OP-ED: ANSWERING ALABAMA’S INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

As featured in YellowhammerAlabama Political Reporter and Alabama Today

Answering Alabama's Infrastructure Needs in the 21st Century

By Will Ainsworth

April 11, 2018


Toyota/Mazda, Polaris,  Remington,  Hyundai,  Honda,  Airbus, Boeing…

These are just a few of the dozens upon dozens of new and expanding industries that have chosen to locate in Alabama and provide jobs and opportunity to our citizens in recent years.

It is no secret that Alabama continues to lead not only the southeast but the entire nation in economic development categories across the board, and the state’s Department of Commerce could fill a room with all of the “Silver Shovel” awards and other industrial recruitment honors it has captured over the past few decades.

But if we are going to continue our forward progress and provide even more jobs, hope, and security to Alabama’s families, our attention must begin to focus upon repairing the state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.

Portions of our interstate are simply uncomfortable to drive upon, various bridges in every portion of the state are too dangerous for use, and, as someone who travels a great deal through rural Alabama, I can attest that the roads often feel like driving on broken piecrust.

A health economy and a thriving state demand a road system that allows for the easy transport of commercial goods and the safe travel of our citizens.

But critical infrastructure needs are not endemic to Alabama.  

Most states rely upon gas taxes to fund their transportation needs, and the advent of high mileage vehicles and electric cars have caused those revenues to tumble across the nation.  As a result, roadways from coast to coast are in need of repair.

President Donald Trump recognized these needs and campaigned for office on an expansive infrastructure proposal that will address road, bridge, highway, tunnel, railroad, and even airport improvements in each of the 50 states.

As a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, I embrace President Trump’s proposal and recognize that Alabama’s list of priority projects stretches from border to border.  

Anyone who has driven I-65 between Huntsville and Mobile has, at some point in their journeys, likely been stuck at a dead-stop standstill for no apparent reason.  It is frustrating, it is senseless, and it wastes drivers’ time, fuel, and money.

I believe strongly that we should work toward one day three-laning I-65 from the Tennessee border to the waters of the Gulf Coast.

State Highway 157 in Cullman currently has a completed bridge with no access road leading to it because the project remains unfinished.

U.S. Highway 98 in Mobile County has proven so deadly that it has earned the nickname “Bloody 98,” and while funding from the BP oil spill settlement will be used to jump start the project, additional funding is needed, and more work remains to be done.

Farm-to-market roads across the state have been long neglected, and they deserve attention because of the essential role that agriculture plays in our state’s economy.

Completing these projects and hundreds of others like them will require leaders with the determination to push forward and the vision to do them right.

My transportation plan includes close examination of the steps our sister southeastern states have already taken to resolve their infrastructure issues and mimicking their successes while avoiding their pitfalls.

Reducing regulations, implementing cost-cutting measures, and reexamining overly-cautions environmental mandates could dramatically reduce construction costs and help us put our money into asphalt instead of bureaucracy.

Public/private partnerships, which allow the private sector to carry the majority of construction and maintenance costs, are another area worthy of exploring.

Utilizing groundbreaking technologies in the roadbuilding industry can also cut costs in the long-term and save millions of taxpayer dollars that can be reinvested in roadways.

New high-density mineral bonds in asphalt, for example, can be used to repel the moisture and ultraviolet light rays that are major contributing factors in the cracking, raveling, and deterioration of our streets, highways, and interstates.

By implementing our sister states’ models, innovative approaches, conservative policies, and new technologies, I remain confident we can provide Alabama’s citizens and businesses with the quality transportation system that they deserve.

State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R - Guntersville) is a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.  Elected to the Legislature in 2014, Ainsworth currently represents Alabama’s House District 27, which includes portions of Marshall, DeKalb, and Blount counties.

