Attorney and U.S. Senate hopeful Doug Jones campaigned at Auburn University Wednesday night, drawing a crowd of Auburn residents that filled every seat and lined the walls of the Lowder Hall lecture classroom.
As he came to the front to speak, Jones commented on the large turnout and said that his campaign has been getting comparable support all over the state.
“We started this campaign in May, and we started because we saw an opportunity I believe that both the Democrats and people of reason needed to take,” Jones said.
Jones was introduced by Auburn University College Democrats President Weston Sims*, who spoke of the state's history of racism and inequality and said it wasn’t too late to change.
“Just down the interstate in Montgomery, Alabama, we have the cradle of the Confederacy, and despite having that here in our state, our state has still produced goodness,” Sims said. “The Doug Jones campaign, for me, means that we can come out of our dark history.”
Jones said that though the people of Alabama are at a crossroads and are becoming more divisive, the actuality is that we have more in common with each other than we assume.
“I believe that we have more in common than what divides us and can tell you after about five months on the campaign trail, I was right,” Jones said. “People want to talk about healthcare, they want good healthcare, they want good education, they want good jobs. … They’re the issues we all have in common.”
A large portion of Jones’ speech was spent criticizing his opponent Roy Moore and reinforcing his own image as a more reasonable candidate both in mind and policy.
“We have for so long seen our state in a situation where we have leaders who continue to fail us, whether it’s a governor who has to be removed, whether it’s a speaker of the house that has to be removed, whether it’s a chief justice who is removed twice,” Jones said. “I could get up here and give you a full list of all of the things that Roy Moore has said that outrages each one of you.”
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During the Q-and-A portion of the speech, Jones was asked about his positions on various issues including women’s rights regarding abortion, policy regarding climate change, increasing government support of education and prison reform.
Jones spoke in favor of women having the ultimate choice regarding abortion, protecting Earth’s environment, supporting public education and reforming the country’s prison system.
Regarding income inequality and taxation however, Jones took a more conservative stance, saying that he believes corporate tax cuts could increase jobs.
“There’s a lot of cash sitting overseas that’s American dollars — billions of dollars — that need to be brought back and it’s sitting over there because of corporate taxes,” Jones said. “If we can figure out how to get that under the right circumstances, everyone will benefit. That, to me, is not trickle-down economics, I don’t believe in that.”
Jones closed his speech by expressing humility over the reactions he’s seen all over the state of those who support his campaign and stressed the need for Alabama to change.
“It’s going to take a lot of work … but it’s now time to get out there and beat the bushes, make your calls, get on social media, tell everybody about this campaign,” Jones said.
“Just don’t let nobody turn you around,” he ended, quoting from an old spiritual.
* Weston Sims also serves as The Plainsman's opinions editor. He had no role in the reporting or editing of this story.