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Maddox seeks lottery to fund education, Medicaid expansion

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said Alabama has serious problems, but he sees only rhetoric coming out of Montgomery.

Posted: May 14, 2018 12:07 AM

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said Alabama has serious problems, but he sees only rhetoric coming out of Montgomery.

"We have a state where we are about to leave the next generation worse off than the one we inherited. You look at where we are in every quality of life ranking. We are at or near the bottom. That needle has not moved in 45 years," Maddox said in an interview with The Associated Press.

A Democratic candidate for governor, and often viewed as a rising star in the party, Maddox is proposing a state lottery that would fund a mixture of college scholarships, pre-kindergarten expansion and assistance for the state's poorest and struggling schools.

"I am tired of educating kids in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee," Maddox said in a recent speech in Madison County, referencing how neighboring state lotteries benefit from tickets purchased by Alabamians.

Maddox, 45, is a native of Tuscaloosa. He has degrees in political science and public administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was a defensive lineman on the university's fledgling football team. Maddox has been Tuscaloosa's mayor since 2005. He previously served as personnel director for the Tuscaloosa public schools and worked five years as a field director of the Alabama Education Association which represents public school teachers and employees. Longtime AEA leader Paul Hubbert had approached Maddox about taking over for him when he retired in 2012. Maddox declined, saying at the time Tuscaloosa was recovering from a deadly tornado outbreak, and "Tuscaloosa was where I needed to be."

His campaign for governor has put on an emphasis on education and health care. Maddox said, if elected, he would immediately sign an executive order to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, saying it would provide critical resources to keep rural hospitals open and provided needed health care.

To pay for needs in the general fund, Maddox said he wants to sign a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and to legalize "the gaming institutions that exist," ending a long-running attempt by the state to shut down electronic bingo operations at dog tracks.

"Alabama needs revenue. ... I think there's going to be an opportunity for all of us to come together and reach a compromise that helps Alabama without raising taxes."

His biggest challenge as mayor came in 2011 when Tuscaloosa was hit by a mile-wide EF4 tornado that destroyed or damaged 12 percent of the city. Maddox drew a mixture of praise and criticism as the city took a long-term view of recovery, slowing immediate reconstruction as new zoning regulations were put in place to build the city back better.

Maddox faces former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, former state legislator James Fields, and others in the June 5 Democratic primary.

The primary race with Cobb has become increasingly heated. In recent debates, Cobb accused Maddox of not doing enough to help the working class of his city, saying he opposed a local minimum wage increase and saying the tornado rebuilding plan benefited wealthy developers and students. Maddox fired back that his record is backed up by the fact that Tuscaloosa residents twice re-elected him after the tornado. He said city attorneys across the state did not think that local governments had that authority to set a local minimum wage, and asked Cobb if she would promise something she couldn't legally delivery.

Running in the wake of a series of Republican scandals, Maddox said the major accomplishment out of Montgomery in recent years has been, "to take us to the most corrupt state in the nation." Maddox has described himself as personally against abortion, but says he is also "pro-law" and the state should not waste time passing restrictions that are destined to get struck down by the courts.

Maddox said he won't pretend to be someone else this election, joking that you won't see him "walking through a cornfield with a shotgun over my shoulder" or speaking vaguely about values.

"I'm a mayor. I solve problems. We need a governor who solves problems," Maddox said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68293

Reported Deaths: 1944
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5656118
DeSoto368031
Harrison253036
Madison244368
Rankin229235
Jackson228843
Jones191659
Forrest182056
Washington168942
Lee147941
Lauderdale141192
Neshoba128692
Lamar122614
Oktibbeha112739
Bolivar111834
Warren109533
Lowndes108538
Panola106214
Sunflower105425
Scott100320
Lafayette98317
Copiah95728
Leflore94765
Pike93836
Holmes90049
Grenada84921
Yazoo83312
Lincoln83241
Pontotoc8308
Simpson80330
Monroe80155
Leake79025
Wayne77421
Coahoma77213
Tate73629
Marshall7019
Marion68420
Union64316
Adams62925
Winston62316
Covington62113
George5895
Pearl River55439
Newton54311
Tallahatchie53011
Attala52325
Walthall50120
Chickasaw47019
Noxubee45912
Alcorn4345
Tishomingo4216
Calhoun4209
Prentiss41710
Claiborne40913
Smith40613
Clay39714
Hancock39514
Jasper3889
Itawamba37510
Tippah36713
Tunica3517
Clarke32626
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3228
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29411
Quitman2701
Carroll26111
Greene25512
Perry2437
Amite2356
Webster23512
Kemper23414
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21113
Stone2055
Sharkey1995
Jefferson1957
Benton1431
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena262
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99926

Reported Deaths: 1781
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13258244
Mobile10517207
Montgomery6835149
Madison544734
Tuscaloosa423076
Baldwin365125
Unassigned363064
Shelby330936
Marshall318937
Lee270047
Morgan241118
Etowah216232
DeKalb183013
Calhoun180717
Elmore173138
Walker153964
Houston141912
Russell13872
St. Clair135418
Limestone134913
Dallas133123
Franklin128820
Cullman122712
Colbert120716
Lauderdale118919
Autauga117421
Escambia108717
Talladega104814
Jackson10144
Tallapoosa86579
Chambers84438
Dale83525
Clarke82610
Blount8124
Chilton8097
Butler76736
Coffee7646
Covington73720
Pike7087
Marion58026
Barbour5765
Lowndes57324
Marengo56515
Hale47826
Bullock46611
Winston45711
Perry4454
Washington44312
Bibb4425
Wilcox43210
Monroe4215
Pickens4049
Randolph40310
Conecuh39310
Sumter36418
Lawrence3512
Macon33914
Crenshaw3265
Choctaw28712
Cherokee2758
Henry2643
Clay2635
Geneva2631
Greene25211
Lamar2292
Fayette2125
Cleburne1271
Coosa1033
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