Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama
Naughty or Nice?
OTR’s making a list and checking it twice. Read on to see who made our 2023 Naughty or Nice List.
- Tops of the naughty list has to be former Rep. David Cole who pled guilty to voter fraud and lost his seat in the Alabama Legislature. OTR says if you get a mugshot published you immediately go on the naughty list.
- Speaking of mugshots, our naughty list must include Daniel Boman who filed to run in the Republican Primary against Congressman Dale Strong but was removed from the ballot due in part to his own mugshot for a theft arrest. Boman is also guilty of being the only Alabama elected official in recent memory to be elected as a Republican and then switching to the Democratic party. Mugshots might of been forgiven, but such party disloyalty did not pass muster with the Alabama Republican Party.
- One group that could be on the Naughty List every year is the Alabama Legislature. Earning them a spot this year was a special session to draw a new map for Alabama’s congressional districts that pretty much repeated the map struck down by the courts – which led to a three-judge panel deciding on district lines rather than the Legislature. And any year that ends without Alabama having a lottery, which polls say a vast majority of Alabama voters want, should always lead to a lump of coal in our legislators’ stockings.
- The legislative session wasn’t all naughty though. Earning a spot on the nice list is Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth who led the efforts to remove the state sales tax on groceries. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without the House and Senate, so maybe they earn a draw for 2023.
- Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle earned a spot on the Nice list just by announcing he will seek re-election in 2024. The popular four-term mayor has guided the city to growth in population, infrastructure and quality of life. Insiders question who would be able to fill his shoes so another four years of his leadership lets them sleep in peace this Christmas.
- U.S. Rep. Dale Strong makes the list by being the only member of the Alabama congressional delegation to be unopposed for reelection. Considered the “nice guy” in North Alabama politics, he spent his first year in office barnstorming to every corner of his district to hear from every constituent. He’s earned a long winter’s nap this Christmas before he heads back to D.C. and the continued threats of government shutdowns in January.
A visit from the Speaker
House Speaker Mike Johnson made his first trip to Alabama in his new role. The Louisiana congressman was in Birmingham for a fundraiser Wednesday night hosted by U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt. The Speaker and Aderholt (R-Hanceville) were joined at the event by Strong and Rep. Gary Palmer, which featured business leaders from around the state contributing to Johnson’s Leadership Fund. Speaker Johnson replaces Kevin McCarthy who was known as an avid fundraiser so this event was part of his effort to show that he too can bring in the dollars needed to keep the House in Republican hands.
Senate District 9 down to the wire
While the rest of us prepare for Christmas, the candidates in State Senate District 9 are entering the campaign homestretch. The special election to fill the seat vacated by Clay Scofield is Jan. 9 and includes parts of Blount, Marshall and Madison counties. Two members of the Alabama House, Brock Colvin and Wes Kitchens, are the leading candidates in the Republican Primary and both represent parts of Marshall County. Kitchens, the more seasoned rep, is favored by the Montgomery crowd but insiders say first-termer Colvin has put together a major grassroots effort that could pay off in a low turnout special election. There is no publicly available polling in the race so expect the guessing on this one to go down to the wire.
Bold Agency wins national contract
Rumors have it that local creative powerhouse, Bold Agency (Bold), has secured a nationally ranked account. Sources say the company with some 65 years of service chose Huntsville’s local strategic creative agency to support a milestone rebrand initiative and rollout. As Huntsville grows, more nationally based companies are taking notice of our local talent. You can expect to see a lot out of this creative studio in 2024 as Bold Agency positions themselves as marketing leaders in our region and beyond.
Tuscumbia goes big
Tuscumbia is getting close to finalizing a new comprehensive plan for the city. According to one local leader, the plan “embraces Tuscumbia’s history and unique assets while also looking to the future.” Officials are still seeking the public’s input online before the plan is adopted by the city council and zoning board. In another example of forward thinking, the hometown of Helen Keller also recently unveiled EV car chargers as a draw to their picture-perfect downtown.