VIDEO: Rep. Sewell Delivers State of the District Address
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) delivered her 2020 State of the District address today, highlighting the significant victories she helped deliver for Alabama’s 7th District in 2019, and her goals for the year ahead.
Sewell highlighted the many legislative, grants and casework wins she helped secure on behalf of the 7th District in 2019, including:
- Hosting 84 district events and town halls in each of the district’s 14 counties;
- Recovering over $2.28 million in favorable benefits owed to constituents by the federal government;
- Receiving over $2.4 billion in federal grants to fund important projects throughout the district;
- Successfully introducing and passing H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, in the House to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act;
- Working to pass the FUTURE Act into law, which will provide $9.5 million per year in permanent funding for Alabama HBCUs;
- Securing $18 million in funding to preserve the sites of the civil rights movement; and more.
“Over the past year, Congress has been working hard on your behalf, passing common sense legislation to address the real and tangible needs of families across our district,” Sewell said. “I am proud to say that the state of our district is getting stronger because of the work we have done together thus far.”
“At the same time, I recognize that there is still so much work ahead of us,” Sewell continued. “This year we must work together to make sure Alabama’s 7th Congressional Counts in the 2020 Census and that our vote counts at the ballot box.”
The 2020 Census will help determine how $800 billion per year in federal funds are distributed for programs like Head Start, Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, WIC, Section 8 housing assistance and more. For everyone not counted in Alabama during the last census, the state lost out on about $1,600 per person in federal funding each year.
“My friends, our work is far from over. But we, the people of the Alabama’s 7th District, know better than anyone how to fight for what is right, even in the hardest and darkest of times,” Sewell said. “We come from good stock and we know nothing is impossible for those of faith and action!”
2020 State of Alabama’s 7th District
February 3, 2020
To my constituents, to state and local elected officials, and to our district’s many community leaders: I am honored to address you today regarding the State of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District.
Thanks to our action at the polls, 2019 ushered in a new House democratic majority that has been hard at work implementing our “For the People” agenda.
Over the past year, Congress has been working hard on your behalf, passing common sense legislation to address the real and tangible needs of families across our district.
I was so excited that our bill, H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, finally passed the House of Representatives in December, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Our bill restores the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was gutted in the Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision in 2013.
Here in the 7th District, we fundamentally understand the importance of ensuring that each and every Alabamian has equal access to the ballot box, and I am proud of our office’s tireless work in ensuring the passage of this legislation.
My top priority since coming to Congress has been and continues to be serving the people of Alabama’s 7th Congressional district, by increasing opportunity and always following our office’s motto of “Constituents First.”
In 2019, we continued our commitment to accountability and open dialogue by hosting 84 district events, including our annual town halls in all 14 counties across the district.
We hosted our 8th Annual Job Fair in Selma, Alabama, which brought together nearly 700 job seekers and 86 major employers from across the state. This year we are planning our 9th Annual Job Fair in Bessemer this August. So be on the lookout for more information to come!
In 2019, we also continued to prioritize community engagement and constituent services, securing $2.4 billion in federal grant funding and recovering over $2.28 million owed to constituents by the federal government.
And legislatively, we were very busy, working hard to secure some of the most exciting policy wins in our office’s history!
Of course, H.R. 4 was a big win!
We also doubled down on our efforts to increase opportunity in our district. I was proud we passed legislation into law to expand the New Market Tax Credit, which provides tax credits to encourage economic investment in underserved communities, which will in turn create jobs and stimulate struggling economies.
We secured 18 million dollars in federal funding to preserve the sites and stories of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Movement in our district that serves as economic engine to provide greater tourism and economic opportunities to all.
I was thrilled to see the FUTURE Act passed into law - a critical piece of legislation that permanently reauthorizes $255 million dollars in annual funding for our HBCUs. This is an especially big win for our district, which is home to 10 HBCUs. Our black colleges and universities will receive over $9.5 million each year as result of the new law.
After many years, we were successful in getting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to increase Medicare reimbursements for Alabama’s hospitals, which are currently reimbursed at the lowest rates in the country. That announcement was great news for Alabama’s hospitals, especially those in rural areas where every dollar counts. Our hospitals will receive an estimated $43 million this year alone due to the change.
We also secured $1.45 billion for critical investments in wastewater infrastructure and an additional $5 million for the Rural Septic Tank Access Act, which will be used to provide grants to improve rural water systems. This funding builds upon our long-term commitment to ensuring that every Alabama resident, especially those in our district, has access to basic wastewater sanitation.
And just before Christmas, the House of Representatives passed the renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, which is good for Alabama workers and local businesses. I was honored to play a key role in the crafting of a much-improved USMCA as one of the eight Democrats chosen by Speaker Pelosi to negotiate with the Trump Administration to improve the agreement.
Representing my home district and the people of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District is the greatest honor of my life. I came to Congress to work on behalf of the people of my district, and I am proud to say that the state of our district is getting stronger because of the work we have done together thus far.
At the same time, I recognize that there is still so much work ahead of us.
Too many in our district lack adequate employment, education and health care options. Too many in our district go to bed at night worried about how they will pay their bills, put dinner on the table or purpose their prescription medicine.
Yes, there are more challenges ahead. 2020 is an election year and it also the year of the Census.
This year we must work together to make sure Alabama’s 7th Congressional Counts in the 2020 Census and that our vote counts at the Ballot Box.
Please remember that both matter!
When you respond to the 2020 Census, you help our community get its fair share of more than $800 billion per year in federal funds for schools, hospitals, roads, and for programs like Head Start, Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, Section 8 housing, and much more! For everyone not counted in Alabama during the last census, we lost out on $1,600 per person, each year!
Our district benefits when everyone is counted!
We also know that elections have consequences and that your vote matters!
My friends, our work is far from over. But we, the people of the Alabama’s 7th District, know better than anyone how to fight for what is right, even in the hardest and darkest of times. We come from good stock and we know nothing is impossible for those of faith and action!
So, let us look toward the future, renewing our commitment to one another and to the strength of our district in the year to come.
I am forever grateful to each and every one of you for allowing me to work on your behalf. Together, I know that we can make 2020 the best year yet!
God bless you and God bless Alabama’s 7th Congressional District!