Senator#039;s life is busy outside the Senate

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

Voting on the floor of the Senate is only a small part of a Senator’s duties.

It is probably the most important role of a Senator but it is really not what takes the lion’s share of his or her time.

It occurred to me to comment on this subject this week because of the slowdown in the senate chamber.

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We have concluded more than half this regular session and only one bill has made it’s way to the Governor’s desk.

The past several days have been typical of how I spend my time carrying out Senate responsibilities.

I have recently had two significant meetings with the new Transportation Director, Joe McInnes.

One was to encourage the director to fund a project at Troy State University and the second was to promote the four-lane construction of US Highway 331 from Montgomery to Florala.

The TSU meeting was attended by Chancellor Jack Hawkins and several key officers from his staff, as well as Speaker Seth Hammett, Senator Jimmy Holley, Representative Alan Booth, and myself.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, a TSU graduate, coordinated this meeting and was also present.

I am pleased to report Director McInnes agreed at this meeting to fund the TSU triangle project.

This campus renovation will greatly enhance the center of the campus.

Although some construction has been completed and much more is presently underway, there is much more to do on US Highway 331.

With the locating of a major Hyundai plant in Luverne, it is now imperative that four-laning this highway be escalated.

The Director was a good listener but did not go so far as to commit to a wholesale effort at moving faster on the project.

Another important event in which I participated recently was Senior Day at the Capitol.

Over 3,000 senior citizens from across the state sat in lawn chairs on the south lawn of the Capitol listening to Governor Bob Riley and a parade of speakers who addressed senior issues.

A highlight of this activity was the presentation of an award to my uncle, David Mitchell of Luverne.

David has been active in several senior citizens’ programs including the Silver Haired Legislature.

Congratulations to David and the Regional Council who sponsored the award.

On the &uot;fun side&uot;, I have been attending several lunches and dinners attended by Governor Riley’s new cabinet members.

The governor has indeed appointed some fine men and women to fill these important posts.

I am yet to meet a department head that is not first class and completely devoted to the welfare of our state.

I hope these first impressions prove correct in the long run.

Until next week, remember &uot;I’ll go with you or I’ll go for you&uot; to help you solve any problem related to state government.

Senator Wendell Mitchell can be reached at 334-242-7883, or by writing to P O Box 225, Luverne, Alabama 36049.