Davis targets out-of-wedlock births

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2003

A picture of a house, contemporary in style and artistic in design, sits atop a note of appreciation and thanks, bordered by a wooden frame.

The significance of the house is touching, and far removed from many people’s reality. A young child is impressed with the efforts of an organization’s efforts to help his mother from a domestic violence situation. The child drew the house because it has been the only place he can sleep without having nightmares.

The Harriet House, a domestic violence shelter, presented Congressman Artur Davis with the plaque Monday night at the conclusion of a town hall meeting. It was a token of their appreciation for his efforts to install laws that would aid those in domestic violence situations.

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At the town meeting, Davis expressed his concern for welfare reform, along with the family option plan and marriage promotion incentives.

The state of Alabama has been working on welfare reform since 1986. This year they have reauthorized the next life of welfare in this state. Davis is pressing for additional child provider fees for working mothers in low-income situations. His objective for any welfare reform is that women maintaining "responsible conduct" should be offered the advantages of proper work training and aid in childcare.

He expressed dissent for states that are implementing marriage incentives laws. He is a supporter of the institution of marriage, however he believes the answer is not in "allowing welfare laws and family laws to decide our marriage laws." He believes the culprit in children being born out of wedlock, or lack of respect for the marriage vow, is the family. He believes it’s the family’s responsibility to support social conduct. Parents and teachers should teach children "responsible social behavior," he said.

On Monday, Davis spent part of his day attending a health fair. He also hosted a town hall meeting in Linden later that evening. Below are some of the topics he addressed:

Veterans’ Rights

Davis recently signed a petition to offer better benefits for veterans and their families.

He recollects the first Gulf War left many men and their families displaced. Widows and the children of fallen heroes were forced to endure with close to nothing. "The veteran’s benefits are embarrassingly small."

He also acknowledges the need for physical and mental treatments for returning soldiers. It is important to understand the ramifications for war is emotional distress and guilt. He hopes to see better mental health treatments for soldiers who express distress due to wartime participation. He doesn’t want Iraqi-Freedom soldiers to come home in dire need of proper healthcare.

Men and women will be making a transition into our society upon arrival home, and Davis encouraged educational incentives to promote higher education and job training.

Education Funding

The Montgomery education cuts shortchanged people of their services.

Davis said the programs that were affected by the cuts, like a program that provide blood transfusions for children with sickle cell anemia, are poor cuts. One county lost a mental disability center for school aged children, just to name a few.

Davis pointed out that those who are damaged the most are smaller counties, like Wilcox, Perry and Marengo. Since most funding for schools comes from property taxes, the tax bases in those counties are considerably smaller, thus causing schools in this region to lose out.

Comparatively, cities like Huntsville and Mobile will not face such a high and detrimental cut.

To Davis, the education system is "based on inequality" and a set of two systems… "rich and poor."