By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, September 22, 2016, Candidate for Congress Jesse Smith (D) spoke at length with the Alabama Political Reporter (APR) about his campaign and his plans if the people of the Third Congressional District elect him on November the 8th. Smith is challenging long time incumbent, Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks).
APR asked, Why do you want to be in Congress?
Smith replied, “I believe that I actually can make a difference.”
Smith said the he wrote Congressman Rogers about issues he was having with the VA and got back a stock letter. Smith said, “I knew then that he needed someone to challenge him. He is not only ignoring veterans, he is ignoring senior citizens, he is ignoring the working people of the Third District. He is only interested in his big money donors.”
APR asked: “The Third Congressional District has not elected a Democrat literally in decades. Why would a Trump, Romney, McCain voter vote for Mr. Smith?
Smith said, “I am not the average Democrat. It is about people.”
Smith said that he served 14 years in the military and did four combat tours, two in Bosnia and two in Iraq. I was also a federal investigator for the Pentagon.”
APR asked: As legislators gain tenure they gain committee chairmanships and power to help their districts more. Mike Rogers has 14 years of tenure in the system why should voters ignore that and elect you instead?
Smith said that in those 14 years Rogers has done absolutely nothing for voters in the third district. He has been there for 14 years and has only passed one piece of legislation and that had nothing to do with the Third District.
Smith said that he wanted to rebuild aging infrastructure in the district and encourage more wind and solar power generation.
Smith said that Rogers has a rich history of losing a lot of jobs and criticized Congressman Rogers for voting for trade agreements that cost the Third District textile and other jobs during his watch.
APR asked: You ran last time and were beat pretty handily, what is different this time around?
Smith said, “We have experience now. We met a lot of people in 2014 and continue to build and we have a new strategy.”
Smith said that Congressman Rogers has done absolutely nothing for the Third District during this term. He has raised almost a $million to our $12,000 but he has not even used that. “I challenged him to a debate which he declined.”
APR asked:: It is looking like there is a 50:50 shot that the next President could be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, are you confident that you could work with either one of them?
Smith replied, “Absolutely. I am absolutely confident that I can work with anyone. That is based on my experience in the military.” Smith said that the military taught him to work with different people in order to get things done. “The mission at hand is to bring fair representation to the district as a whole.”
APR asked: What are your priorities for the Third District?
Smith said, Rebuilding our aging infrastructure, bringing jobs that can pay $15 an hour or more and making sure that veterans have inadequate health care. Above all, bringing accountability to the third district.
Smith said that he is married to a U.S. Army Captain and that both of their children are in the armed forces.
Smith added, “Donald Trump did mention about going back to stop and frisk. First of all that won’t work. I would be interested in what Congressman Rogers thinks. Where does he stand on a lot of these important issues?” Anniston is one of the most violent cities in Alabama. Hurtsboro in Russell County is one of the poorest cities in the district. How much responsibility does he want to take for the healthcare climate of the district
Smith said that if elected he is committed not to be involved in the political corruption that has infected Alabama politics. He also stated his support for term limits. Smith said that he is working to help veterans who were exposed to chemical weapons during their service at Fort McClellan. Smith said that there are 80,000 veterans in the district and he is working with them. He is also going to the housing projects and is stopping in every town in the district, while Mike Rogers is hardly working at all on his campaign.
Smith added, “I was the only Bernie Sanders delegate to be elected in the Third District.”
Smith admitted that he has not received any big money support. “Our average contribution is $7.35.”
Smith concluded, “I am completely committed to defending the Constitution of the United States of America. I can say that because I have done that.”
The election is on November 8.