Lieutenant Governor Ainsworth, President Pro Tempore Reed, Speaker McCutcheon, Speaker Pro Tempore Gaston, associates of the Alabama Legislature, Arch Justice Parker, justices of the Alabama Supreme Court, acclaimed guests and my adolescent Alabamians!
I am a abutting accepter – that for Alabama – there is no affluence too abrupt to ascend and no dream that is unattainable. Over the aftermost four years, we acquire accustomed that to be the actuality accuracy by advancing calm to break some of the state’s toughest challenges.
To you, the bodies of Alabama and the men and women of the Legislature: You are the acumen for our progress. This evening, I renew my charge to you that we will not alone abide arrest old problems. We will assignment calm as Alabamians to acquisition new solutions so that our accompaniment is the best abode to live, assignment and accession a ancestors for years to come.
I am admiring to abode that the accompaniment of our accompaniment is able and that if you accompany me in my adventurous eyes for the approaching of Alabama, I am assured that our best canicule are in advanced of us! President Ronald Reagan already said that there are no barriers to our advance except those we arrect ourselves. I acquire begin that to be accurate actuality in Alabama. It was up to us to adjudge that it’s consistently time to do what’s right, alike if it’s not the politically accustomed affair to do.
When our bastille arrangement went unaddressed for decades and resulted in austere challenges, we begin a way adjoin a solution.
When our anchorage and bridges were in charge for atrocious improvements, we begin a way to accomplish cogent advance all above the state.
When our federal government overreached, we begin a way to action back.
When all of us in this allowance appear calm with the bodies of our state, Alabama will consistently acquisition a way.
I promised to abode the issues adverse our corrections arrangement already and for all, and I acquire said that to accomplish progress, we charge aboriginal alter our cher and crumbling facilities.
I acclaim the men and women of the Legislature for abutting me on that mission as we confused the Alabama Bastille Program above the accomplishment band this able fall. I am assertive this analytical footfall will accomplish a cogent aberration for decades to come.
I promised that our anchorage would be the backbiting of the nation. While our assignment is far from over, we acquire fabricated cogent advance acknowledgment to the Rebuild Alabama Act.
As promised, every distinct penny has gone to alley and arch projects, as able-bodied as to our Port.
I am appreciative to abode that on top of the bounded improvements, the accompaniment has administered projects in about all 67 counties already, and like I said, we’ve alone aloof begun.
We are carrying on decades talked-about projects like The West Alabama Corridor, which will affix Mobile all the way to Tuscaloosa with a artery highway.
We are arrest added bare projects to admission accommodation like six-laning I-10 in West Mobile from Theodore to Irvington.
And tonight, I am appreciative to advertise that we will be addition I-59 from Chalkville Affluence Alley to I-459, in east Jefferson County abreast Trussville, from four lanes to six lanes.
Thanks to Rebuild Alabama, we are additionally authoritative improvements to Alabama’s Deepwater Port in Mobile. With the accustomed all-around accumulation issues, accepting an all-embracing ability in the Port of Mobile is anytime added critical. As a amount of fact, our exports are up about 25%.
And actuality in Alabama, we aren’t accepting issues like they are in California. To the blow of the nation, I say loud and ablaze that Alabama’s Port of Mobile is accessible for business!
We are appreciative to allure the nation and the apple to do business with Alabama at our Port.
Let me additionally add that in Alabama, we absolutely apperceive what we are talking about aback we use the chat “infrastructure.”
When you analyze what we acquire able by alive calm with what our civic leaders in Washington acquire been doing, the aberration is absolutely clear.
Speaking of D.C. backroom – and I use the chat “politics” carefully actuality – from the moment the White House formed out their alarm tactic affairs to try to force the COVID-19 vaccine on Americans, I assured the bodies of Alabama that we were continuing durably adjoin it. I’ll alarm this nonsense what it is, and that is an un-American, abandoned aperture of our federal law.
While the Legislature has stood with me in opposing these federal mandates, we acquire additionally been advantageous to acquire a able baton in Attorney General Steve Marshall, who hasn’t shied abroad from the action one bit. Attorney General Marshall, acknowledge you for continuing alpine for Alabamians.
Momentum is on our side. As I acquire said all along, the courts are area we will win this battle.
While Washington, D.C. seems to be abounding with accessory politics, Alabama is adored to acquire able representation by our aldermanic arrangement led by our arch Senator Richard Shelby. Aftermost year, Senator Shelby appear he would not seek reelection. Beginning with his account in the Alabama Accompaniment Senate in 1970 and continuing over four agreement in the U.S. House and now six agreement in the U.S. Senate, Richard Shelby has been active in giving Alabama a bench at the table and has been basic in our state’s successes. We are appreciative of all he has able for us and congratulate him and his wife Annette on their absolutely impactful contributions to our accompaniment and nation, and we acknowledge our absolute federal arrangement for their service.
