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Demopolis hosts first legislative appreciation luncheon

The City of Demopolis hosted its first legislative appreciation luncheon on Friday at Rooster Hall. It was an event designed to bring in legislators from the state and national level and give them a chance to get to know city and county governmental workers in an informal setting.

State Rep. A.J. McCampbell (D-Demopolis) was on hand, as were Audrey Haskins representing U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Bea Forniss, the director of the governor’s resources for economic assistance programs of the Alabama Dept. of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

Also in attendance were Dr. Ken Tucker, Freddy Armistead and Jerry Lofton of the Marengo County Commission, Marengo County Probate Judge Cindy Neilson, Marengo County District Judge Wade Drinkard and Marengo County district attorney Greg Griggers. Several other civic and county leaders were on hand for the inaugural legislative luncheon.

“I think everything went well,” said Demopolis mayor Mike Grayson. “I think the attendance was good. I was a little disappointed that more of our legislative delegation was not able to attend, but certainly, we’re grateful that A.J. McCampbell was here. Hopefully, next year, we’ll have even more legislators here.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” McCampbell said. “It’s an opportunity for us to be in an informal setting, just to talk, just to do a little talking about some things. I even got some feelings about what’s important to the people in this area when it comes to what we are going to be doing in Montgomery, so I’m definitely taking that back with me. It was great food and great company.”

Demopolis City Council member Jack Cooley came up with the idea to invite legislators to an informal lunch to help them get to know the local civic and county leaders.

“I would hope that we could do this at least annually,” he said. “It was intended to be a relaxed atmosphere, not a sales pitch, so that these representative can put names with faces. I think the most important thing out of this entire meeting is that the city, county and our representatives have to work together. We have to, especially in the economic times that are on us now, and I’m afraid they’re going to get worse.

“If you’ve got five or 10 people to brainstorm to figure out ways to accomplish the same thing for the same or less money, it’s always better than with two or three, and I hope that’s what comes from this. Everyone seems to be saying they enjoyed it.”