By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Collin Daly is a true native son, having been born and raised in Limestone County, and graduating from Elkmont High School in 1995. He is also the son of Gary Daly, former Limestone County Commission Chairman. When Gary held the position Collin seeks to fill in just a few weeks, Collin had to watch his dad deal with a lot of negativity, and at the time couldn’t imagine ever wanting to follow in Gary’s footsteps. But last year, Collin just couldn’t shake the sense that he needed to run for that same office his dad once held. After much prayer, counsel from wise folks, and with a strong push from his whole family, he knew he needed to register to run, and he told me, “That was one of the scariest things I have ever done.”
Collin worked for a time for the Utilities Department of the City of Huntsville, and has spent his life working on his grandfather’s farm. Since 2003, Collin has been with the Limestone County Water and Sewer Department. He knows just about every square foot of this county, from the roads to the fields to the water and sewer lines, and most importantly he has made it a point to know the people that make up the county.
In the months that Collin has been out doing what he calls “politickin’,” he has fallen even more in love with the people of Limestone County, something that was a deeply pleasant surprise. I believe him when he tells me, “Win, lose, or draw, I have made new friends and gotten to really know the people of this county; and I am a better man for it.” He told me about the day when he was doorbelling, and he ended up listening to a man tell his personal story for several hours. It has been one of the highlights of the campaign.
I asked Collin, “When you are awake in the middle of the night, thinking about the job if you get it, what do you think about? “Growth,” he said quickly. He knows, as do other leaders with a vision for the future of our area, that growth has to be creative, well-managed, and will yield a solid economic return over the long haul. “If you have a destination spot, good folks come if you have great restaurants and places to stay. I want Athens to have something that is unique, that people from all over will come to see. I also want to see some things built for young people. Right now they don’t have much to do,” he said. We talked about possible places and types of venues, and also what happens when we lose commerce.
“People don’t really understand what happens when businesses such as Pilgrim’s Pride and Delphi leave,” Collin said. He added that industry can be really challenging to infrastructure, and stressed the importance of having needed improvements and upgrades in place before the big “growth spurts” begin. He also talked wanting to strike that delicate balance between “keeping Athens Athens,” with all its charm, and growing in a way that supports the future. He spoke of when he was a little boy, and up on Thach Road there were two stores on either side of the railroad tracks. They were both members of the Moore family, and while they were “technically competitors,” they would go back and forth and visit each other’s stores. “All the small communities had a purpose, and I want my kids as well as the next generation to know it, what it was like. That is one of the things that will help us hang on to what we have.”
Another thing Collin has enjoyed while on the campaign trail has been having the chance to spend time with senior citizens. He has gone to several senior centers and played rook and dominoes, and, yes, listened to their stories. He knows that our seniors and our young people are two of the treasures that need to be appreciated and protected. “I want people to respect people,” he said. He also has a vision for doing such a good job that he makes it easier for whomever it is that comes after he is no longer in office. He wants to leave the county to the next generation in better shape than when he found it.
If someone who has decades of experience, a strong vision for Limestone County, and who is personable and approachable is what you are looking for as its chairman, then vote for Collin Daly on November 6.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner