By Joshua Price/Sports Editor
Former Alabama District 10 Senator Larry Means’ face is one of the most familiar in local and state politics.
Although he has not held a public office since 2010, Means has not escaped the media spotlight.
Means said the trial is in the past and should stay there.
“That is behind me now and I’m ready to move forward. I want to do things for the City of Attalla and the community.”
Means has been there and done that. After 35 years in the political forum, few people in this area match his experience as a public servant.
Means was elected to the Attalla City Council in 1976 and worked his way up to the mayor’s office, which he held as pro-tem in the 1980’s and was elected in 1992 and 1996.
Means ran for state senate in 1998 and won by a landslide. He served 12 years in the senate and was defeated by current senator Phil Williams in 2010.
Means recently announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Attalla, which will be decided on Tuesday, August 28.
Means wants to do more for Attalla and said his years in the senate gave him strong political connections.
“I have built a lot of contacts all across the state over the years. I know how to push the right buttons in Montgomery to get the grants we need here to improve our city and its education. I think that will be my distinct advantage over the other candidates in the mayoral race.”
Means said in order for cities to obtain state or federal grants, they have to get out and work hard to get them.
“The money is hard to get nowadays. My distinct advantage is my experience and connections. I know who to put pressure on to get all kinds of grants that could really help out Attalla and the surrounding area.”
Means knows about hard work. He worked at Gulf States Steel for 24 years before accepting a sales position at McCartney Construction Company in 1994, where he worked for 14 years before retiring in 2008.
“I wanted to spend more time with my grandkids,” he said. “I also wanted to spend time with my dad, who was alive then.”
Means is a life-long native of Attalla, where he grew up in the First Baptist Church and graduated Etowah High School in 1965 and Jacksonville State University in 1970.
Means said running for mayor is the right thing for him to do.
“Some people say once you leave you can never go back. We have lived here all of our lives, we have never really left. I made the decision to run for mayor after so much encouragement from friends and family.”
Means said one of the key factors in getting elected to mayor in the 1990’s was his dedication to keeping the city clean.
“We should work to keep our streets and yards clean. No matter how much money someone makes, they should work to keep their place clean. We tore down a lot of rundown buildings and houses back in the ‘90’s during my six years in office.”
Means said he has a ‘bucket list’ of issues that would be addressed if he is elected mayor, which included street and road repairs and sewage system updates.
At the top of the list, however, is education. Means said his main concern is the quality of education in provided by the Attalla City School system.
“I’m concerned about the education of our kids. I don’t think cities do enough to help their school systems. I want to help teachers get whatever they need for their classrooms. I don’t know how much money is [available] and I won’t know unless I am elected, but I want to do what it takes to get Attalla’s classrooms up-to-date with all the modern technology.”
Means said if there is ample money in reserve, the city should assist the schools in any way possible. He also plans on being very active with the Attalla City school board of education.
“There is simply no sense in teachers having to pay for toiletries or any other necessities for their classrooms out of their own pockets. Education is so important. I want the kids in Attalla to be prepared for the real world. You just can’t put a price on the importance of education.”
Means said there are plenty of areas in which Attalla could expand its industrial capabilities.
“We are limited on jobs in this area, but there is a possibility of industrial expansion in the Camp Sibert area. I think a new sports park would be a great idea. I know State Representative [Craig] Ford is interested in that and I will do what I can to work with him on that. That would be beneficial to our local economy in so many ways. I would also get heavily involved In the one-cent sales tax to help develop the community.”
Means said there are many issues that need to be addressed, and that most of them are hampered by the current condition of the state and national economy. Means added that financial grants are available if you know how to get them.
Means said he holds a distinct advantage over other mayoral candidates in this field.
“I have been a member of so many different state groups to get funding for special projects. In tough times, you just have to get in there and fight for that money. It is very competitive, but you have to get in there and get it. My distinct advantage over the other candidates will be my knowledge of where to look to get this money and who to call about it.
“When I first got into the senate, I was a little shy about asking people for grant money – not anymore. I know who to ask for what to get what we need. That is something that comes with experience. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
Means said success in difficult times requires maximum team effort.
“We have some good people in Attalla right now. We all work well together. We have to get everybody on the same page and on-track to make things happen. We have a few things we could do with my leadership through experience.
“The mayor needs some different ideas and that’s a good thing. Everybody has different ideas and they all need to be listened to. It takes a lot of people to get anything done and to make anything happen.”
“We’re gonna go after some stuff if I get elected. I have already received support and well-wishes from lots of people in Montgomery. I’m excited about the upcoming election. I ready to get started!”
Means feels like he has plenty more to offer the patrons of Attalla.
“Karen and I prayed about it and made sure it was the right thing for us to do. God makes things happens for a reason and I know He has more work for me.”