A busy summer

Published 11:36am Tuesday, August 20, 2013

By Cam Ward / Guest Columnist

Although we are not in session, it has still been a busy summer of Senate work. When our 1901 Alabama Constitution was ratified, that was intended to mean three days a week over a 105-day period spent in Montgomery. In today’s world, it has come to mean “part of the time of every day.”

I am certainly not complaining, as I love every minute of representing the people of our state as the senator from District 14. What it does mean is that even when we are not in session, I continue to work hard to make sure your voice is heard and that we do what’s right for the people of our state.

We all know that Exit 231 in Calera is in desperate need of renovation and expansion. The bridge across Interstate 65 was not built to manage the traffic flow of a growing community. It is now a destination stop for traffic traveling north and south, along with the usual university and community drivers.

Last week I joined Gov. Robert Bentley and other local officials in announcing an $8 million ATRIP bond to fix this exit — getting the people of Montevallo and Calera moving, creating direct jobs to work on the construction, and added opportunity via the ease of use created. This was in addition to the $15 million in other road improvement projects designated for Helena and Alabaster. This should greatly benefit our entire community.

This week, Rep. April Weaver and I joined the governor again at a bill signing for a prescription drug abuse law we passed last session. It works with pharmacies, doctors and law enforcement to combat the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in our state.

A few years ago we cracked down on methamphetamine manufacturing, and public health advocates tell us the prescription drug problem is even bigger. Hard to believe, but we are going to do what is needed to keep our children away from these dangerous narcotics while ensuring access to those who truly need them to manage pain.

I also represented our state at The Southern Legislative Conference in Mobile last month as a member of The Southern States Energy Board. I joined Gov. Bentley and Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi in announcing an agreement between the two states to explore energy production in the tar sands areas near our coasts. I also addressed the board on behalf of the Legislature, highlighting Alabama’s diverse mix of energy infrastructure and jobs — the most diverse in the Southeast!

All in all it has been a productive summer. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. I appreciate the opportunity to be your state senator.

Cam Ward is a state senator from Alabaster.

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