Ala. lieutenant governor lauds bills that help state's military
The Dothan (Ala.) Eagle
Alabama’s business-friendly climate may not only help the state when it comes to job creation, but it could save the state’s military bases as well, according to Alabama’s lieutenant governor.
Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday that military-friendly and business-friendly often coincide, and lauded two bills passed during the most recent Alabama legislative session sponsored by two local legislators. She said military-friendliness is expected to be one of the criteria considered during the next round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) – the process by which the Pentagon streamlines the military through reallocating missions and troops from one base to another and, in some cases, closing bases altogether.
One bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan, allows military members and veterans to receive academic and professional licensure credit for relevant skills acquired in the military. Another bill sponsored by Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, extends in-state tuition fees for active service members, their spouses, and dependents located in Alabama under orders.
“BRAC is going to come at some point,” Ivey said Thursday after addressing the Houston County Republican Women’s Club in Dothan. “When you look at these bills that allow for our military to get credit and professional licensing, and for them to have opportunities in higher education, and when you look at Alabama has a right-to-work state, people want to come where they are welcome.”
The last round of BRAC occurred in 2005. The Army recommended adding a mission to Fort Rucker, which would have resulted in the addition of troops and infrastructure. However, an independent BRAC Commission overturned the recommendation, citing a math error, and determining that the military would not save money in the long run by the move.
It is unclear when the next round of BRAC may occur. Some believe it could occur in 2015 or 2016. The City of Dothan and surrounding municipalities have donated money to the advocacy group Friends of Fort Rucker to engage a consultant in order to protect Fort Rucker’s missions and to seek missions from other bases. The State of Alabama has engaged Antony J. Principi as a consultant for the next round of BRAC. Principi served as chairman of the BRAC Commission in 2005.
Ivey told the Women’s Club on Thursday that unemployment is down and jobs are being created across Alabama in part due to a unified Legislature.
“I think Washington could take some notes from the Alabama playbook,” Ivey said.
Ivey also encouraged women to seek elected office.
“Think about it and pursue ahead. Get in line. Get ready to go,” Ivey said.