March 13, 2018

Change for a Better Alabama

The campaign trail has taken me back to when my fascination for politics and public service began. I specifically remember being at Britling Cafeteria in Birmingham decades ago.  George Seibels, the Mayor of Birmingham at the time, was sitting down for breakfast with community leaders; all working for a better Birmingham. I was a busboy and thought it was ‘neat’ these folks were working on how to improve our community.

I learned a valuable lesson from that table. It’s a moment you don’t forget. And it got me energized as a young person.

This past week, we had some great discussions with young people. These are first time voters, idealistic and frustrated like you and me. These students want a better education and more job opportunities. Their frustrations stem from the status quo created by Montgomery.

Young voters are one of the greatest assets for our campaign. If you have young voters in your home or social circle, please encourage them to register to vote and to visit our webpage to see how they can help. Their skills, enthusiasm and energy are invaluable in helping us share our message of change for a better Alabama.

On Tuesday, I met with the Sparkman High School AP Government and Economy classes, just outside Huntsville. I appreciated Ben Stevenson, their teacher, for organizing the visit. The students had an opportunity to hear me speak and ask questions. I had a lot of questions about our challenges and my plan and vision to turn those challenges into opportunities.  They asked about school safety, and that’s obviously a concern for every school system in the country. Years ago, we implemented a number of security measures in Huntsville City Schools. Those are measures that need to be expanded across the state.

One student wanted to know why I wanted to be governor of Alabama. I told the room of young people, as I tell other audiences, that I believe it’s time to improve the image of our state. It’s time to repair things in Montgomery that have been damaged by too much controversy, too much unethical behavior and too much control by people who don’t want change because it would impact their self-interests. I have seen our part of the state prosper economically with new businesses and high-paying jobs. I believe that can be translated across the state.

On Monday, we visited with the Lawrence County Republican Club, and someone made the observation that he hoped some of the jobs from the Toyota-Mazda joint-operating facility would go to people in their community. That’s the perfect case in point to the economic development work we’ve done. The Toyota-Mazda factory will be located in Huntsville, but we know that it will have a ripple effect on many surrounding counties and municipalities.

It was a partnership, working with numerous agencies, which enabled us to put the deal together. I need to thank Proncey Robertson for hosting the event. I’d like to give a special shout out to Mrs. D.D. Martin who was in attendance that night. We were at Mel’s Steakhouse in Moulton, and I don’t think I’ve had as good a steak. The stockyards are attached to Mel’s so you know it’s fresh.

From the stockyards to the airways – On Wednesday, we had an early morning interview on the Matt and Aunie radio show on 99.5 in Birmingham. We left Huntsville at a sleepy 6 a.m. to make sure we got there on time. The hosts brought up the fact that the current governor has been reluctant to attend campaign events. I don’t disagree with that. I’d like to remind the Governor you miss out on the best part of the campaign by not attending events – the people.

We then made a stop at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. You may have seen my tweet about it. Miguel Southwell, the CEO at the airport, gave me a detailed behind-the-scenes tour. It’s a hub for jobs, growth and a serious economic engine for central Alabama.

We stopped by Montgomery again last week and had a good meeting with the Central Alabama Republican Club set up by Charlotte Meadows. I had the honor of speaking about Alabama’s image, ethics, job recruitment and economic development. While there, I met a young man who shares the ‘Battle’ name with me. I made sure he left with signs, bumper stickers and other campaign items. If you’re looking for anything campaign related, then make sure you’re signed up on

We had lots of events and media requests this past week. It’s been a busy week and we feel the momentum moving in our direction. As Hannibal says on the “A Team”, I love it when a plan comes together.