Moore kicks off Senate race Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 27, 2004

Staff Report

Thomas Moore of Demopolis has officially announced his intentions to run for the District 24 State Senate seat recently vacated by Sen. Charles Steele, D-Tuscaloosa. Moore, also a Democrat, will hold his campaign kick-off on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 11 a.m. in the Demopolis Town Square.

The 48-year-old has held a number of official seats in the area, most recently during a 12-year stint as a Demopolis City Councilman, where campaign media advisor Audrey Haskin said he has built a solid reputation as an expert on economic development.

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“He is a proven vote-getter, only narrowly losing his run for the State House of Representatives seat in 2002,” Haskin said.

In his time on the Demopolis council, Moore’s efforts led to the paving and upgrades of all dirt streets in his district, improvements in infrastructure on drainage and gutters, increased the quality of city personnel by providing funding and support for continuing education and increased entry level salaries for city personnel.

“We have worked specifically with the Department of Public Safety to cut down on the excessive loss of good public safety personnel in Demopolis,” Moore said. “We do that by supporting continuing education practices and by placing value in our personnel. People need to know how important their jobs are and how much it means to us as a governing body that they are out there performing a job to the best of their abilities. That’s not too much for them to ask of us and it’s not too much for us to expect from them.”

Moore was also a part of the council that provided more than $1 million to build the Demopolis Sports-plex, a premier facility in West Alabama. The Ravine Golf Course located at the Sports-plex recently completed a million-dollar expansion to provide a 36-hole course on the grounds.

“It was hard work getting that facility established initially but we kept at it and now that facility has paid dividends that far out number the money we secured to get it built,” Moore said. “It was well worth the effort and the people appreciate the work that went into it. The Demopolis Sports-plex now serves as an example, a blueprint if you will, of a successful community based facility.”

The new Demopolis High School was established and constructed during Moore’s tenure on the council. The city brought in more than $5 million dollars for this new, contemporary facility. Education is something Moore is certainly no stranger too, having worked for the Perry County School Board for five years and served on the Demopolis City School Board for several years, so he knows the type of dedication it takes to educate young people today.

“Our teachers are one of our most valuable assets. I have always supported teacher funding. I believe we should pay our teachers and pay them well, but I also believe that teachers should be held accountable for their classrooms,” he said. “Our schools have many problems, none of which are going to be solved overnight. But teacher funding and accountability is a great place to start addressing some of our concerns over education.”

Other projects currently underway in Demopolis include the new Higher Education Facility which is set to open its doors in October and the Theo Ratliff Community Center located in the heart of Moore’s district.

“Both of these projects are excellent community-based projects that were brought to us by the people,” Moore said. “This was not initiated by me or the council. The people came to us with these ideas seeking help in making these projects a reality. We simply provided the assistance they requested. As an elected official, I feel it’s my duty and obligation to listen to the needs and concerns of the people and act in accordance to those needs and concerns. Even if I don’t agree with what is being brought to me, I still have an obligation to listen,” he said.

Moore’s extensive economic development expertise extends throughout the Blackbelt. He served as a member of the board of directors for the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission (ATRC) for 10 years and was chairman of the executive committee for two years. In addition, he sat on the personnel, nominating and budget committees from ATRC. He has been a champion of industrial recruitment, even making out-of-state recruitment trips at his own expense.

“Economic development across the state is very important to me. We need to prepare the Blackbelt for growth by providing the infrastructure needed to sustain that growth,” he said. “I believe in seeking funding for the construction of spec buildings, industrial park development and workforce enhancement to train our people for new jobs.”

The Demopolis native has been married to his wife, Charlie Joe, for 25 years and the couple has three sons and one granddaughter.

Moore is currently employed by the Alabama Department of Revenue as a revenue examiner; a position he has held for 18 years. When speaking about the future of Alabama and the Blackbelt, Moore has encouraging words.

“Alabama is the land of opportunity. We have fantastic land space, terrific rail and water systems and a workforce that is second to none. With appropriate leadership from state and federal sources we can take our state to the next level; but we will only get there by working together, strengthening our relationships and recognizing that we are one state, one people, one Alabama.”