By James Lomax
Alabama State Representative District 20
The Alabama State Legislature is about to launch into full gear with the regular session beginning on Tuesday March 7th, 2023 and the Freshman class is ready to be a part of that. As a new legislator, I am excited to hit the ground running on issues that are important to South Huntsville and the state of Alabama overall.
The State House met in early January for our organization session, where we formally elected Nathaniel Ledbetter of Rainsville as the Speaker of the House. Speaker Ledbetter understands North Alabama and has already hit the ground running. This is an incredibly important role, as the Speaker establishes who chairs and sits on each of the standing committees.
As far as committees go, I was placed on three committees I am excited to serve on: Ethics & Campaign Finance, Constitution, Campaigns and Elections, and Ports, Waterways, and Intermodal Transit. The latter committee is newly formed with the intent on reviewing ways in which Alabama businesses can better interact with Alabama’s ports and waterways. More than 10% of all the navigable water in the United States passes through the state of Alabama. It is time we find creative ways to utilize our waterways, increase business productivity, and be forward thinking on recreational activities. Alabama has made a name for itself in building vehicles in our state, yet none of the vehicles are shipped out of our Port of Mobile – most of the vehicles are taken to other state’s ports and shipped out of those ports, which is primarily due to capacity and incentives. It is time for us to take hard look and stop this trend. Beyond the support of the waterways, the committee will also deal with the Port of Huntsville and the airports within the region.
I am proud to serve as part of a great delegation of individuals. Madison County is blessed to have representation from leaders such as Rex Reynolds, who chairs the General Fund, Andy Whitt, who is set to chair the Economic Development & Tourism Committee, and Anthony Daniels, who is the Minority Leader within the State House. Other fellow newcomers I will be working alongside include Phillip Rigsby, a pharmacist from Madison, as well as Dr. David Cole, a physician from Madison. Working as a team will benefit our region, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish for South Huntsville and all of Alabama when we start session in March.