August 14, 2017

Republican leadership that listens to the people of Alabama

Remember to vote in Alabama’s primary elections in the special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat are tomorrow. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

When we were back on campus in Tuscaloosa in the 1970s, as members of Young Republicans, I’m not sure any of us really imagined one of us would be a candidate for Governor of Alabama.

Back then, as I like to say, “We were Republicans when it wasn’t cool to be a Republican.”

What’s been really gratifying and humbling is how many of my former classmates have reached out over the past few months and offered their support for our campaign.

A great example: Richard and LuAnn Williams, who hosted an event for us in Prattville last week. I got to meet some terrific people there and they showed me around town. I’m impressed with all the changes going on in Prattville. Downtown is being revitalized and can be an example for other towns that size. And they took me to Daniel Pratt’s cotton gin and told me all about him. That was my Alabama History 201 lesson reminder for the week.

The next morning, on the way back to Huntsville, I stopped in Hoover to see a “breakfast gang” that my father, Tom Sr., belongs to. They meet at Famous Fred’s, and they sit around and solve all the problems of the world. It’s a fun bunch.

I got a good education from a group in Mobile about waterways and sluices and how important water transportation is to Alabama.

Now, a major centerpiece of our campaign is roads. Anybody who has gone down I-65 to the beach this summer knows how much work is needed. We’ve been proactive in improving our roads in Huntsville to help manage our growth and keep commute times to a reasonable level. We’ve made that happen with available funding, where we’re not passing along the tax burden to the next generation.

But roads are only a part of Alabama’s infrastructure. High-speed internet service is part of it. There are still some places in the state where high-speed hasn’t reached and we need to make that happen. And certainly, the waterways are central to our infrastructure.

I’m the first to admit I don’t know everything about our waterways. That’s why I reached out to the experts. That’s what we’ll do when we get to Montgomery. We’re going to rely on “boots on the ground” people for their insight into issues we face. We’re going to do something that doesn’t happen too often with this Capitol Hill Gang – we’re going to listen.

As we meet people across the state, from fundraisers to breakfasts, what we hear so much is that we need a change in leadership in Montgomery — a leadership that does listen to the people of Alabama.