What is it like to be in the Alabama Senate?

Readers Write

When I first started thinking about running for the state senate back in early
2014, I had little knowledge of the course the journey would take. My years as a
public school teacher and coach had been fulfilling, as is my current work as a

I had little knowledge of the course the journey 2014, as public school teacher and coach had been as is my current work a fulfilling, realtor. direction of our country the past

Like many of you, I was concerned about the direction of our country the past
few years, the attacks on our conservative, Judeo-Christian values in Alabama, and
regulations that hurt economic growth. After several conversations with my wife,
Paige, and other family members and friends, I decided to run for office. It was a
great honor to be elected to represent District 17 in the Alabama Senate.

Being a new senator, there was a certain learning curve to master. My first few
weeks were spent learning about complex rules for procedure on the Senate
floor, reading material on the grim state of the general fund budget, and meeting
with constituents to hear about their support or concerns on various legislation.

The legislature passes laws every week that will impact the lives of Alabamians, in
ways large and small, and I was determined to do my best to put the interests of
Alabama families first by supporting conservative legislation that will move our
state forward.

I joined other Senate Republicans to establish an agenda called “Paving a Path
for the Future,” with a focus on fostering job growth, reforming education, and
protecting taxpayer dollars. I believe we have made great progress on every

To spur job growth, the Senate passed the Alabama Jobs Act, which provides
economic incentives to companies that create new jobs in the state. A companion
bill, the Veterans and Rural Jobs Act, provides additional incentives and tax
credits to companies that create new jobs in rural counties and for companies
that hire veterans. These incentives will encourage our existing businesses to
expand by building new factories and job sites, and help us attract new businesses.

With the School Choice and Student Opportunity Act, Alabama joined fortytwo
other states that have already implemented charter schools. Giving parents
and students another education option is the responsible thing to do – a zip
code should not determine a family’s education choices. The Senate also unanimously
passed next year’s education budget, which increases funding for voluntary
pre-k and textbooks. This budget is fiscally responsible and will avoid proration.

The Mandatory Tax Expenditure Report will require the Legislative Fiscal Office
to produce an annual report for the legislators and the public to show every
credit, exemption, economic incentive, and deduction used. The Prison Reform
bill will prevent a federal takeover of Alabama’s prisons, and will help solve the
problem of overcrowding in our prisons by instituting smart sentencing reform.
These two bills should save taxpayers millions of dollars.

On a personal level, I have sponsored and co-sponsored legislation this session
regarding term limits; the rights to carry firearms; prohibiting nepotism; guaranteeing
grandparent rights; and mandatory sentences for repeat offenders.
Please contact me if there is anything I can do to help you. It is an honor to
serve as your state senator.

Shay Shelnutt, District 17
Twitter: @shelnutt417