Battle may be too sane for current political times

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2017

As Luther Strange waged political war against Mo Brooks this week in his quest to finish at least second in the August Republican primary, thus ensuring a chance of keeping the U.S. Senate seat to which he was appointed earlier this year;

And the president blasted U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who gave up that same Senate seat to take a job in the Trump administration;

A breath of fresh air breezed into the office of The Star-News to talk about another election and another year – 2018’s gubernatorial race.

Three-term Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, one of several declared candidates, currently has a non-partisan job. But he said he was a Republican when Republicans weren’t cool – specifically a College Republican – way back in 1975.

“I was a Reagan Republican,” he said. “I believe you balance budgets and pay for what you get. The idea nowadays that you borrow money and pay it back for 20 years is generational theft. I like the idea of balancing budgets and paying as you go.”

Battles is a fiscal conservative who said he believes in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. But that was buried way deep in his story. He walked into the newspaper office to talk about issues, not to demagogue.

“We talk about strategy and plans,” he said. “We don’t run down the rabbit holes of issues. I believe we should stay focused on where we need to be.”

And right now, he believes that focus needs to be on improving education in Alabama. We can’t attract jobs to the state if we can’t provide qualified workers, he said.

His second issue is infrastructure, and he understands he can’t stick to his pay-as-you-go preference to fix all that ails the state’s infrastructure.

It’s a formula he’s used in Huntsville, and there have been 17,000 new jobs over the last nine years, and more than $2 billion in investments in the Huntsville area to prove it’s a strategy that works.


Tough issue, but it’s on his list.

“We can’t allow them to go into federal receivership or we’ll be opening the checkbook,” he said. “We’ve got to look at some secondary systems of prisons.”

Just as education could help Alabama’s job issue; improving the mental health system could decrease the demand for state prisons, he said.

“I would much rather help people stay productive, providing tax dollars to the state, than to house them in a jail cell.”

Battle wants to get to know the state, and the issues that are important in each region. He was most complimentary of our city, and the efforts at preservation and downtown development.

He made so much dad-gum sense, I thought to myself, “He is way too sane to be elected.”

He might be too reasonable to do politics in the fractious environment in which we live. But wouldn’t it be nice for a change?



Michele Gerlach is publisher of The Star-News.