Political newcomers seek to overthrow outgoing Tuscaloosa mayor

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On Tuesday, Tuscaloosa’s outgoing mayor, Walt Maddox, will face his most serious challenge since being first elected to the post in 2005.

Voters will decide whether to keep a candidate whose tenure as mayor is now old enough to lead, or to opt for one of two candidates – Martin Houston and Serena Fortenberry – who have never held elected office.

All three are committed to making a commitment, if elected, to making Tuscaloosa a better place for residents and their individual families.

The differences, beyond their own levels of political experience, seem to lie in how exactly that is done.

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One decision voters need to make is whether to change the city’s leadership in the midst of a global pandemic.

Maddox, who is seeking a fifth term, points to the city’s ongoing takeover as proof that his approach has worked.

And although some of his decisions were criticized, most of them were quickly replaced by state mandates that matched or exceeded the mayor’s own decisions.

“We had to make tough decisions to save our hospital and quite frankly save our economy,” Maddox said in a debate last week hosted by 10-4 Corporation chairman Ransey O’Daniel.

Now, all of the city’s coronavirus-related regulations, such as face covers and occupancy limits, are enforced by the Alabama Department of Public Health or the Alabama Alcohol Control Board.

Maddox’s challengers, however, questioned his approach.

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