Soon citizens of Alabama will head to the polls for the primary election, and residents of District 38, which covers parts of Chambers and Lee counties, will have three candidates to choose from in the House District 38 Republican primary race.
Bryan Murphy, Tood Rauch and Debbie Hamby Wood have all stepped forward to vie for the seat. Whichever candidate wins the primary will face Democrat Brian McGree in the November general election.
Murphy is a full-time veterinarian working in nearby cities like Smiths Station and Columbus and residing in Opelika. He said he decided to run for office because he believes the Legislature needs more members who are business-oriented.
"We need some business-minded people up there to try to straighten the mess out," he said. "I've been in small business for 30 years, and as an Eagle Scout, I have some real high, strong morals, and I think that is what it's going to take to make some changes in Montgomery."
He said his top focus, if elected, would be education. He would fight to repeal Common Core and allow local school administrations to have more power in regards to managing curriculum and their school systems.
"We don't need the federal government to tell us how to teach our children," he said. "We need individual teachers and schools to dictate how to teach our children."
Murphy also said he would do all he can to make sure Second Amendment rights are not diminished. He also would not be in favor of a gas tax.
"We need to work in Montgomery to get rid of the wasted spending," he said.
He said voters should consider his business knowledge and his commitment to standing firm against PACs and lobbying groups. Find Murphy on Facebook for more information about him.
Rauch, an Opelika resident and retired Army serviceman, said he is running to be a voice for District 38 residents.
"I'm not a doctor; I'm not a teacher, not a mechanic, not a current law enforcement officer, but we have a community full of experts in those areas," he said. "I'm passionate about being a voice for the community ... and unless you're in the community all the time and being present and talking to people, if you're not doing that, who are you representing?"
Being active in the community is something Rauch takes pride in doing, and he said he would continue to interact with people on a daily basis, if elected. For Rauch, being a representative would be a full-time job, he said.
"We need someone who is willing to put in the time, effort and attention to the community," he said.
Improving education for young children as well as for those preparing to enter the workforce is something Rauch would focus on, he said.
"We need to make sure that people are trained for the jobs we have in our community," he said. "I feel like there is a gap between the schools and the businesses in the area."
He said bringing broadband to rural areas is also an issue that he would work to solve. One issue close to his heart is supporting veterans. Rauch previously served in Iraq and is a Purple Heart recipient.
"People don't understand what freedoms our military and service members give up so that other people can have freedom," he said. "I can't think of a better candidate to earn somebody's vote than someone who fought to protect their right to vote."
To find out more about Rauch, visit his website at www.toddrauchforalabama.com.
Wood, who is also running for House District 38, has held a seat on the Chambers County Commission for just over 15 years and is a small business owner. She said that experience makes her especially qualified to serve at the state level.
"I have looked at county budgets for 15 and a half years and helped solve local problems at home when there was a funding shortage," she said. "I understand that ultimately we're just investors for people's money. We take the taxpayers' money and invest that in policies, programs, services, roads, bridges and whatever we think that we need, but you have to be a good investor of money."
Wood said that if elected, she would work to address Medicaid funding and prison overcrowding, among other issues, by creating longterm plans for the state.
"My goal is to go to Montgomery and say, 'Hey ... let's come up with some long-range plans for our state, just like counties do for the roads and bridges or businesses do to replace their furniture or equipment.' It's a business and we need to run it as such."
She said she pledges to make wise decisions, be open-minded and be outspoken and dedicated.
"When you send us to Montgomery, we should govern in such a way that people want to come and live in Alabama," she said. Learn more about Wood at www.debbiewoodstaterepresentative.com.