Area congressman champions agriculture, military, and broadband initiatives
For the first time since former U.S. Representative Terry Everett retired in 2009, the congressman representing Alabama’s 2nd District hails directly from the Wiregrass area. U.S. Representative Barry Moore, a Republican from Enterprise, was elected in November and recently began his first year serving in Washington, D.C.
In February, Moore paid a visit to the Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC) headquarters in Hartford to participate in the cooperative’s quarterly Grow Dothan/Geneva County meeting. The meetings are part of a regional economic development effort led by WEC that attracts leaders from education, government, industry, transportation, economic development, and other sectors.
Moore sees great value in meetings like the Grow Dothan/Geneva County meeting, which has championed such causes as the recently announced expansion of Alabama Highway 52 and the creation of the Geneva Regional Technical Center.
“The four-laning of Alabama Highway 52 is an indication of what you can do when you work together as a team,” he says. “None of us are strong by ourselves. It obviously shows we’re all stronger together instead of individually.”
Moore, an armed forces veteran with an agricultural background, addressed a variety of issues that pertain to WEC members during his recent visit at the Grow Dothan/Geneva County meeting, including energy policy and rural broadband deployment.
Q: What are your goals as you represent the Wiregrass in Congress?
Moore: The two committees I promised people I would try to get on are Veterans’ Affairs and Agriculture. It’s peanuts and propellers. Being on those committees, being able to help veterans, that’s a big part of my district and a big part of my passion. Our district director is a retired lieutenant colonel. He also worked in the ag industry. We made sure we put people in place that understood the district — that have worked in the district and understand the needs of the district.
Q: As a member of the Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus, what do you think are the issues that pertain to broadband expansion, and what are the solutions?
Moore: I’m learning about it. We know broadband is important. We understand from the COVID-19 shutdown that kids couldn’t get their schoolwork done and people couldn’t work from home. It’s more important now than ever. It’s not about the amount of money. It’s how we spend the money. When some companies take and improve existing service and don’t expand service areas, we tend to see the rural areas suffer. We have to make sure the money is spent wisely. The unique thing is you’ll see bipartisan support on this. We have Democrats and Republicans that represent rural districts.
I’m thankful the partnership between Wiregrass Electric and Troy Cable has forged ahead with critical rural broadband expansion efforts, and I applaud state Senator Donnie Chesteen’s effort to spur rural broadband development on the state level.
Q: Energy policy and how it affects power costs are important to electric cooperatives and their members. What are your thoughts on energy policy?
Moore: You have to have energy sources from diverse origins. America has done a great job of cleaning up our coal. We’ve probably done more than anyone in the world in cleaning up our emissions in the last few years. There are some concerns about what the administration is doing now. The best thing we can do is make our voice heard, and I intend to do just that and be the voice in Washington for the Wiregrass.
Q: A two-year term is relatively short given how much there is to learn about the federal government. How are you approaching the first year in office?
Moore: We were fortunate after the primary runoff. We knew going into November we were going to be pretty safe. We were going to win the seat. At that point, I started interviewing everyone for my staff positions. Building on relationships, having a little lead time, we were able to assemble an amazing staff. The key for the first year is we wanted to hit the ground running and have everyone in place. We have everyone in place — we’re already out here working. I’m four weeks into the office, and this is the third or fourth time I’ve been back to listen to the issues and carry my concerns back to Washington, D.C.
Q: How valuable are electric cooperatives in this district?
Moore: We’re a rural district, and the cooperative represents so many of my constituents. For me to come by and listen to their concerns ... to see all these local leaders in one place is a great use of my time. I certainly appreciate the leaders in these quarterly meetings and the great work they are doing. You can tell that everyone in that room is working together for the betterment of our Wiregrass community. I really applaud them and will strive to be a part of these meetings and be their advocate and voice in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Representative Barry Moore Biography
- Hometown: Enterprise
- Education: Agriculture Science, Auburn University, 1992
- Occupational history: Worked in the animal pharmaceutical industry before starting a waste hauling company called Hopper-Moore Inc., which is known as Barry Moore Industries. He also served as a member of the Alabama National Guard and U.S. Army reserves.
- Previous political experience: Alabama House of Representatives, 2010 to 2018
- Committees served: House Agriculture Committee, House Committee on veterans’ affairs
- Personal: Married to Heather. Together, they have four children: Jeremy, Kathleen, Claudia, and Jeb.