Sen. Bill Hightower was at Birmingham’s Southside on Thursday campaigning for governor among the Birmingham Young Republicans.
“It is tough to know who you are going to vote for,” Hightower said, but the candidate urged the audience to consider carefully.
Hightower grew up in Birmingham and then moved to Mobile in his youth. He went to the University of South Alabama and then went to Vanderbilt to get a Master’s Degree.
Hightower went to work for large manufacturing companies, including Allied Signal and Eton Corporation. Sept. 11 occurred just 30 miles from where they lived, and the Hightowers decided it was time to go home.
“The corporations I worked for had as many employees as the state of Alabama,” Hightower said. “The challenges that you have prepare you for the opportunities that come up.”
Hightower said that he ran for state Senate.
“I never thought I would run for Governor,” Hightower said.
Hightower said that he supports term limits, a flat tax, and budget reform.
“The State troopers are notoriously underfunded,” Hightower said.
Hightower said that legislators hide behind earmarking. The average state earmarks 25 percent of the budget. We are at 93 percent more than any other state.
“We have had a dermatologist as a governor,” Hightower said. “We have not had a businessman for governor.”
“I did not have the stomach to go back to the Senate,” Hightower said.
He expressed concerns about some of the incentives packages being offered.
“Are we going to give our state away so a governor can say that we had 3000 new jobs,” Hightower said.
Hightower questioned if the other candidates have the health the vigor or the experience to make Alabama competitive with neighboring states that are growing faster.
Hightower said that now that we have dual enrollment programs in the high school, we have underutilized junior colleges.
“We know Alabama is a great place, but the world does not know it,” Hightower said. “There is going to be a runoff and I want to be in it.” I can win. The danger of not having a strong Republican is that they are going to be up against Walt Maddox who will come after them.
“I don’t like the good ole boy network I want a group of professional people,” Hightower said. When you vote for legislators ask them to support Hightower’s bill on Term limits.
A member of the audience asked about raising gas taxes to pay for infrastructure improvements.
“Unless you have budget reform I am not for raising taxes,” Hightower said. “I put a billion infrastructure bill before the legislature without raising taxes. It got to the House and special interests killed it.”
The major party primaries are on June 5.