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Strong rings in new year with Trump; Gurley tired of wrecks on 72; and more in this week’s OTR

Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama


Strong ties

U.S. Rep. Dale Strong rang in the New Year with former President Trump and his family at Mar-a-Lago last week. Social media posts show the first-term congressman and his wife enjoying the festivities at what has become an annual event for Trump. Strong (R-Monrovia), an early endorser for Trump in 2016 and again last year, has made several trips to Mar-a-Lago to visit with the former president and hosted him in north Alabama in February 2016 and September 2017. Insiders say that while Trump family members – except for his wife Melania, son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka – and political allies Rudy Giuliani and Roger Stone attended the New Year’s party, Strong was the only member of Congress in attendance.

A dangerous situation

Gurley Mayor Stan Simpson is ready to get to work on getting people across U.S. 72 safely. Right now, you can’t legally cross the highway because there isn’t a traffic light. With town hall, public housing, a library, and park on one side of 72 and housing, a recreation center, and public pool on the other … many are asking how much longer before someone is killed? Mayor Simpson is reportedly fed up and “done going to funerals because of traffic accidents.”

Poll is out!

State Rep. Anthony Daniels seems to be in a strong position in his race for the Second Congressional District. The Democratic primary is March 2 and features 11 candidates. Recent polling in the race shows Napoleon Bracy of Mobile with a slight lead at 15% with Shomari Figures and Daniels essentially tied for second at 9% and 8%. Daniels is already on the air with a television ad and you can expect his campaign to increase that advertising now that the holidays are behind us.

Mayoral postulations

Battle is in. Is Finley? Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle announced in October that he will seek a fifth term but insiders say the next mayoral election in Madison is not quite as clear. Rumors have circulated that Mayor Paul Finley will not seek another term but, so far, no announcement has been made. Finley has time though – while Huntsville’s municipal elections are in August, the Alabama Legislature moved Madison’s election to August 2025, effectively giving Finley and other Madison leaders an extra year on their terms. Meanwhile, we told you here the favorites for the next mayor of Decatur.

Huntsville’s high standing

The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is making quite a splash in these parts. More than 70 area businesses and organizations reportedly attended a recent BCA-hosted event at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville. The state’s largest business association, BCA, is a formidable power player in Alabama and beyond. As Huntsville and the region’s star continues to rise, you can expect to see even more of BCA in North Alabama. 

An artful endeavor   

A well-known North Alabama artist is getting ready to start on a massive two-story mural near downtown Madison. The design is being kept under wraps for now but we hear the piece will be a masterful work of distinction not typical of most murals. Madison Visionary Partners has spearheaded the effort to bring more art and beauty to Alabama’s ninth-largest city. A nonprofit, MVP works to enrich the quality of life in the city of Madison. 


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