With the election upon us on Tuesday, August 25th, mayoral candidate Marc Highsmith is taking a little time to reflect on campaigning. “It’s tough,” the combat veteran said. “Not tough like someone shooting bullets at you, but really intense, like studying for the hardest test you have ever taken. In the end, though, it is all worth it. In the end you know that you have put it all on the line for something you believe in, and for people you really care about.”
“I am running for Mayor of Madison because I believe growth should pay for itself, and that its first beneficiary should be the quality of life for all our people, Highsmith said. “I do not believe that is what is happening today. There have been too many instances where growth occurred at the expense of a city’s residents. I believe that is happening in Madison. We should plan our growth so that it does not threaten our air quality, does not overcrowd our schools, and does not add to traffic problems.
“When I am Mayor, I will require that we evaluate all growth for its effects on schools, roads, the environment, and local businesses. I will notify any residents or institutions that the growth affects, and allow them to help evaluate its benefits against its consequences.”
Highsmith also is concerned about maintaining a good relationship between the Madison City community and its police force. Madison City already has experienced some strain on that bond. Highsmith believes that the time to address the problem is now, before it has a chance to deteriorate. The present administration has not done that. Instead, they proposed to act secretly to make a tough situation worse.
“Twice in recent years force used by city police officers has disturbed our city. In one case, it ended in death. The relationship between our community and our police is vitally important. Police should be able to use force when it is absolutely necessary without damaging their standing in the community. The community must know that whenever police use force, it is necessary and appropriate to the situation. Police always should conduct themselves so that each person receives equal protection under the law, and the public should recognize that each person is equally accountable to respect the law.
“We trust our police officers with deadly weapons, and give them authority that most of us do not have. That respect must go both ways. When I am Mayor, I will create a citizen oversight board that will review procedures, strategies, and specific actions by the police to ensure that they are properly and fairly protecting our city. I also will create a rotating advisory board of patrol officers and detectives that will recommend changes they need to better do their jobs directly to me.
Highsmith also is concerned that there is insufficient communication and cooperation with surrounding governments. “We can neither compete with nor ignore one another,” he said. We can save money and balance our services if we understand what other local governments are doing, and not doing.”
Highsmith has spent his adult life serving his country in the U.S. Army. His first act as a military officer was to promise to defend the Constitution of the United States. He kept that promise, even at the risk of his life in combat duty.
“During my military career,” he said, “I learned not to make a promise I was unwilling to keep. As an Inspector General I learned to be fair, and to consider carefully all of the facts before making a decision.
“Some will say that I have a lot to learn about being a Mayor. That is true. I must learn each day what the people of Madison City need and want, and I must create a team able to meet our goals. You, you the people, must find a person who will listen to you and set those goals firmly in your favor.
“I promise you with the same dedication I have given to my country, that I will be that person.”
“Win or lose,” he concluded, “I have worked alongside my family and a great team of people to do what we all know is right.”
Editor’s note: Article written by Ken Hines with permission to post under Marc Highsmith’s name.
Marc Highsmith for Mayor of Madison, Alabama. Election on Tuesday, August 25th.