By Ashley Johnson
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) is traveling throughout her district for the Congress in Your Community Program, designed to give updates about what is happening on Capitol Hill and hear from her constituents what their concerns are.
But for Sewell, Monday's presentation at Selma's City Hall was more like a "Congress in Her Community" as the Selma native returned home for the town hall meeting.
During the presentation, Sewell explained her position on national issues like immigration, gun rights, sequestration and the national debt. More importantly, she addressed relevant issues to those in town like what she is doing to create jobs in Dallas County, help black farmers and working with officials to get the Alabama River dredged.
"I want you to know that from day one we have been actively involved in trying to make sure that we keep the jobs at American Apparel," Sewell said about her work to maintain a contract the Selma-based industry had with the Defensive Logistic Agency, which was later lost to an Alaskan company.
The crowd nearly filling the council chambers erupted in applause when Sewell stated her support for dredging the Alabama River. She explained her involvement in negotiations with the Army Corps of Engineers to operate on a different schedule rather than, "a total close down" of the river. This, she said, is part of infrastructure improvements -- something she said goes beyond roads and bridges but includes water and sewers too.
"The Alabama River is a wonderful resource, infrastructure resource, that we have in the Black Belt," Sewell said. "The fact that we don't dredge it, but we only dredge the Tombigbee -- we have got to stop that."
Sewell also talked about infrastructure improvements such as the sewers in Uniontown in which she helped get $3.5 million in grants because, she said, she knows industries need better sewer and water systems to want to locate to the area.
Selma was one of the last stops for the Congress in Your Community program and other stops throughout March included towns like Butler, Thomasville and Camden.