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U.S. Rep. Davis addresses Civitan

DEMOPOLIS — Just after announcing plans to run for governor in 2010, Rep. Artur Davis was in Marengo County Thursday, but his comments were all focused on growth in the Black Belt.

Hosted by Demopolis Civitan, Davis spoke to a crowd of community members about challenges facing the region and what can be done to put the Black Belt on par with the rest of the state and the nation.

“We have so much opportunity and so much we can do in this region,” Davis said,

One statistic Davis shared with the crowd was about the region’s unemployment rates. While the state average is lower than the national average — 4.1 percent versus 6 percent, respectively — the Black Belt region of the state has consistently higher unemployment than the rest of the state.

Another point Davis made had to do with education. While he did point out the positive performance of Marengo County schools, Davis said school districts even in neighboring counties are simply too under-funded to do well. Something that can be done for this is by motivating students to come back and get good educations.

“We are simply not putting as many players on the field as we should,” Davis said.

Annye Braxton, of Braxton Senior Adult Daycare in Demopolis, asked the congressmen about rising gas prices and what could be done.

Davis responded by saying congress could do nothing consistent with the practices of the free-market economy to lower prices in the long term. But for more long-term solutions, Davis said he was in favor of domestic drilling.

Although that was not the answer she had hoped, Braxton said she respected the congressman’s position.

“I think those are comments all of us can adhere to. Those are things that need to be said, I just wish there were more people here to have heard them,” she said.

Mark Jones, governor-elect of the central district of Civitan International, was also at the meeting. Jones said the Demopolis club has made huge accomplishments in just a short time, adding that Davis’s presence spoke volumes about the club itself.

“I think his comments were very interesting,” Jones said. “I think it was appropriate for the holiday and the venue.”