Our View: Walt Maddox for Governor of Alabama

Our View: Walt Maddox for Governor of Alabama

On June 5th, Alabama voters will have the opportunity to participate in the state’s gubernatorial primary. Both the Republican and Democratic elections will be on this date, and voters can only participate in one. This editorial board urges Alabamians to support Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox for the governorship.

Maddox’s platform consists of common-sense solutions to Alabama’s problems. He seeks to improve the job opportunities for Alabamians through workforce training and development and more affordable college opportunities. He wants to start rebuilding Alabama’s crumbling infrastructure, and start a lottery in order to better fund Alabama public schools. He also wants to authorize a $1.8 billion expansion of Medicaid to provide healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Alabamians.

His plan seeks to improve Alabama with practical, tangible reforms. His platform is something that all Alabamians can rally behind, no matter the political affiliation. After all, an Alabama with a better-trained workforce, better-educated children, better-built infrastructure and better-cared-for residents will be better for everyone. 

His primary Democratic opponent, Sue Bell Cobb, is running on an extremely similar platform, with almost identical plans to improve the state. This Editorial Board issues our endorsement based on Maddox's strengths, not as a criticism of Cobb.

Walt Maddox has experience as an executive, running the government of Tuscaloosa for the past thirteen years. Under his leadership, the town has flourished, attracting new businesses and developments and improving its educational system. Maddox was nationally recognized for his handling of the devastating 2011 tornadoes, being named Municipal Leader of the Year by American City and Country in 2012 and being named a fellow with the Program on Crisis Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. His leadership skills and commitment to public service have been well-documented during his tenure as mayor. 

Additionally, though he is by no means a political neophyte, he is not embroiled in the messy and often scandalous politics of Montgomery like both Cobb and his main Republican opponent, incumbent Kay Ivey. Maddox could provide much-needed perspective to the insular Montgomery political community, giving them a new voice and in-depth of knowledge of the problems facing Alabama communities. 

If Maddox is to win the primary, the choice for him as governor becomes even more clear. He would most likely be running against Kay Ivey should he advance, and her divisive politics would do nothing to further our state. The Governor has refused to participate in any debates with her Republican opponents. She has spewed dog-whistle, blood-and-soil politics about preserving Confederate monuments and “not erasing history.” Her platform, like many of those elected recently into the University's SGA, lacks specifics and does not present any clear vision for the state. 

Ivey represents more of the same. More of the tarnished Republican party of Robert Bentley and Roy Moore, whose crimes have publicly embarrassed Alabama on the national stage too many times. More regressive politics based in racial resentment, and less discussion of issues that tangibly affect voters’ everyday lives. 

Maddox represents a path forward, a step away from the lunacy that is the Alabama Republican party. He is a competent, tested leader who will bring Alabamians together instead of driving them apart. He will work tirelessly to discernibly improve the lives of voters in this state, just as he has done in Tuscaloosa for so many years.

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