Back in 2003, while U.S. Army Specialist Todd Rauch and his buddies were patrolling the streets of Abu Ghraib, an Iraqi city made famous by its notorious prison, a remotely-detonated mortar exploded near his patrol. His right shoulder and hand were severely injured in the blast.
Rauch was eventually flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and endured 12 surgeries to save his limbs from amputation.
He is now running as a Republican for the State House of Representatives district representing Chambers and Lee Counties.
So how did this Illinois-native find himself running for office in Alabama?
While recovering at the hospital, Rauch’s roommate was from Fort Payne and “all he talked about was Auburn and Auburn and Auburn,” Rauch told Yellowhammer News.
Rauch soon recovered from his injuries, and then his plans for a transition to civilian life became all about … Auburn, Auburn, Auburn.
“I applied to Auburn and felt like it was a good place to get a fresh start,” he said
Rauch studied psychology at Auburn University, with the intention of working in veteran services or military intelligence. He then worked for a time as an intelligence analyst and then began working in veterans’ services, helping his brothers and sisters in arms receive the benefits they were promised.
He’s running on a platform strengthening communities.
Rauch has a firm conviction that a community’s representative ought to be more present in the community itself, something he said he hasn’t seen much at the 75 city and county commission meetings he has attended over the last few years.
“I realized that there was no one there who was representing us in Montgomery to take those voices and those issue and those problems to Montgomery,” he said.
Rauch has put improving jobs and education among his platform principles.
He is a stanch supporter of the community college system, of which both he and his wife are products.
“It’s a good and affordable way to get your education and to get experience in college without jumping into a four-year university,” he said.
Rauch also supports expanding broadband access to rural areas. He said it is critical to the development of rural areas that have little internet and cell service.
“You’re not able to do your banking,” he said. “Some of these people aren’t even able to have home security systems because some of that works off of cell service.”
With the campaign motto, “Community. Country. Service,” Rauch said he wants to work to improve life for his constituents, and by extension, the rest of the state and country.
“Focusing on the community creates better environment for the kids, inspires better leaders, and provides better community for our state, and provides a better state for our country,” he said.
The GOP primary is June 5.
(Image: Todd Rauch for Alabama/Facebook)