Wounded veteran dedicated to Opelika’s future launches campaign to overwhelming support.

Special to the
Opelika Observer

Today, U.S. Army veteran and proud Opelikian, Todd Rauch, has qualified as a candidate for Opelika City Council in Ward 5. 

Upon his announcement, Rauch said, “our campaign is built around dedication and hard work.” He continued, “I believe the most effective way to run for office is to connect with the voter, face-to-face, by knocking on their door and asking for their vote. I’m looking forward to doing just that in the coming weeks.” 

Rauch began his career of service when he enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17, as a Military Police Officer. In 2003, Rauch’s unit was deployed to Kuwait, and then Iraq. On August 21, 2003, while on patrol, Rauch and his crew were ambushed, where a 120mm mortar was remotely detonated. Suffering life-threatening injuries to his right hand and shoulder, as well as a gunshot wound to his right leg, Rauch was medevaced to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he underwent 12 surgeries to save his arm and hand.

Commenting on his years of dedicated service to his country and community Rauch said, “The Army taught me how to be an effective leader, and I believe the best way to illustrate the city of Opelika’s ‘Vets Choose Opelika’ initiative, is to have a veteran serving on the Opelika City Council.” 

Rauch went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Auburn University and later worked as an Intelligence Specialist for the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command (AMCOM) at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. After returning to Opelika, Rauch’s focus turned to using his passion for helping others, which he does in his current role as the Vice President of the Community Foundation of East Alabama. 

Rauch said his campaign is focused on talking to voters in Ward 5 about these key areas of focus: 

Accessibility. “I believe it is a responsibility of elected officials to continually engage those that elected them. Your city council member should be the person you can turn to should you have questions or concerns. I want the residents of Ward 5 to know I will be available to help overcome unexpected challenges, acknowledge their efforts, and provide additional guidance when asked.”

Communication. “I want to build a dialogue with the residents in Ward 5. I plan to use social media to our advantage to give residents a convenient avenue to learn more about what is happening, but also to communicate directly with me. I plan to use it as a tool to host forums, which will happen in addition to in-person quarterly meetings for residents to have their voices be heard. Our residents can count on me to listen and take action on their behalf.”

Transparency. “I am committed to complete transparency on all things that come before the city council.  I believe that problems can be solved faster, and more efficiently if we are all open and honest. It is important for residents to understand that with me as their city councilman, I will represent them and their best interests to the city of Opelika, and not the other way around. All too often elected officials forget that it is their job to represent the people that elected them, and not just the government’s best interest.”

Additionally, Rauch believes the following issues should be a priority for the city council in Ward 5:

  • Expand and diversify industry in the Opelika Industrial Park
  • Focus on workforce development through recruitment and training programs 

    Provide resources to Opelika city schools, students and teachers

    Support essential community services and emergency personnel 

    Prioritize infrastructure improvements including waterways, roads and bridges 

    Improve and advance the recycling program throughout the city of Opelika

    Rauch is incredibly active in the Opelika community, where he serves on the board of directors for the Opelika Kiwanis Club, a board member and programming chairman for Opelika’s Top 20 Under Forty Leadership Program, and a board member and secretary for the Museum of East Alabama. Rauch is a graduate of Opelika’s Top 20 Under Forty Leadership Program, Leadership Lee County, Opelika Citizens Police Academy (CPA) and Lee County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Rauch also serves as a representative for the City of Opelika on the Metropolitan Planning Organization – Citizens Advisory Committee (MPO-CAC) with the Lee-Russell Council of Governments. 

Todd and his wife Ali have called Opelika home for 11 years.  They have one furbaby, Forrest. They are passionate about their country, Auburn Football and enjoying this community they have chosen to  call home. 

For more information, visit www.ToddRauch4Opelika.com, www.facebook.com/ToddRauch4Opelika, or call 334-610-1750.