(Gulf Coast News Today) — February has seen U.S. Senator Doug Jones crisscrossing Alabama and hosting Black History Month events and senior town halls in an effort to “get back to business” Jones said.
The senator told Gulf Coast Media it was difficult to schedule events during the impeachment trial and now that it has ended his staff is on the road and back to working on issues impacting Alabama residents in their homes.
As a member of the Committee on Armed Services, Jones said senators will be meeting with U.S. military commanders stationed around the globe to discuss future needs.
“We are looking at the future and what we need for our budget to modernize our military and fend off enemies on land, sea, air and space,” Jones said. “There is a lot going on and we will hit the ground running.”
Jones said local fears and rumors that local military shipbuilder, Austal USA will eventually close are unfounded.
The Mobile-based military contractor which employs thousands of Baldwin and Mobile county residents, delivered its 11th Littoral Combat Ship to the U.S. Navy this month.
“Austal does an amazing job of bringing ships in on budget and on time,” Jones said. “That’s the kind of government contractors you want and my goal is to make sure we don’t lose them as a contractor.”
Jones stressed that the contractor’s work is important to the state’s economy and national security.
Jones said his staff is also working toward helping fishermen balance profit and maintaining red snapper populations with legislation that will push for electronic log books and new methods to insure small fish are returned to the water alive.
“We have so many fish we loose and the fishermen are in favor of things like this to help maintain the population,” Jones said.
Earlier this week, Jones also spoke about the possibility of coronavirus patients being transported and housed at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Ala.
Over the weekend officials told his staff that Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for the virus might be transported to Alabama for recovery. The CDP is one of a number of contingency sites, and at this time, the multi-agency plan anticipates using other sites first.
“It is my understanding that this information is being provided to officials in Anniston, and the folks at the CDP have been told that if their facility is needed in the future, adequate notice and details will be provided. I urge the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Centers for Disease Control to do all they can to provide the best care possible for those who must endure quarantine and those who are suffering from this virus,” Jones said.
“My first priority is to protect the people of Alabama, and I have utmost confidence that, if called upon, the unmatched professionals at the CDP will rise to the occasion. I urge the Administration to continue to keep Congress and the American people informed about their response to this virus and their efforts to prevent any further infections in the United States. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation with hope and compassion for all affected,” he said.
(Allison Marlow, Gulf Coast News Today)