Elected Officials Discuss Lee County





The Opelika Chamber of Commerce held a Legislative Reception with five of the newly elected and re-appointed officials for Lee County, including Debbie Wood, Alabama House representative for the 38th District; Bob Fincher, Alabama House representative for the 37th District; Jay Hovey, Alabama state senator for District 27; Randy Price, Alabama state senator for District 13; and Joe Lovvorn, Alabama House representative for the 79th District.

Wood will serve as the vice chair of the House County and Municipal Government Committee, in addition to serving on the Education Ways and Means Committee.

Fincher is the chair of the Constitution, Campaigns and Elections committee, along with serving on the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, and the Education Policy Committee.

Hovey, while a newcomer, requested to serve on the Education Budget Committee and Education Policy Committee. He will also serve on the Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee, the Transportation and Safety Committee and the Local Governmental Affairs Committee.

Price is the chair of the Tourism Committee, serves on the General Fund Budget Committee, the Banking and Insurance Committee, the Agriculture and Forestry Committee and the Education Policy Committee. He also serves on the Joint Transportation Committee that has both House representatives and senators.

Lovvorn is the vice chair of the Education Budget Committee, chairman of the Technology and Research Committee, serves on the Ways and Means Committee, the Health Committee and is on a Joint Task Force for Obesity between the House and Senate.

Wood explained the role of state representatives.

“People confuse your state representative, your local officials and your congressional delegation … but what we do is we pass bills that affect the state only, or laws, that change the constitution,” Wood said, who was just elected to her second term. “But if we do that, you have to vote on it, just like you did in this past election. There were several amendments that you voted on. The first one was Aniah’s Law.”

While state senators have larger district areas, Price reminded everyone how important it is for house representatives and state senators to work together. He said in many parts of the state, representatives and senators don’t work well together.

“We’ve got a good group and we work together, and looking forward to the next four years,” Price said.

More than one of the elected officials stressed that education is their priority over the next term.

One way in which Fincher said he supports education is through the potential institution of a lottery in Alabama.

“I’d like to see that money shared between education and that general fund,” he said. “I honestly think living where we do, we can see our money flowing over into Georgia … and we are not a rich state that can afford to support education in Georgia.”

Wood said one of her priorities is changing hospital regulations so that if anything like COVID-19 were to happen again, families can be together as their loved ones die.

“I understand that our hospitals had to close to protect their employees, I get that … but we have to figure out a way to make sure that our loved ones don’t die alone,” she said. “That should never happen.”

Additionally, rural healthcare was a priority for more than one of the elected officials.

Lovvorn encouraged residents to reach out and express their needs and concerns.

“We have a lot of divide on national politics but we don’t on state politics,” Lovvorn said. “You’ve got a mix in Lee County of Republicans and Democrats but our Democrat friends understand just as much. So just communicate with us.”

Price also reiterated that Alabama has lots going for the state of Alabama, but there are necessary improvements to keep it that way.

“We have been so blessed in the state of Alabama that we have brought job after job of opportunities,” he said. “We have increased the things that we need for education but if we don’t continue to take care of infrastructure, some of that will go away … If we’re not willing to grow, we will come to a standstill.”

Lovvorn said he feels Alabama has a lot of blessings too.

“How can we continue this path we’re on, how can we spread the successes we’ve had to other parts of the state and that’s my goal for the next four years,” he said.


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