I have known Martha Roby for 20 years, since she was a smart, independent thinking undergraduate at New York University and I was a low-level staffer for U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby in D.C. In a town given to fakes, I liked her immediately. Martha is, and always has been, one of the most genuine individuals I know.
We both grew up in Montgomery, and we both settled back in our hometown after we got married. Martha’s passion for public service was cultivated throughout her childhood by parents who were leaders in their church and community. Volunteerism and giving back are a large part of who she is. Therefore, it was no surprise when she stepped up to serve her community on the Montgomery City Council. Her Council district was the most diverse in the City and she proved to be a dedicated servant leader to all of her constituents. She was well liked by those she served and was respected for being the type of leader who jumped into the trenches to fix problems. She is hard working, smart, and genuine and she took those attributes from Montgomery to Washington, DC to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
If you live in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District you know Martha Roby. You’ve met her, you’ve seen her at your community meetings, you’ve watched her on the 6 o’clock news, and you’ve bumped into her shopping for groceries at the local Publix. She is deeply rooted in her community and she genuinely loves the people of Alabama.
I had the privilege of working for my friend Martha Roby for three years after she was elected to Congress. I often said of the long hours and stressful work that I would never do it for anyone I didn’t personally love and respect. As I sat in meetings with her, traveled the district with her and saw her interact with constituents her energy, passion, and likability never ceased to amaze everyone she met. I remember once when she walked into a room in her southern Alabama district a woman rushed to embrace her. They wept together as the woman told Martha of the recent loss of her husband. Another memory is of Martha standing on the tarmac giving handshakes and hugs to each member of the 908th Airlift Wing before their deployment, and as the plane taxied down the runway she did not leave, but stood arm in arm with the families being left behind. And there are many examples of Martha refusing to invite the media to cover her selfless acts, helping those in her district devastated by trial and tragedy. Many are the times someone has shared a deeply personal story of what Martha Roby has done for them.
Martha is not only compassionate, she is a smart conservative. Alabama is a Republican state. But the irony of our current situation is a small group of individuals has decided to attack some conservatives in leadership for not being conservative enough. Martha Roby’s votes in Congress clearly reflect her conservatism and the values of her constituents. Moreover, she has proven to be a reasonable and likable voice on Capitol Hill. She consults with military leadership at Maxwell-Gunter and Ft. Rucker to ensure she supports legislation that strengthens our military and helps our veterans. She has veterans from across the United States calling her office for help because they know she is one of their strongest advocates in Congress. Her actions have proven her dedication to our men and women in uniform.
Agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Alabama, and in the 2nd district specifically. Martha Roby has a great relationship with Alabama’s farmers and with the Alabama Farmers Federation and together they work hard to craft legislation that helps Alabama farmers.
Martha Roby routinely meets with mayors, small business leaders, educations, and everyday Alabamians. She listens to their concerns and their ideas and she takes that information back to Washington and votes accordingly. Yet, a small group of DC political operatives has published a misleading “scorecard” attacking Martha Roby. It’s ludicrous, really. Thirty-six mayors in the 2nd Congressional District signed on to a letter of support for Martha Roby. Military leaders, farmers, and small business owners have all voiced their strong support for her. Martha Roby answers to the people of Alabama, not to D.C. political scorekeepers.
It is easy to become frustrated with politics. Too often we see politicians making bad decisions in their public as well as their private lives. Our nation is in debt, some federally funded programs are on an unsustainable spending path, and we have enemies both foreign and domestic who wish to do us harm. Now, more than ever, we need leadership that is smart, aggressive, and in it for the right reasons. Martha Roby is that leader.
When I am asked what kind of person I want to represent me in Washington my answer is Martha Roby. I know her as a wife, mother, daughter, and friend. She sat with me and prayed with me as I endured chemotherapy treatments and she loves my children like her own. But I do not support her simply because she is my friend. She is my friend because she is an amazing individual who happens to be the best leader in Washington, DC that Alabama has ever seen. She serves the people of Alabama proudly. And make no mistake, her service is not without personal sacrifice. The 2nd district is fortunate to have a leader like Martha Roby in Washington; she has earned our appreciation and continued support.
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Ronda M. Walker is a member of the Montgomery County Commission, a wife and a mother of four.