Davis: ‘an embarrassment

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Congressman Artur Davis responded strongly Monday to criticism of his first term from state Rep. Bobby Singleton.

Singleton supports Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner Jr. in his bid to unseat Davis in the Seventh Congressional District.

When asked when he would announce for re-election, Davis said he has been running for two years through the work his has accomplished in his first term.

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“We’ve been doing the job in this district for the last two years,” Davis said. “We feel very good about the voters. You’ll see some politicians out there, the Bobby Singletons, the Charles Steeles, who were strong supporters for Earl Hilliard two years ago. (They) will be strong supporters of Albert Turner and would be strong supporters of Daffy Duck if he ran. The reality is that crowd was defeated soundly in county after county. The counties that we lost in — Hale, Perry and Wilcox — we will certainly be making a concerted effort to win those counties this time.

“Bobby Singleton is a politician who I think has some potential,” Davis said, “but he will squander that potential if he links himself to a discredited politician like Albert Turner. I think Albert Turner’s been an embarrassment to the Black Belt. The sexual harassment at ADECA, the violence against women, the allegations of bribery, efforts to fix tickets — anyone of those things you might just view as an aspect of someone’s past. The totality of it is frankly an embarrassment to himself and the region.

“Any political figure who follows a discredited politician is ultimately undermining his own prospects.

“You have some people out there whose idea of a congressman is someone they can control,” Davis said. “They certainly won’t have that with me.

“Someone would have to be asleep the past two years to have not seen the things that we have done in this region. Forty-five million dollars in federal resources came into this district, and that is only through the Omnibus appropriation process. (There were) joint partnerships between myself and other house offices and U.S. Senate delegations.

“That doesn’t count the equally large amount of money that’s come in through grants,” he said. “We had $800,000 worth of grants that came in for volunteer fire departments.

“When we talk about jobs, evidently some people must have missed the fact that two-tier suppliers have come into Selma. One of the major reasons they’re coming is because we were able to get $350,000 to expand the runway at Craig Field. If that’s not promoting jobs and economic development, I don’t know what is.

“This district and this region are moving in a good direction because for the first time we have leadership in the congressional office,” Davis said.

Responding to Turner’s claims that he was born in the Black Belt and understands its problems better, Davis said, “What if people in Birmingham were to say we only want a congressman from Birmingham? What if people from Marengo County would say we don’t want Bobby Singleton because he’s not from Marengo County? That’s silliness. We’ve provided the most effective representation that Black Belt has ever had … and that will only get stronger.

“When you don’t have a political argument to make, you have say ‘resources haven’t come into the district.’ What about $75,000 for the Uniontown Middle School?” Davis said he can show how attention and resources have been spent on all the counties of the Seventh District. “People see the work that we’ve done, the tangible things that we have done.”