Hoover mayor considering run for governor

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos is considering a 2010 run for the governor’s mansion in Montgomery.

Spurred by a flurry of encouraging calls and comments, Petelos said there’s a good chance he might put his name in the running for the Republican nomination. Gov. Bob Riley is in his second term, so the governor’s seat will be open.

“At this point in the election cycle, on the Republican side, there’s not really a strong front-runner,” Petelos said. “Before this is over with, because it’s an open seat, there’ll be other people looking at running.”

While Petelos is weighing his options, he said he won’t wait too long to announce his decision. Gubernatorial candidates can begin fund-raising June 1, so Petelos said he would likely make a decision in late May or early June. However, he won’t be hurried by the start of fund-raising season.

“The primary is more than a year away, so I’ve got plenty of time to make a decision,” he said. “However, the sooner you make a decision, the better off you are getting out and recruiting people to work on your campaign.”

Right now, Petelos said he isn’t leaning one way or another. If he does decide to run, however, he said his strong record as a state legislator, cabinet member and two-term Hoover mayor would help tremendously. Petelos was commissioner of the state Department of Human Resources from 1997-2000.

Should he run, Petelos said his biggest goal would be to help clean up Montgomery’s dirty image.

“It seems like we’re getting bogged down on issues in Montgomery that really hurt the state. The House and the Senate, they break down, and they filibuster,” he said. “We have an opportunity to move this state forward. It’s difficult to do when the House and Senate are like that.”

Petelos said he would also focus heavily on alternative fuels, one of his favorite causes as Hoover’s mayor. He cited an Auburn University study that claims Alabama produces enough wood waste to make a billion and a half gallons of ethanol fuel.

“We have an opportunity in the state of Alabama to do some amazing things in that arena. We can continue to send our money overseas to people that don’t like us, or we can be creative and develop our alternative fuels resources. We can create a whole new industry in this state,” he said. “We need to jump on that, and we need to jump on it quickly.”

However, Petelos said the decision to run for governor would not be an easy one. He has much to consider before setting his sights on Montgomery.

“It’s a tremendous responsibility just to run, and I’m having a good time being in the city of Hoover. I’m personally happy being mayor,” he said. “For me to make this decision, it’d be tough to leave this job.”