By Morgan Murphy
and Anna Riley
For the Opelika Observer
Following last Tuesday’s primaries, Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood will go head-to-head in a special run-off election July 17 to determine who will become the Republican nominee for Alabama House District 38.
Both candidates spoke with Observer staff and shared their platforms and ideas they would hope to implement if elected.
• What is the most important concept/topic that you are hoping to focus on in the upcoming election?
– Community and Education
“Coming up in the run-off, it will be about the different issues in the community. It is hard to pick one of them because one of my big things is getting people to understand how important the community and being involved in the community is, as well as understanding what goes on in the government within the city, county and state you live in.”
“I think making sure that we bring in educators, teachers, superintendents and principals, that’s something that I want to do, I want to have an education committee that within District 38, so that whenever there is a bill that has to do with education I have someone to talk to that is an expert in the field. They are a resource that we can use in the community and I think that’s incredibly important when talking about education.”
“My platform first is jobs, I think that it is vitally important that everyone have the opportunity to get a good, high-paying job. In our community in 2009, we had the highest unemployment in the state of Alabama. Since that time, we have created over 3,400 jobs and put our people back to work. And I watched a community that had lost hope regain and have a new rebirth, so jobs are vitally important to me.”
• If you were to win, what is the first thing that you hope to accomplish?
Giving the people a voice and protecting Alabama’s retirement systems.
“The first thing I hope to accomplish is to make sure that the people in our district understand whats going on, and I want to make sure that they feel like they have a voice. I want to make sure I’m having town halls and forums and explaining to the people and the district exactly what is going on and if they have concerns and questions I want to be able to answer them. If they want me to ask questions to people in Montgomery, I want to make sure that I am taking their voice to Montgomery.”
“I want to make sure that we protect the retirement system of alabama. That was something that we focused on during the last three weeks before the election. I went to three different senior center openings and I talked to a lot of people and that was their number one question so that is something I want to make sure right when I get in there, making sure people have a voice and protecting the retirement system of Alabama.”
“The first thing I want to do if I win is I want to go to Montgomery and try to talk the legislature into not having one long session, we need to break it up into two smaller sessions and the first thing we need to do is what we’re payed to do which is pass a balanced budget. We need to concentrate on the budget all by itself and then everything else, and then the local bills, and the other hot item issues need to be in a separate session because when you do it all in one, you get everyone trying to come together and they’re trying to argue their point and so what ends up happening sometimes is that we don’t do our jobs efficiently and pass a good budget for the people in the state of Alabama.”
• What is your strategy for the upcoming election?
“Just getting people out to vote. Going door to door, talking to people, making sure they understand how important this is to me, making sure they know the differences between the candidates.”
“There are a lot of issues out there, but for the upcoming election I want to talk solely about the issues. Everyone knows Todd Rauch served in U.S. Army, is a wounded warrior, he has worked in the community and made the community his focus since he has been out of the military. Since I was seventeen all I have been doing is serving my country and serving my community so the big thing now is to talk about the issues.”