I used to like Saturday Night Live. I never really watched it religiously, but I did appreciate the pop culture sketches that peppered my social media feed—that was until Alabama became the focal point of those sketches. And we’re better than that, Alabama. On December 12, 2017, we have a chance to show the rest of the country that we truly are better than the late night sketches and the Twitter fights with comedians. We have a chance to show the country—and ourselves— that we care about the young men and women in all 67 of our counties by electing Doug Jones our U.S. Senator. As a young working mother, I often wonder what the world will look like when my little boys are adults. I think about the songs we sing and the books we read. Most have the common theme of love, kindness, honesty and respect. I work hard every day to show them what it means to be a good citizen, how important it is to love and respect thy neighbor. The preschool basics we go over every day is what I want from an elected official. And that’s who Doug Jones is. He cares about the people of Alabama, especially our littlest ones in our most vulnerable areas by calling for more robust Medicaid funding for Alabama’s rural hospitals. Our rural hospitals have been struggling for years, with five having closed since 2010. We risk losing many more if a change isn’t made to their funding issues. Rural Alabama’s children should not be forced to travel hundreds of miles for care in one of our “big” cities. They should be able to get needed care closer to home; they deserve that. Funding a rural hospital shouldn’t be about partisan politics; it should be about loving thy neighbor and being kind to others. But pushing for rural hospital funding isn’t the only reason I am choosing to vote for Doug Jones on December 12 th . I’m choosing to vote for Doug because while he says he believes that we are all created equal in the eyes of the Lord and the law; he puts his money where his mouth is with criminal justice reform policies that don’t just lock everyone up (at a rate much higher for African-American Alabamians)—costing taxpayers millions in the process. Instead, Doug wants to see reforms that will help address Alabama’s current prison overcrowding crisis. Addressing the current prison crisis isn’t what has earned my vote for Doug Jones though. The way he has run his race to be our U.S. Senator: with honesty and integrity, something we are so thirsty for in Montgomery and Washington, is ultimately why I am proud to take my boys and cast my ballot for Doug December 12th. The thing about the SNL skits and late-night comedian Twitter fights is that they are true—our elected officials have embarrassed Alabama time and time again. If it’s not breasts; it’s cash. If it’s not cash; it’s fundamentalism. My friends, neighbors, co-workers, the real people of Alabama? We’re not corrupt. We’re not zealots who have lost sight of federal law. We are just trying to raise our babies right, get up and do our jobs every day with the integrity that our state government seems to have lost. Doug never lost his integrity. In fact, during the most opportune time to out and out attack someone, he’s chosen to speak about the issues I talk to my husband about at our kitchen table. The real things that affect Alabama: Funding our rural hospitals, reforming our prisons and protecting our environment by believing in scientific data. We’re better than late-night comedians getting into Twitter fights with our elected officials. Isn’t it time we showed the rest of the country that? We can with Doug Jones.
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Jessica Johnson Anderson, a graduate of The University of Alabama, lives and works in Montgomery with her husband and their toddler twin boys. She currently serves as the Alabama Young Democrats Vice President-Place Three.