Will you protect the Forever Wild Land Trust?
Absolutely. Access to protected public lands is essential for future generations to see, touch, and understand the value of our natural world so that they then can become advocates for its protection.
Will you publicly oppose any bills that threaten the Forever Wild Land Trust?
I certainly will.
In order to protect our freshwater resources, do you support the completion of a comprehensive water plan for Alabama?
I think it borders on criminal that we do not currently have one in place. Not only does our lack of a comprehensive water management plan leave our precious water resources vulnerable to quantity and quality threats, but it leaves our state vulnerable in any legal proceedings concerning our water rights.
What is your vision for how oil spill dollars can be utilized to restore coastal Alabama?
Sadly, far too much of the oil spill money was spent plugging holes in our state’s general fund budget. That money should have been used for beach and estuary restoration projects, beachfront public access projects, clean economic development initiatives, and to promote tourism in the area. Additionally, I would not have taken an early pay-out, robbing Alabama citizens of revenue that could have been used to help our state, our people, and future generations.
Will you support legislation that would increase Alabamians’ ability to choose solar energy for their homes and businesses?
Yes. I think it is wrong for our state to discourage individuals from participating in green energy production, and current regulations are hindering development, they are anti-competition, anti-free market, and stifle new industry development. I will use all of the influence of the governor’s office to discourage corporations from using their power and influence to stifle expansion of solar and other green energy production technologies.
What do you think are the most important conservation issues in Alabama right now?
Its been mentioned, but a critical first step is ensuring we have a comprehensive state water management plan. I believe that access to clean water is fundamental for healthy children and families, and Alabama’s incredibly abundant water resources are under assault. 31 counties have childhood lead toxicity on par with or greater than that of Flint, MI. We have communities from the Tennessee Valley to the Mobile Bay that are spewing raw sewage into our rivers and streams. We must address these issues and while communities are ultimately responsible, the state has a critical role to play in addressing these environmental justice issues.
In your opinion, what is the governor’s role in supporting conservation in Alabama?
The governor has two primary roles to play with regard to conservation. First and foremost, the governor has a responsibility to publicly address environmental issues and educate the public about the risks associated with negligent pollution of our natural world. Secondly, the governor has a responsibility to ensure that environmental voices are represented on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission.
Please describe any experience you have with Alabama’s natural environment or with conservation.
Growing up in rural Conecuh County, I was never far from our natural world. I felt even closer when I would travel to my family’s cottage on Bay La Launch. I can remember a time when there were no pelicans, no turns, and no osprey. Thank goodness for The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, and others. Since their passage these birds and more have returned in record numbers. I received the Judicial Award of Merit from the Alabama Wildlife Federation, and I have always been committed to ensuring public access to Alabama’s natural wonders. I look forward to taking this lifelong commitment to our environment with me to the governor’s office.