(WIAT) - Walt Maddox is opening up about his campaign, how Tuscaloosa is recovering from the devastating tornado of 2011, and the state of his city of more than 80,000 residents.
From his office in downtown Tuscaloosa, we geared up for our backseat conversation with the mayor.
"We have been one of Alabama's fastest growing cities the last few years," Maddox said. "We're always in the top three in that category."
When Alabamians thinks of Maddox's administration and what he has done in the City of Tuscaloosa, the subject of the city's recovery after the 2011 tornado always comes up.
"I think its phenomenal when you consider the challenges," Maddox said. "We had nearly a billion dollars in unmet needs, and that's calculated by FEMA. What that means is that's the difference between insurance paid out, the needs left afterward, and so we received about $130 million worth of federal aid, insurance proceeds or state aid. We got about 10 percent back as a community of what we lost."
Maddox's opponent in the Democratic primary for governor, Sue Bell Cobb, has referred to the recovery efforts as a mishandling of the reconstruction, but Maddox disagrees.
"Well my response is you can't imagine how complicated it is starting with nearly a billion dollars of unmet needs," Maddox said. "[There are] 5,300 property owners who have 5,300 different viewpoints of what construction should look like, it's easy to throw stones. And you can certainly take individual examples, but when you look at the whole mosaic of what we've been able to do it's absolutely phenomenal."
After getting Tuscaloosa's recovery underway, Maddox says it was only thing he could do was run for governor.
"Back around '16 and '17 I started thinking about it seriously," Maddox said. "We got through the mayor's race and Stephanie and I sat down over the summer. We thought, 'You know what? If we look at Alabama, we look at where we are, If we are going to have an Alabama that we live in we've got to draw a line in the sand, we've got to be more than talking points'."
With the support Maddox seems to be getting on both sides of the aisle, Maddox believes he has a real shot of winning the governor's seat in the upcoming election.Continue reading and watch the interview at CBS42.com