District home to many industries

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2003

All the headlines seem to go to the big automobile manufacturers which have located in Alabama over the past several years, but we are blessed with many other fine industries and companies that have chosen our state as their home who do not get the same spotlight.

Tenaska Corporation, whose national headquarters is in Omaha, Neb., has recently built two major electricity producing plants in our senate district, and they are proving to be one of the finest &uot;new citizens&uot; which we have among our many new companies.

The Tenaska plants are near Billingsley, in north Autauga County. A dedication ceremony of their most recent plant to go online was held this week and featured several state dignitaries as program participants.

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Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley spoke of her commitment to help our new industries settle into our state with the least possible problems from government, and Speaker Seth Hammett delivered an equally friendly message with respect to our welcoming the quality of citizen, which we find in Tenaska.

Bill Braudt, a leading company executive, spoke on behalf of the Tenaska Corporation and cited Alabama as one of the most friendly and cooperative areas he has been associated with throughout our entire country. He applauded us for our southern hospitality and for making his company and its employees feel like they are a major part of the communities in which they are located.

When you think about it, Alabama has a low tax rate, a reasonably clean environment, extraordinarily friendly and talented people, and a work ethic that exceeds that of most any state in the nation. These are some of the major reasons national companies pick sites in which to locate their industries and its workers.

Our shortcomings seem to be n at least in the minds of our visitors n our public education system and the volume of trained employees needed to meet work force demands.

Gov. Bob Riley related some of these issues to the recently aborted tax referendum. He cited North Carolina as a state where much effort was put into the educational system and it resulted in North Carolina moving from the bottom rung to the top rung of the ladder.

Somehow we have got to find a handle on what it will take to improve our education system in Alabama, and I am confident this administration will continue to put its best foot forward on this subject.

In other developments this past week, the Riley Administration filled the newly created positions on the Board of Pardons and Paroles. It surprised me that the Legislative Black Caucus came out in opposition to the persons selected by the Governor. After all, he had nothing to do with the nominations of the candidates. Under the law he could only select from the list submitted to him by various state officials.

It now remains a question as to whether or not the Senate will confirm the nominees the Governor has appointed. I am not on the Senate Confirmations Committee, but I am hopeful I will have a vote on the floor of the Senate. If so, I plan to vote for all of the nominees selected by the Governor.

Until next time 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 reacjed at 334-242-7883, or by writing

to P.O. Box 225, Luverne, AL 36049.