A Fighter Alabama Can Count On

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Terri Sewell is the proud product of Alabama’s rural Black Belt and has spent her life fighting for Alabama communities. From her time as one of the only black public finance lawyers in Alabama, when she delivered financing for new campus facilities at Alabama State University, Tuskegee University, and Stillman College, to her work as Congresswoman for Alabama’s 7th District, Terri Sewell has delivered results every step of the way.

From Alabama, For Alabama

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A native of Selma, Alabama, Terri is the daughter of Nancy Gardner Sewell, a high school librarian, and the late Coach Andrew A. Sewell, a math teacher and  Selma High head basketball coach. Growing up, Terri went to public school in Selma. She was elected student council president, named homecoming queen, and graduated as the first black valedictorian of Selma High School.

With the help of federal student aid and academic scholarships, Terri was able to put herself through college at Princeton University, where she graduated with honors. Then she received a master’s degree in Politics with honors on scholarship from Oxford University in England and earned her law degree from Harvard Law School. While she began her legal career in New York City, it was the lure of home and family that led Terri to return to Birmingham, AL, where she became the first black woman partner at a local law office.

Strengthening Alabama’s Workforce

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Terri first ran for Congress at the height of the recession in 2010, and she made it a top priority to give Alabamians the opportunities needed to get back to work. As a Congresswoman, Terri started an annual Job Fair to connect local employers with Alabama job seekers. She also founded a training program in her congressional office, Project R.E.A.D.Y., which helps prepare job seekers in her district for employment opportunities in a competitive workforce.

In Congress, Terri has fought for smart economic investments in Alabama’s 7th District through tax incentives, infrastructure development, smart trade policies, and small business support. She has secured more than $3.8 billion in federal grants for her district since taking office in 2011, including: $30 million in TIGER grants for public transportation in Birmingham; a $6 million Department of Labor grant for jobs training awarded to establish Innovate Birmingham; $7 million in Historic Preservation grants for civil right sites from the National Park Service; and more than $38 million for water and sewer improvements in the Black Belt. Congresswoman Sewell has also led efforts on rural broadband investment and measures to encourage greater private investment in apprenticeships and our workforce development pipeline.

Putting Constituent Services First

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Every year, Congresswoman Sewell hosts numerous community events throughout Alabama’s 7th district, including annual town hall meetings in each of the 14 counties in her district, listening to constituents so she can take their concerns back to Congress. Since she was first elected, Congresswoman Sewell has hosted more than 300 town hall meetings, job fairs, issue forums, grant workshops, veteran fairs, EPA meetings, Project R.E.A.D.Y. skills training, industry tours, and other events in the district.

Getting to the bottom of constituent casework and helping Alabama residents receive the federal benefits they have earned is a top priority for Congresswoman Sewell. As the U.S. Representative for Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, Congresswoman Sewell has helped constituents recover more than $13.3 million in veterans’ benefits, Social Security payments, and other federal awards since taking office.

Building on a History of Empowerment

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As the Member of Congress representing Alabama’s civil rights district, Congresswoman Sewell has been a passionate champion for recognizing and honoring the sacrifices of those freedom fighters who served as powerful agents of change. Since she was first elected in 2011, Congresswoman Sewell has helped secure more than $7 million in Historic Preservation Grants through the National Park Service (NPS) for historic sites in Alabama’s 7th District.

Congresswoman Sewell was honored that her first piece of successful legislation recognized the “Four Little Girls” who tragically lost their lives during the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. The Congressional Gold Medal bill, which is the highest civilian honor Congress can give ,passed unanimously in both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on May 24, 2013 at a special signing ceremony in the Oval Office.  In September 2015, on the 50th Anniversary of this tragic event, the American people, through their elected representatives, finally paid tribute to the “Four Little Girls” by bestowing them with a Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony held in our nation’s Capitol.

Congresswoman Sewell also sponsored a Congressional Gold Medal bill honoring the Foot Soldiers, whose courageous march from Selma to Montgomery led to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Congresswoman Sewell’s bill honoring the Voting Rights Foot Soldiers passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Obama while en route to Selma, AL, on March 8, 2015, for the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march.

A Lifetime of Leadership

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Presently serving in her 5th term, Congresswoman Sewell sits on the exclusive House Ways and Means Committee and brings to the committee her more than 15 years of experience as a securities and public finance attorney. Currently, in the 116th Congress, she serves as Vice-Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee where she sits on three subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Health; the Subcommittee on Trade; and the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support.

Congresswoman Sewell was also selected to serve on the distinguished House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence charged with the oversight of our national security. She is currently the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support, charged with the oversight of collection and timely dissemination of Department of Defense intelligence with respect to support of all military operations.

In her short time in Congress, Sewell has held several leadership positions, including Freshman Class President in the 112th Congress. In the 116th Congress, she was selected by the Democratic Whip, James Clyburn, to serve as a Chief Deputy Whip, and currently sits on the prestigious Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which sets the policy direction of the Democratic Caucus. Congresswoman Sewell is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus where she is Co-Chair of the Voting Rights Task Force.  She is a Vice Chair of the New Democrat Coalition; Co-Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus; Co-Chair of the Congressional HBCU Caucus; and Co-Chair of the Rural Caucus.

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