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Alabama’s Big 10 mayors influential

Steve Flowers

Students of Alabama political history will rightly remember the 2022 midterm elections. In this election, a majority of Alabama voters voted for Katie Britt, who will be elected the first woman to represent Alabama in the US Senate. Governor Kay Ivey drove effortlessly to victory to win her second full term and continue her reign as the first Republican woman governor. Republicans from the top of the ballot down cemented their control of state government with big margins.

Additionally, I suspect that Alabama politics students will also mark 2022 as the year that a new political force emerged. For the first time this cycle, Alabama’s Big 10 Mayors — as the name suggests, the mayors of the state’s ten largest cities — flexed their political muscles and endorsed the Aniah’s Law constitutional amendment, which received a staggering 1,018,004 yes votes . votes, more than any other item on the ballot.

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For those unaware of this emerging new group, the mayors of Alabama’s ten largest cities have banded together to use their combined influence to advocate for political positions they believe will help Alabama become a safer and more prosperous will make state.

If you happen to live in the Birmingham, Huntsville, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Auburn, Tuscaloosa, Dothan, Hoover, or Decatur metro areas, you live within that group’s sphere of influence.

While these mayors have met regularly for several years to discuss issues such as crime, infrastructure and economic development, this election cycle marks the first time they have engaged in electoral politics. By focusing on local media, these mayors were able to ensure that this popular proposal was remembered by Alabama voters. Indeed, the late push against the referendum from both the far left and far right of the political spectrum was likely a reaction to the media coverage and public support these mayors evoked.

Your advantage is not only in the media. They are a bipartisan group with credibility on both the right and left side of the aisle. They are popular, and many are serving their third or even fourth term. They are geographically diverse, ranging from Huntsville to Mobile to Wiregrass. After all, they represent a whole lot of Alabamaans — about 75 percent of the state lives in one of their metro areas.

As our state works to attract new residents and grapple with brain drain, policymakers would do well to hear what these mayors have to say. It’s clear that Alabama’s future depends on successful cities that can attract and retain the types of people who work in our booming space, medical research, and advanced manufacturing industries. Ignoring our cities is a recipe for reducing competitiveness across the state.

Anyone who thinks we are a rural, small-town state is wrong. In case you missed my earlier statement, a solid three-fourths of all Alabamaans now live in one of our 10 largest cities in the state.

Most of the actual government in the state is carried out by mayors. As the mayor of a city, the rubber hits the street. It is the state constant in which everyday problems are solved.

The gentlemen of the Big 10 group of mayors are hardworking, real civil servants. They go about their day-to-day work without fanfare and without an eye on rising nationally or to Washington. They love their cities and govern them well.

The Big 10 mayors, representing the largest cities in Alabama, include Auburn Mayor Ron Anders, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Decatur Mayor, Tab Bowling, Dothan Mayor, Mark Saliba, Mayor of Hoover, Frank Brocato, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison Mayor Paul Finley, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimmpson, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

It is interesting and noteworthy that two of the Big 10 cities are suburban enclaves of two of our major metro areas. One of the largest cities in the state, Hoover is a suburb of Birmingham. If census trends continue over the next 10 years as they have over the past 10 years, Hoover could be a larger city than Birmingham. It will be more than likely in 20 years.

However, if these trends continue, Huntsville will continue to be Alabama’s largest city. One of the most telling things is that Madison, a suburb of Huntsville, is one of the 10 largest cities in Alabama.

The Big 10 Mayors were long to have a great history.

Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve can be reached at: www.steveflowers.us.

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