Story by Phyllis Jones, Speakin‘ Out News senior staff writer (courtesy photos)
Democratic candidate Peter Joffrion has his eyes on the prize, to become the next Congressman to represent Congressional District 5. Joffrion, who is a Huntsville native, served as the City Attorney for Huntsville for over 20 years. He oversaw every major economic development in Huntsville and plans to use his expertise to make improvements throughout the district.
So, why did Peter Joffrion decide to run? His response was simple, “The Election of 2016. It would have never occurred to me to run for office if Hillary Clinton had been elected.” Soon thereafter, Joffrion began to think of ways to stand up in opposition to Congressman Mo Brooks (R – AL05), because he had no confidence that President Donald Trump would do things that were in the country’s best interest. What he didn’t know is to what extent the Republicans would allow and empower President Trump to do what he does, without standing up for what they traditionally held as integrity and values.
The Women’s March in 2017, which Joffrion’s wife (Kerry – ordained minister) and daughter attended, also inspired him to run. Jofrrion said he had a renewed sense of hope after watching women from across the globe celebrating their own awakening. “The energy was so positive. I wanted to step up and do something to participate.” For three months he actively looked for someone to run against Congressman Brooks, but wasn’t able to find anyone with the resources, name recognition or skill set to do so. So after much prayer with his wife, he decided to run.
According to Jofrrion, the three biggest issues across the district are healthcare, jobs/economy and education. “I’m very concerned what a Republican congress is doing about healthcare. Mo Brooks has voted over 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. People across the district are concerned about both the availability and affordability of healthcare. I would like to see a transition to Medicare for All. Other developed countries have lower cost and better outcomes than the United States. I know we are smart enough to figure out how to do that.” Other equally important concerns of Joffrion include criminal justice reform, care for veterans and equal pay for equal work for women.
When it comes to the polls, Joffrion chooses to invest his money into his campaign where it will count most, such as purchasing more media so his message can get out to more people across the district. He doesn’t believe polls are
an accurate reflection of what’s going on.
When asked, how important is the black vote, Jeffrion had this to say, “The black vote is very important and it is what won the special senate election for Doug Jones. It’s not only important for the 5th Congressional race, but for candidates up and down the ballot.” Joffrion and his team have canvassed black neighborhoods, attended forums and spent Sundays visiting black churches. Dexter Strong, Joffrion’s campaign manager interjected, “If we win, 58% of the electoral votes will be black voters. The black vote is critical. We’re hopeful that black voters are not just energized to vote for Peter because Peter is the right candidate, but energized to vote because voting is the vehicle to voice frustration and concern. It is also the best way to put politicians of any stripe, on any level, on notice that you want change.”
According to Strong, Senator Jones lost the 5th Congressional District by 482 votes out of 201,000 votes cast. There are 212 precincts across the district. If Joffrion receives 2.5 additional votes per precinct, Strong is certain that Joffrion will win. So yes, every vote does matter.
Debates between Joffrion and Brooks have been a “no-go”. Congressman Brooks has been challenged repeatedly through social media, press releases and one formal invitation. Approximately 10 invitations total. Joffrion shared that Brooks officially responded once by saying [paraphrased], “Maybe Mr. Joffrion should go debate Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA 43rd District), Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12th District) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to determine who is the most liberal amongst them.”
“We’re both interviewing for this job. It’s not an entitlement. No one owes this seat to Mo Brooks or to me,” Joffrion stated. “We have to earn the trust of the electorate. The only way to do to that is to get in front of them.”
Joffrion mentioned that Brooks accused the Democrats of being the enemy. “As a representative of a district, how do you call half the people who live in your district the enemy”? Joffrion suggested that Brooks, who has received $1.4 million from special interest groups, should respect the differences.
The General Election is six days away. Residents will decide on November 6th, if there will be a new day or if things will remain the same. Ads for Joffrion’s campaign will continue to run through Election Day, identifying the differences between him and Congressman Brooks. He’ll be working hard on his ground game, text banking and making personal touches to let people know that another choice is available. Joffrion passionately expressed, “We’re a country in crisis. If we don’t take action in November of this year, we would have missed a major opportunity. We have to do it this November and not sit back and expect others to do our work for us.”