Incoming State Rep. Matt Woods (R-Jasper) managed to win the Republican primary for House District 13 without a runoff against four other opponents in May.
After defeating a Libertarian opponent in the general election, Woods told 1819 News recently that "as a new legislator, I will do a lot of listening and learning initially."
"We just wrapped up a very helpful orientation session," Woods said. "I feel prepared, but I also recognize that I have plenty to learn. There are several things I campaigned on that I'd like to be involved in. Infrastructure and broadband development are critical to my district. Fighting inflation through job creation, and not just any jobs but bringing in industries that lead to good careers is a great need in Walker County and across the state. Going back to my time on the board at the [Alabama Community College System (ACCS)], I have a deep appreciation for workforce development and creating career pathways for students in high school all the way through college that lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs."
Governor Kay Ivey appointed Woods to the ACCS Board of Trustees in 2018.
Woods has also served on the Board of Trustees with the Walker College Foundation, participated in the grant review process for the Walker Area Community Foundation and served as the President of a local non-profit group called Hope After Loss Organization (HALO). His wife, Brandi, started HALO after losing their first child due to stillbirth.
"We try to offer emotional support and bereavement supplies to families who have experienced the loss of [a] child in our surrounding area," Woods said.
Woods also said he'd like to improve and reform the adoption process in Alabama.
"I'm firmly pro-life, and with so much attention on the pro-life issue because of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I think it's also the right time to streamline the adoption process and make it more affordable for families to adopt," Woods said.
Woods, a manager at Jasper Auto Sales started by his father in 1987, said, "Small businesses are still the backbone of this entire country and the number one job creator in this state."
"I want to make sure that Alabama is open for business, that we are removing barriers for doing business, and that we are helping employers retain their employees," Woods told 1819 News. "I've had the opportunity to work in automotive retail since I was a kid. Being in this business has taught me a lot about what it takes to balance a budget and how difficult it is for business owners to deal with government red tape. Aside from having entrepreneurial experience, I also get to talk to people from every walk of life about what they are experiencing. I get to hear about the local job market, housing market, we get to talk about schools and community needs. I think it's a great place for me to stay in tune with my district and interact with the people I was elected to serve."
Woods said he doesn't have a "tax-and-spend mentality."
"As a business owner and citizen, I pay my fair share of taxes," Woods said. "I realize no one likes to pay taxes, and I don't enjoy it either. I'm a fiscal conservative. I do not have a tax-and-spend mentality. If an opportunity for a tax rebate or to cut a tax becomes evident, I'm probably going to be for it, as long as it doesn't cause us to raise a tax somewhere else or cut funding to something critical."
Woods, a lifelong resident of Walker County, attended college at Bevill State Community College, where he served as SGA President. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration for aviation management from Auburn University in 2004. He has been married for 17 years to his wife, Brandi, and they have a 13-year-old daughter. Woods serves as a deacon at the Parrish Church of Christ, where he has attended his whole life.
Woods mentioned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump as two of his political influences.
"It's hard to not like a lot of what Ron DeSantis is doing in Florida," Woods told 1819 News. "There have been a lot of patriots that have stood up and spoken out nationally over the last six years. When you think about America First policies and taking common sense approaches to our energy independence, trade, and national security, I'd have to say that President Trump has had as big an influence as anyone in my lifetime on me politically. With that being said, we have some good members of the Alabama Legislature that I think highly of and that look forward to working with."
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