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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.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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