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Capitol Report for June 27

By Sen. Roger Bedford

For the FCT

It was really a thrill to recently see so many World War II Fighter Planes fly into the Muscle Shoals airport.  It was great to see a piece of history up close and to remember how important some of those aircrafts were in preserving our freedoms. We must never forget that freedom is not free and our veterans have served with distinction and continue to do so with great bravery to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy here in America.

So, when you see a veteran, tell them thank you for a job well done.

>I’m also very disappointed to see the unfolding scandal concerning the lack of proper health care made available to our veterans. They have put their life on the line to protect us and they deserve good quality health care when they return. President Obama needs to clean house, as does Governor Bentley, if they find these types of programs and/or lack of care occurred here in Alabama. Alabama veterans are some of the first to volunteer to protect our country and they deserve good quality health care when they get home. The Veteran’s Administration health care delivery system apparently has failed to meet the needs of our veterans in a timely manner and I think those who are responsible should be held accountable for this lapse in judgment.

>It was certainly a pleasure to be in Red Bay and Russellville on Friday to present Franklin County TVA in-lieu of tax service grants. These grants are applicable to all Franklin County and it is a pleasure for me, working with Johnny Mack Morrow, to have presented over $882,000 worth of grants in Franklin County alone. The following grants were awarded: Vina High School – $1,200, City of Red Bay Sewer – $2,800, Red Bay High School Cheerleaders – $500, Burnout Fire Department Parking Lot Project – $2500, Vina Fire Department Annual Car Show – $500, Town of Vina – $500 for an outdoor sign for City Hall, Red Bay High School FFA State Convention – $500, and $3,200 to BCDA for new radios for trucks.

>I am pleased to announce that the Alabama Department of Transportation will accept bids on June 27 for the resurfacing and traffic striping project on County Road 23 in Franklin County from Alabama 24 to Alabama 247.

I will continue to work hard for better and safer roads. These roads help with job creation and a better quality of life.

>What an honor to have Jim Porter, president of the National Rifle Association, attend the reception held at the lovely home of Johnny Mack and Martha Morrow in Red Bay.  It was a great time for local folks to meet Jim Porter of Birmingham and learn the importance of the National Rifle Association.

I am proud to be a strong supporter of our 2nd Amendment and to support responsible gun ownership. I am honored that the National Rifle Association is again supporting me for re-election.

It became clear during the meeting that, not only does the National Rifle Association help protect our 2nd Amendment Rights and hunting rights here in Alabama and across the nation, but they have also been helpful in bringing jobs to Alabama. In particular, I’m referring to the 2,000 new jobs that came to North Alabama when Alabama was selected by Remington arms maker to move their factory here. Jim Porter, who was born in Florence and now lives in Birmingham, had the opportunity as president of the National Rifle Association to tell gun manufactures and firearm-related industries like Remington that Alabama not only has an excellent workforce and a pro-business environment, but that they are also largely pro-gun. This can mean thousands of additional jobs coming to Alabama in the future.

You may rest assured that I spent some time bending Mr. Porter’s ear about bringing those jobs here to Northwest Alabama. He is certainly a fine gentlemen and I am proud to have him as the president of the National Rifle Association.

> Jim also took the time to be the Grand Marshall of the 2nd Annual Hodges Equestrian Rodeo. If you have not been to Hodges, you are missing a good time when it comes to riding horses and enjoying the outdoors. The Equestrian Park, which is eco friendly, has 27 miles of GPS trails which take you past eight different waterfalls. My wife, Maudie, and I enjoyed hiking part of the trail with Mr. Porter and his sweet wife, along with Representative Johnny Mack Morrow and Martha Morrow. We are blessed to have so many wonderful natural resources here in Northwest Alabama and we must remember that God expects us to be good stewards of them.

> We had a very good meeting concerning the Oil Sands deposits here in Northwest Alabama this past week hosted by the Colbert County Extension office. The geologist from the State of Alabama as well as the officials from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management came to explain the permitting process concerning both wastewater and air discharges. I thought it was a very fair, well-balanced meeting, which allowed me and other concerned citizens to learn more about the facts on the process of the extraction of the oil as well as the permitting process. This is an issue that I encourage you to become better informed on.  It is estimated that the Alabama oil deposits here in Northwest Alabama could equal as much as 7.5 billion barrels worth of oil. Now while all of us would like to be energy independent from Mid-East oil, as well as create hundreds of good paying jobs, there is a right way to do this and a wrong way to do this.  We must also be good stewards of the beautiful environment that God has blessed us with.

It is my hope that we can develop enough information both at the state and local level, as well as the federal level, to find out what is the right way to approach this issue. We do not want to be a dumping ground for big, international business that comes in with no respect to local property rights and traditions. As I have mentioned earlier, we are blessed with a beautiful environment here in Northwest Alabama and we have got to find a fair and balanced approach to creating jobs and protecting our environment. If you have any information you would like to share with me on this important issue or any other issues of concern to you, please feel free to contact me.