Covington County Grassroots Alliance to host Alabama Arise listening session

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Alabama Arise is partnering with the Covington County Grassroots Alliance to bring a listening session to Andalusia.

Southeast Alabama organizer Mike Nicholson is the presenter for the program.

“We call them listening sessions,” Nicholson said. “I basically give a brief presentation about some of the work we’ve been doing this year. Then we have an open forum so people in the community can have an open conversation about what different issues are important to them and suggestions on how our issues affect them.”

So far, Alabama Arise has had 10 listening sessions across the state, three of which Nicholson has conducted in the Southeast.

He said most of the sessions have some of the same issues being brought up.

“A lot of people are talking about the grocery tax,” Nicholson said. “We are big on repealing the grocery tax. So, we talk about that every year. We’ve had people voice their concerns about transportation and Medicaid expansion. That has been a pretty big topic. It’s not always outright support. A lot of times it’s just questions about Medicaid expansion because our organization is pushing pretty hard for expansion. We do see a lot of support for expanding it.”

The introduction presentation will be on Alabama Rise and what they do and Nicholson said he will present the issues at hand in the 2020 legislation.

“We are a non-profit, non-partisan group,” Nicholson said. “We work on state policies that impact low-income people. Like, repealing the grocery tax, expanding Medicaid and things like that. In the presentation, I’ll talk about what big things happened in the legislature. Then I will hopefully get feedback from the community about what we should bring up in our agenda.”

Alabama Arise has worked with the Covington County Grassroots Alliance before, which is why they wanted to have a listening session in Andalusia.

“The Covington County Grassroots Alliance is a wonderful partner of ours,” Nicholson said. “And I think Andalusia is a really great place to touch base with the Alabama people.”

Sherri Powell with the Covington County Grassroots Alliance said she is excited for Alabama Arise to hold the listening session.

“They seem to really have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in Alabama,” Powell said. “It is very important that we get these issues in the forefront so we can determine what will be in our next legislative session in 2020.

Powell said some of the issues she has heard around the county are about healthcare.

“I think most of the questions will be about Medicaid expansion,” Powell said. “I also would like to hear about healthcare, since we do have our own hospital here.”

Nicholson joined Arise as an organizer in 2018. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from the University of Montevallo and is working on a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Alabama.

The Covington County Grassroots Alliance is organized as a bi-partisan political organization for citizens of Covington County. Its purpose is to train and organize teams of volunteers to:

  • Register voters in underserved communities in Covington County.
  • Identify voters through voter registration drives, phone banks or canvassing.
  • Increase voter turnout in elections in Covington County whenever possible.
  • Educate voters concerning key issues at county, state and national levels.

The event is scheduled for Thu., Aug. 8, from 6 p.m., until 7:30 p.m., at the Andalusia City Hall.