Sen. Doug Jones officially announced that he plans to seek re-election to the United States Senate in Birmingham last Sunday, Sept. 8.
Rep. Terri Sewell, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, actor Michael O’Neill and Jones’ wife Louise Jones took the stage as guest speakers prior to the Senator’s appearance.
“I am still as convinced today as I was in 2017 when I announced my candidacy for the Senate that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us,” said Jones to a crowded room in the B&A Warehouse.
Jones touted his efforts to “bridge the partisan divide”, citing his work to include protections for farmers impacted by the Chinese trade war in last year’s farm bill, secure more funding for historically black colleges and universities and provide more funding for rural broadband.
“All of that could not have been possible without bipartisan efforts and reaching across the aisle,” said Jones.
Jones garnered national attention for his victory in the 2017 Alabama Senate special election against Republican challenger Roy Moore, winning 50 percent to Moore’s 48.3 percent.
The race is expected to be in the spotlight as Democrats seek to win a majority in the Senate. Some credit Jones’ victory to the sexual abuse allegations made against Moore in November 2017. These allegations cited sexual abuse against several women in the 70s.
Moore announced in June that he would again challenge Doug Jones for the Senate in 2020, claiming that “false tactics” used by “Democratic operatives” led to the demise of his last campaign.
Other Republican candidates that have announced include Rep. Bradley Byrne, Secretary of State John Merrill, State Rep. Arnold Mooney and former Auburn University football head coach Tommy Tuberville.
“All across the state, excitement is building for this race. There is just an excitement brewing for change,” said Democrat Doug Jones, opening his speech to a cheering crowd at Classic Too on Noble Street in downtown Anniston this Tuesday, November 7. “It’s not about me. It’s not about Roy Moore,” said Jones, referring to his controversial Republican opponent. “It’s about you. It’s about every man, woman and child in Alabama who wants to see this state go forward, not backward.”
With the whole nation turning its eye to the upcoming December 12 election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacant senate seat, Doug Jones has been putting in a good deal of footwork. Travelling across the state to meet citizens, Jones has learned a lot about what issues are important to the every-day Alabamian. He has gained valuable insight into what the citizens of Alabama are hoping to get out of our next representative.
“My experience with the people in this state is that we have so much more in common than we do that divides us,” Jones said. Jones believes that the most important issue to most Alabamians is healthcare.
“People want good healthcare,” Jones said, eliciting a round of applause. “The Affordable Care Act was never meant to be the end of the discussion. It was supposed to be a work in progress, but we have to find ways to make it better.”
Jones acknowledged that work needs to be done to help bring down insurance premiums while continuing to provide healthcare to Alabama’s struggling citizens: “We’ve got to continue to make sure that people talk about healthcare, that we quit playing political football with your health.”
Jones believes that another issue important to Alabama is building up the state’s manufacturing job opportunities.
“We have an opportunity to help put this state’s best foot forward,” said Jones. “To bring in jobs, to expand jobs, and to do it in a way that saves the planet and is environmentally friendly, but also lifts the wages of the people in this state, and while we lift those wages, to make sure that women get the same pay.”
Jones wants to help the state’s middle class by bringing back these manufacturing jobs, along with other business. He believes we can do so through education and with good workforce development. He believes that “putting the best foot forward” will attract businesses and other people to the great state of Alabama.
“The people of this state are saying ‘no more’ to the divisiveness, ‘no more’ to treating people like second class citizens. The bottom line is the people of this state are saying No Moore!”
After his speech, Jones personally met with nearly everyone at the rally and ended the event with a brief meeting with the press.
“I think to just throw cold water on it. Just tamp everything down with the rhetoric and make sure people start talking to one another and reach across the aisle and reach within my own party to find the things working with healthcare and examine those things that are not working so that we can find the common ground and ways to fix a broken healthcare system. I think we can do that with honor and civility. I think that is the only way we can fix this broken healthcare system,” Jones said in response to being asked what he felt he could do in the senate to put an end to the multiple failed attempts at repealing the ACA.
After being asked what he would say to millennials, a voting age group with notoriously low voter turnout, to get them to the polls, Jones said, “You’re not always going to be young. Sooner or later you will be my age and you will need to worry about Medicare. You’re going to need to worry about social security. You’re going to need to make sure that your children are educated and that there are hospitals in the community. I would also tell them to look at the elections that we’ve had the last two or three cycles. Elections have consequences. They have short term consequences, and they have long term consequences. I would tell them to examine the issues, really study. Millennials do that every day. They look at the issues that affect them every day and they make decisions, whether its their jobs, family, or education. They need to look at the electoral process in the same way. A vote is an investment in the future. As much as they need to save money for retirement now, they need to be investing by voting.”