With the goal of keeping local parents (and voters) as informed as possible about all things parent-related, the editors of Rocket City Mom compiled “4 Questions for the Candidates”. We asked all the Huntsville City and Madison City candidates to answer the same four questions, and have published their responses unedited and as they have sent them to us.
Get to know a little about each candidate and where they stand on serving local families in our full Know Your Vote series. We encourage all of our readers to exercise their democratic right and vote on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
4 Questions with Connie Spears
Q. What do you see as the top three most pressing issues facing Huntsville today? What are your plans to address those issues?
The three most important issues facing Madison, today are:
- Lack of transparency, accountability and accessibility within our city government.
- Lack of long range fiscal responsibility.
- Lack of planned, smart growth.
I will be transparent. I will hold myself accountable and I will be easily accessible to our citizens. My cell phone number is 256.289.1128. I will listen to their concerns and answer their questions. I will listen to understand our citizens’ desires and I will act upon those desires. I will be accountable and not blame others for my actions or lack thereof. I will discuss decisions in open meetings and make sure that our citizens understand the reasoning behind my votes.
I will be fiscally responsible with Madison taxpayer’s money. I will work with the mayor, council and city departments to develop a long range plan to aggressively pursue commercial, industrial and retail developments to broaden our city’s tax base, so that we do not have to keep increasing sales and property taxes. I will work with the mayor and council to make sure we balance the budget and avoid deficit budgets, like we’ve had 4 of the last 5 years. I will not obligate the citizens to long-term financial burdens without making sure that all citizens know and understand what this will mean to them.
I will work to ensure balanced, smart growth with our mayor, council and planning and economic development staff. Rooftops do not pay for infrastructure. Our roads and bridges are falling apart. We must balance our residential footprint with sufficient commercial, industrial and retail developments to support the infrastructure, amenities and services that our city deserves. Our city’s population will continue to grow, but along with that growth we need to strategically plan for and actively recruit commercial growth. We need industry and high tech engineering and manufacturing companies to choose Madison as their home. We need to augment retail growth by recruiting companies which will employ hundreds of well paid workers. People want to live here, we want them to want to work here, too.
Q. Why do you believe you are the right person for this office?
During my 10 years of service on the City of Madison Board of Education, I became acutely aware of how growth directly impacts our schools and stresses the city’s infrastructure. I know we can do better. Madison is going to grow, but we can grow smarter, by focusing on drawing more commercial and industrial businesses. We need to balance the demands of economic development, infrastructure, quality of life improvements, and debt servicing, but this requires hard choices. I have proven that I can make the hard decisions that will be necessary for Madison to continue to flourish.
I am a good listener. I know that Madison has brilliant citizens and they want their voices heard. I give you my promise to listen to these expert voices to understand their wants and needs, instead of assuming that I know what is best for our city. I have extensive knowledge in advocacy at the state and national level. I know how to advocate for our city’s needs in Montgomery and in Washington D.C.
Q. What will you do differently than the incumbent?
I will not assume that I know what is best for our city, without consulting our citizens. I will evaluate every decision and vote based upon what is best for our citizens and our city’s long term future and our citizens’ desires. I will ask citizens what they want and need from our city. I will refocus our development efforts onto higher goals, like recruiting industry and high tech engineering and manufacturing companies to Madison. We need to recruit companies which will employ hundreds of well paid workers. As we transition from a commuter city to a live-work city, we can maintain our small town feel in spite of continued growth.
Q. What is your overall vision/mission when it comes to families living in your city? What are your ideas about how to best serve them specifically?
My vision/mission for the families living in our city is to ensure that we not only continue to be one of the best places for families to live in the country, but we must also continue to improve our facilities, parks, activities and services. We also need to listen to our citizens, when they tell us what they would like to see in our city.
We can best serve our families by keeping our city vibrant and by keeping our local economy healthy. By focusing on high tech recruiting that brings high paid jobs to our city, our citizens will see reduced commute times enabling a better work-life mix.
We need to support our school system, while not forcing an agenda upon them. We need to make sure that we pace our city’s growth, so that our schools do not become overburdened. We need to maintain and protect our infrastructure to ensure that our roads, bridges, utilities, etc. are safe for our families. We need to support local businesses and become the city where businesses want to be. We need to recruit the businesses which our citizens want and that enhance their quality of life. We need to continue to develop our system of greenways, trails, multi-use paths and parks, so that our citizens have the multiple recreational options and opportunities. We need to encourage more public art by local artists and cultural events to attract people to visit our city and stay for an afternoon, a weekend or the rest of their lives.
You Might Also Like…
- Meet the Other 2020 Huntsville & Madison Candidates
- Back to School Guide for Huntsville & Madison County
- Find Fun Things for Kids To Do in Huntsville & Beyond!
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.