When families gather around together for Thanksgiving dinner this week, Democrat Doug Jones, who is running for U.S. Senate, likely wants everyone to talk about what he calls "kitchen table" issues.
"Here are the issues we believe in; here are the issues that we call our kitchen table issues, issues that we believe people have in common — that they want good health care, that they want good education, they want to see jobs expanded, they want to see a bigger wage," Jones told The Villager in late October. "They want to have those discussions. We may not always agree, but we can talk together and figure out the right approach and find that common ground."
Jones, a former U.S. attorney, is known most for his successful prosecution of two former KKK klansmen involved in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. It is an event that has made a deep impact on both Alabama and his own life.
"It had a tremendous impact, whenever you can right a wrong from history, and that’s what we did," he said. "We just rewrote history almost. On a personal level, that has a huge impact — you get to know people, you get to know their families who never felt the full measure of justice that they deserve, and that everybody in this country deserves. To be able to reach back and bring some sense of healing to the community and the families and the state as a whole, to be honest with you, it’s just incredibly humbling and gratifying."
"From my standpoint, it shows that, I think, public service can be done for good and can be a positive impact. But too many times, public servants use their office for just their personal reasons. But this is something that we shared for the community and public service is a good thing."
Jones is also in favor of putting "the teeth" back into the Voting Rights Act, after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a major portion of it in its decision in the Shelby County v. Holder case several years ago.
"I think access to the ballot box and as much freedom for people to be able to vote and exercise that vote is very, very important," Jones said.
Health care is also an important issue for Jones, who acknowledges that the Affordable Care Act wasn't supposed to be "the last word in health care."
"I think, unfortunately, that our health care system is not perfect and needs some fixes to it. Unfortunately, I think it’s also become a political football between both of the political parties, and that’s really unfortunate," he said. "It was always going to be a work in progress to put something on the table to get people health care, to stabilize things, to get people with pre-existing conditions the ability to get health care, to try to get young people in the market, shore up Medicaid. All of those things were the goals, and some of them were achieved. But it was never supposed to be the end of the discussion. It was always going to be that work in progress where you look and you talk and you see what’s working. Unfortunately, it became a political football and people got into this repeal and replace mode without any real knowledge of what they wanted to replace it with. It was more about the political gamesmanship than anything else."
Jones also said he supports the idea of a public option, but that the "devil's in the details."
"But from what I can gather, a public option ought to be something that should be considered and could help stabilize the market," he said. "Good people want more choices."
He also supports cutting the corporate tax rate and simplifying the tax system, although he said changes need to be "fair to folks that struggle every day."
"They’re the ones who need the benefits if there’s going to be a tax cut. What I’m seeing right now doesn’t give that relief to middle class and lower income folks. Any tax cuts seem to be geared only toward the wealthy, and I do not think that’s fair," said Jones in late October.
Jones also said he believes scientists when it comes to climate change and that workers need to be retrained for jobs and educated for the 21st century.
"It’s crazy to ignore that science just to play politics," he said.