Portrait of Andy Woloszyn

Andy Woloszyn

Mayoral Candidate for the city of Huntsville


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Endorsements

Andy has already been endorsed by the Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance.

About


Andy Woloszyn has over a decade of experience in activism that includes anti-racist, environmental justice, and workers’ rights advocacy.

He began in Murfreesboro, TN, where he helped defend the local Muslim community trying to construct a new mosque against a far-right-wing coalition who attempted to stop them. He has worked in Appalachia to protest mountaintop removal, prevented unlawful deportation of migrant workers, and walked in solidarity with picket lines and campaigns against Right-to-Work legislation.

Andy has deep roots in Huntsville. He was born in Huntsville Hospital on January 10th, 1988. His father was a TVA nuclear engineer and his mother was the owner of a consignment shop. After moving away when he was young, his family returned to North Alabama when Andy was 13. He completed high school at Bob Jones High School and attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville for his first year of college. Andy later studied English and Sociology at Middle Tennessee State University. He worked and lived in Tennessee for several years before returning home in 2016 to help take care of his mother.

As a Huntsville native, Andy wants to champion the progressive policies that are taking root (and working!) in other parts of the country — and the world — here in Alabama. He believes we must face the flaws revealed in our economic and healthcare system to provide for the needs of the many over the needs of the few.

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Platform


Huntsville is growing rapidly in population and booming in housing and business construction. But the poverty rate is well above the national average, and many people in our community are not seeing the benefits of Huntsville’s growth.

What good does it do to build a top-of-the-line, contemporary city to attract new residents if we fail to care for those who already live here?

People I’ve talked to are excited, energized and ready to work together to make our city kinder and fairer to all. Huntsville is ready for a campaign of substance, a platform of progress and a government that serves the needs of its citizens.


A Working Family-Friendly City


Raise Wages for Workers

The minimum wage in Huntsville is $7.25, which is the Federal minimum wage. It hasn’t been raised since 2009. No one can live off so little on their own, let alone support loved ones. Given inflation and the demands of modern life, one can barely live on $8, $10, or $12 an hour. $15 an hour, a take-home annual salary of $26k, is the minimum acceptable wage — and even that is technically a poverty wage for a single parent.

We should raise the minimum wage for city employees and all employees of companies working city contracts to $15 an hour. This will ensure economic security for thousands of hard-working people in Huntsville. At the same time, this change would make the case to Alabama's lawmakers that a $15 minimum wage must be adopted. Alabama is one of only five states in the U.S. that has not adopted a minimum wage law.


Guarantee Health Insurance for All Residents

In the shadow of COVID-19, it should be evident that taking care of ourselves as a community means ensuring that individuals are healthy. The issue is not one of quality but of accessibility. The path to a stronger Huntsville demands we guarantee healthcare to each of our residents.

Huntsville Hospital is very closely tied with the City of Huntsville. It is, and always has been, community based - its board of directors are even selected by our city council. Since the city and the hospital are so closely related, there is no reason that Huntsville cannot provide all of its residents with health care. We can become a model of hope for the rest of the country. We can prove that local governments should not roll over when the state refuses to expand Medicaid.


Expand Public Transit

Public transit is essential for many members of our community to get to work and access food. Huntsville should continue its plan to increase the span and efficiency of public transit routes. The city has done an excellent job understanding the necessity of public transit, but to improve we must ask the communities in most need how accessible our bus routes are for them.

We must start an investigative committee made up of members of our community whose sole job is to see where our public transportation is currently lacking and how we can improve to meet our community’s needs.


Education


Ensure Quality Public Education

High-quality public education is our bedrock. We must prioritize it from early childhood on up. This means reversing the privatization and standardization agendas. It means providing educators with the pay, resources, and support they deserve.

We must increase transparency and accountability for education policymakers by ensuring democratic input from all stakeholders, including teachers, parents, and students.


