Efforts saved Goodyear in 2006
For nearly a century, the Goodyear tire plant was a major economic driver for the Gadsden community, employing more than 1,400 people with good-paying jobs. And while that unfortunately came to an end in 2020, the reality is that Goodyear would have closed the plant sooner without the tireless work of one of our lawmakers at the time, Craig Ford.
Craig Ford is a fighter with the experience to make things happen and a strong passion for his community. I've seen this firsthand and it's why I believe that Craig Ford is the clear choice for mayor of Gadsden.
In 2006, Craig served in the Alabama Legislature representing the Gadsden community. When Goodyear began considering plant closures, Craig leaped into action with three other members of the local legislative delegation to save Gadsden's plant. Working hand in hand with state officials and local leaders, Craig fought for and won $30 million to keep the plant open.
Because of Craig Ford's efforts, 1,400 people were able to keep their jobs and continue providing for their families. Without his leadership, the Goodyear plant would have closed in 2006 rather than in 2020. I believe strongly, too, that the doors to Goodyear would still be open if Craig Ford were still working for us in Montgomery. He's just that kind of leader.
The closing of Goodyear was bad news, but Gadsden still has a strong future ahead of it. That future will be even brighter and more secure with Craig Ford at the helm as mayor. He has my full support and I hope you will give him the same.
Proven track record
Craig Ford is indisputably the most qualified candidate based on his previous service in the state Legislature. He has a proven track record of helping Etowah County and established statewide connections necessary for the furtherance of industry and commerce.
Advocate for education
As the mayor’s election is clearly in sight, I would like to endorse Craig Ford for mayor of Gadsden.
I’ve known Craig many years. My first impression of him was in the Alabama Legislature as a State representative of my voting district in Gadsden. As an educator, I soon realized that like his father before him, he was an avid supporter of education and educators in our state.
I retired with 38 years' experience in education, and Craig Ford was the strongest advocate I have known of education during this time. Furthermore, he has a proven record of success getting things done for our community. He knows the resources to achieve success.
A vote for Craig Ford is a vote for progress in our community.
A real plan, not just talk
As the Gadsden mayoral race comes to a close over the next couple of weeks, voters should ask themselves the question, “Who can bring Gadsden back?” Back to prosperity; back to unity inside the county; back to the manufacturing dominance of the past.
I've heard buzz words throughout the campaign, and the one I love to hear is “plan.” My plan is this, or my plan is that. My favorite is, “That’s already in my plan.”
But what is a plan? It’s more than just words, it’s action. It’s taking a vision and turning it into actions that, in the end, produce results. I have seen that first hand, being on the Hokes Bluff City Council.
When I took office in 2008, which happened to be the worst time ever as we were heading into a financial crisis, we took over a city that was in the midst of a financial crisis. We didn’t have money for city upgrades; we were barely paying the bills. Our state representative asked me what our city plan was for the sports complex behind City Hall. I said, “I don’t think we have one.” He put in me in touch with one of our local architects. Together, we were able to create a vision that turned out to be “the plan.”
For the next 12 years, we didn’t have to worry what projects we wanted to work on, because we already had it laid out. We knew which project was next on the list.
From that plan, the citizens of Hokes Bluff have lighted soccer and football fields to practice on, new parking lots, handicap playgrounds, updated baseball fields, softball fields and tennis/basketball courts.
The state representative who was responsible for creating the plan was Craig Ford. You know, that guy running for mayor of Gadsden?
When you go to the polls and are looking to vote for someone who has a plan, do your research. Do you want to vote for someone who talks about a plan, or someone who has shown for more than 20 years the results of a plan?
Commitment and passion
I think we all can agree there are serious issues in our City of Gadsden. We need a true leader in the mayor’s office to guide us through these times. We need someone who has experience in leadership. We need someone who is not afraid to challenge the status quo and ask the tough questions, rather than dismiss an issue or pass on to someone else to fix.
Craig Ford's commitment to service and passion for our community has been demonstrated through decades of work on behalf of the residents at a state level. He knows how to get the work done. He has the leadership skills and the grit to make Gadsden a thriving city.
This city has been a passion of his since I have known him. I was an outsider who moved here a few years ago, and didn't know anyone. He and his family were some of the first people I met, and they welcomed me with open arms. They made me feel a part of this community. I was hesitant to move to this area, but because of the passion I saw in him and his family for his hometown, I decided to make the move. Now, I have grown to love Gadsden and the people here.
Craig Ford is someone who loves this community, and that is what this city needs. It needs someone with a vision, someone with a plan and someone who is proud of this town.
Commitment to the cause
I wholeheartedly endorse Craig Ford for mayor of Gadsden. As a former youth and high school soccer coach, I know that enhancing the opportunities for sports in the area is essential, and Craig has shown his commitment to that cause.
Youth sports is at a critical juncture now, and we must head in the direction of growth and opportunity. Craig Ford is just the man to see it through.
In addition, I am grateful for his desire to prioritize the City of Gadsden, while remaining flexible to work across city lines to develop a more vital county. Gadsden is the heart of Etowah County; make no mistake, and it must be the center of focus for the next mayor of Gadsden.
On Aug. 23, let’s elect Craig Ford!
Experienced hand needed
This Tuesday, Aug. 23, the residents of Gadsden get to vote on a new mayor for our city. This is the first time in a long time that there is no incumbent running, so whatever happens, we will have a fresh person as our mayor.
There is a full field of candidates who think they have what Gadsden needs in these tough times. However, in my opinion there is really only one candidate who can move Gadsden through the next four years.
We are at a crossroads, having lost Goodyear several years ago and with the community dividing rendering plant issue. We need a mayor who has the experience, drive and determination to positively move our city forward.
Craig Ford has 18 years as an Alabama state legislator; owns two successful businesses in Gadsden; has worked tirelessly for the kids, teachers and schools in his district; is a major in the National Guard; but most of all has a genuine love for his hometown.
I have gotten to know Craig well, and he truly wants to make a difference and make Gadsden a place that people want to call home. Let's let experience speak for itself; this is not the time for a newbie to be in the mayor's chair. We have too much to lose. Vote Craig Ford for mayor.
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This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: Letter to the Editor