Race for governor heats up with multiple candidates taking credit for Toyota-Mazda plant

Both Governor Kay Ivey and Mayor Tommy Battle are trying to take credit for the economic growth and both have previously said this would not come up during the campaign.

Posted: Feb. 19, 2018 9:29 PM
Updated: Feb. 19, 2018 10:16 PM

Voters in Huntsville weighed in on Governor Kay Ivey and Huntsville Mayor, Tommy Battle taking credit for the Toyota-Mazda plant coming to the area.

Previously, both republican candidates for governor said, the project was a team effort and it wouldn't become an issue during the campaign.

Last Friday, Governor Ivey told WAAY 31 it was a state run effort with her team making the effort to bring the plant to Huntsville.

Monday, Mayor Tommy Battle fought back against Ivey's claims.

There wasn't a consensus with voters on this specific topic, but many voters told WAAY 31 the economy does play a major role in who they will vote for.

Kiana Jones said, she wants a candidate with a strong background in bringing jobs to Alabama.

"It's pretty important to me," said Jones.

On Monday, Mayor Battle again shied away from taking full credit for the $1.6 billion plant.

He still characterized it as a team effort, but he told WAAY 31 he's taken multiple trips to Japan over the last 4 years cultivating business relationships.

"We also knew that there was talk of a car plant some day being built. We wanted to be in the mix. We wanted to at least have a relationship, so that we could say we want to step up," said Mayor Battle.

Battle told WAAY31 his trips to Japan payed off when he went there again last October, when he said the ground work for the Toyota-Mazda plant was laid out.

WAAY 31 asked Governor Ivey's team if she made similar trips to Japan, but they haven't called us back.

Jones told WAAY 31, the candidate who sat down with the representatives for the plant is the one who should be able to take credit for the economic development during the election, but she said she likes Battle's approach of continuing to call it a team effort.

"You don't want to be too arrogant, because not everyone wants an arrogant leader, most people that are arrogant they don't really have good leadership skills," said Jones.

While this political topic mattered to Jones there were some voters who told WAAY 31 they're just happy the plant is coming here, regardless of which politician played a bigger role.

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