Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama
A new school for west Huntsville?
City leaders have long desired a new high school to serve the rapidly growing west Huntsville area. Now, with the city annexing hundreds of acres on the west side of I-65, that drum beat is just getting louder. Any homes built in that area would be zoned for Columbia High School – a more than 30-minute drive which can be much more during the morning rush hour. Word is Huntsville city leaders continue to press their case to the Huntsville City School Board and both groups are working to find a way to make it happen.
Now that Marilyn Lands has officially announced her candidacy for the upcoming District 10 race, all eyes are on rumored opposing candidate Teddy Powell. Gov. Kay Ivey set a special election to fill the empty seat recently vacated by State Rep. David Cole after he pleaded guilty to voter fraud charges. Powell, a Madison City Councilman, is tipped to be the Republicans’ top choice. However, he is reportedly seeking guidance as his job directly involves the federal government. If Powell is a no-go, Republicans will be left combing the roster for a suitable candidate to face off against the formidable Lands. She finished less than a thousand votes behind Cole in the general election and everyone knows special elections are a whole different ball game.
Tuberville shake up continues
Sen. Tommy Tuberville continues to shake up staff. Alabama’s senior senator recently promoted Jordan Doufexis as his deputy chief of staff in Washington. Doufexis had previously served as the senator’s senior advisor and state director. That created a vacancy at the top of Tuberville’s Alabama operation which has now been filled by Andrew Hinkebein. A former staffer for Sen. Lowell Wicker of Mississippi, Hinkebein has been serving as Tuberville’s regional director in the Mobile office. In his new role as state director, Hinkebein was making the rounds in North Alabama this week and was well received by local leaders.
A local nonprofit is starting a campaign to bring a splash pad to the city of Madison but is having to tread carefully with local government. The project has yet to be officially approved, despite widespread public support. Splash pads are a summer favorite in North Alabama and it seems Madison families are tired of having to leave the city limits to cool off during the hot months.