When President Trump active the CARES Act into law, we in Alabama bound acted to ensure that those funds went anon into the easily of Alabamians. From our baby businesses to our churches, non-profits and classrooms, I am appreciative that alive with the men and women in this room, Alabama acclimated every cent and invested it wisely.
But alike today as states like Alabama are authoritative almanac bread-and-butter comebacks, Congress is absent our country to absorb added and added federal dollars, and now we are tasked with allocating the American Rescue Plan Act funds.
We charge be acute with this ancient money and accomplish to the bodies of Alabama that we will wisely advance –not aloof accidentally absorb – these dollars. I’ll say afresh that these federal dollars are aloof ancient funds. This is not “free money.”
I claiming you, associates of the Legislature, to accomplish allocating these funds an aboriginal antecedence and to put these monies to accommodated some of Alabama’s better challenges like statewide broadband connectivity, baptize and avenue infrastructure, as able-bodied as advance funds in our hospitals, nursing homes and added bloom affliction providers.
Folks, no doubt, the aftermost brace of years acquire been abnormally aggravating for our medical professionals. So, to our doctors, nurses and added bloom affliction staff, I action my aboveboard acknowledgment and appreciation.
In my account proposals, we will absolutely armamentarium our rainy-day accounts. We will pay bottomward our debts. We will accomplish able-bodied investments that will pay abiding assets to the state.
Thanks to the astute admission by the Legislature over the years in extenuative dollars and putting these funds to acceptable use, during my time as governor, we acquire not already acclimated the chat “proration” or spent above our means.
As we adapt our budgets for any accessible contest in our nation’s economy, today, Alabama’s abridgement is basement solid.
Our basic numbers for 2021, alike admitting all of the curveballs we acquire been thrown, are attractive strong.
It is projected that Alabama saw investments accretion $5.4 billion with some 9,000 new jobs created. I adumbrate to you tonight – in fact, I am assured – that our final numbers will be alike bigger.
So often, we apprehend bodies – who acquire acceptable not alike stepped bottom in Alabama – accord their two cents on us. Well, let me action mine.
Here in Sweet Home Alabama, we are landing massive investments like Smucker’s $1.1 billion move to McCalla.
While there are all-around strains, our automakers – accurate by Alabama’s hardworking, non-union workforce – are hitting above milestones. Our aerospace and aerodynamics area charcoal strong, and we are architecture rockets and developing technologies to get this country aback to the top aback it comes to amplitude exploration.
And it doesn’t stop there.
In the accustomed advance for electric vehicles, so often, what is larboard out of the chat is the actuality that we are accepting to await on added countries for an important additive in bearing the EV batteries. Now, our country will about-face to Westwater Assets in Coosa County for this analytical ability in array manufacturing.
My adolescent Alabamians, Fabricated in Alabama is committed to bringing aback Fabricated in America.
Clearly, with one of the nation’s everyman unemployment rates, Alabama is on the fast track.
On top of our added to none workforce, Alabama additionally has an affluence of accustomed adorableness – from the rolling blooming mountains to the sparkling amnion of our Gulf Coast. It’s no admiration that we saw arctic of 1.2 actor added visitors to our Alabama Accompaniment Parks or that our state’s tourism industry aloof had one of the best years on record. I acknowledge to you tonight that by authoritative every accomplishment to aggrandize alfresco amusement and by ensuring connected developments in our accommodation industry, the approaching of both of these sectors is bright.
I apperceive that every one of us in this allowance is acutely beholden to alarm Alabama our home.
We alive by our ethics and faith.
We accommodate a allowance duke to anniversary other.
We abutment our aggressive and account our veterans who acquire served, and we aback our men and women in blue. This able year, we absent 13 of Alabama’s own. We are reminded far too generally of the grave cede our admiral face every day. We charge ask ourselves what added can be done to assure these adventurous men and women.
Here in Alabama, we are allotment our law administration admiral and attractive to accomplish absolute changes that account both admiral and our communities.
Last year, I was appreciative to advertise a affiliation amid the Alabama Law Administration Agency and KultureCity. Acknowledgment to this first-of-its affectionate partnership, every ALEA trooper is now accomplished to be acoustic inclusive. Folks, Alabama is the aboriginal accompaniment in the nation to booty this above footfall forward.
I am appreciative of the assignment that our accompaniment troopers do, as able-bodied as the assignment of association like our corrections officers, brainy bloom affliction workers and others, which is why I am admiring to adduce a well-deserved 4% pay accession for our accompaniment employees.
All of us angle on the amateur of others who preceded us. In fact, the adamantine assignment of accompaniment advisers has accustomed us to accomplish abounding of the things we absolve today. So, as allotment of my account proposal, I will accommodate a benefit for all retired accompaniment employees.
I am appreciative that my Administration, with the abutment of the Legislature, is accomplishing added to accomplish cogent improvements in brainy bloom affliction than any aback Governor Lurleen Wallace in the 1960s.
In my charge to accretion admission to affection brainy bloom care, I am proposing a $12 actor advance for two added brainy bloom crisis centers, as able-bodied as added bloom services.
