First-time Democratic candidate Erick Wright is looking to bring compromise to a “do nothing” Congress if he is chosen to represent Alabama’s Second Congressional District.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Martha Roby focuses on her accomplishments, according to AL.com, which includes protecting military bases in the district, restricting federal regulations and demanding federal action on the scandal at the Veterans Administration.
A former Troy University football player, the 31-year-old Wright is a political newcomer, facing Roby, a Republican seeking a third term.
Neither candidate had a primary opponent for the district covering the Montgomery area through the southeast part of the state.
Wright worked for seven years in the insurance industry before receiving a bachelor’s degree in risk management in 2004. He left his insurance business Jan. 1 to run for Roby’s Congressional seat.
Wright supports raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
“If you work 40 hours a week you shouldn’t have to beg for assistance or give up your dignity for food stamps,” he told reporter Mike Cason of AL.com.
To bet the GOP on board for wage hikes, Wright is willing to offer a tradeoff, such as lowering taxes on business.
He blames Roby for not standing firm on civil liberties on legislation like the Patriot Act.
The need is for a fundamental change of approach in Congress, Wright says, from reactive to proactive.
During the campaign, Wright called for debates with Roby and attended candidate forums in Troy, Dothan and Montgomery. Roby did not.
Roby was busy doing her job, she says, working for her constituents, “to be their conscience in Washington.”
Roby is a 38-year-old attorney and served on the Montgomery City Council, before elected to Congress in 2010.
Roby spearheaded Alabama’s Congressional delegation to the Air Force from relocating seven C-130 aircraft out of Maxwell Air Force Base, which could have cost hundreds of jobs.
She is also a severe critic of the Veterans Administration scandal, which resulted in delayed care, false records and other problems. After calling for changes at Montgomery’s Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, where some of the most severe problems occurred, the facility’s director was removed.
The need for improvement in veterans’ care remains, Roby says.
“I’m not going to allow that issue to be swept under the rug,” she adds.
Roby understands Wright’s concerns over civil liberties in the search for terrorists, but she believes Congress so far struck the right balance.