Arnall “Rod” Thomas is a retired school psychologist and a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War who has worked on a farm, run a day care center, owned restaurants, and sold insurance and cabinet refacing, but his website emphasizes his anti-establishment approach by calling him this election’s “Trump card” — linking his name to that of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
AJT: Why should Jewish residents of your district support your candidacy?
Thomas: Because they are citizens first and Jewish second.
AJT: The presidential primaries have revealed a lot of anger at the political establishment. Why are you the right candidate to respond to that sentiment?
Thomas: Because I feel like they do. For far too long we have put political parties ahead of service and giving back to our communities.
AJT: What level of U.S. financial aid do you feel Israel should receive and why?
Thomas: As a freshman candidate for Congress, I do not feel I would be informed enough to answer this question. I will say that I do support Israel with finances and with military supplies.
AJT: What do you think is the solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and how do we get there?
Thomas: It is no different than conflict here in the USA in our own race relations struggles. It just requires that we continue to meet and communicate with both sides.
AJT: What do you see as the primary foreign policy challenges of the next decade?
Thomas: Probably to make trade fair and equitable between all nations. All people will have to learn how to live within their means.
AJT: What do you see as the primary domestic policy challenges of the next decade?
Thomas: To remove money from all our political elections. Also a $15 minimum wage.
AJT: Based on your experience, how should the federal government address the balance between protecting the American public and preserving the civil liberties on which the country was founded?
Thomas: Congress should pass a constitutional amendment that would give greater voice to this problem.
AJT: Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed H.B. 757, the religious liberty legislation, drawing criticism at Republican district conventions around the state. Do you see religious liberty as being threatened? If so, what should be done? If not, why do so many people think so?
Thomas: H.B. 757 was a total overreach by extreme conservatives. I sent Gov. Deal an email thanking him for having the common sense and moderate view. This bill and the bills that did pass in North Carolina and Mississippi are power reaches by conservatives that really promote hate and division in our society. The North Carolina and Mississippi bills, even though passed, will never see the light of being useful. A waste of legislation time.
AJT: What do you see as the proper role of government in supporting K-12 public education and K-12 private education?
Thomas: To ensure equal access to having an education that each will be able to reach their G-d-given level of development.
AJT: What can/should government do to make college education less of a financial burden for families?
Thomas: This is one of my issues. I would be for giving every student support equal to a four-year public college’s cost.
AJT: What are your priorities on tax and budget policies?
Thomas: Raise taxes on the highest 1 percent. I am going to work for the average teacher’s salary of $48,000. The salary for all of Congress is $174,000. I promise to donate the difference to food programs throughout the district.