Elected and business leaders from Mobile and Baldwin counties traveled to Washington, D.C. September 17-18, 2019 to showcase collaborative efforts across the Coastal Alabama region. Coordinated by Coastal Alabama Partnership (CAP), the trip brings together elected leadership from both sides of Mobile Bay to meet federal legislators and department members regarding issues of concern to Coastal Alabama.
Those in attendance included Mayor Jeff Collier of Dauphin Island, Mayor Howard Rubenstein of Saraland, Representative Matt Simpson, Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson, Baldwin County Commissioners Joe Davis, Billie Jo Underwood and Jeb Ball, Councilman Henry Barnes of Bayou la Batre, City Administrator Mike Thompson of Foley, Casey Gay Williams, CEO of Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, Nick Lawkis with University of South Alabama and Wiley Blankenship and Andrew Levert of Coastal Alabama Partnership.
The primary goal of the trip to Washington was to meet with national leaders, receive briefings and discuss topics of significance to our region. “Topics like internships, job creation, environmental projects and grant projects made this a very good trip. In addition, it allowed all of us the opportunity to get to know each other and realize that we a large, diverse team that is all about making coastal Alabama a true partnership,” said Baldwin County Commissioner Joe Davis.
While in Washington, the group met with a diverse group of leadership, including United States Senator Richard Shelby to get an update on the Mobile Channel project and funding for Brookley Field, Senator Doug Jones on increasing GOMESA revenues and a federal infrastructure legislation, Congressman Bradley Byrne on NFIP and workforce development, representatives from U.S. Department of Labor on apprenticeships, employment, and training programs, FEMA on their new flood mapping system Risk Rating 2.0, and The White House on tariffs and opportunity zones. The group also met at the Airbus Experience Center for a briefing on the potential impact of tariffs on our economy.
“Our bi-county delegation of officials met with Alabama’s U.S. Senators and our Congressman as well as key administrative staff and White House policy advisors on a number of pertinent issues affecting our region. Discussions, which included FEMA’s new flood mapping system, workforce development and trade tariffs were especially informative,” said Commissioner Connie Hudson.
Representative Matt Simpson said, “It was a great opportunity for our group to be able to voice our concerns to the administration on how the tariffs could negatively impact our area by affecting both current and potential future projects.”
“The conversations and briefings we received from Airbus and others were very alarming. The potential negative impacts to our region are concerning,” said Wiley Blankenship, President/CEO of Coastal Alabama Partnership.