September 18, 2017

Battle Blog: Visiting alma maters and talking job growth for all of Alabama

My two alma maters were a big part of the Battle for Alabama campaign tour recently.

The Japan America Society of Alabama held a banquet in Birmingham and I was there as my fellow Berry High alum and good friend Mark Jackson was presented the Samuel Ullman Award. Mark is the Honorary Consul of Japan in Alabama and I’m proud of all the good work he’s done.

It was good seeing Mark and a lot of our friends in the Birmingham Business Alliance. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama was well represented, too. Toyota has been a big part of Huntsville for more than 15 years as an economic force and a community partner. They were one of the first major corporations to recognize our assets as a city and a region in supporting advanced manufacturing, along with our global role in aerospace, missile defense, and technology.

Based on Toyota’s success, in my 10 years as mayor, we’ve been able to bring in companies like Remington, Polaris and GE Aviation, creating more jobs for our residents and attracting more new people to the area.

After being in Birmingham and all the Berry High memories, we went to my other alma mater. We took the campaign back to where it all started for me, where I first ran for office. I was in Young Republicans at the University of Alabama in the 1970s and was a candidate for student senate.

That was so much fun then, going door-to-door in different residence halls. I thought it was a lot of campaigning. We put out little fliers and posters. I bet we didn’t spend $95 on the whole campaign, but it felt like a fortune then.

This time, we had a great time going tailgate-to-tailgate before an Alabama football game. We ran into a lot of people we knew and met a lot of people who are enthusiastic about what we’re doing.

Our campaign team is putting up signs and has a presence at games all over the state, and we’ve even made sure that we have campaign decals available in all the schools’ colors.

You don’t need me to tell you that there’s one thing even more important than politics that divides our state – college football!

But as we go to games and travel the state to speak at civic clubs or just chat in some roadside barbecue joint, there is something that I see uniting us all, despite the color of flags that fly from our vehicles on a football Saturday.

And that is a shared vision for improving our state’s image and to repair the damage that has been done at the State Capitol. The people we talk with are intrigued by how we’ve improved education and infrastructure and created jobs in Huntsville, and how we can do the same for the state. Those people know that you can’t solve all the challenges Alabama faces by bouncing across the state handing out checks, that it takes a sound strategy and proven leadership and hard work.

Hope you’ll join the Battle for Alabama, and I’ll see you at a game sometime soon!


P.S. – If you want to show off your role in the Battle for Alabama, contribute here and we’ll send you a one of our college colors car stickers.