The 44-year-old mayor of Tuscaloosa launched his 2018 campaign for governor with the release of a video announcement on social media and email Thursday morning.
"I believe the issues I care most about; education, healthcare, infrastructure, I believe we can put together a plan that can solve our problems," Mayor Walt Maddox, a Democrat, told WBRC.
Maddox, who has served as mayor since 2005, said the state faces crisis.
"Look at any indicators of quality of life. We're 46th, 47th, 48th, a 49th in everything that matters. It's been that way for 44 years. We have to draw a line in the sand and fight for Alabama," Maddox said.
"In Tuscaloosa, we succeeded during the worst economy since the Great Recession, one of the worst natural disasters in Alabama history by focusing on results-oriented government, Maddox said.
Maddox led the city following the April 27th, 2011 EF-4 tornado that killed 51 people in the county, 247 people statewide. Maddox has received praise for his handling of the crisis.
"Healthcare, education, infrastructure, mental health, corrections, pardons and parole, all are in crisis. That is not a sustainable path for ourselves or our children," Maddox said.
He dismissed questions about running as a Democrat in a heavily Republican state where no Democrat holds statewide office.
"We're going to be who we are and that's talking about results for the people," he said. "I know the politics of fear is coming our way, but that's because they have nothing else to talk about."
When asked about Gov. Kay Ivey, the Republican who took office after Gov. Robert Bentley resigned in scandal earlier this year, Maddox didn't name names.
"This is not about them, this is about what we want to do," Maddox said.
He joins a crowded 2018 field of candidates that include Democrats Sue Bell Cobb and James Fields, Republicans Bill Hightower, Tommy Battle and Ivey.
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