March 14, 2018

Huntsville’s Battle Points to His Record in Seeking GOP Nomination for Governor

March 14, 2018

Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle has a plan that he hopes will launch him straight to Montgomery.

Battle is one of a handful of candidates challenging incumbent Kay Ivey for the governor’s office in the GOP primary this June.

“I think the reason you would look at me over the other candidates in the Republican primary is that I’ve got a track record, and it’s a proven track record,” Battle said Monday during a meeting at the Opelika-Auburn News with members of its editorial board. “I’ve got a track record that says I’ve taken on education. I’ve got a track record that says I’ve taken on infrastructure, a track record that says I’ve produced jobs.

“And I’ve got a track record that says we have produced a community that trusts their government, and trusts that their government is going to do the right thing.”

When Battle became mayor of the Rocket City a decade ago, he decided to help change the perception people had of the town. He began pushing Huntsville as “a smart place,” emphasizing the massive research park and the high number of engineers and degree-holding professionals there.

As he talked with supporters while considering his run for governor, Battle and his team thought, what if that model could be applied to the whole state?

“What if we changed our whole image and said, ‘Hey, let’s talk about Alabama: A smart place,” he said.

Battle said jobs are his forte, citing that the Huntsville area has grown by about 24,000 jobs during his time as mayor. But the other big issues that need to be tackled for growth are education, quality of life, and infrastructure, he added.

“Today, infrastructure means more than just roads, sewer, and gas,” he said. “It means fiber to the home. It means connectivity. It means a whole lot of other things, too.”

Since launching his gubernatorial campaign, Battle and his team have made stops in all 67 Alabama counties. But he said he has been surprised to hear similar messages from voters during each of his visits. Citizens want to be proud of their state government, look at ethics within the government, opportunity, and leadership.

Battle believes he can help remedy some of that by communication, transparency and a plan.

“You don’t do this kind of growth overnight,” he said. “You do it because you start off with a strategy and a plan. You put the foundation pieces in place, just like you do with a business. Then, you can grow off of it.

“The whole idea is that we take that plan, that model, to the state Capitol. We take it on a little larger scale. What would happen if we do that in every Congressional district?”

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