City leaders from across the state gathered in Huntsville this week to exchange ideas, set plans for the future and share ways they’re working to make Alabama a better place.
Mayors from Alabama’s 10 largest cities were in town Jan. 9-10 for the Big 10 Mayors event hosted by Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison Mayor Paul Finley. The group met privately to discuss the upcoming regular session of the State Legislature and recently passed federal infrastructure bill, among other topics.
Battle, Finley and mayors from Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Hoover, Dothan, Auburn and Decatur also discussed their priorities at a news conference.
“We get better with each meeting we have,” Battle told reporters at the event. “We improve our government and how we deliver services to our citizens.”
The Big 10 Mayors is an extension of the Big 5 Mayors group started in 2014. At that time, the mayors of Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa united to create a strategy for developing better relationships with legislators.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said there is much to be gained from strengthening ties with leaders across the state.
“It’s been very beneficial to every single city, not just at the mayoral level but going down into the staff level also,” he said.
The Big 10 Mayors include:
- Mayor Battle
- Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin
- Montgomery Mayor Stephen Reed
- Mobile Mayor Stimpson
- Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox
- Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato
- Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba
- Auburn Mayor Ron Anders
- Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling
- Madison Mayor Finley
During the news conference, the mayors touched on several issues, starting with delays in Alabama circuit court trials due to COVID-19. Mayor Anders also addressed Aniah’s Law, named after Homewood native Aniah Blanchard, who was abducted and killed in 2019.
All 10 mayors are on board with confirming the law, which would allow judges to deny bond to violent offenders.
“The Big 10 mayors agree that this is the best path and the safest path for our communities and our state going forward,” Anders said.
Other topics included potential changes to Alabama’s constitutional carry laws as well as workforce recruitment challenges related to public safety.
Finally, Mayor Battle spoke about redistricting, which is required every 10 years to ensure proper representation among Council and school board districts.
“We’ve had some great conversations,” Battle said of the two-day meeting. “I look forward to better cities and a better state from all the conversations we’ve had.”