Know Your Vote: Joe Gaines, Madison City Council District 2
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 Joe Gaines
Q. What do you see as the top three most pressing issues facing Huntsville today? What are your plans to address those issues?
1. Rapid residential growth that is outpacing limited rural infrastructure. Mr. Gaines’ plan: Implement a one- time builder and developer impact fee for each new home constructed to share the cost of required new infrastructure with the people of Madison City. We must improve the rural infrastructure as we grow western Madison City.
2. Lack of Transparency in City Government. Mr. Gaines’ plan: Ensure the city council keeps our citizens well informed. the city council must keep our citizens well informed – publicizing and receiving input on large capital projects like the new baseball stadium and Madison Town Center prior to committing is essential. It’s your money!
3. Young People in Politics. Mr. Gaines plan: Our young people will inherit the decisions we make as a city government. We must get them more engaged in politics. I have formed a Youth Engagement Committee (YEC) to motivate and engage young people to become active members of the community, active citizens, and voters. I will make the YEC a permanent fixture on the city council when elected.
Q. Why do you believe you are the right person for this office?
As a 17 year resident of Madison City I love our community and its rural flavor. I don’t want to see that disappear in pursuit of increased tax revenue through unchecked growth and development. What brought many of us to Madison was the city’s small town charm, top rated schools, and high tech jobs. I want to preserve that character for the next generation.
As a 26 year Army Officer (Retired Colonel) I am the most professionally qualified candidate in District 2 to serve on city council. In my final position in the Army I served as the City Manager (Commander) for the US Army Kwajalein Atoll Base in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. As the City Manager for this remote and isolated Army base, I was responsible for the planning and execution of ALL city functions including fire, police, public safety, K-12 schools, hospital, dental clinic, international airports and seaports, customs, utilities, communications networks, aircraft and maritime assets, road networks, housing, warehouses, power grid, retail and fuel storage. Additionally, I served as the senior judicial authority for the city’s 3500 residents, workers and visitors. I directed an annual budget of $230 million (~6X greater than the Madison City budget) in support of both city operations and Army missions. I led a staff of 50 technical professionals in all areas of city management. In short, I’ve run a city at the mayor’s level and know how to lead people, manage resources, and solve problems.
Most importantly, I’m not a politician, I’m one of you, your neighbor. I don’t take campaign money from political action committees or special interest donors – I will work for you!
Q. What will you do differently than the incumbent?
The most pressing issue I hear when talking to voters in District 2 is the uncheck growth of the city during the last two terms of this city council. While builders are constructing hundreds of new homes in the western part of the city, our leaders are not investing enough to improve the infrastructure to keep up with this growth. Residents who must drive on farm roads like Burgreen, Powell, Segers, and Browns Ferry understand our city leaders must do more to improve the western road network. When elected to District 2, I will ask the builders and developers to contribute to the improvement of these critical arteries to our newest communities. Fixing our rural road network will be my top priority.
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 for Madison City is to preserve our unique small town flavor and top-rated school system, while allowing for modest and controlled growth to meet the demands of the high tech industry that surrounds us. Managed growth includes infrastructure that keeps pace with new housing projects, increased greenspace, and a focus on attracting quality businesses to our community. City ordinances to control the size and design of business signs, increased green buffers between businesses and the road, and the elimination of highway styled billboards within the city limits will make Madison a more attractive place to live and work for our families. I will also support an inner-connected trail network to make our city more walkable and bikeable. Finally, we need an improved plan for County Line Road to relieve conjection as our major north south artery. These are achievable goals that I will work hard to include in an updated city master plan.
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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.