OP-ED: ALABAMA MUST DO MORE TO THANK ITS MILITARY VETERANS

Alabama Must Do More To Thank Its Military Veterans

By Will Ainsworth

April 19, 2018


The Bible verse Isaiah 6:8 reads - Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Those words from the holiest of books have always prompted me to think of the men and women who have so selflessly served in the United States military and defended the greatest of all nations.

Military service is a deep commitment that demands a great deal of sacrifice from the soldiers who serve and the family members who support them. Everyone who wears our country’s uniform deserves our respect, honor, and appreciation, and those warm feelings continue even after that uniform is removed and hung in a closet.

Since joining the Alabama Legislature in 2014, I have placed a deep focus on serving the needs of Alabama’s military veterans, and that commitment will continue if I am elected lieutenant governor.

Most recently, I worked with State Rep. Dickie Drake (R - Leeds) and members of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee to pass the Parks for Patriots Act, which provides free, year-round admission to all Alabama state parks for active military personnel and veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves.

I also joined with State Rep. Barry Moore (R - Enterprise) to pass legislation that makes it a crime for those who do not qualify to park in spaces specifically reserved for Purple Heart and medal of valor recipients, former prisoners of war, or other military veterans.

More and more businesses are setting aside special parking spaces reserved for military veterans who were wounded, taken prisoner, or presented a medal for valor in defense of our country. It is unconscionable to think that someone who does not fall under these categories would park in a space reserved for our nation’s heroes, but it happens quite often. This new law will ensure that those who display such blatant disrespect will be punished appropriately.

My Republican colleagues and I have also approved the Veterans Employment Act, which provides tax incentives to businesses that hire honorably discharged veterans who are currently unemployed.

The law ensures that the veterans covered by this incentive program would be hired for full-time jobs and earn at least $14 per hour, and because the program is modeled after the “pay as you go” method of awarding economic incentives, it will have no negative fiscal impact on the budgets.

And in order to ensure that the sacrifices and legacies of veterans of the past, present, and future are properly protected, I was proud to support the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, a measure that prevents those with leftist agendas and politically correct notions from tearing down statues, monuments, and makers dedicated to our state’s rich military history.

Some may argue that the work we have accomplished is adequate, but I believe that more should still be done to properly thank our veteran heroes for their service.

That is why I plan to create the Lieutenant Governor’s Task Force on Veterans’ Needs if I am elected to serve the citizens of Alabama over the next four years.

This task force will include a cross section of career military veterans, National Guard veterans, disabled veterans, combat and homefront veterans, business leaders, educators, and other citizens. The task force will be responsible for recommending need laws, programs, and initiatives that will ensure Alabama’s veterans and their families are skilled, educated, employed, and provided the comforts necessary to understand the thanks of a grateful state.

As lieutenant governor, I will take the most worthy recommendations of the task force to the members of the Senate and work to enact them into law. And because the needs of veterans continue to evolve with a changing economy, emerging technologies, and shifting military responsibilities, the task force will continue to meet on an annual basis and provide new input and ideas.

George Washington, our nation’s first president and one of its greatest generals, stressed the importance of treating our veterans well when he said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

Those are wise words spoken by a great man, and I pledge to live by them as your lieutenant governor.

State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R - Guntersville) is a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Elected to the Legislature in 2014, Ainsworth currently represents Alabama’s House District 27, which includes portions of Marshall, DeKalb, and Blount counties.

RELEASE: Ainsworth Begins Airing Radio Ad Statewide in Support of Legislation to Arm Trained Teacher

Guntersville, - State Rep. Will Ainsworth (R - Guntersville) on Wednesday began airing a statewide radio ad campaign in support of his legislation that allows public school teachers who volunteer for law enforcement certification to carry firearms in case of active shooter attacks.

With the radio buy, Ainsworth is the first candidate for lieutenant governor to begin airing commercials in the 2018 election cycle. Portions of the script for the radio ad read:

“. . .I’m Will Ainsworth. I know this is going to be politically incorrect, but so be it. More gun control is not the answer. Using this tragedy to promote a liberal political agenda is not okay. As a dad, I know we have to keep our kids safe, but leaving all of the guns to the bad guys is not the answer. . .

