Photo by Jon Anderson
Jack Wright 7-8-16
Hoover Council President Jack Wright greets former state Rep. Paul DeMarco after announcing he would not seek re-election during the Monday, July 18, 2016, Hoover City Council meeting.
Hoover City Council President Jack Wright, the longest-serving member of the council, tonight announced he is not seeking re-election.
Wright, 69, said he’s got 16 grandchildren spread out over four states and it’s time for him to move on. He has been on the council for 20 years and prior to that served nine years on the city’s Industrial Development Board.
The city is in strong fiscal shape, but a lot of its leaders are getting in their late 60s, and it’s time to see some new blood, Wright said. “Hoover will get bigger and better,” he said.
Wright’s departure means there will be at least three new City Council members for the 2016-20 term.
Councilman Brian Skelton died on July 2 after battling numerous health issues, and Councilman Jack Natter on Friday announced he had changed his mind and is not going to seek another term on the council. All other council members have challengers, except John Lyda so far.
Derrick Murphy, who just completed a five-year term on the Hoover Board of Education, on July 13 announced he would seek Council Place 5, which is Wright’s seat. On July 19, former Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce President Dan Ellis also qualified to run for Place 5.
Murphy tonight said Wright has served the city a long time. “He dedicated his entire life to see that the city of Hoover is doing well,” Murphy said.
Wright in 1966 went to work in the insurance business for William Hoover, for whom the city is named. He moved to Hoover in 1969 and in 1972 started the Northewestern Mutual insurance company, which has grown to 180 agents across the state, he said. He served as managing partner of Northwestern Mutual until 1995 and still works for the company today.
Wright said he is proud of the city of Hoover’s financial stability over the years. He is especially proud of the city’s AAA credit rating and the city’s ability last month to obtain the lowest interest rate by an Alabama municipality in more than 100 years — 2.566 percent.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.
Wright lost his first run for the Hoover City Council in 1988 to David Bradley, but he ran for a different seat in 1996 and won and has been on the council ever since.
There were a couple of years during former Mayor Frank Skinner’s last term when the FBI was investigating the city of Hoover, and that was scary, Wright said. Skinner ended up resigning and pleading guilty to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation in 1999.
The city pulled through that investigation and resignation and went through four years of Mayor Barbara McCollum, which Wright called a “difficult administration.”
Wright twice was the only Hoover City Council member to get re-elected — in 2000 and again in 2004. McCollum’s “dream team” council members that rode into office with her were known for their public bickering, and Wright frequently voted against the majority during that term.
When that group was not re-elected, Wright was the only returning councilman. He was voted council president in 2011 when the council chose former council President Gary Ivey to finish out Tony Petelos’ term as mayor.
Wright said communication among council members has been much better over the past 12 years and there has been much less public bickering.
He’s also proud of the city’s strong public safety departments and wonderful library, he said.
“I wouldn’t trade with anybody,” Wright said. “A lot of cities would feel fortunate to be in Hoover’s position.”
This article was updated on July 19 after Dan Ellis qualified to run for Place 5.