This is a press release from Deidre Stalnaker from the office of George Talbot Director of Communications and External Affairs City of Mobile

Mayors from four of Alabama’s five largest cities completed a two-day retreat today in Clarke County, the latest in a series of meetings in which they share ideas and best practices from their respective administrations.

Participants included Mayor Tommy Battle of Huntsville, Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa, Mayor Sandy Stimpson of Mobile and Mayor Todd Strange of Montgomery. Mayor William Bell of Birmingham did not attend the summit due to a scheduling conflict.

The summit focused on the issues of economic development, education and legislative proposals expected to be debated during the upcoming session of the Alabama State Legislature, which convenes Feb. 2 in Montgomery.

“These meetings always result in new ideas that benefit us and the people we serve,” said Mayor Stimpson, who hosted the gathering at his family’s hunting camp in rural Clarke County. “Not only do we enjoy each other’s company, the relationships we are establishing make for stronger communities and a stronger Alabama.”

The mayors shared their legislative priorities for the upcoming session and discussed plans for an unprecedented visit by the group to the state Capitol next month.

“We meet because we are all concerned about the future of Alabama,” said Mayor Strange. “This is an important time for our state. As mayors, we are in a unique position to cut through the rhetoric and bring forward real solutions.”

Mayor Battle said the upcoming session of the state Legislature will be critical to the state’s future.

“There is a sense of urgency because of the serious challenges facing our state,” said Maddox. “The legislature will determine the roadmap to our future. If this session is not successful, Alabama will not be successful.”

Mayor Maddox noted that the mayors collectively represent about half of the state’s total population.

“We come from different places and we all have very different backgrounds, but we’re able to come together on behalf of our constituents,” Maddox said. “There’s a lot our legislators to learn from that example. One thing we all know is that you can’t solve new problems with old solutions.”