Crowe and Broom look forward to runoff election

Charley Gaines

Hartselle Enquirer


The City of Hartselle came out of the Aug. 23 election day with an unofficial new mayor and two unofficial new city council members, but one Place on the council remains up for grabs as Matthew Broom and Daniel Crowe head into a runoff election Oct. 4.

Broom and Crowe got 34.11 percent and 37.46 percent of the city’s vote respectively, beating incumbent Ken Doss. One of the two men will be the youngest city council member to take a seat with the rest of the newly elected members.

The two young men have similar outlooks on certain aspects of issues within the city. Those outlooks align with the concerns coming from residents in the area, but their approaches to the same ideas vary as they continue to campaign for the Place 5 position on the city’s council.

Broom was raised just outside of the Hartselle City limits, but hands down claims Hartselle as the place he was raised. He played sports in Hartselle as a kid and graduated co-valedictorian from Hartselle High School in 2004. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in accounting and then got his MBA at UAH. Broom currently works for IBM as a financial analyst on an Army contract.

While Crowe wasn’t born in Hartselle, he claims the city as his own now. He was born in the Atlanta area, but his family moved to Morgan County after his father was reassigned to the Boeing location in Decatur. Crowe went to three different colleges, two where he played football (West Georgia and West Alabama), but he ended up getting his aerospace engineering degree at UAH. He is

currently a foreign military salesperson for Black Hawk helicopters.

The two candidates, like five different voters at the polls Tuesday, were asked what they think the biggest issue in Hartselle is right now. Like the voters, Broom and Crowe both answered the city’s economy is the biggest issue.

“Without a doubt,” Crowe said, “our biggest issue is the economy, just like it is for the rest of the country. I keep hearing words like “progress” and “forward,” but I think those are the wrong words to use because there are the words we’ve been using for the past 30 to 50 years, and things are getting worse. Sometimes you’ve got to go backwards and back to basics to improve our culture and help each other out.”

At the polls Tuesday, three of the five voters coming out of the Civic Center and First Baptist Church directly said the biggest issue is the economy.

Micheal Elliott, point blank and without hesitation, simply answered “Money” when asked what the city’s biggest issue currently is.

An anonymous voter said, “I want to see the advancement of Hartselle’s economy. We need a progressive council because I don’t want to be stuck like we are right now and we have been for a while.”

Broom’s answer mirrored the other three’s answers.

“I agree that the economy is a big issue for Hartselle as well as the entire nation,” but Broom’s optimism on the subject sets him apart. “It is entirely possible that Hartselle will see some strong economic growth in the next four years. This is something I feel is already beginning. There is an excitement in the city as a result of new ideas and perspectives emerging in Hartselle.”

Caroline Weems, the gifted science teacher at Hartselle Junior High School, contributed another point of interest for the City of Hartselle.

“As an educator, I would want the council to continue to provide quality education within our system,” she said. “The education we provide is excellent right now, and I hope that it stay that way and continues to grow.”

Broom and Crowe both said they feel strongly about the education Hartselle City Schools students receive. Both men said the school system is what draws people to the area.

“Without a doubt, the biggest draw for Hartselle is the school system,” said Broom. “It’s consistently ranked in the top tier of school districts in the state. This is due to excellent leadership, great teachers, parental involvement and support, and abundant opportunities for students to thrive.”

Crowe said, “Schools are really our future. That’s why my parents moved to Hartselle when I was young. I think we’re doing a lot of good things with the pre-engineering and nursing.” Crowe, though, believes trade schools are the future for the younger generation who will be going out into a different world after high school.

“If we really double down on the trade schools, I think that would improve things,” he explained. “Our trades are going to become more important as manufacturing starts coming back into America. I think we’re doing a lot of good things in Hartselle, but we can always concentrate more on schools.”

Broom and Crowe said their relative youth would contribute to the current council by bringing a new enthusiasm and passion to the table along with fresh ideas and insight as well, but their answers differ in a couple of specific areas. Each area setting one apart from the other as the runoff gets closer.

When asked about the different groupings of the population in Hartselle one might notice – senior citizens, middle aged parents and school aged kids without an in between – the two consider the possible issue separately.

Broom’s answer to the question suggests more fluidity between him and other generations and classifications within the population. “We have a tight knit community in Hartselle,” he said. “I feel all of these age groups are important, and they mesh well together. I think these groups are just natural in the city’s life cycle. I have built many relationships with people in all of these age groups. The city’s council’s responsibility is to provide economic opportunity and a safe, clean environment for all its citizens.”

Crowe takes a different approach to the question, but with a same core meaning.

“I think there are more millennials coming, but Hartselle’s more of a family life city. I think we need to get some of those younger people here, and having more fun in the downtown area would help; maybe live music or a projection screen with football games on during the fall.” While offering the possible answers for a more youthful feel, Crowe came across the same basic answer Broom did.

“I don’t necessarily know if it’s a bad thing. You have your wisdom with the older people, your workers and the future, which are our children. I can’t really put my finger on why that group of people is more scarce, but it’s got to be the fun factor. Downtown is set up perfectly to have a very fun experience, and I think we can make that happen.”

Broom admits it’s unfortunate that he and Crowe are running against one another for the same seat on council because their youth could offer the city organization dual insight from the younger generation. While Broom’s positive outlook on Hartselle and its future differs from Crowe’s more realistic, down and dirty approach to handling Hartselle’s issues, the two both bring an intense devotion to the city.


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