Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Lawmakers set up delegation office to help constituents

    Yesterday, Tuscaloosa-area lawmakers announced they have set up a temporary delegation office to better assist their constituent’s needs following last Wednesday’s tornado.

    State Rep. Bill Poole, chairman of the Tuscaloosa delegation, said local legislators have been discussing setting up a Tuscaloosa legislative delegation office for a while, but with the tornadoes leaving so many homes and businesses devastated, the delegation felt they needed to go ahead and set something up immediately.

    “Now, more than ever, Tuscaloosa residents need to be able to contact their elected representatives and communicate their needs and concerns to us,” Poole said. “Having an office will help us be more responsive to the people’s needs and we will not be restrained by jurisdictional boundaries or political affiliations.”

    The office, located inside Partlow’s Wallace Training Facility, will be staffed by volunteers who will be able to help constituents with a variety of needs, including streamlining communications with all levels of governmental and non-governmental services.

    Poole said the delegation is still looking for volunteers, especially those with a background in government entities or legal experience, but all UA students and other volunteers are needed and welcomed as well.

    “We are hoping to help all of our constituents that were affected by the storm,” Poole said. “We can provide solutions for housing, financial assistance and establish communication with government members on a local, state or even federal basis. There is really not much limitation on who we can contact to ensure everyone’s problems are being taken care of.”

    State Rep. John Merrill said the main thing he wanted to get out about the delegation office is that it will hopefully be a one-stop shop to meet all of the constituents’ needs.

    “We wanted to start this so for our constituents,” Merrill said. If they try to contact members of the city or county and they can’t get in touch with anyone, can’t get what they need or the response is something that they did not want to hear, they can now contact us and we can hopefully provide them with a solution. In fact, if there is anyone with any need at any level who is not getting a response, we want to be here to meet their needs.”

    The delegation office includes state Reps. Richard Baughn, Allen Harper, John Merrill, Bill Poole and Chris England, as well as state Sens. Greg Reed, Gerald Allen and Bobby Singleton.

    Merrill said it was not important for callers to know who their state representative or senator was, as the office’s job is to take care of the caller’s needs.

    “There are no county or party lines anymore,” Merrill said. “Our job is to help the community.”

    Although the 2011 Regular Session resumed today for both state representatives and state senators, the office will remain open and run by both volunteers and the legislators themselves, as they will be traveling back and forth from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery.

    Constituents may contact the delegation office by phone at 205-462-4920 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday, or by email at [email protected].

    “We have a proud and resilient community, and our delegation will continue to work together to help those in need,” Poole said.


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