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US Senator (AL Special Election)

This is a special election to elect the US Senator from Alabama to complete the term of former Senator Jeff Sessions. This primary election will be held on August 15, 2017. If there is a primary runoff, it will be held on September 26, 2017. The general election will be held on December 12, 2017. The winner of this election will serve until January 2020.A US Senator represents the whole state and serves a six-year term. He or she earns approximately $174,000 per year. A US Senator usually serves for a term of six-years. (However, the winner of this special election will serve for only two years to complete an unexpired term.) Duties include: Passing laws, including the budget Confirming presidential appointments (for example, department heads, ambassadors, Supreme Court justices, and federal judges) Approving treaties Conducting impeachment trials of government officials impeached by the House of Representatives Assisting constituents and state government offices with problems involving their interactions with federal executive agencies Working on multiple Senate committees that assist in writing laws and overseeing executive agencies' operations and policy actionsSenators must be 30 years old before being sworn into office, reside in the state they represent, and have US citizenship for 9 years prior to campaigning for this office.
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Biographical Information

In your opinion, what are the most important challenges facing our country, and how do you propose to address these challenges?

How should America engage with other nations on matters of foreign trade, keeping in mind how important exporting raw materials and manufactured goods is to Alabama's economy? How does this influence our role on the international stage in other matters?

What policies or administrative practices would you support in order to improve the process of voter registration and voting for all Americans?

Alabama is home to an aging, and often rural, population that is in increasing need of government health care services such as Medicare and Medicaid. What do you see as the top three priorities that must be achieved by any new legislation involving access to health care and health insurance? Please be specific about how you would propose to achieve these priorities?

Since many Alabamians rely on a healthy natural environment for their livelihood (fishing, tourism, agriculture, shipping, etc.), what are your plans for environmental protection? Specifically, what is your position on environmental regulations and why do you feel that way?

Discourse between a representative and their constituents is important; if you are elected will you commit to holding regular public “town hall” meetings in various cities in Alabama? What other ways will you engage with your constituents to keep them informed and able to express their opinions/needs?

Education University of Alabama Cumberland School of Law
Campaign Phone (205) 703-4785
Americans, and particularly Alabamians, have lost faith in the people who are elected to serve them – and by extension the institutions of government which have helped us progress and maintain a civil society for over two centuries. I believe this is the root cause of the majority of other challenges which face us. In Alabama, within the last two years we have seen the head of each of our branches of government removed from office – two of them for financial and personal corruption and the third for being unwilling to properly do the job he was elected to do. Compounded this with the intense partisanship that we see in both Montgomery and Washington it isn't surprising that voters increasingly say their elected officials neither understand nor care about people like them. My pledge to the people of Alabama (whether they vote for me or not) is that I will always listen to their concerns and their opinions and that my actions will never embarrass them.
Fair Foreign Trade is good for both America and Alabama. Trade agreements must not give an unfair advantage to any one party and be revised as situations change. In 2017, though, it is foolish and foolhardy to attempt to retreat from the world. Mr. Trump is moving our country away from the global leadership position it has held since World War I. We are seeing retaliation with Japan and the EU negotiating a trade deal without us. In Alabama, there are 92,700 jobs at facilities owned by foreign companies.
Voting is our most fundamental right. It gives our government legitimacy. We have seen an erosion of the Voting Rights Act. I will support updates to this landmark legislation that ensure equal rights to vote regardless of race, income or means of transportation. Everyone is against voter fraud – but that excuse is wildly overblown and used as a ruse to deny registered voters – especially people of color - access to the polls. I support proactively registering 18-year-old citizens. I believe that early voting periods should be mandatory and standardized across states. Absentee voting without cost should be available for those who are elderly or physically unable to go to a polling place. The same is true for students and military personnel. Finally, I would place the redistricting process with transparent commissions who neither hold office or will be seeking it. Voters should choose their representatives – representatives should not get to choose their voters.
With healthcare, I will “first do no harm.” Washington is currently trying to pull the lifeline from many Americans. Medicaid cuts threaten rural hospitals. Middle-aged and older citizens would pay a high price in increased premiums to fund tax breaks for the rich. America is too strong and too good a nation to see anyone remain sick or die from not being able to afford healthcare. The current law can be made better while preserving key provisions like protection for pre-existing conditions. Where a single insurer holds a monopoly on insurance, a public option could bring competition and lower premiums. The government already insures small business loans, home mortgages and provides flood insurance. Reform should not “block grant” funds to states nor leave to the political whim of any state the quality of healthcare. Alabama has not fared as well with the ACA because our governors refused to take federal funds. Can you imagine our state refusing FEMA funding after a tornado?
I believe in science and I believe Trump was wrong to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords. We are contributing to climate change that is resulting in greater variances in weather, rising sea levels and beginning to bring problems we are beginning to imagine – such as the return of diseases thought to be eradicated. Each of the last three years have broken global high temperatures records. In Alabama, our economy has been affected by drought. The drought of 2016 were devastating to our agriculture and tourism industries. We must acknowledge that our lifestyles and certain industries have contributed to the problem, look to regulation and monitoring to slow changes, and fund job retraining for those adversely affected by regulations. Challenges are also opportunities, though. Our country and our state could find economic benefit in technologies that adapt areas to climate change, reverse some effects and generate power from renewable energy sources.
Watching those in Congress and the Senate run from constituents and avoid meeting with citizens who disagree has been disgraceful. I know people who have purchased tickets to fundraising events like “eggs and issues,” just to ask a question of their representative in Congress. This is crazy. Yes, I pledge to hold town hall meetings frequently, publicize them well and find venues that are designed to accommodate the number of people who seem interested in attending. In my view, public officials should personally meet with their constituents as often as possible, and I personally pledge to do so. Social media is a fine tool, but I will not hide behind Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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