Roby: We need compromise

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Conner Livings and Catherine Tran talk to Rep. Martha Roby, right, on Tuesday.

Congresswoman Martha Roby’s message Tuesday to Straughn High School students could apply to the nation heading into the Nov. 6 General Election – “Go vote.”

Roby, who addressed the school’s student body, explained why she ran for Congress, about her day-to-day experiences and why each vote is important.

An eight-student panel gave Roby questions ranging from her opinion on tax reform and how to protest federal mandates on student lunches to how she spent her free time and why gas prices fluctuate so much.

One student asked how the power of the nation couldbe returned to the people.

Roby offered this advice not only to students looking to inspire changes in legislation, but also to voters who wanted to impact the nation’s political landscape.

“A lot of people feel the way you do,” Roby said. “But when it comes time to do something about it, to change things, they don’t show up to vote.

“Voting is the most important right,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who you vote for. It doesn’t matter if you vote for someone because you like the way they look or whatever reason, although I’d love for you to be an informed voter. What matters is that you go vote.

“We, as Americans, have a responsibility to do what we can to exercise that right,” she said.

Roby said, “to straighten out Washington” it will take “pragmatism and extending an arm across the aisle.”

“Politics, like all things in life, is relationship-driven,” she said. “And comprise is key. We compromise in our relationships every day. It takes leadership, but it can’t be done without core values.”

Roby said as a Congressional representative, it’s her job to “be available, accountable and to listen to you so I can vote your interest.”

She encouraged the group’s seniors to keep their options open.

“You seniors are in a position to make your first decision on your own,” she said. “It’s been described as a crossroad, and that’s what it is.”

She told the group she attended music college in New York City, but returned to Montgomery to attend law school so that she could pursue her dream of a career in the music industry.

“But I came home to Montgomery and attended my brother’s high school graduation,” she said. “The speaker said that we were brought up in Alabama, and that we’d gotten opportunities in Alabama. He said that we owed it to Alabama, to give back to the state that had given so much to us. It really struck a nerve.”

She said that speech helped her realize a desire to serve on the city council and to later seek the Second Congressional District seat.

“Remember, it’s great to set goals,” she told the students. “But keep your eyes open because you never know when you will be called to serve.”