returning to the heat of the August practices.

You may have seen the news this past week where several high school students died or were injured due to heat exhaustion. I want to encourage everyone to drink plenty of liquids and avoid spending extended periods of time out in this hot, grueling sun whenever possible.

It concerns me that the Federal Government is considering cutting back and eliminating United States Post Offices in our Senate district and throughout Alabama. The post office is a central location for a community and a city. It is a place of permanency for residents because they receive their mail there as well as the businesses.

Itís my understanding that the Republican House Representative is thinking about closing the Hodges and Natural Bridges U.S. Postal Service office. I urge you to contact the President, our U.S Senators, and U.S Congressmen to urge them NOT to close the post offices in Natural Bridge and Hodges, which are so important to the future growth and development for our area, as well as understanding history and heritage.

Please continue to contact me about your views and concerns at the following:


Alabama State House

11 S. Union Street, Suite 738

Montgomery, AL 36130

Phone: 334-242-7862, Fax: 334-242-4736

Russellville Office

PO Box 370

Russellville, AL 35653

Phone: 256-332-6966, Fax: 256-332-6967