On Tuesday, March 17, 25 elected and business leaders from Mobile and Baldwin counties traveled to Alabama’s state capital to showcase the collaborative efforts across the Coastal Alabama region. Coordinated by Coastal Alabama Partnership (CAP), the trip was the first time elected leadership from both sides of Mobile Bay traveled to Montgomery together to meet state legislators and department members about issues of concern to coastal Alabama. Those in attendance included Mayor Sandy Stimpson of Mobile, Mayor Jeff Collier of Dauphin Island, Mayor Troy Ephriam of Prichard, Mayor Howard Rubenstein of Saraland, Mayor Robert Craft of Gulf Shores, Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson, and Baldwin County Commissioner Chris Elliott.
While in Montgomery, the group met with a diverse group of leadership, beginning with Sen. Bill Hightower and Rep. Steve McMillan. The state legislators addressed our region’s concerns about wind and flood insurance and offered potential solutions including the Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resilience (PACER) program and FORTIFIED building. In addition to our state legislators, our local leadership met with multiple leaders from the state departments including Lee Sentell (director of the Department of Tourism and Travel), Greg Canfield (secretary of Commerce), John Cooper (director of the Department of Transportation), Tommy Fell (Alabama Film Office) and Jim Byard (director of the Deptartment of Economics and Community Affairs). Each speaker provided an update regarding their activities in the state and along the coast and addressed questions from the leaders of coastal Alabama.
The day concluded with CAP’s first regional legislative reception at the Alabama Center for Commerce with over 200 state legislators, state department members, local stakeholders, and guests in attendance. Sheila Hodges, CAP chairman and owner of Meyer Real Estate, presented to the group and shared her thoughts.
“We are serious about being the most dynamic region, not only in Alabama but along the whole Gulf Coast,” Hodges said.
Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “this is just another example of showing collaboration between Mobile County and Baldwin County leadership. I think it is important that we’ve got to continue to sell the entire region.”
Mayor Rubenstein agreed saying, “I think it’s great that this relationship between Baldwin and Mobile counties entities’ is evolving, maturing and becoming a reality.”
Heiko Einfeld, executive director of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce added, “The assets we have within our coastal region are probably second to none in terms of what we have to offer here in the State of Alabama. Us coming together to realize that as one force brings a lot of opportunity to the table.”
Coastal Alabama Partnership (CAP) is a facilitating organization across the counties that border Alabama’s Gulf Coast. CAP makes it possible for individuals and entities to work together to achieve major initiatives that will help the region move forward, spurring smart growth while maintaining an enviable quality of life. For more information, visit www.coastalabama.org.