Rep. Sewell Submits to Governor Ivey the Report: “Getting Alabama’s 7th District Back to Work” with Recommendations on Reopening Alabama’s Economy
Birmingham, AL – On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) submitted a comprehensive report to Governor Kay Ivey entitled “Getting Alabama’s 7th District Back to Work” with recommendations on the reopening of Alabama’s economy from the perspective of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. The report was provided in response to Governor Ivey’s request last week that each of Alabama’s seven U.S. representatives consult with business and community stakeholders to provide recommendations on reopening their respective districts for business.
In order to best examine the needs of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District’s uniquely diverse demographics and geography, Sewell assembled an advisory group of more than 50 business, health and community leaders representing a broad cross-section of stakeholders from across the district. The members of the “AL07 COVID-19 Advisory Group,” were selected for their demographic and geographic diversity and industry experience, with representatives from urban and rural parts of the district in 18 stakeholder categories, including: health, manufacturing, retail, large business, small business, minority-owned business, non-profits, banking, elected officials, chambers of commerce, economic development, agriculture, education, restaurants, barber and beauty shops, labor, faith leaders, first responders and law enforcement.
The AL07 COVID Advisory Group then partnered with the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), to design and implement a survey, distributed to 144 stakeholders throughout the district to gather their information, views and opinions on reopening. The findings of that report, while not comprehensive, offer informative and useful information regarding how best to reopen AL07’s economy.
“Re-opening Alabama’s economy must be done safely, strategically and responsibly. I understand and empathize with the business community in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, who have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Sewell. “I have spoken with small business owners throughout my district who have had to close their businesses, and my heart breaks for them and our community. I am as eager as anyone to get Alabama’s economy up and running; however, I am committed to doing so in a way that also protects the people of my district and prioritizes health and public safety.’
Healthy people create a healthy economy. We can and must take the steps necessary to ensure both in Alabama. With every phase of reopening, we must balance the health risk of community spread. We must not lose focus on that fact that the health guidance is about saving the lives of Alabamians.’
“As the U.S. Representative of Alabama’s majority minority district, I am deeply concerned that African Americans, both nationally and in Alabama, are disproportionately contracting, suffering from and dying of this virus,” Rep Sewell continued. “I have long advocated for expanding Medicaid, and other investments in creating better health outcomes for minority communities, and we are now seeing the very real and disturbing outcome of a failure to protect our most vulnerable. The inequities that have led to these outcomes are nothing new, however, in the wake of this pandemic, we are seeing just how dangerous inaction can be. For this reason, my most pressing recommendation is that the State of Alabama prioritize testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19 in our most vulnerable communities – including minorities, the elderly, those with underlying health conditions and those living in rural and urban at-risk communities.”
“The diversity of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District has always been our greatest strength,” Rep. Sewell concluded. “I am proud to represent Alabama’s Civil Rights District. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham to Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, our shared history in Alabama’s 7th District is one of triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Our greatest asset as a district is the courage, determination and resilience of our people, and it will remain our greatest asset in our battle against COVID-19 as we work together to share resources across the racial, economic and geographic spectrum.”
The Report: “Getting Alabama’s 7th District Back to Work” can be found here (including Topline and Summary of Recommendations.)