Representative Todd’s Vision

For years I have grown increasingly disgusted with politics in Alabama. I have witnessed first hand the growing disconnect between laws that are enacted and the kind of good public policy that is needed. I believe that those who have been marginalized and those with little to no income desperately need to be heard in our capitol. It was out of this growing frustration that I made the decision that in order to get something done, in order to craft good public policy and to give voice to those who too often had been devalued, I would need a seat at the table.

Mahatma Ghandi told us to “be the change you want to see in the world.” I cannot sit idly by as policies are brokered in back rooms at the same time as so many living in neighborhoods throughout District 54 subsist on little food in inadequate housing while living amidst a rampant culture that perpetuates drugs and violence. I believe change is possible and I know I can contribute to this possibility in some small way.

Change takes time; in my first session in the Alabama Legislature I was appalled that the first piece of legislation would have us vote ourselves a 62% pay raise, and despite voting against such a bill, it nevertheless passed. But that was an important vote in that it symbolized the importance of representing the change I so fervently believe in and for whom all my efforts are directed. Indeed it is a long, slow journey, but it is one we must take together, holding ourselves and each other accountable for the moral and economic obligations upon which our policies come to rest.

I believe we can restore hope and dignity to each Alabamian, doing so together as we build strong safe neighborhoods, and strong healthy families.

Poverty Task Force

During the 2007 Legislative Session Representative Todd sponsored a bill to create a Poverty Task Force (HJR320) to work toward identifying and assessing conditions which create or worsen poverty throughout Alabama and to develop and propose public policy initiatives to reduce and eliminate those conditions.  Despite having passed in the House, the bill unfortunately never even came up for a vote in the Senate as that body remained wholly inactive for the better part of its 2007 Session.

Recognizing the importance of this legislation, however, House Speaker Seth Hammett took the initiative to create a House Poverty Task Force in September and charged it with developing public policy initiatives to address and abate poverty in Alabama and named Representative Todd as its Chair.

Poverty Task Force membership consists of: 

  • The Hon. Patricia Todd, Chair
  • The Hon. Mike Ball, Co-Chair
  • The Hon. James Buskey
  • Richard Dorrough (Children’s Affairs)
  • Kimble Forrister (Alabama Arise)
  • Nick Foster (Alabama Poverty Project)
  • The Hon. Victor Gaston
  • The Hon. Laura Hall
  • The Hon. Earl Hilliard
  • Bill Johnson (ADECA)
  • The Hon. John Knight
  • The Hon. A.J. McCampbell
  • Carol Steckel (Medicaid)
  • Walley Page (Dept. of Human Resources)

The Poverty Task Force held a series of public meetings in the fall of 2007 entertaining testimony from those in poverty, those who serve others in poverty and those who work to eradicate systemic conditions contributing to poverty.  The Task Force also formed four subcommittees focusing on human/social capital, housing and community development, education and workforce development and tax/regulatory concerns and invited members of the public to participate in these worksessions in the hopes of developing realistic legislative priorities in each of these areas for the coming legislative session.

The Poverty Task Force has issued its Final Report and will be introducing it to the Legislature during the beginning of the 2008 Legislative Session.

For more information on poverty in Alabama, Representative Todd recommends beginning your search with the Alabama Poverty Project and Alabama Arise.

Constitutional Reform

The Alabama State Constitution, dating from 1901, is this country’s longest, most amended state constitution that remains rife with racist language.

This Constitution provides for NO home rule; this means every time a municipality or county wants to amend their own laws governing themselves, the entire Alabama Legislature has to review and act upon it.  It’s as ridiculous as an Alabama town wanting to change a particular zoning district but being unable to do so because the Alabama Legislature has decided against it.

In addition, this antiquated document locks in property tax rates.  This favors big industry that holds much of the property in the state–those who are now responsible for very little in property taxes—while  placing an inordinate burden on communities to raise tax revenues in regressive ways including the use of steep sales taxes and occupation taxes.

The Alabama State Constitution in its current, amended form, cripples how we conduct business in Alabama and will continue to place a stranglehold on our ability to move progressively in building up those who are marginalized and prospering Alabama as a whole.

For more information or to get involved, contact Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform.

Join me in this work toward passing Constitutional Reform to ensure that we all move forward together.

Education

Perhaps one of the most critical issues we face as a community at this time is the state of our public education system.  With the reality of diminishing school enrollments and the correlating school closures, issues around what we can do in Birmingham reactively and proactively to this are critical.

  • Leadership  As a State Legislator, many municipal decisions around public education are beyond the purview and authority of one who serves as a State Representative. However, Representative Todd remains committed to using this opportunity to truly represent those in her District that stand to be negatively affected by the dramatic cuts and changes proposed for the Birmingham Public School System in the months ahead.  To this end, she has recently accepted a position on the Board of Education’s Budget and Finance Committee and looks forward to pushing for greater transparency and communication relative to the process by which the Board of Education assesses and moves toward decisions that will significantly impact the children of this District.
  • Funding  In addition to this leadership, Representative Todd has provided direct financial assistance to public education programs within District 54, awarding a number of Community Service Grants during the past year.  To date, Representative Todd has presented almost $50,000 to schools and organizations specifically benefiting public school students within House District 54.
School/Program Community Service Grants Awarded
Alabama School of Fine Arts                            $4,000
Wilkerson                            $4,000
Tuggle                            $4,000
Avondale                            $4,000
Hayes                            $10,600
Irondale                            $4,000
Woodlawn                            $10,600
Better Basics                            $3,000
BCRI                            $3,000
Total as of January 31, 2018 $47,200

Representative Todd will continue to lobby hard for progressive changes within, and funding for, the Birmingham Public School System in the coming legislative session.