The Democratic primary candidates for Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District — Mallory Hagan and Adia Winfrey — found themselves to be like-minded on many issues at a debate televised and hosted by WTVM News Leader 9 Wednesday night.
“I think how exciting is it to have two strong, smart, articulate, intelligent women standing here today for a party that has not seen much organization in some time,” Hagan said.
The debate was held at Auburn University’s Telfair Peet Theatre ahead of the primary vote on June 5, 2018, which will decide the opponent who will go up against U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, the 16-year incumbent holding the district's seat.
Winfrey cited her experiences of being a mother and a clinical psychologist throughout the night as ways that she has been prepared to serve in Congress. Hagan cited experience with winning Miss America and work with members of Congress on multiple occasions to make her case.
“I’m someone who is ready to push what it means to be an American here in this country,” Winfrey said. “We’re all told you can be anything you want to be, but how true is that? Are we really being real when we tell our children they can be anything they want?”
Winfrey said she has been a voice for those who don’t have one on many social justice issues, and she would continue to fight for people who have been and are discriminated against.
“As someone who did grow up here in this district, I am sick and tired of being at the bottom of the barrel,” Hagan said. “This is the definition of insanity to
Hagan told the story of when a story broke that directors of Miss America were talking negatively and in a degrading way about her and other winners. She said she didn’t just accept an apology, she demanded change, which resulted in a restructuring of the organization and the resignation of many of its top leaders.
The two candidates agreed on taking a measured approach to the recent Supreme Court ruling that gave the states the option to legalize sports
Hagan said she is pro-Second Amendment, but they both agreed reasonable gun control measures can be taken.
The two candidates agreed on issues relating to healthcare, arguing for a single-payer system that would ensure healthcare for every American. They both said healthcare is a right. They also took similar stances on prison reform and the amount of time that a congressman must be required to work.
After the WTVM moderators followed up on the similar answers by asking what the candidates thought set themselves apart, Winfrey cited her innovative approach to incorporating hip-hop and therapy. She said the innovative approach made her prepared to bring new and fresh ideas to Congress.
Winfrey wrote a book on this topic, which is now used in education systems in 40 states and four continents.
Hagan said that actually
“I think that I am the candidate to face Mike Rogers because I am not afraid of Mike Rogers,” Hagan said. “I’m not afraid of standing up to the
Winfrey agreed in the
“At the end of the day, this is what we’re both here for, to beat Mike Rogers,” Winfrey said. “He has been there for a long time, and I think at this point, people in the 3rd Congressional District are ready for a change. As I traveled around and talked to different citizens, some Democrats and some Republicans, there is a common thread that we need a change in Washington D.C.”
The moderators broke away from the serious questions to ask some
Among some of the responses, Hagan told the audience about her love for Meryl Streep and Oprah, and Winfrey mentioned her passion for rapping.
Hagan, 29, said she’s always seen herself in politics at some point, but it’s come earlier than she expected because the people of the district asked her to. Winfrey said she decided to run after volunteering with Sen. Doug Jones' campaign last year.
Winfrey helped flip the Talladega County from Republican to Democratic in favor of Jones in the historic U.S. Senate special election.
The moderators ended the debate with a light-hearted question for Winfrey to give a quick rap and Hagan to give her best beauty pageant wave.