Representative Daniels was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2014. He represents Alabama’s 53rd District covering Madison County. In 2017, he became the youngest person and the first minority to ever become the House Minority Leader in Alabama. He is a graduate of Alabama A&M and is an elementary school teacher by trade. He also owns several small businesses with his wife.
What first prompted you to consider running office?
When I was 23, I became very involved with members of congress and the Bush administration. I think that’s where it started.
How does your background help serve you on the Legislature?
As a small business owner, and as teacher, I am constantly looking for ways to advocate. I am a leader before I am a teacher.
What are some of your legislative priorities this term?
Expanding access to quality healthcare which will in turn help our state, and help us provide quality care to those who are living check to check and can’t afford it. It would also help small businesses.
What are some health-related issues important to your district and your constituents?
I think that they want access to quality healthcare providers. We take for granted access to OBGYN’s or specialists and things like that, while many communities don’t have access to those types of physicians.
What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?
I think they don’t really understand the number of people that need access to healthcare and the number of communities that don’t have access to quality healthcare. The different communities have big differences in quality of healthcare and that is a problem.
If you could change anything about our state’s health care system, what would it be?
We need to look at how we reform our system. It needs to help people first. We need more flexible hours for things such as emergency care or telemedicine. Giving people the opportunity to have flexibility when they go to the doctor is very important to me.
Do you have a position on the expansion of Medicaid?
I am 100% in favor of it. I think it is a fundamental right. We’ve seen, during Covid, the exposure of underlying health conditions, many are because of lifestyle. These people aren’t just sitting at home doing nothing. They just need a helping hand, plain and simple.
How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health challenges?
I think that MASA can start building broader coalitions. People trust their doctors. I also think we need to educate people on what the expansion of Medicaid entails and not what it isn’t.
What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?
Continue to work hard and provide the quality care you always provide. Because of the hospital closures, it may feel overburdening, but expanding access to healthcare can help fix many issues.