Senator Robert Stewart, a native of Selma, is the newly elected Senator of District 23 and received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Tuskegee University and a Masters in Accounting from Kennesaw State University. Stewart is a former aide to U.S. Rep Terri Sewell, and he worked in an advocacy role at Public Citizen Inc., a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit. He is a graduate of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute Boot Camp and was elected to the inaugural Youth Caucus of the newly reformed Alabama Democratic Party State Executive Committee.
What first prompted you to consider running for office?
Gratitude. I had a great childhood and was reared in the district. District 23 shows great promise. I view the region as the “epicenter of southern hospitality.” It is an honor of a lifetime to represent the interests of such amazing people and communities.
How does your background help serve you in the Legislature?
I am an accountant by trade, former congressional staffer with a strong understanding of government, and with a record of service/community involvement that has equipped me with the skills necessary to serve.
What are some of your legislative priorities next term?
Priorities for me is passing legislation that improve the quality of life for the district with focuses on putting people first, economic development, healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
What are some health-related issues important to your district and your constituents?
Most of the counties in my district don’t even have access to a pediatrician. We must do introspection on what that means for communities. Children are the lifeline of any community and in many cases, without a pediatrician it is difficult to keep them healthy. Access to healthcare is a huge hurdle, there are counties in my district that don’t even have a hospital. Addressing the social determinants of health in the district is critical.
What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?
Too many have been propagandized so much that they do not understand that they deserve more. It is difficult for many people to see their way of hardship because of how expensive healthcare is. In other countries, there is Medicare for all, and citizens aren’t bankrupted by their healthcare system.
If you could change anything about our state’s health care system, what would it be?
Medicaid expansion would be a top priority; Hospitals are at the very minimum an acute health system in every county of the state.
How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health
The Medical Association can continue its advocacy to ensure that health outcomes are improved statewide.
Do you have a position on the expansion of Medicaid?
I fully support Medicaid expansion.
What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?
Thank you for going above and beyond keeping out communities healthy.