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Rogers unopposed in primary, will see opponents in November

Third District U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Anniston) has no opposition in Tuesday’s Republican primary election but will have opposition from a Democrat come November. Rogers has represented the Third District since 2003 and has been elected eight times, mostly against token opposition.

A fifth generation resident of Calhoun County, Ala., Rogers is a graduate of Saks High School and a graduate of Jacksonville State University. At 28 years of age, he was the youngest person to be a member of the Calhoun County Commission. In 1994, he was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives, where he served two terms before running for U.S. Congress. At that time, incumbent Rep. Bob Riley was giving up his seat to run for governor.

Rogers won the Republican primary and the general election for that vacant seat and has been in Congress ever since. Among his recent political positions, he supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, sponsored legislation to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and has called for the U.S. to withdraw from the United Nations.

Two candidates will face off in the Tuesday, June 5 Democratic Primary. The winner of the race between Mallory Hagan of Opelika and Dr. Aida Winfrey of Talladega will face Rogers in the November General Election.

Hagan has some local ties. She’s a native of Opelika and a former Miss Chatt. Being Miss Chatt started her on the road to being Miss America in 2013. As Miss America she was an outspoken advocate for children’s issues. She lobbied Congress with the National Children’s Alliance to restore funding for Child Advocacy Centers.

In her current race for the Democratic nomination, Hagan has been endorsed by Lilly Ledbetter, the Alabama New South Alliance, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, End Citizens United and has received a “Gun Sense Candidate” accolade from Moms Demand Action.

“My whole life I have been sending up for others,” Hagan said. “From defending grade school friends on the playground when I was a little girl to lobbying nationally for children in our Child Advocacy Centers as an adult, I have always been a strong and passionate voice for others. It’s second nature for me. I have always believed that we have to look out and protect one another. I want to represent the people of this state because I want to be a voice for Alabamians that is clear and strong. I want to be a voice that sparks positive change. I want to be someone who hears people, unites them and works across party lines to provide leadership and accountability in Congress. We deserve someone who will stand up for what’s right.”

Dr. Aida McClellan Winfrey is a clinical psychologist and author of “HYPE: Healing Young People Thru Empowerment.”

“I have worked with a variety of people in a variety of settings,” reads her campaign site. “I would love to bring that experience to Congress. As a congressperson, my focus would be on legislation and representation. I believe I have the skills to do both.”

In a debate between the two Democrats, both stressed the importance of education, social equality and health care.

A difference between the two is that while Hagan favors Medicaid expansion in Alabama, Winfrey believes that universal health care is the answer.

“Health care is the number one issue to people here in this district,” Hagan said. “The cost of healthcare, whether or not people are going to lose access to it and the expansion of Medicaid are incredibly important.”

“It’s time to come up with a system where all Americans are covered, not just some,” said Winfrey. “Healthcare is not an issue that should be based on your income level. Everyone is entitled to health care.”

There’s also an independent candidate in the race. He has an unusual, but memorable, name – Thomas Sick of D.C. Casson. That middle name is more than just a nickname. It’s on his Alabama driver’s license. Casson previously ran against Rogers as a Republican and got 23 percent of the vote. He thinks he can get more than that this time with the name change. He’s banking on a protest vote, that people will be voting for him in November because they are sick of D.C., too.