For Immediate Release: March 8, 2010
Mitchem Announces Retirement
“For more than thirty-five years now, I have served the people of this District and it has been an honor and a privilege to be instrumental in the progress and growth of our area. The people have chosen to send me to Montgomery nine times, three of which times I had no opposition. The confidence my constituents have placed in me has been very humbling and I have never taken my position or my duties as their elected representative lightly.”
“As I struggled this year with the decision of whether to run for another term, I have thought back over my years of public service and the many, many positive achievements that have impacted not only this district, but our state as well. There are still many issues to be tackled, some of which will shape our future for decades to come. I have carefully weighed the choice before me; to continue to work and provide senior leadership to a district that has come to count on that - or to devote time to my family who has always supported my public service, but who have made numerous sacrifices as they yielded to the constraints and endless schedules of an elected official.”
“I have decided that I will not run for re-election this year. I have had a long and productive career and I am satisfied that I have served the citizens of my district well. I am proud of many major accomplishments, but I am also proud of the many times I have been able to assist people and families on individual, personal levels, too. I have made many lifetime friends and I want to take this opportunity to thank the people who have supported me over the years in Marshall County and the portions of Blount, Madison and formerly DeKalb County that I have been allowed to serve.”
“I appreciate the outstanding working relationship that our county legislative delegation has had. Over the years, the delegation has always worked well together, with a common sense of purpose, and I think that has been an asset to our citizens. It has been a great example of teamwork and I have especially enjoyed the long relationship of serving with Representative Frank McDaniel and Representative Jeff McLaughlin. I also want to say how much I appreciate the dedication and hard work of Judy Miller, Director of the Marshall County Legislative Office. The support she provides to legislators is an invaluable asset in helping serve the constituents.”
Key accomplishments under Senator Mitchem’s tenure:
A long time supporter of education, Mitchem recognized the need to establish a Chancellor to oversee the state’s Junior Colleges and Technical Schools. He sponsored the bill in 1982 that has proven to be extremely important in the growth and development of the state’s two-year college system. Mitchem, says community colleges have made it more affordable for many people to continue their education beyond high school.
In 1980, Sen. Mitchem sponsored the bill creating the Alabama Housing Finance Authority. To this date, AHFA has sold over $2.5 Billion dollars in bonds which have provided low interest loans for single family dwellings to more than 185,000 Alabama families.
Mitchem also took the lead in passing the TVA in-lieu-of-taxes bill that took the money which TVA paid to the state and returned it to the counties where TVA is located. Since 1983, it has meant more than $50 million dollars to schools and local governments in his district. Senator Mitchem led the fight to get it passed and terms it the single most important piece of legislation for his district to come out of his service in the legislature.
In 1980 Senator Mitchem was appointed Chairman of the Alabama Commission on Physical Fitness, a position he held for 28 years. He also served 18 consecutive years as Chairman of the Alabama Special Olympics and two terms as Chairman of the Senate Confirmations Committee.
During his career, Senator Mitchem has championed programs and services for retirees and the elderly citizens of Alabama. He was honored for having made significant contributions toward enhancing the lives of Alabama’s elderly citizens and inducted into the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 2006. He has been a staunch supporter of education, business and law enforcement and was the sponsor of laws to protect children from sexual predators and women from stalking and domestic violence. In 2000 he passed a constitutional amendment, The Sanctity of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. It was ratified by the voters passing by 86% in Marshall County and by 81 % statewide - the largest majority of any state having a similar amendment.
A champion of state parks:
Mitchem has served on the Joint Legislative Committee on State Parks since it’s inception and has been Chairman of that Committee three times. Mitchem sponsored and worked hard to get the State Parks Bond issue passed in 1998. The state’s parks were deteriorating badly at the time and the $110 million bond issue was responsible for the $26 million renovation at Lake Guntersville State Park, as well as other parks across the state.
Mitchem recalls that he was able to get the money in the general fund budget in 1987 for the State to purchase Cathedral Caverns. He said that many critics in the legislature accused him of throwing money in a “hole in the ground.” Preserving that magnificent natural resource and putting it under the state park system is a lasting legacy, he says.
Hinton was born and raised in Georgia, receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the University of Georgia in 1961. He is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. He has lived in Marshall County since 1962 and was the President of Hinton Mitchem Tractor Company from 1965 until he sold the business in 2005.
The beginning of a long career in public service
Hinton was elected to the Albertville City Council in 1968 and in 1974 he was the recipient of Albertville’s “Outstanding Young Man Award.” That same year he was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives. After serving one term in the House, he was elected to the Alabama Senate in 1978, continuing a career that would span more than three and a half decades. Hinton’s leadership has been recognized many times over the years. He was selected as one of the five Outstanding Senators in 1983 and again in 1984. In 1985 he was chosen by his colleagues as “The Outstanding Senator “in Alabama. He has served as Chairman of both the Finance and Taxation Education Committee and General Fund Committee (twice). In January, 2007 Senator Mitchem was elected by his colleagues to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Alabama Senate.
Mitchem’s Senate tenure, together with his initial term in the House of Representatives, makes him the longest serving legislator in the Alabama Senate at this time.
Senator Mitchem is married to the former Judy Corley of Cullman. They have four children, Todd, Tanya, Dee and Brittnie, and three grandchildren.
“I am looking forward to slowing the pace a little bit, doing some traveling, playing golf and spending a lot more time with my family,” Mitchem said.
For More Information Contact: 256-582-0619
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