BamaNewsNow.com recently had the opportunity sit down with candidates for Federal Office in Alabama in the 2020 election cycle. We wanted to ask questions that would highlight their experience and position on issues.
Bill Hightower is married to Susan Hightower, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Hightower originally moved to Mobile in 1968, with his mom and dad, when his father established one of the first Open Heart Surgery Centers on the gulf coast. In his youth, Hightower worked at his grandparent’s farm, cleaned swimming pools, and worked as a laborer on construction projects. Hightower graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Business degree, and later receive his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University. Hightower has worked with Fortune 500 corporations including Emerson Electric, AlliedSignal, Eaton, and Balfour-Beatty. In 2002, shortly after the terror attacks of September 11, Bill returned home to Mobile, to be closer to family. He now runs several small businesses.
Why do you want to be the next Congressperson from Alabama House District 1?
I believe that our nation and the values we hold, especially here in coastal Alabama, are under attack. There is an increasing interest of Socialism within the Democratic Party. While these are friendly ideas in California and New York, we know Socialism is an assault on our liberty. As one of the most conservative State Senators (2013-2018) in the Alabama State Senate, I understand the threat that this type of political movement places upon us. And as this district’s next Congressman, I will work to encourage strong families, ensure free markets, require limited government, and fund a capable military.
I have fought legislatively for lower taxes and tax reform, religious liberty, life of the unborn, and government transparency. I have taken on the leadership of our state when they were wrong. I didn’t just vote to eliminate laws. I fought for the people I represented. And if I have the privilege to serve as the next Congressman for District 1, I will hit the ground running because of my previous legislative experience.
As District 1’s next Congressman, I will continue to protect and expand our Red Snapper rights; I will protect our veterans and our military; I will properly fund our I-10 bridge without tolls; I will work to bring jobs into our region and work with existing companies to grow opportunities – especially for our youth. And I will be a consistent and available presence across the district to hear what’s important to my neighbors.
What qualifications do you have that you feel makes you qualified to be elected in District 1?
I am a businessman who has worked for Fortune 500 companies in the United States and overseas. In recent years, I have operated my own companies here in District 1. I take the common-sense principles I learned in business with me to serve in every role. The experiences in the business world have shown me what companies are looking for and what they consider important when coming to Alabama. I’ve also seen the frustrations and barriers small businesses face when they try to succeed. Government should not be a road-block to success. I want our small businesses to prosper, as they employ most of Alabama. That is why when I served in the Alabama State Senate I had a very pro-business record, working to lower taxes and regulation, creating a positive environment for growth for our existing companies and encouraging new companies to locate here.
Successful businesses are built on communities with strong families. I have been married for 39 years to my wife, Susan, and we have three adult children and three grandchildren. I believe every decision made in Congress should have a focus on encouraging strong families and communities in our state. I believe this whether it is care for the unborn, better educational opportunities for children, adoption rights, safeguarding parental rights to decide their child’s direction, or enhancing vocational and higher educational training, I will fight for the conservative values that our district holds. And I have the record to proved it: I was consistently identified as among the most conservative Senators in the Alabama State Senate.
During my service as a State Senator, I led on critical issues. I didn’t just vote, but I fought bad legislation too. I wrote, introduced, and negotiated legislation through the difficult legislative process by deflecting liberal criticism and negotiating principled conservative solutions. As a result of my business and legislative experience, I will be able to “hit the ground running” if I go to Congress.
Ever since they opened the A320 Final Assembly Line in Mobile, the congressman from District 1, the only congressional district with an Airbus airplane manufacturing presence it, hasn’t sat on the House Subcommittee on Aviation, if elected would you try and get an assignment to that subcommittee? Why or Why not?
For the next District 1 Congressman, the participation on key strategic committees will be critical. Congressman Byrne showed this when, as a new member of US Congress, he secured a position on the Armed Services Committee. It was critical and strategic to the District for our military industrial footprint. Just as he did when he first entered Congress, I will endeavor to secure a “seat” on the critically strategic committees for the region. There are several committees important for our Airbus production capability, and I will work with Airbus, the Chamber Commerce, and the cities/counties of District 1, to place myself on the best committees to support their work.
For instance, District 1 has a number of regional challenges which lend themselves to one committee in particular; that is the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In this committee, and its subcommittees, the future configuration of the I-10 bridge will be decided, Airbus and its growing presence in Mobile will be encouraged and protected, a new north/south corridor for Baldwin County’s Beachway Express will be debated, and the effort to relocate the commercial airline service from West Mobile, to Brookley Field, will continue. Without principled and effective leadership, these important regional projects, which will benefit all of Alabama, will not happen. I have been involved in each of these initiatives and will position myself to serve on this committee, as well as the Armed Services Committee.
The Mobile region regularly competes with Seattle and New Orleans for the title of ‘Rainiest City in America’. As a result, sewage overflows are becoming more common in the region. What can you do as a Congressman to help local sewage system operators reduce or eliminate these overflows and protect our local environment?
Sewage overflows have a dangerous affect upon our beautiful Mobile Bay, and surrounding eco system. It damages sea-life, hinders the successful commerce of our seafood industry, and has had a negative effect upon our region for decades. Sadly, Mobile Bay is a collection point for all sewer overflows north of Baldwin and Mobile Counties. It’s not just a local problem, but all counties upstream contribute to it.
Incorrectly designed systems that date back decades have created enormously expensive problems that our local leaders are working valiantly to solve. The federal government, vis-a-vis the EPA, has mandated a solution, but as with all regulatory decisions, there is no funding from our federal tax dollars to help with the solution. Instead, local governments must actually borrow back the taxes their citizens have already paid in order for this essential work to be completed. This is where we see the nation’s spending and debt problem at its most severe: We must fix these sewers and it is very expensive to do so, yet we are running a nearly trillion-dollar deficit and have 23 trillion in debt. As a District 1 Congressman I will work with local leaders and my future colleagues to find new sources of funding by cutting unnecessary spending and redirecting those dollars back for programs such as this.
Farmers face challenges every day to make a living. One of the challenges they have had to face recently is a growing worldwide trade war between the United States and the rest of the world. What can you do as a member of Congress to help Southwest Alabama weather this challenge, and help bring it to an end?
From my interaction with our patriot farmers, I see they understand the challenge we are facing with China and are they are weathering the fight. My hope is that this is temporary and that a new equilibrium will be reached to further our agricultural industry, which is a significant portion of District 1’s economy.
President Trump is taking action where others have failed. And trade partners, such as China, have taken unfair advantageous of the USA for too long. There is much more at stake than agricultural products as this trade skirmish has at its heart the issues of domestic prosperity, military dominance, and the ideology of communism. I have worked in China and understand why this is a critical battle to win.
Thanks to the efforts of our US Senate and House members, key regional companies have been protected – such as Airbus – but I know there are others who are less fortunate. Until we establish a more level field with China, we need to continue to support these efforts, but I will work to bring an end to them, as well as making sure that the financial support to mitigate the pain to District 1 farmers is received.
Farming is a critical economic, and even strategic, resource for us. We cannot place excessive dependence upon foreign nations for our food supply. We must continue to have strong American farms – farms that we trust – to provide us with a safe food supply.