Former Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer wants her old job back, with this weekend marking the unofficial kickoff of her comeback bid.
Spencer opened her campaign headquarters on Bob Wallace Drive in Huntsville on Saturday. The former mayor said she's in it to win it after receiving encouragement to run again from many of her past supporters.
The former mayor and life-long Huntsville resident was soundly beaten by current Mayor Tommy Battle in a 2008 runoff, ending Spencer's twelve year stint at city hall. Spencer said four years of new leadership has produced few results and many disappointments, especially in areas like business recruitment and crime.
"I can draw circles around the current administration," said the 74 year-old Spencer. "There's been so much encouragement over the last two years for me to please come back...Right now, I'm worried about the number of robberies we're having, I'm wondering about the safety of people. I want to get back in there, work with our police department, and see how we can do it better."
Spencer said reserving more money to hire more officers is one way to reverse the recent crime trend, but said a change in police leadership is not necessarily the best approach.
Costly construction overruns at the Madison County Jail hounded Spencer during the last year of her term, an issue that some believe led to her demise. But the former mayor remains adamant that the messy jail project was not her responsibility.
"The city council appoints the building authority, the building authority accepts the contract, and then they made the payments," said Spencer. "The mayor doesn't vote. So I'm sorry Mayor Battle hasn't been able to get the settlement done either...I have the energy and the drive, and that's what is important."
This year's mayoral race includes Mayor Battle, Loretta Spencer, and long-time city hall watchdog Jackie Reed. Election day in the city of Huntsville is August 28th.