Professor runs for Congress

Department of Communications Chair Butler Cain will run as a Democratic candidate in this year’s bid for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Alabama has seven congressional districts in total. The 5th Congressional District seat represents Lauderdale, Limestone, Madison, Morgan and Jackson counties in Northern Alabama. Congressional representatives operate at a federal level and are often involved in decision making processes associated with the national and international sectors of government.

Cain decided to run for several reasons, but he said the lack of Democratic candidates on local election ballots was a major factor in his decision.

“When I voted in the 2016 elections, I saw so many empty races that only had one candidate,” he said. “It just happened to be that most of them were filled by Republicans and there were a lot of blank Democratic ballots, but personally I have a problem with that. It doesn’t matter the party, I just think that’s an imbalance, and I don’t think that’s good for democracy.”

Cain said he is centering his campaign around five talking points which he considers congressional priorities: Affordable and accessible healthcare, reducing student loan debt, promoting career and technical education, the protection of free expression and the defense of human rights in North Korea.

Senior Joseph Isom said he is confident in Cain’s ability.

“I believe Dr. Cain will serve that position well because he knows the problems this country is facing,” Isom said.

Cain has been teaching at UNA since Aug. 2016 when he was hired as the Chair of the Department of Communications.

Cain said he will not allow his campaign to interfere with his position at UNA.

“My job is my primary reason for being here,” he said. “The congressional campaign will have to work around my professional obligations. And I’m sticking to that promise. This is something I’m being very serious about because I could not, in good conscience, just as a professional, try to take on something in which I am skipping out of work.”

Junior Alex Jones said he is unsure if Cain will be able to adequately serve as department chair while running an election campaign.

“He can’t put all of his time in both,” Jones said. “One will have to suffer.”