By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
When Collin Daly was a child, he saw firsthand how his dad, then Limestone County Commissioner Gary Daly had to deal with the headaches and negatives that come with being an elected official. As a result of seeing what his dad went through, Collin never wanted any part of politics. Collin was born and raised in Elkmont, and worked on his grandfather’s farm as well as for Huntsville Utilities. He has worked for Limestone County Water and Sewer Department since 2003 and is running for Limestone County Commission Chairman.
I asked Collin, “So, how did you get from ‘never wanting any part of it’ to running for the commissioner’s seat?” “Well, it started with people coming to me and asking me to consider running,” Collin replied. He went on to tell me that even though he was resistant at first, it wouldn’t leave him alone, even if he had a better idea than most of what he was getting himself into. He came to the point where he had “counted the cost” and then disaster struck; his wife Penny was diagnosed with melanoma. They got through that, and then the whole family said, “You gotta run!” “It was the hardest decision I have ever made,” said Collin, “because I wanted to serve people and do the right thing, but I didn’t want to put my family through what I had gone through.”
The decision having been made with the support and urging of his family, Collin set forth explaining “the why” regarding his decision to run, and fleshing out his vision for the county should he get elected. His “why” is his kids. “My kids are going to be my age in 20 years, and I don’t want them inheriting a big tax debt because we didn’t use our resources well,” he said. “The county is 17.8 million dollars in debt, and we need to reduce that debt while finding a way to grow well. I want things to grow as well as be beautiful,” Collin added. “We have to find ways to create new revenue,” he said.
“We have to create an opportunity to draw people,” Collin said. “It’s more than the 4,000 new Toyota jobs, it is having a community where people will want to raise their children because it is in such a good county,” he said, and added, “With unity we can work through adversity. We have got to work together, no matter how different we are.”
There are things that are Collin’s “hot buttons,” and that would be the shape the roads are in and cutting wasteful spending. Collin is also concerned that the county use the land they already own rather than try to buy more. “L&S is an eyesore, and it’s time we put that land to good use,” he said. He wants to make what he calls a county-wide “business-friendly environment.” As a small business owner himself, Collin understands that some of the tax incentives that have been part of the contracts with the major corporations that have chosen Limestone County for their base of operations have been a good move. “But,” he asked me, “What can we do for the small business owner, the people who are local and have no desire to be anything else?” He also wants Athens to be able to keep its special charm, and not just get swallowed up in Huntsville’s westward march. “We need to protect what we have,” Collin said.
Collin said something that intrigued me, and that is that respect is earned, not automatically granted because of a position. “I have to earn respect,” he said, “and I will work sunup to sundown to do it.”
Another concern of Collin’s is infrastructure. “If we are going to handle the increase in our county population, we have to improve our infrastructure, all of it, not just the roads,” he said. Given his dad’s legacy, Collin knows it’s important to “leave the campground in better shape than you found it.” “I want the next chairman to come behind me and say, “He did a great job.”
What Collin has enjoyed the most about “politickin’” has been getting out in the community and building relationships. “Whether or not you vote for me, I will serve you to the best of my ability. I have met a lot of wonderful people who love this county, and I will think of you as a friend always,” he told me. That being said, Collin hopes that you will give him a chance to serve Limestone County as its Commission Chairman, and respectfully asks that you vote for him on June 5.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner