No answers given, but the hope is there

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2004

Governor Bob Riley addressed the assembled dignitaries, business owners, workers and citizens of Andalusia at Tuesday night's Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

It was expected Riley would offer his suggestions for the upcoming legislative session. It was expected he would use this opportunity to give a preliminary State of the State address - a dry run if you will.

What attendees got was a rehashing of his Amendment 1 speech from his visit last summer to Andalusia.

And while Governor Riley didn't have any specific amendment to push, or apocalyptic message on the state of finances in Alabama; he didn't have any answers either.

What he did have was an optimistic outlook for the upcoming legislative session.

A belief that the legislature will tackle some tough issues this year. Not because they want, but out of necessity.

The governor said the state's spending has become more controlled and that it continues to be brought even further under control and accounted for.

Beyond accountability, he said the legislature will have the tough topics of health care and school funding to tackle - omitting any references to the chatter around the state regarding a lottery or legalized casinos.

He didn't offer any solution, just the topic.

But, we're not entirely surprised. We were a little disappointed - but not surprised.

We know the governor cannot dictate every answer to the legislature, he can only offer suggestions and "strong encouragement."

We know it's up to the legislature to take his suggestions and develop their own. It's their responsibility to work in together for the betterment of Alabama.

It is their job - their elected duty - to find the solutions to our problems and put those solutions into working order.

It is also their job to take the governor's recommendations and find the compromise that will work best for all the citizens of Alabama.

We believe Governor Riley when he says he wants what is best for Alabama. We believe he has some good ideas, and we would have liked to have heard some Tuesday.

We also believe that given a willing and ego-less legislature, his solutions, along with the solutions of the legislature can go a long way towards resolving Alabama's problems.

The question is, can some of the senators and representatives put their own ego aside - along with the governor and lieutenant governor - long enough to find the solution?