I’ll be honest, the initial reason I agreed to represent the Times-Journal in Leadership DeKalb was because I thought it would look good on a resume. Now I realize that I have taken so much more away from this program that just a bullet point on my next resume.
The latest stop on our Leadership DeKalb journey was in Montgomery for our State Government Day, so we spent Wednesday and Thursday touring our state’s capitol. Over those two days, I got the experience of a lifetime.
It just so happened that while we were there, a bill with a direct tie to DeKalb County was scheduled to be signed. The bill, Emily’s Bill, will now hold pet owners accountable for their pet’s actions. For those of you who don’t know, Emily Frazier Colvin was killed in a dog attack that happened just past the Jackson/DeKalb County border in December.
House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter and Senator Steve Livingston and other state leaders worked together to get this bill where it was Thursday at 11:15– in front of Governor Kay Ivey.
Governor Ivey signed the bill as Emily’s family stood behind her watching and crying both mournful and happy tears. Our class leader for the day, Maurey Roberts, knew I graduated with Emily, so he made arrangements for me to witness the signing of the bill.
It was a surreal moment and it only strengthened my faith in our state’s leaders. People can say what they want to about elected officials, but I sincerely believe in and defend the integrity of the men and women who represent this fine state we call home.
I am grateful for the experience and I am grateful for DeKalb County’s leaders and Alabama’s leaders. But even more than that, I am incredibly grateful to know that we have such wonderful people leading this state and working to make laws that will help us and protect us and keep other families from experiencing what Emily’s family had to endure.
I strongly encourage those of you who do, to pray for the men and women who have the responsibility of making decisions of this caliber. Just like you and I, they are only human. So, we should encourage them and trust that they abide by God’s will by working hard to make this state, truly, Sweet Home Alabama.
Kayla Beaty is a staff writer for the Times-Journal. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.