Siegelman visits county
By By JOHN WALLACE
Approximately 30 people attended a luncheon attended by Governor Don Siegelman on Sunday at the Brewton Motor Inn.
Reo Kirkland called the "listening post" meeting to order and introduced Siegelman.
Education, economic development and the need to rewrite Alabama's constitution were the focus of a short speech by Siegelman before he opened the floor for questions and comments from those in attendance.
He said he would speak a little and listen a lot at the luncheon.
When discussing education, Siegelman said the eradication of portable classrooms continues to be a goal and progress has been made in that area.
Siegelman also said Alabama is the only state in the nation with a four-by-four curriculum which helps prepare the children of Alabama for the future.
Since taking office, Siegelman said the state has brought in 60,000 jobs by recruiting industries to the state, specifically members of the automotive industry.
He said Alabama is also a leader in new technology and has been since it served as the birthplace of the space program.
In hopes of recruiting more companies to the state Siegelman said he supports improving the state's infrastructure.
Improving the state docks will have an immediate effect on Mobile and Baldwin Counties and could eventually create jobs for other South Alabama counties, including Escambia County.
Siegelman said an increase in the amount of traffic that passes through the state docks will create jobs for shipping, packaging and other areas related to cargo transport.
A similar investment is being made in the Huntsville airport in hopes of making it a hub center, especially for cargo planes.
The recruitment of new industry only further emphasizes the need for quality schools, Siegelman said.
The key to making all of that happen is changing the Alabama Constitution to provide the ability to fund local education systems and create home rule.
Changing the constitution will be a challenge, but Siegelman said it is a fight he is willing to take on.