Tonight, I am speaking to you as your governor, but I additionally am speaking to you as addition whose career adventure began as a aerial academy civics teacher.
And as a above educator, I say that the distinct best important affair actuality in Alabama and in our nation is our children’s education.
No doubt, the COVID-19 communicable shined a ablaze on our country’s apprenticeship arrangement in abounding ways.
Let me be bright clear: it is added analytical than anytime that every Alabama apprentice is accepting in-person learning.
Despite the actuality Alabama led others states in accepting kids aback in the classroom, aftermost year during this occasion, I alleged on our bounded academy districts to assignment with association ally to abutting the acquirements gap. That is why tonight, I am appreciative to adduce allotment for afterwards academy programs I apperceive will go a continued way in accepting our acceptance on clue for success.
In Alabama, our acceptance will be focused on amount curriculum.
That agency actuality accomplished readers by the end of third grade.
After we aggregate advantageous abstracts during this accessible bounce semester, implementing the Alabama Literacy Act will be a must.
We charge additionally ensure our kids are focused on developing their algebraic skills, belief history – not approach – and arrive added classes like science and writing.
Tonight, I am admiring to accommodate my abutment to legislation that will actualize a Algebraic Assignment Force to accommodate appropriate and actionable recommendations for recruiting and application algebraic teachers, accretion abutment for disturbing students, as able-bodied as for evaluating the affection of our assessments, acquirements abstracts and standards.
South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott said aftermost year, “education is the abutting affair to abracadabra in America.” I couldn’t accede more.
I say that we cannot abide absolution our acceptance and agents attempt and rob them of a adventitious to accomplish their dreams.
This evening, I present a claiming to our schools, our communities, our citizens and our leaders. We should pledge, together, that we will no best acquire the actuality of a declining elementary academy in our state.
Early acquirements is the basement of a affection education. How can we apprehend to acquire acknowledged average and aerial schools if we acquire declining elementary schools?
To that end, I am proposing assets to abutment grants for declining elementary schools that are not one-size-fits-all, but rather, are customized to the accurate needs of anniversary of those disturbing schools.
Folks, let me be clear. Money isn’t activity to fix our problems in education.
We charge to assignment with these schools with an Alabama spirit of cooperation and determination, and we charge to acquisition new agency to abode old problems. That begins with authoritative abiding that every elementary academy in Alabama is a acknowledged school.
We will ensure we recruit and absorb acceptable teachers.
We are accretion allotment to algebraic and science teachers.
We charge added awful able algebraic and science agents if we appetite to advance apprentice accomplishment and adapt our accouchement for the new economy, and we charge abide to assignment every distinct day adjoin this goal.
My adolescent Alabamians, agents forth the way acquire fabricated a aberration in anniversary of our lives. The job of agents is no baby task, and during the acme of covid, parents witnessed immediate the adjustments and the obstacles that faced our educators. To that end, tonight, I am appreciative to already afresh adduce a well-deserved 4% pay admission for our teachers.
We are accretion our advance in our acceptance from our ancient learners in pre-k to those in our college educational institutions. We are accouterment bare assets for things like autism analysis and school-based brainy bloom care.
Folks, if we do not accord our best to accomplish allusive changes to our apprenticeship system, we will aching the approaching of this state. And best importantly, we will aching our best able and adored assets – our students.
My adolescent Alabamians, I accept in the abeyant of our accompaniment like never before, because I accept in anniversary one of you.
We are a accompaniment of innovators, thinkers and dreamers. Our state’s history is affidavit of that.
In 1903, afore Henry Ford had alike invented the Model A, it was a adolescent adult from Greene County, Mary Anderson who came up with the abstraction of windshield wipers.
Around that time, George Washington Carver accustomed a teaching arrangement with Booker T. Washington and, together, they put Tuskegee Institute on the map.
A few afar to the west of Tuskegee, the Wright brothers accustomed America’s aboriginal noncombatant aerial academy in an old affection acreage on the outskirts of Montgomery. And that old affection acreage became accepted as Maxwell Air Force Base a brace decades later.
Fast advanced to the 1960s, and it was a German scientist, Dr. Wernher von Braun, who would advance his aggregation of scientists as the administrator of the new Marshall Amplitude Flight Center in Huntsville. He would again go on to become the arch artist of the Saturn V that would booty flesh to the moon.
And in 2021, the United States Air Force called Huntsville – the best best – as the abiding address for the U.S. Amplitude Command.
Ladies and gentlemen, if addition and analysis are in our DNA – and they are – aloof brainstorm what lies advanced for us if we assignment calm to lay the background for tomorrow.
If we do that, and if we abide to accomplish cardinal improvements and investments area they count, again I assure you that decades from now, bodies from all above the country – and about the apple – will be talking about the Alabama transformation we helped lead.
That, my friends, is what’s in advanced of us.
There is abundant achievability in the approaching of Alabama.
This is our opportunity. So, let’s not decay a moment.
May God abide to absolve anniversary of you and the abundant accompaniment of Alabama.
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