HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – According to a recent study performed by the non-profit Alabama Possible, more than 900,000 Alabamians live in poverty. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said changing that stat isn’t going to happen overnight. “It’s a long-term process of getting your education system to where it produces year, after year, after year. We need a system where students come out productive and career ready,” Mayor Battle explained.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said municipalities originally weren’t involved in the issue of poverty, but that’s changed. “All of our cities have these certain initiatives targeting and reducing the amount of poverty. To me that`s what is exciting about what is happening in local governments across Alabama. Instead of making excuses, we`re stepping up to the plate with real solutions,” Mayor Maddox said.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said the courts should quit penalizing poverty. “When you look at what happens in municipal court systems all across the United States people have been penalized, because they couldn`t pay tickets and they were incarcerated,” Mayor Stimpson explained.
Mayor Stimpson said when you put someone in jail they end up losing their job, which continues the poverty cycle.
“What we do whether by intention or not is we penalize those who are poor unfairly through the criminal justice system, and that is now being addressed,” Mayor Maddox explained.
Mayor Maddox believes over the next 15 years there will be policy decisions in place to change Alabama for the better.