. . .That’s why I wrote a bill to allow specially-trained teachers to carry firearms on school campuses. Heaven forbid a shooter ever enters an Alabama school, but if they do, we owe it to our kids to protect them with more than a No. 2 pencil. . .”

Under the provisions of Ainsworth’s House Bill 435, which currently has 33 co-sponsors and is similar to laws on the books in at least 19 other states, specially selected teachers and administrators who undergo a thorough mental evaluation and successfully complete annual Alabama Peace Officers’ Safety and Training certification would have access to firearms during school hours if an active shooter scenario occurred.

Participation in the program would be voluntary, and while taxpayers would cover the cost of training, the selected educators would be required to provide their own firearms.

Much like undercover air marshals who patrol commercial air flights, the names of those authorized to carry firearms would be kept secret from the school population and public, but local law enforcement would be provided with a specific marker identifying the program’s participants.

YellowHammer: State Rep. Will Ainsworth is running for Lieutenant Governor

As we lurch towards the end of the filing deadline for Alabama’s 2018 election season, another name has been tossed in the race for Lieutenant Governor. Will Ainsworth is a one-term state representative, and small business owner, from Guntersville and announced his intentions on “The Dale Jackson Show” this morning. He stated he will be running on a strong record of ethics reform and conservative issues. Ainsworth explained why he is running for office today:

“I want to use the lieutenant governor’s office as a bully pulpit for issues like workforce development, improving education, fighting new taxes, and promoting conservative causes.”

Why this matters: This race for Lt. Gov. will be the most contested in years, Ainsworth has already raised over $1.2 million dollars for this race. With Governor Kay Ivey’s ascension to the Governor’s office it makes the seat far more appealing and important. Those seeking the office could see it as a stepping stone to the Governor’s mansion.

The details:

— The state of Alabama currently has no Lt. Gov.

— The Republican field for Lt. Gov. consists of Ainsworth, Public Service Commission Chairmwoman Twinkle Cavanaugh, and State Senator Rusty Glover.

— The Democrat field has one candidate, former candidate for Congress in the 5th Congressional District, Will Boyd.

— Alabama filing deadline is February 9th, with primaries taking place on June 5th.

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YellowHammer: Rick Burgess Endorses Will Ainsworth in Alabama Lt. Governor Race

Rick Burgess, popular radio personality and co-host of the “Rick and Bubba Show,” has endorsed Republican candidate Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor. According to a press release from Ainsworth’s campaign, Burgess believes that Ainsworth’s “fresh perspective, deep religious faith, and devotion to moral principles” make him an excellent candidate for the position.

“Will Ainsworth is a self-made man who doesn’t have to run for lieutenant governor, which makes me want to support him even more because he feels called to serve the state,” Burgess said.  “As an Alabamian, I am tired of hearing the same old names all the time…so let’s get some fresh blood and try something different.  We cannot afford to take a step backwards in this lieutenant governor’s race, and while I have no ill will toward anybody else who is running, I know Will Ainsworth and the job he will do for us.”

Burgess said that new blood is what Montgomery needs in order to clean up the corruption that has plagued the capitol city in recent years, referring to politicians in Montgomery as football coaches with a losing record. Burgess said that men and women of integrity, like Ainsworth, will be able to change our state for the better.

“My family and I are supporting Will Ainsworth for lieutenant governor not just because we love Will, but because we love Alabama, and we know it can do better,” Burgess said.  “I hope you’ll prayerfully commit and join us in supporting Will if not for yourself, then for our children and the next generation.”

Burgess gave his endorsement at an Ainsworth campaign event at the Fish Market Restaurant in Hoover. Ainsworth expressed his gratitude for the endorsement, saying, “Rick Burgess is someone I look up to in life because he uses the platform of radio for the kingdom of God. He has influenced more people for the kingdom of God than anyone I know, so I appreciate his support.”

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