October 2, 2017

Battle Blog: Running a clean campaign, visits from POTUS, VPOTUS, and more.

What an interesting week we had in Huntsville.

In the span of four days, we had both the President and Vice President come to town.

President Trump came to town for a political rally, to support Sen. Luther Strange in the Republican senatorial run-off. Vice President Pence was here for business and a little bit of politics. So it was fascinating to be part of both of those visits.

Now, we certainly didn’t put our own campaign on hold during all this. We traveled to Vestavia Hills and had three meetings there before hustling back for President Trump.

And we spent one night in Auburn and had a great breakfast at Byron’s Smokehouse, talking with a lot of residents, then had meetings at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika and with some builders’ groups before, once again, hurrying back to Huntsville, this time to meet Vice President Pence.

As Mayor of Huntsville, I wanted to make sure to be there for a presidential visit. I was right there in the front row. As security told us later on, he had a 45-minute speech but it lasted an hour and a half. As football fans know, there were many times he seemed to go off-script. I think reveled in being in the Rocket City.

Speaking of Rocket City, many people don’t know this, but Huntsville is connected 24/7, 365 days a year to the International Space Station. Vice President Pence came to Marshall Space Flight Center and spoke directly to three astronauts on the space station and wished them Godspeed.

He and Rep. Robert Aderholt were shown the combustion chamber of the Space Launch System vehicle and after that, I had the chance to meet him and welcome him to Huntsville. He’s a real class guy. He talked to a lot of employees, posed for a lot of selfies and, in good news for all of Alabama, reminded us that he is the leader of the National Space Council and that we’re going to make America a leader in space again. He said all the things we’ve been waiting to hear for 10 years from Washington.

The jobs at NASA and with its contractors are huge for Alabama’s economy and that’s why it’s important to have a leader in Montgomery who is attuned to the space industry and who has close contacts with NASA.

Then, after all this hoopla and the campaigning, on Tuesday we had the run-off election and Wednesday we could get back to governing.

Watching these campaigns were another reminder for us about how we conduct our own campaign.

We’ve seen some campaigns in this state that have been negative and ugly, and we’re a better state than that.

My hope is that our race is different. Let’s run on our achievements. Let’s run on our records. Let’s run on what we’ve done. Let’s run on our vision for the future, and leave all the negative behind. I don’t see that negativity having a place in Alabama politics and I don’t think our citizens want it.