TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — On Tuesday, Tuscaloosa voters will head to the polls to choose their next mayor.
Incumbent Mayor Walt Maddox is seeking his fifth term in office and is being challenged by Martin Houston, a local pastor and businessman; and Serena Fortenberry, an English professor at the University of Alabama.
Houston said he is the right person for the job.
“I think I am the most complete and experienced leader in this race because of my background being a pastor and business owner,” Houston said. “The reason I am running is because I think Tuscaloosa has the backbone to be a great city. I don’t think it can be a great city until all the people can feel like they are part of it.”
Maddox said his record speaks for itself. He has served for 16 years as mayor and wants to be re-elected. Maddox said his administration has had many successes, from helping Tuscaloosa recover after the April 2011 tornado as well as taking steps to help protect residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We feel really good and we are not taking anything for granted, we know this is something that is earned. You earn this privilege to serve the people of Tuscaloosa. And we’ve worked just as hard as we’ve worked in any race. Whether it’s 311 or rebuilding after the tornado or transforming of downtown riverfront and reversing generations of neglect for west Tuscaloosa or our strong financial rating we’ve been successful” Maddox said.
Fortenberry said she is more than qualified to run the city.
“People should vote for me on Tuesday because I am in touch with the people,” Fortenberry said. “I would say that among the candidates, I’m probably not the most visible of them, but to me, that makes me a more real candidate. I am the one who is here completely, authentically. I am running because of complete individual conviction. And I am totally qualified to serve as mayor of Tuscaloosa.”
If elected, Fortenberry would be the city’s first woman mayor. Houston would be Tuscaloosa’s first black mayor if elected.