HUNTSVILLE — Lieutenant Gov. Will Ainsworth spoke to a large crowd on Saturday at the Huntsville Republican men's breakfast. The group was founded by the late Elbert Peters and has hardly missed a monthly meeting since its inception in 1985. Saturday was the group's 473rd consecutive meeting. 

Ainsworth hit on many topics during his speech, with the first discussing the ongoing national debate surrounding trans athletes and men playing in women's sports. He mentioned how he has had to have discussions with his children about these issues and that this is something he could have never imagined growing up he would have to do. He added that it is something we should not have to do. 

Discussing the upcoming election, Ainsworth slammed President Joe Biden for his economic policies, saying, "The answer from the Democratic party is we are going to continue to throw money at problems and hope we can buy off votes. This has caused tremendous inflation in our country, with trillions of dollars of money that was borrowed that we don't have." 

"You better believe that this election that this election matters, and I am going to do everything I can do to help President Trump get elected, along with Republicans up and down the ballot," he added. "We have a real opportunity to get our country back in the right direction with a President, take back control of the Congress to make sure we get our country heading back in the right direction."

Ainsworth went on to discuss Alabama and said it was in a much better position than many other states. People, businesses and industries want to move here because of our low taxes and cost of living, and our state economy is doing well. He said that Alabama's budgets are doing well and that, currently, the state is in the best fiscal shape it has ever been due to the hard work of many in this state and the policies Alabama has adopted. 

Ainsworth also praised the legislature for passing school choice in Alabama, a piece of legislation that he was at the forefront of advocating for. He said that although in North Alabama, the issue of schools holding up industry from wanting to move into the area is not as big an issue due to their great public schools, other parts of the state were hurting, and this legislation would help ease that burden.

SEE ALSO: Ainsworth praises final passage of CHOOSE Act: 'Alabama now ranks high among the nation's leaders in school choice options' 

He added that charter schools are another item they are working on, and we do not have enough of them in our state. He explained that they help in the inner cities and are working to expand them. He pointed to an unlikely source, Washington, D.C., saying one of the few things they have done right, and he was blown away by was taking their schools to 48% charter schools. While visiting them, it was amazing to see that those charter schools were vibrant and disciplined and filled with students who were eager to learn.

Ainsworth also praised the passage of the Parents' Right to Know bill, saying, "This has to do with schools, and it's kind of simple. When we were growing up, it was something that teachers just told us, but we have had teachers push back, and we've had superintendents push back."

"They just didn't want to tell the parents or students what they were teaching," he continued. "We got this passed so you can't do that now, and schools have to post their curriculum on their websites so parents know what is being taught."

Ainsworth praised State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and House Majority Leader Scott Stadhagen (R-Hartselle) for their anti-union bill that passed and hailed the workers voting at the Mercedes plant who voted not to unionize.

He said, "Talk about sending a message! We have got to make sure that we are a right-to-work state if we are going to continue to recruit jobs here, and that is one of my jobs and what I'm paid to do."

SEE ALSO: UAW loses in Alabama, Mercedes-Benz workers vote not to unionize

Ainsworth touched on workforce development, an issue that he said has meant a lot to him. He thanked State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsborro) and State Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) for their bill that changed the Department of Labor (DOL) to the Office of Workforce Development. Additionally, he said they found seven million dollars in fraud at the DOL, and that money will now go back to the general fund and be put to good use.

"We decided we needed to shake that department up," adding, "We will have a new Secretary there, a Secretary of Workforce, for the first time in our state history. We didn't want to expand government. We just wanted to take this agency and repurpose it to get things under control." 

The new office will have industry representation, and a 40-member advisory board from all over the state will advise the new secretary and devise a workforce development plan for the first time in Alabama history. 

Ainsworth said that the overall goal is to get people ready for jobs. This will help by creating training for jobs that are already located in Alabama so that we can maintain our workforce. We do not want to see issues like in other states where young adults leave the state for work due to a lack of opportunities.

Additionally, this can prepare people with training for incoming industry so that once those jobs have moved to Alabama, there is a mechanism to provide a labor force.

He wrapped up his speech by declaring his desire to see Alabama be the number one friendly state for military and veteran families. He said that only a few years ago, military families had severe hurdles to jump once they moved to an Alabama military installation for a spouse to work.

However, the majority of that red tape has now been cut, and Alabama is currently number two behind Florida for military families and number one for military veterans to retire. He said he plans to continue to work to make Alabama number one overall in both categories.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email or on Twitter @BradleyCoxAL.

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