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Rehm prioritizes parental rights in education, cutting taxes in District 85 bid

Rehm emphasized his opposition to increased taxation and his support for parental rights in education.

Rick Rehm will represent House District 85 after defeating incumbent Dexter Grimsley.
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Rick Rehm has spent years working behind the scenes in Dothan politics and now he’s ready to enter the fray as a state legislator representing House District 85.

Rehm started at Fort Rucker in Enterprise as a frontline controller and worked his way up over 24 years to become the facility manager from 2014 to 2018.

During that time, Rehm said he has always been active in politics and recalled his first time going door to door.

“Dothan raised the sales tax from three cents on the dollar to four cents,” Rehm said. “It seems to me there is no end in which the government will continue to ask you for more money. I can’t go to my boss and ask for more money to pave my driveway. We have to budget and save for that. We got our city councilman in District 5 removed and that was the driving issue was the sales tax.”

Rehm has served on the Republican executive committee in Dothan for the past 12 years, and has been enjoying retirement since last July.

But then he got a call from ALGOP chair John Wahl asking him to run as the Republican nominee for District 85.

“I was like, surely we have somebody that’s more likable, more popular, more presentable, better in front of a crowd than I am,” Rehm said. “So we looked around and saw this situation, and I was one of the only ones willing to step up. There are too many issues and I’m being represented by someone who is not only a Democrat, but has been voting the Democrat line a long time.”

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Rehm is challenging incumbent Dexter Grimsley, who has served in the seat for the last 12 years.

It’s a big swing for someone who was happily enjoying retirement just a few months ago.

“Back in March, we were pretty happy, I retired and we drove an RV all across the country,  took a three-month trip— life was good for me,” Rehm said. “But I saw life wasn’t good for everybody. There are a lot of issues in this country. It seems to me one driving force of a lot of bad things in this country are from the Democratic Party. Excessive spending that raises our inflation, attack on our freedom of speech, the right to bear arms. What really got to me is what they’re doing with our schools.”

Although Rehm doesn’t have any kids of his own, he pinpointed parental rights in education as one of his top concerns as a potential legislator.

“I’m a strong believer in parental rights,” Rehm said. “Parents should have a right to visit their children in school and see what’s going on there. Schools should have the leeway to manage that, not parents showing up willy nilly. But I do believe parents should have more access to what’s happening in schools.”

Although Rehm said he hasn’t seen last session’s divisive concepts bill, he said he believes students should not be taught that “they should be held responsible or accountable for any discrimination any suppression that occurred in the past.”

“If you’re born today cannot be held responsible for what is done in the past,” Rehm said.

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Rehm said it is important to teach all history in a “fair manner that lacks an agenda.”

Rehm also said he supports the bills passed in recent sessions regarding transgender issues in the schools, including a bill that requires students to use the bathroom that aligns with their biological gender.

Those parental rights Rehm supports also include school choice in some form.

“Schools should have to compete for students and in turn get funding, that’s the driving force of improvement in our world, whether in the private sector or what have you,” Rehm said.

Rehm criticized Grimsley for not taking such a strong stance on issues.

“My opponent does not communicate any side of the issues, he just says ‘I’m for the left and the right, not the extreme,’” Rehm said. “He doesn’t appear to me to take a stand on anything.”

During a forum hosted by the Alabama League of Women Voters, Rehm said Grimsley took such an approach to abortion.

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“The only time my opponent decided to make a statement on any topic he said, as a pastor he is pro-life, but believes in everybody’s right to choose,” Rehm said. “To me, that’s a thin tree waving in the wind. You can’t be pro-life and pro-abortion.”

On a local level, Rehm said he will advocate for more industry coming to Henry County.

“Henry County is getting left behind in the district,” Rehm said. “The state spent $3M to upgrade the runway at Abbeville but there’s no industry around there. There’s industry around the Headland airport. Why is there no industry around the airport that taxpayers paid to improve?”

The district is one of the few competitive races in the state, and Rehm said he is willing to lose on the issues.

“If they don’t agree with me, fair enough,” Rehm said.

The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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