PROVIDE FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH FOR ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS

No child should have to worry about where their next lunch will come from. The greatest country in the world can and should ensure that no child who attends a public school will go hungry. The only way to ensure no child slips through the cracks is to make this policy universal.

Making sure our children are fed is a moral imperative. In addition, data show that hungry children do not learn as well as those who are well fed. A free meal program is a step down the path to a well-educated city.


Y’all Means All


Reform the Rocket City

Criminal justice reform is essential to combating institutional racism and building a community where everyone feels they belong. A disproportionate number of arrests and convictions fall upon the minority populations in Huntsville.

As our city grows, we must increase oversight and review of law enforcement to ensure that we reverse this outrageous trend. We need a Citizen Law Enforcement Oversight Committee that is selected in a democratic and transparent process.

It’s crucial that we establish a transparent process for releasing police officer body camera footage. These cameras were installed to prevent misconduct and discrimination. This footage must be provided to the public in a prompt and transparent manner to ensure officers’ accountability to the citizens of Huntsville.


Protect Our Neighbors

Huntsville should refuse to use municipal resources to assist federal immigration and customs raids and arrests. The United States has always been the destination for people looking for the opportunity to improve their lives. But current federal policies are intended to divide one set of hard-working families against another. To combat this form of racism, our first step should be to welcome immigrants as our neighbors.

By withholding Huntsville’s assistance from federal policies that target undocumented workers, we will improve the quality of life for not only these families but for our entire community. Our neighborhoods are safer places when immigrants are free to report dangerous activity without the threat of being punished or deported for doing so.


REPRESENT AND CELEBRATE A DIVERSE HUNTSVILLE

We should ensure that the people appointed and hired to positions of trust in our city are as diverse as Huntsville itself. Our boards, commissions, and municipal workforce should reflect the gender, racial, and cultural diversity of the broader community.

This is the right thing to do not only from an equity perspective but from an efficiency and results perspective. Diversity of experiences and perspectives makes us stronger.


Environmental Action and Leadership


Address the Global Climate Crisis

The fact is, we are facing a climate crisis — but there is still time to make a difference for ourselves and for future generations. Huntsville has historically been an innovative leader in technology and science. We now have an opportunity to lead the region, and even the nation, to dramatically reduce emissions and promote renewable energy.

We can kickstart this movement by joining the United States Climate Alliance. While the United States withdrew from the Paris Accord in 2017 under the direction of President Trump, our city can take decisive action to stop the climate crisis by joining the United States Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of cities and states committed to upholding the objectives of the agreement.


Decriminalize Marijuana


Decriminalize Marijuana by Shifting Policing Priorities

People who have committed low-level, nonviolent drug offenses are often victims of addiction or poverty. We should not be focusing our efforts on throwing these people’s lives away by locking them in prison. Instead, we can focus our policing efforts on crimes that actually pose a danger to our community, and reinvest in reentry and rehabilitative resources that give low-level offenders a second chance.

We should direct the Huntsville Police Department to de-prioritize enforcement of marijuana possession in favor of greater emphasis on fighting crimes that have victims. The city should cease all arrests and drop all charges related to simple possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

This move will ease some racial disparities in the criminal justice system, improve relations between the community and police officers, and free up resources that the city can put to work bettering the lives of those who live here. We should also work with Madison County law enforcement to encourage a reciprocal policy from the county, where they will similarly de-prioritize enforcing possession of marijuana within city limits.


Pass a City Ordinance for Restorative Justice and Marijuana Legalization

We must go a step further by passing a city ordinance to begin righting past wrongs from the war on marijuana and to express the city’s support for legalizing marijuana and incorporating it into our economy. Since it is not possible to do so at the city level, we must encourage the state to pardon people for past marijuana infractions and clear their records. The ordinance should also mandate that, until marijuana is fully legalized at the state or federal level, Huntsville will place the lowest possible penalty and enforcement emphasis on the substance.

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