Alabama Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth addressed the Mid-Alabama Republican Club on Saturday. Ainsworth said that “Red States and Republican policies are working.”
Ainsworth said that a lot of good things are happening in Alabama.
“People are moving here,” Ainsworth said. “People want to be able to go out to eat, go to a ballpark, go to work and not have to wear a mask. Red states and Republican policies are working.
“People predicted that we were going to lose a congressional district. We didn’t. Our population grew 5% and now we are really growing. I am really excited about the NCAA having a tournament here.”
Ainsworth celebrated the recent Dobbs v. Jackson U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing the state to ban abortion.
“My mom’s life mission as director of the Marshall County pregnancy center and when the decision came down, she called me in tears of joy," Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth said that the out-of-control crisis on the southern border is adversely impacting the state because of the drugs being illegally brought in.
“We had over eight college and high school kids die in Marshall County because the drugs were laced with fentanyl,” Ainsworth said.
Many drug dealers will add fentanyl to things such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and even counterfeit prescription drugs because it is cheaper and has a stronger high and is more addictive than the pure product of what they are selling. The recreational drug user usually does not know that he or she has bought a contaminated product. More frequent, drug overdose deaths are a side effect of drug dealers' attempts to improve their profitability. Authorities are urging the public not to purchase anything from a drug dealer.
Ainsworth likes Republican prospects this fall and into the future.
“I think a lot of voters are going to say: 'What in the world we have done?' And there is going to be a reckoning this fall,” Ainsworth said. “I think Republicans are going to win the House back. I think we are also going to take back the Senate and are in great shape to win back the White House in 2024.
“Ballot harvesting is illegal in Alabama, but the Democrats whipped us in other states going out and harvesting ballots."
Ainsworth highlighted Alabama aerospace jobs.
Ainsworth said, “Space Command coming to Alabama is a hundred-year game-changer. Don’t believe the lies coming out of Colorado and California that we did not get that on merit.
“The state of Alabama has 65,000 jobs in aerospace. It is not just a Huntsville thing it is an entire state of aerospace. More aerospace companies are coming to our state.”
Ainsworth said that Alabama is also a leader in defense technology.
“Not only are we the aerospace capital, we are the defense capital,” Ainsworth said. “I chair the Military Stabilization Commission. Our legislature passed 25 bills to make our state the most military-friendly state in the country.”
Ainsworth explained that Alabama moved from being among the worst states in the country for a military spouse to transfer and be able to work in the field that they were licensed in, to one of the best. He said license reciprocity is a large part of that because, “A lot of military families depend on two salaries.”
Ainsworth said, “We want a military family that is transferred here to stay here when their service is over."
Ainsworth also said military families were given public school choice.
“Charter schools work,” Ainsworth said on giving military families options if they are transferred to Alabama into a school district they are not happy with. “We also gave them public school choice. If they are in Montgomery and stuck in a failing school, they can go to Prattville.
“We worked with the Alabama High School Athletic Association so now if a military family moves to Alabama and are not happy with the school district that they are in they can move and not be penalized by (their high school athlete son or daughter) having to sit out (of sports) a year."
Ainsworth said Alabama is striving to encourage businesses to move to the state.
“Our goal is to be the most business-friendly state in the country,” Ainsworth said. “Our economy is booming, we had surplus revenue, record revenue actually, because we got people back to work.
“We got rid of the business privilege tax. We raised the business personal property exemption to $40,000.”
Ainsworth said that the state also made it more difficult to get unemployment benefits.
“People were staying at home, not working, drawing a check,” Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth explained that an unemployed person now must apply three times a week to continue to draw unemployment benefits.
Ainsworth said, “If you are able-bodied and can work, go to work. We don’t want you staying at home drawing a check.
“We have really moved the needle on workforce development."
Ainsworth explained that for too long Alabama high school guidance counselors advocated college and focused on raising ACT scores and financial aid for college.
“The reality is that 60% of our students don’t go to college and get a two-year or four-year degree,” Ainsworth said. “If they go, they usually don’t finish.”
Ainsworth explained that the state now has career coaches who are going to sit down with students and ask, 'What skill set do you have?' and then help them to get internships to help them to get a job.
“The most exciting program in the state is what Baldwin County is doing. They are building a career tech center for the whole county, an $80 million facility,” Ainsworth said. "The state has put $8 million into that project."
Ainsworth said that there are still improvements to be made.
“Students are getting trained for jobs that aren’t even in their area – that’s not smart,” Ainsworth said. "Also, when we went out to the career tech centers, a lot of their stuff (equipment) is obsolete.
“We put $25 million into community college for dual enrollment."
Ainsworth said that in the coming session he is going to be advocating for measures that “really back the Blue (law enforcement officers)” and that Connie Rowe on his staff is going to be leading that effort.
Ainsworth said that he supports full statewide school choice in Alabama.
“We need more charter schools,” Ainsworth said. “The best thing for Alabama is to have true school choice.
“The AEA will fight it."
Ainsworth said he faces reelection on Nov. 8.
“I don’t have a Republican or a Democratic opponent, but I do have a Libertarian opponent somehow - I don’t know where that came from,” Ainsworth said.
The MARC meets on the second Saturday of each month in the Vestavia Public Library. The next meeting will be August 13.
Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Paul DeMarco said that the Jeffco GOP is hosting a pancake breakfast in Trussville in the entertainment district on Aug. 27.
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