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Sparkman Welcomes Mayor Battle
April 5, 2018
On Tuesday March 7, Mayor of Huntsville, Tommy Battle, visited Sparkman to speak to students taking government classes. He came to educate them on the importance of local and state level politics.
“It is very important that we get our young people involved in education and the government process,” Battle said. “We have to get them involved in saying we want a different Alabama than what we have seen from the state capitol. We like what we have in Huntsville, but we want the Capitol to have that same reflection. We are looking for a government that can provide jobs, education, and for a good quality of life and lets change the conversation to Alabama being the smart place. Let’s talk about Alabama being a place of achievement and a place that we’re all proud of.”
AP Government teacher Ben Stevenson helped organize the mayor’s visit to the school.
“In AP government we usually talk about national politics so they don’t really get to talk about local politics,” Stevenson said. “We just happen to be lucky to have a Mayor of our city in the Governor race this year. So him speaking about local, and state politics gave the students a new perspective from a leader in the community. He is someone who has made it to the highest level you can in the city aspect and is trying to obtain the highest level in the state aspect. He is someone who knows what he is doing and can give students a lot of insight into the political world outside of what goes on in D.C.”
Battle has a long list of achievements on his resume as the leader of Huntsville. Including economic growth by bringing in new jobs or companies, increasing education in the area, or just increasing the value of living in Huntsville.
“As mayor of Huntsville we have brought in jobs, and industries, improved our education system and improving our infrastructure,” Mayor Battle said. “We have been inclusive and also we have been able to make this community safe. As we can do that here, we are going to have to be able to reflect our achievements onto the state level.”
On the campaign trail the race for governor will be an uphill battle for the Mayor. He has an abundance of goals he will attempt to implement into our state government if he is elected in December.
“My main focal points for my campaign are changing the conversation about Alabama,” Battle said. “Let’s make sure we talk about Alabama the smart place, let’s talk about the great things that are happening in this state. But let’s also face the challenges because we have them out there in education, infrastructure and other things. So let’s take on those challenges and take ownership of them. With the whole idea behind it as we take care of every challenge as we work on solutions for everything. Our solutions have to make this state a better place.”
One of Battle’s biggest concerns about the state education. The state is ranked forty-third in the country in education. He is driven to improve the educational level of all students in Alabama.
“There are several things that we could implement into our education system,” Battle said. “We should expand digital education because it gives kids more than just a computer lab to go to. If you work at Walmart today you are working with a computer scanner or if you work at McDonalds you are still working off a computer screen. Coding is huge, and we already started it here, but we want to start teaching it in the second grade across the state. That is key to us, so that way we can see where we have strengths, where we have weaknesses and where we need to apply different resources. As we do that I think we can make us as a whole state move forward.”
Alabama also has the third highest poverty rate, along with the tenth highest crime rates in America. It is a long road to fixing it, but acknowledging the problem is the first step.
“Poverty is caused by the lack of jobs and the lack of opportunities,” Battle said. “Jobs solve poverty problems, and as you solve those problems you will in turn solve crime problems as well. If someone doesn’t have something to feed their family they are more likely to commit a crime. So we have to make sure if we can offer jobs we can offer opportunities, then that will take care of it.”
Students felt the event was a success. Students learned not just about Battle and his campaign but also about the different aspects of government.
“I think it went really good, and our students had some really great questions,” Stevenson said. “Some more in depth than others. So that was great, some questions were about particular issues and others were more broad. I think the morning was a conglomerate of our challenge to the students and an eye opening experience to them if they may want to get into politics. Most questions were pertaining to students within high school. So overall the morning went great and the students along with Mayor Battle did a great job speaking to the students directly on their level, as a politician who knows more about the government.”