Need a senator? Just call one

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

The complaints I heard this week came two times in two consecutive days. The first time, it came from a group of business people in town who asked me a few questions.

The next day, I heard about the problem in Thomaston &045;&045; where mosquitoes have stormed in kind of like those birds in that mid-century movie "The Birds."

In talking with Thomaston Mayor Terry Counselman about the problem, our conversation obviously found its way toward money.

Email newsletter signup

That got me to thinking &045;&045; and to picking up the phone. I called State Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma. While Sanders doesn’t spend much time over in these parts, this is a part of his district. Through the sketchy lines of bureaucratic nonsense, Sanders’ Marengo County district roughly includes the eastern part of the county.

He answered yes.

He answered no.

I began with a litany of needs that area has &045;&045; most importantly, a sewerage system. Eventually, I made it to the mosquito problem.

In my opinion, that’s just down-right ridiculous. Not even an hour’s drive away, we have one of &045;&045; it not the most &045;&045; powerful state senators in Alabama. Sanders chairs the committee that has most of the money in this state, and he’s never been accused of not being able to dole out a buck or two.

Just the fact that we don’t take advantage of Sanders’ position is baffling enough. But knowing that we don’t call him when we need something is even more confusing.

While we were on the subject, I decided to ask Sanders another question. I told him about my recent talk with that group of business people, and I told him about the question I had been asked.

That may sound like an excuse, but I don’t believe it is. If you asked State Sen. Charles Steele, or State Reps. Lucius Black, Bobby Singleton or Thomas Jackson, I imagine they’d all say the same thing. They probably don’t get many invitations to speak in Demopolis.

We have a good reputation around here of griping about our state delegation. To be honest, I’m usually one of the first people to fuss about those elected officials who are "supposed" to represent Demopolis. I can’t understand why this city has the biggest population base of any other city or town in Marengo County and still can’t get a lick of attention from our state delegation.

The answer may be pretty simple: We don’t ask.

Let’s make it abundantly clear, though, that our elected officials should do a better job of taking an initiative to come speak here. If you don’t agree with that, watch what happens in the next two months.

Most of the legislative delegation that represents Marengo County supports Gov. Bob Riley’s tax plan. I assume many of them will hit the highways and do their best to get this tax increase passed. When that happens, I also assume they’ll visit Demopolis.

(In other words, when they need something, they’ll probably come calling.)

The same is true for election time. Don’t you think that when Sanders or Steele or any of them need a few thousand votes, they’ll decide to stump in the city square? Again, if they need something, they’ll show up.

On Monday night, a representative from U.S. Rep. Artur Davis’ office will attend a public meeting in Thomaston concerning the mosquito problem. Having Davis look out for this area is great, but the impact a federal politician can have on such a local problem is next-to-nothing.

The people who can immediately help our area &045;&045; whether the problems are mosquitoes or mouse traps &045;&045; are members of our state legislative delegation.

We ought to call and ask them to come see us some time.