Wiregrass for Jennifer Marsden
Alabama State House District 93 in AL https://sites.google.com/site/jennifermarsden493/home
PO Box 93
Primary Election Date: 2014-06-03 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
Dr. Jennifer S. Marsden, MD is running for Alabama State Legislature in House District 93. Dr. Marsden is an internationally published board-certified Family Physician, an Army veteran, wife of a retired Army Colonel, and mother of two. She graduated with honors from Harvard University and obtained her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She served in the US Army for over 7 years, commanding two overseas detachments, and completed her service with the rank of Major. Her military decorations include the Army Parachutist Badge and Meritorious Service Medal. Her family has been settled in Newton in Southeast Alabama for eight years now.
Dr. Marsden is a lifelong Democrat, growing up in Pittsburgh across the river from the Homestead Steel Works, and was privileged as a child to hear candidate for President Shirley Chisholm speak (and wrote up the event for her 8th grade class). Her parents were both native South Dakotans and George McGovern was once her grandmother's history professor. She has lived in Germany, England, and many university and Army towns in the US.
Dr. Marsden has worked at the Slocomb (Alabama) Family Health Center serving indigent and migrant farm worker patients. She has cared for Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans and their families most recently at the Wiregrass VA Clinic at Fort Rucker, Alabama where she joined AFGE local 503. She is an avid organic gardener and has gardened in almost every place she has lived. She was chairman of the Hampshire (England) Organic Gardening Group while she lived there and is still part owner of her grandparents' farm in South Dakota.
Why am I running?
I have children, and I want them and my neighbors' children to be able to flourish and prosper, and for them to want to raise their own children here in Alabama. Our Republican supermajority is corrupt, wasteful, and heartless. Our physician governor has done his best to thwart the Affordable Care Act and the Republicans continue passing laws which they must defend in court using Alabama tax money. They spend millions to get a few hundred low wage jobs but refuse the thousands of jobs, for some years cost neutral, certain with Medicaid expansion. They are working hard to decimate unions and teachers and they have passed a 'school choice' bill which steals millions from the public schools and gives a 5% cut to the company running the scholarship shell game. They are continuing work to expand that theft from the schools.
My top priority is Medicaid Expansion. I will increase the number of legislators directly supporting it with my win and will have a better position to urge the governor to take immediate action (I have already urged him to act in person). My experience as a family doctor, caring for Alabamians including veterans affected by not having health insurance, gives me the credentials to argue for this convincingly. I have worked as an ACA navigator to help Alabamians access the benefits of the ACA and gave lectures on the ACA as it was rolled out.
My next priority is to counter the attack on public education of the so called "Alabama Accountability Act". I will have the help of fellow Democrats and the teachers' organization. Aside from the direct dollar effect on public schools this act stinks of corruption as it is clearly tailored to help current private school parents (including some legislators!) reduce their tuition costs and is very difficult for any disadvantaged family to actually use to benefit their child. (In addition to having to apply to get funds, the funds are not guaranteed until after school starts for some children so those families need to have their own money to enroll prior to getting scholarships to repay them.)
The next most important issue in Alabama is prison reform. We need to decrease prisoner numbers- overturning nonviolent crime sentencing laws and releasing current prisoners held under these laws will help- and improve the prisons. The Republican supermajority and governor are on track to turn the prisons over to a prison industrial complex complete with required minimum prison occupancy rates all the while hastening the implosion of the prisons by cutting staff while the population is double occupancy rates. Tying sentencing- and incentives for district attorneys who prosecute cases- to solving rather than exacerbating prison population concerns will help this as of course will ending 'cut costs at any price' Republican nihilism.
My DFA Values
Wiregrass for Jennifer Marsden is formed to help the local and state community stay secure and free, to strengthen and rebuild the middle class here. As the Republican supermajority in Alabama ignores the needs of the people, as our Republican representatives in Washington, DC assault American values of liberty and security, I felt compelled to step forward to ensure there was a choice in this election for state legislature. (Thankfully a brilliant young man, Erick Wright, is running against our US Congresswoman in AL CD 2. I regret to note that no one has stood up to oppose our US Senator running for reelection this year.) The excessive campaign spending characterizing American politics has made it seem insurmountable to oppose these Republicans but the longest journey begins with the first step. I am blessed to have the time and resources to serve my community by running for office.
I am moved by my own concerns for my children, and the sense of duty bred into me by my family and my military service, to have a deep concern for my neighbors and all of our children. We need a strong, secure middle class with good schools and good job opportunities for our children and grandchildren. Improved access to health care and consumer protections will keep the middle class from continuing to drop into poverty. Currently Alabama is under attack. It needs champions of Progressive values to fight against almost every action taken by the Republican supermajority.
The continued decline of our schools and the recent out right assault on public schools and teachers by the school voucher bill just passed, voters rights attacks, the stagnation of wages and the lack of empathy for Alabama families unable to find work or work that pays what they once earned while companies are bribed to bring in a handful of jobs, the callous denial of Medicaid Expansion to Alabama citizens despite its many benefits for jobs and our economy, valuing holding taxes down over school children; veterans; the environment; medical and mental health needs; and many other beneficial programs in the state: all of these have been supervised and cheered on by the current Republican supermajority. Republicans have also carefully and aggressively worked to block Democrats and non Republicans from winning or running for office at every turn. They fight labor and the teachers' organization which fund their challengers. They quickly passed a "double dipping" law that officeholders may not be state employees such as school teachers or prison workers (our legislature is part time) but they have continued the much more concerning "double dipping" of permitting outside businesses for legislators, even those that trade upon the office such as consulting work for companies whose concerns are voted upon by the very people they pay. Thankfully our speaker of the house is under grand jury investigation right now for such behavior but it is not clear that he will be indicted or even sanctioned for his actions.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I have connected with Progressives across the state and the country for training and advice. I am working with the local Democratic groups and other advocacy groups (educators, animal rights, veterans, consumers rights, labor, churches) in person and on social media to increase awareness of my campaign and the campaign issues.
I am an active member of our local Wiregrass DAC (Democratic Action Club) and have participated in their roll out of the ACA in our area including completing navigator training and giving lectures on the ACA locally and at state meetings. The members have helped me canvass and with other campaign work.
Our local machinists union recently struck for the first time in 30 years and I was present at the union hall throughout the strike, with material support from my campaign. Union members have also helped me canvass and with other campaign work.
I am continuing to build my community ties and inspire and motivate fellow Progressives to volunteer for, donate to, and spread the word about my campaign.