HANCEVILLE, Ala. – U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama was on the campus of Wallace State Community College Monday evening to host a constituent town hall and after sharing some opening remarks, spent time answering questions from those in attendance.
One of the topics that Jones opened Monday’s town hall with was the discourse in national politics today.
“In those days you really had a Senate that was a deliberative body. You had things that got to the Senate floor where people would debate, and you’d have these great speeches on the floor to try and persuade people. We don’t see that a lot anymore. When you turn on CSPAN now, you’ll see political speeches,” Jones said. “I give them, everybody gives them, and during the last one I gave the other day, there was not but one person on the floor and that was the presiding officer. That’s just the nature of the beast these days and it’s unfortunate. I really wish we could get back to that regular order. We would actually be talking about and deliberating a lot of bills, because I will tell you, there is a lot more work done together and across the aisle than you see in those political speeches or the dueling press conferences you see. I think I’m on over 200 bills right now, and 80% of those are bipartisan bills.”
Jones touched on things like health care, veterans’ families and bills he’s currently working on before fielding questions from the crowd. The first question of the night came from Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail, who had a question concerning funds making their way down from the state to the local level.
“Senator, one of my concerns is locally we get all these mandates from Montgomery, and I know you’re in Washington not Montgomery, to do this and do that, but there never seems to be money coming down from that,” Nail said. “What are your thoughts on that?”
Jones responded by agreeing with Nail that the movement of funds to the local level is an issue and gave his thoughts on where some of those problems could be coming from.
“I’ve gone to Washington to try and figure out how I can strip away a little bit of mandates and some of the red tape. We’ve done that in a number of ways like the banking bill that we did that really helped community banks and credit unions with regard to Dodd-Frank regulations so they didn’t have to spend money doing things they really didn’t have to do; we’ve had enough experience with that. One of the problems that we see with the way a lot of the money is set up, mayor, is it goes through the state,” Jones said. “I’m not trying to pass the buck to the state, but the way things are set with ADECA and others, they’re the middleman, and I wish I could just wave a magic wand and do it directly. The money that we’re getting to widen Highway 157 would’ve come straight here to get it done, but we have to go through different places. It’s a real problem and I’ve heard that for years, that money kind of gets funneled down there and ends up going in politically correct ways and not necessarily where it’s needed. I think you’ve got good state reps and senators up here, so I’d talk to them about it because I really think the problem with where the money goes and how it gets there is with the state, and I’m not just blaming them. This is a problem that has been going on for a long time.”
Jones took questions on topics ranging from health care to taxes and immigration to vaccines before Monday’s event began to wind down. According to the senator’s office, this meeting will be the latest in an ongoing series of town hall meetings Jones is holding across the state to hear directly from Alabamians.
Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate special election Dec. 12, 2017 by a razor-thin margin, becoming the first Democratic senator from Alabama in 25 years. The seat was previously held by Republican Jeff Sessions, who was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump, and then by Alabama Attorney Gen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the seat by former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley after Sessions left.
See a full video of Jones’ stop in Hanceville at www.facebook.com/CullmanTribune/videos/1771243659684212.
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