Peter Joffrion, Democratic Nominee in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District, on why he’s the candidate of the people that Alabamians need.
An aging cohort of North Alabama workers are worried about their ability to retire. Empty factories are scattered across our district’s rural areas. Families are dodging bankruptcy due to the mounting costs of medical bills and inadequate insurance coverage. Parents are worried about their ability to send their children to college, and college graduates are unable to get ahead because of immense student loan debt. Many high school students need job skills that don’t require four-year degrees.
I have traveled our district listening to people across North Alabama, and I’m hearing a recurring theme. People are fed up with leadership that puts ego before families. People are tired of the excuses and empty rhetoric. We need service over selfishness and ideas over ideology. We need better leadership – leadership that works and leadership that listens. We need leadership that will go to bat for North Alabama families, not career politicians who are only interested in hearing the sound of their own voice.
The Founders of our great nation intended the lower chamber of Congress to be especially responsive to the local concerns of citizens. The House of Representatives exists to provide representation through direct and consistent interaction with constituents. The purpose of this office is ingrained in the title – one is a “Representative” in Congress. For too long, the interests of North Alabamians have been ignored. Our citizens deserve representation that prioritizes the issues that matter most to them: jobs, a fair economy, health care, and education.
I care about jobs. As Huntsville City Attorney, I played a direct role in bringing new jobs to North Alabama. I know how to bring new businesses to all areas of our district, particularly those hardest hit by our shifting industrial base. I know how to cultivate an economic environment that keeps our existing businesses growing and thriving. I will always be working to bring new jobs and new economic opportunities home.
I care about a fair economy. Our new tax code, shoehorned into law, gives the richest among us over 84 percent of the benefits and will add over two trillion dollars to the deficit over time. To ensure that Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and our military remain properly funded, we must be fiscally responsible. Giving government handouts to wealthy campaign contributors jeopardizes our ability to do that. We must prioritize investing in programs that directly benefit working-class Americans and those trying desperately to lift themselves out of poverty.
North Alabamians deserve to be able to retire with security. Working moms deserve equal pay for equal work so that they can better provide for their families. Employees deserve a wage indexed to the cost of living at a time where far too many of us are living paycheck to paycheck.
I care about health care. We must do everything possible to make quality health care accessible and affordable – to everyone. That means preserving and enhancing the policies that helped North Alabamians receive coverage while working to create policies that drive insurance costs down. I will work to ensure that North Alabama’s rural health care facilities service enough insured residents to remain open and properly funded.
I care about education. At a time when North Alabamians are focused on working hard to provide for themselves and their families, many young adults are faced with consistent hardships in the job market. Nearly twenty percent of young adults between the ages of 16-24 are neither employed nor enrolled in schools. For so many, this is not a question of laziness or motivation. They would love to work a job with a livable wage and potential for career advancement, but those opportunities are growing exceedingly rare.
The sidelining of this large portion of our workforce also impacts the rest of us. On average, each individual represents $37,450 per year in tax payer cost in the form of social programs. That is a staggering lifetime total for this demographic group of $1.5 trillion. Providing opportunities to this hard-working and innovative generation is the right thing to do morally and it is the right thing to do economically. Morality and economic necessity demand that we prioritize education as both a means of social uplift and future economic solvency.
North Alabama’s public schools deserve every federal resource available to help our students and educators thrive. Our high school graduates deserve to be able to attend college without fear of crippling debt. We also need to do more to make trade school available for those who determine that four year colleges are not for them.
North Alabamians deserve more than career politicians who are only interested in advancing their own agendas. We deserve more than empty rhetoric. We deserve honesty and transparency. We deserve leadership that listens and leadership that gets the job done.
That’s why I’m running.
Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Peter Joffrion’s exciting candidacy at his campaign website: https://www.peterjoffrion.com/