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New Member Profile: Rep. David Cole

By AINSLEY PLATT, Alabama Daily News

In one of the state’s truly competitive general election legislative contests, Dr. David Cole overcame a Democratic opponent to become the newest Republican state representative from District 10 in Madison County.

Cole, a retired Army physician who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, is the current medical director of Occupational Health Group in Huntsville. He said he ran on a platform of “table issues,” including improving schools and infrastructure.

His predecessor, former-Rep. Mike Ball, said District 10 has become more purple since Ball’s original campaign for the office. Cole faced Democrat Marilyn Lands in the closely watched general election contest. The November race included Libertarian Elijah Boyd. Cole​​ won with 51.6% of the votes.

“The people of District 10 chose David Cole to represent them in Montgomery, and we are excited about the experience he brings to the State House,” John Wahl, chairman of the state GOP, told Alabama Daily News. “Rep. Cole’s medical leadership roles in both the military and private sector give him an amazing skill set in which to serve not only the people of Madison County, but all Alabamians. He will be able to provide expert insight into matters related to public health that will be incredibly useful for the State Legislature.”

District 10 became geographically smaller during the 2021 redistricting. Prior to redistricting, sections stretched into southeast Huntsville , but that area is no longer a part of the district. Parts of Madison that used to make up the district were also removed.

Cole participated in this month’s organizational session of lawmakers while a court challenge to his residency in the district is ongoing. It was first reported by Alabama Political Reporter.  Cole declined to comment on that situation, citing ongoing litigation.

“The State Party’s Candidate Committee received a ballot challenge against Dr. Cole after candidate qualifying closed in February of 2022,” Wahl said. “The committee voted not to move forward with the challenge due a lack of evidence against Dr. Cole.”

Cole will serve on House Health Committee and the State Government and Fiscal Responsibility Committee. Health was one of his requested assignments.

“I’m the only physician in the House right now, so I think I can really help the committee with a good perspective on some of their legislation we’re going to propose,” Cole said.

Q&A with Rep. David Cole

Q: You’re a veteran and a doctor. Why did you want to be a member of the Alabama House?

A: “Well, my whole life has been dedicated for service, service to mankind, service to my fellow man – alleviating suffering – and then of course service to my country. And you know, I had been in the Army for three, four years. And I just felt a call that I had something left to give. When I retired here, we said that this was going to be the best place that we had found so far. And so we said, “You know what, this is where we want to be.” And I want to give back to the state, and to the area that helped me out so much since we’ve moved here. And I thought that with my experience and a lot of my kind of expertise on certain issues, that maybe I can help steer the state in a good direction to help Alabamians. So that’s kind of why I got into it.”

 

Q: Your race was closely watched as Democrats tried to flip the open seat and your predecessor, Rep. Ball, has said that the district is more purple than it was when he first ran. At the end of the day, you received nearly 1,000 more votes than your Democrat opponent in the general election. How did you do that? What was your message?

A: “Well, you know, the one thing that you have to focus on is that, at the end of the day, a lot of it is about table issues, and table issues for us was improving the infrastructure, improving the roads, improving the schools, and making sure that we can take and reduce taxes, and being a good steward of their tax dollars. That is something that reaches across all aspects of all politics. And our message just resonated more with District 10 than my opponent’s (message).”

Q: How do you describe your district and its political leanings?

A: “Well, they’re very educated. You know, this area right here is very highly educated because of a lot of the jobs that are here. They’re very into politics, and the specific issues that are important to them.”

Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges that your district faces, and what do you want to do to address them?

A: “Some of the biggest challenges for us are infrastructure. Madison County has grown by leaps and bounds. We’re one of the top counties with the least amount of unemployment. We still have jobs and big companies moving in all the time with living wages, and a good way for families to enjoy their lives here. Education is really good here. So we have to make sure that the schools continue to keep pace. I was talking to one of the superintendents that talks about, on average, they get 500 new students every year. So you know, we have to make sure that the schools stay up, that teachers can have a class size that’s manageable. It’s kind of, we’re the victim of our own success. And one of the things we have to do is to make sure that we continue to address these so that they don’t get out of control, and we stay ahead of it.”

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t really touched on?

A: “Well, I’m very humbled, and honored that the district elected me.

“… I’m new to politics, and I didn’t have an established name. But, you know, I felt like I resonated with a lot of my district, who are also transient, have been in the military, they understand what service is and they understand what I can bring to the table. So I’m really honored and appreciate everyone who came out to support me. And I think that this is going to be a great quadrennium for the state.”

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