Sewell holds Hayneville Town Hall

Published 1:53 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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Rep. Terri Sewell met with Lowndes County community leaders Monday, stopping in Hayneville as part of her Congress in Community tour to share information and answer questions on issues facing residents of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District.

Hayneville Mayor Jimmie Davis hosted Sewell’s town hall meeting and press conference at Hayneville’s City Hall and partnered with Lowndes County Commissioner Robert Harris and Beulah Primitive Baptist Church Pastor Tom Gardner to welcome Sewell and open the meeting.

Davis said Sewell’s visit was important to residents and local officials alike.

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“This opportunity is good for the community,” Davis said. “It means a great deal to our constituents, to know who is fighting for them and doing things for the community.”

Harris, who introduced Sewell to the audience, pointed out the hard work Sewell accomplishes for the residents of the district.

“Congresswoman Sewell needs no introduction because she’s been around here for a while,” Harriss said. “She has been here many, many times. I believe that she is a God-fearing person. I believe she’s a hard worker.”

Sewell provided attendees with a 2023 annual report, outlining her work in 2022.

“Our job is to help our constituents,” Sewell said. “We help with social security benefit denials; we do case work as well. Our annual report is a summation of all the things that are going on.”

The report showed Sewell helped orchestrate the award of more than 3,000 federal grants, totaling $1.14 billion 7th District organizations. In addition, her efforts yielded over $3.25 million in favorable benefit awards to constituents.

“Our guide to grants is a subscription-based email, going out to around 25,000 people,” she explained. “I believe knowledge is power. The more you know, the better you can do.”

The congresswoman talked about her work in Washington. Recently she voted to avert a government shutdown by shifting the budget for passing a national budget to Jan. 17, 2024. She spoke about bipartisan efforts to pass bills, like the Farm Bill and the National Defense Authorization Bill, as well as work on behalf of constituents to pass appropriations for projects within the district.

Our appropriation time is January to April,” Sewell said. “That’s when we need you to be talking to my staff. We’re looking for shovel ready projects, so we want you to submit the best projects that are ready to go if we give them ‘X’ amount of money.”

Laura James-Hunter, family and community partnerships manager for Lowndes County Head Start was on hand to request an update for future funding of the program. As an organization helping local families, Hunter said Head Start relies on the efforts of lawmakers representing the interests of the area. As a resident of Lowndes County, Hunter also noted her ability to hear from and ask questions of Sewell is vital.

“[Sewell] makes herself accessible all over the county,” Hunter said. “I’ve been to town hall [meetings] she’s conducted in Fort Deposit, White Hall and Hayneville. It’s up to individuals to go ahead and come out. She’s just so personable.”

Evelyn Causey, president and CEO of Hayneville Telephone Company, came out to hear from Sewell on broadband funding and to communicate what the local service provider is doing to get reliable, affordable broadband to Lowndes County residents.

“It means the world to us that she comes here,” Causey said. “Being in a rural county like we are and having her come visit, getting the opportunity to speak with her and ask questions is vital. We can give her an update so that she has an understanding of where we are in our county and the challenges we have here. She can take that back to Washington. I think [her visit] shows she has an interest in connecting with constituents and the business sector. She has been really good to us, sponsoring and supporting our efforts to improve internet.”

Sewell discussed the Supreme Court’s recent decision to adopt a congressional districting map which removes Montgomery from the district, highlighting the importance of establishing equal voting rights for Alabama’s Black voters. While understandably regretful about the loss of one district county, Sewell said she remains honored and committed to represent her constituents.

“I am very privileged to and honored to represent you in Congress,” Sewell said. “It is an honor, but it’s also a huge responsibility, because everybody I love lives in my district.”