MUSCLE SHOALS — Leon Madden is no stranger to city government. After a two-year hiatus, he's ready to jump back into service, this time seeking the Place 2 seat.
The municipal election is scheduled for Aug. 25. Council terms are for four years.
Madden, 72, is seeking to fill the seat held by longtime councilman Neal Willis, who died earlier this year from cancer.
"Neal was a great friend and I'd known him nearly all my life," Madden said. "He was easy to talk to and work with, and it was heartbreaking to lose him. I hope to fill his shoes in the same way."
Madden's service in the city began with two school board terms from 1982 to 1990. He was then elected to the City Council, where he served from 1992 to 2000. He later served on the city's Civil Service Board from 2010 to 2018.
"I love this community and I love being in a position to best help the people," Madden said, adding that he will draw on his former experience to pave the way for positive change.
He said many significant accomplishments came about during his previous council service, including the implementation of a flood control program, the building of a new library, and the four-laning of Wilson Dam highway.
"We passed an $11 million bond issue for a new high school and overpass, paved more than 100 streets in the city, and implemented an early warning emergency system," he said.
Moving forward, some of the same needs still exist, especially concerning flooding in areas of the city, such as the east end of Sixth Street, neighborhoods along Wilson Dam highway, Wilson Dam Estates and Nathan Estates, he said.
Madden said civil service departments such as police and fire must keep up with the times, including equipment and manpower.
"The city has grown since 2000 and we're just not keeping up in these (departments). It used to be that you hired in at Muscle Shoals and stayed, but now they leave, even going back to former jobs," he said. "We need to change that and return to being the top place to work."
Madden said growth is a clear priority, and getting Muscle Shoals graduates to return to their hometown for employment is a goal.
"Our school system is the crown jewel of our city and I'm for continuing to adequately support it," he said, adding that he's been instrumental in securing TVA in-lieu-of-tax funds for Muscle Shoals schools, as well as others throughout the county.
"I'm a believer in kids getting their education here and finding employment right here at home.
"I want to see us get back to publishing a quarterly newsletter for our residents, as not everyone can make it to City Council meetings," he said. "I'll be open to ideas and will get the job done. I'm not there for a popularity contest but to work for this city that I love."