Election profiles: Alabama Senate District 2 candidates

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 6 to vote in midterm elections.

To help prepare voters for Election Day, WHNT News 19 sent the same questions to candidates in North Alabama races.

Republican Tom Butler is running for the Senate District 2 seat against Democrat Amy Wasyluka.

Amy Wasyluka (D)

What in your background qualifies you to serve in the office you’re seeking?

As an appellate attorney, I research and analyze case law and legislation for a living. My ability to analyze and determine the intent of law will allow me to conduct an independent analysis of bills without having to rely on lobbyists or special interests.

Additionally, as a half-deaf childhood cancer survivor, the daughter of two public school teachers, and a small business owner, I have first-hand experience dealing with many of the challenges facing Alabama.

Those experiences have taught me how vital access to preventative care is to our ability to learn and work. I’ve seen how important it is to ensure our teachers have the resources they need to be successful both in the classroom and once they retire. I also understand the struggles of starting and growing a business, and the sacrifices that entails.

These experiences are invaluable because they allow me to more fully grasp how multifaceted and complex the issues that face our state are. Currently Alabama is 46th, 47th & 48th in the country in terms of healthcare, education and the opportunity to earn. Looking at these issues from a variety of perspectives is essential if we are to find creating and meaningful solutions which improve the lives of all Alabamians. An appreciation of the complexity of the issues we face as well as my ability to analyze and craft legislation are both traits that we need to have more of in Montgomery.

What are two areas you will focus on in representing your district?

Two areas I will focus on in representing my district are Infrastructure and Education. State Senate District 2 is one of the fastest growing areas in our state with more growth projected within the next ten years. It is essential that we invest in our infrastructure if we are to capitalize on the economic potential this growth presents.

In addition to infrastructure, we have look at ways we can invest in education which is why I support bringing a lottery to Alabama to fund the pre-k and scholarship programs needed to ensure our children have access to the education and opportunities they need to be competitive.

What are challenges facing Alabama, as a whole, that you want to help address?

Access to preventative care and greater transparency in terms of medical insurance and medical pricing are issues that Alabama will have to begin to face. Too many Alabamians today are not able to afford private insurance yet make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Lack of access to preventative care not only has negative consequences on an individual’s ability to learn or work, but also has negative financial consequences for both the individual and health care providers if that individual is struck with an unexpected catastrophic injury or illness. One of the ways that we can begin to address this issue is by expanding Medicaid which will help allow 300,000 working Alabamians access to the preventative care they need. However, in addition to expanding Medicaid we must also look at ways we can improve transparency overall so that we can begin to get the information we need to address the rising costs of private insurance.

Corruption is another challenge Alabama must face. Over the past several years we have seen too many scandals involving elected leaders who are supposed to be serving our best interests. Transparency and accountability are essential to changing the culture of corruption in Montgomery, which is why I have taken a Term Limits Pledge as well as a Town Hall Pledge to ensure that I remain accountable and accessible to the people of my District. We also have to look critically at any legislation that would seek to decriminalize conduct that has resulted in past ethics scandals. It is time that we elect leaders who lead by example and who will hold themselves and each other to the higher standard that Alabama deserves.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am a huge Star Wars fan and during this campaign I have not had much of an opportunity to see the most recent movie or wear any of my Star Wars items. I look forward to both seeing the move & wearing my Star Wars shirts again after November 6th!

Why should voters trust you?

Because running for office was not something I ever planned on doing. It is something I feel compelled to do because I see needs in my community and not enough elected leaders who are talking about those needs in ways that acknowledge the complexity of the issues we face and the toll that they are taking on our families.

I am a mother to a four year old little girl, and I want her to have access to good schools, regardless of her zip code. I want her to have access to preventative care that she can afford, even if something should happen to her. And I want her to have access to good paying jobs that will allow her the stability she needs to put down roots and contribute to her community and grow a family. I think all mothers want this for their children, and the fact is that there are mothers in our communities right now who cannot take for granted that their children will have access to these basic building blocks of the American dream.

I know we can do better, but it will take legislators who look at issues from a multifaceted perspective and who are not bound by a national party agenda. It will take legislators who empathize with the people who will be impacted by the bills we pass as well as those we don’t pass. And it will take legislators who are committed to an open-door policy and to listening to the concerns of all of their constituents. In short it will take legislators who will put the needs of the people they serve first- which is why my campaign slogan is #PeopleOverParty.

Tom Butler (R)

What in your background qualifies you to serve in the office you’re seeking?

As a former State Senator, I believe my record shows that I was an effective representative for District 2. I authored the BRAC Education bill that provided $175 million dollars that allowed us to build some of the greatest schools in Alabama. I sponsored legislation securing funding for Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology, UAH Applied Sciences Center and the National Space Science and Technology Center. While also improving our infrastructure in both Madison and Limestone counties.

What are two areas you will focus on in representing your district?

The issues needed to be addressed for the citizens of District 2 cannot be restricted to two areas. If elected to the State Senate my focus will be on; Healthcare by tackling the opioid crisis and Medicaid reform. Securing funding to improve our roads and infrastructure. Education, so that our schools are able to continue providing the best education possible and a new emphasis on career tech to prepare our children for jobs of the future. Lastly, Economic Development; we are blessed to be one of the fastest growing districts in the state, but that does not mean that we can place bringing new and good paying jobs on the back burner.

What are challenges facing Alabama, as a whole, that you want to help address?

Healthcare immediately comes to mind and as a career pharmacist, who has served thousands of patients, I believe that provides me with the unique skill set to help in solving this complex issue. Also, our infrastructure must be a top priority. Improving and adding to our infrastructure will provide the foundation allowing us to tackle many other issues.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I believe it surprises some people that I still work as a pharmacist. Some would assume when elected to office that you quit whatever job you had prior, but throughout the 28 years serving District 2 I have continued to work as a pharmacist and I think that provides me the unique ability to more precisely gauge how legislation will affect the citizens of my district. Also, I believe it surprises some that I am a graduate of both Alabama and Auburn.

Why should voters trust you?

I ask everyone to take a minute and look at my record. I believe it shows that the promises I made throughout my tenure, in both the House and Senate, have been kept. And if elected, I promise to continue to be your effective and working leader in the Alabama State Senate.