By Scott Buttram
Trussville resident Danny Garrett announced Tuesday that he will be a candidate to replace the retiring Arthur Payne in House District 44.
Garrett will run as a Republican in the primary, which will be held in June 2014.
In an exclusive interview with The Trussville Tribune, Garrett listed economic development and job creation, education and fiscal responsibility as his priorities for office.
“I’m not a politician, but I’ve always enjoyed politics and had an interest in politics even as a child,” Garrett said. “But at the stage of my life that I’m in, I’m now fortunate to have the time to participate in things like this. Actually, people approached me. Several months ago, people began to approach me when Arthur announced that he was retiring and suggested that I run. Now, I’ve had a chance to think about it and consider the things going on in Montgomery and consider my life experiences and it seemed like a natural next step for me.”
A 1976 E.B. Erwin High School graduate, Garrett, 55, said his roots in the community give him a perspective of the entire district.
“I’m from this area. I grew up in Center Point, spent a lot of time in Pinson, our first house was in Paradise Valley in Clay and I got to help start Clearview Baptist Church on Old Springville Road and then moved to Trussville,” Garrett said.
“Everywhere I go I run into people from Erwin or Huffman that I grew up playing ball with or have known all my life. That’s what’s I think is unique about the area is that we are three distinct communities, very historic, a lot of pride, and very independent. But nowhere else in the state do you find that melding where we go to church together, play together, work together and socialize together.”
Garrett said he would like to see the state of Alabama continue the economic growth and job creation currently under way.
“I’m on the advisory board for the Alabama Productivity Center, which is a consulting group that’s an arm of the business school at Alabama,” Garrett said. “We actually provide support to manufacturing businesses that are looking to come to the state. We do a lot of work with Mercedes and all the companies that are here, so economic development will continue to be a priority to me. That affects not only jobs, but the quality of life in the state.”
Garrett, who serves on the Trussville City Schools Board of Education as vice president, said education and fiscal responsibility would also be priorities.
“Education is a priority for me,” he said. “Education is always changing. Working with K-12 and also working with the Alabama Business School where 35 percent of the students are international students, you begin to understand that this is global. So education is so, so important to our region and I want to do all I can to improve that.”
Garrett said he would also place an emphasis on fiscal responsibility. The Republican majority in Montgomery has cut almost a billion dollars in spending from the state budget, while consolidating departments in cost savings measures, but Garrett believes there is still work to be done.
“There is always more you can do to save,” Garrett said. “There is also a fine line. You can’t save your way to prosperity. You have to balance the budget and sometimes you need a little revenue for that. I don’t want a lot of taxes. I don’t like taxes, but you have to look at your revenue and your expenses and we have to live with that. It may be that we have to balance that. Overall, I think the approach has been good.”
Garrett also said he will take whatever steps are necessary in the state legislature to shield Alabamians from the impact of intrusion and interference by an expanding federal government.
“Now, more than ever, it is important to have principled, conservative leadership here in Alabama to ward off a very liberal political agenda coming out of Washington,” Garrett said.
Garrett spent the bulk of his career in the steel, rail and bus manufacturing industries. During his more than 30 years as a businessman, he has served as chief financial officer for two public corporations and for a family-owned business. He has also served as a senior executive with a company owned by a major U.S. private equity firm.
He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he a earned a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce and business administration in 1980 and a master’s in tax accounting in 1981. He began his career working in public accounting and passed the Certified Public Accountant exam in 1983.
Garrett and his wife, Carol, have been married for 29 years and have three sons: Jake (26), John (23) and Nick (17).