The most productive, innovative people I know are entrepreneurs who have had the courage to turn an idea in to a business that makes their community better, grows jobs and truly stands at the heart of America. The future of our state is in supporting the growth of small and mid-sized businesses that care about the place they are formed and the people they employ. For these businesses, we need to streamline regulations and reduce the impediments to their success.
Education is the key
One of the most substantial things we can do to promote success is to assure that our educational system produces graduates that are skilled and provides life-long training as the needs of employers and careers change. Providing a quality education to children in both the poorest school systems to the wealthiest is the key to a long term thriving economy.
While our economy has recovered from the depths of the Great Recession, it has not done so equally and not for all. Americans should all have a place in this economy -- and tax breaks or loopholes for the very rich hurt lower and moderate income families. They hurt especially hard in Alabama. It is unconscionable to talk about lowering taxes on the rich while cutting funding for education, nutrition, childcare, housing and infrastructure that are the very things that empower people to meaningfully participate in our economy and our democracy.
When Franklin Roosevelt proposed the New Deal, much of our state was in abject poverty, without even electricity or clean water. Surely, we cannot forget that the prosperity many now know was spurred by the ability of the US Government to promote a better life in our state just a generation or two ago.
Washington can make us cynical about our willingness and ability to help one another succeed -- to see our children do better than we did. I believe there is still a place for us to work together to ensure wider economic prosperity.
A Living Wage
So many people in our state work multiple jobs with long hours and still can't make ends meet. It is past time that our minimum wage should be a living wage. Supporting both the innovation of small business and the ability of all working Alabamians to make a living wage are ideas that flow together -- and both will be priorities for me in the US Senate.