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Madison Co. locals bring concerns to lawmakers

From violence to veterans' needs, a lot of ground was covered Monday night at the Madison County Legislative Delegation Public Forum.
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From violence to veterans’ needs, a lot of ground was covered Monday night at the Madison County Legislative Delegation Public Forum.

It was a packed house and the issues brought up were very diverse. Most of the people who spoke are directly affected by the issues they listed. They’re ready for change and the lawmakers were listening.

“I’ve come to speak about the crime rate not only in our city but across the state,” said Donna Howell.

Howell and Dwight Townsend are both at the city hall because they had children who were murdered.

“I come as a parent that’s seen this community going downhill,” said Townsend.

Now they’re taking action, bringing statistics and suggestions to their lawmakers.

“There’s a lot of young kids killing kids in our city,” Howell continued. “So our community needs to become more cohesive and have more resources out there for single parents, for the kids to keep the kids off the street.”

The legislators were all ears.

“Let them know that we’re still here,” said Jody Perkins. “That we want this amendment passed.”

Perkins also came as a parent and knows the power of changing a law. Her son Robert has benefited from Leni’s Law, which decriminalizes a product that comes from cannabis for people with medical conditions. 

Now she’s fighting for an amendment to it.

“The last five months of 2015 he had 50,000 seizures,” Perkins said. “In 2016 and 2017 he had less than 3,000 seizures each year and that was on cannabis oil containing THC with three percent.”

When asked to give an example of something the public brought to lawmakers’ attention and then lawmakers took action on, the House minority leader brought up Carly’s Law which came before Leni’s.

Since the legislative session has already started, he says some of the issues heard Monday night are being dealt with. He lists some others.

“Making certain that we’re funding Medicaid, education,” said Anthony Daniels. “Hopefully this year we’ll finally get the chance to look at increasing our educator’s salaries.”

If you missed the meeting, Daniels says lawmakers check their emails and he encourages you to talk to your legislators to make sure they know the issues in your community.