Photo by Jon Anderson
Michael Holt June 2016
Michael Holt, a resident of the Russet Woods community, is running for Place 1 on the Hoover City Council.
Michael Holt, a resident of the Russet Woods community, is running for Place 4 on the Hoover City Council.
Holt, a 52-year-old industrial sales manager for Graybar Electric in Birmingham, said he found himself complaining how the City Council has handled plans for the new sports complex and indoor event center next to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, so one of his sons encouraged him to do something about it.
Holt decided to run for a seat on the City Council. It may be too late to stop the sports complex now that the council has agreed to borrow up to $80 million to build it, so now the focus shifts to making sure the facility is as profitable and successful as possible, he said.
But the sports complex isn’t the only issue Holt is concerned about. For example, he believes the city should be giving more money to the school system and that the city needs to develop a long-term plan for growth both for schools and the city as a whole, he said.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you don’t know how to get there,” Holt said. “I’m not a politician. I’m an engineer who solves problems. I just want to fix things.”
Holt wants the city to give the school system 10 percent of the city’s sales and use taxes, which would have amounted to almost $6.9 million in fiscal 2015.
He also wants to have the school board elected by the public rather than appointed by the City Council, and he favors term limits for both the council and school board.
Holt wants to create a citizens advisory committee to elicit more public participation and dialogue between the public and elected officials. He also wants the city to video public meetings and publish those videos online.
Holt said the city needs to add at least 10 more police officers, in addition to the 10 new officer positions authorized by the City Council in March.
Holt was born in Birmingham’s West End community and later moved with his parents to Forest Park and then to the Old Leeds Road area of Jefferson County. He graduated from Shades Valley High School in 1982, spent two years at the University of Alabama and then joined the U.S. Army after he ran out of money, he said.
He spent 11 years on active duty with the Army, 10 years with the reserves and one year with the National Guard, serving in both Gulf Wars, Bosnia, Korea, Germany, Egypt and Central and South America. He retired from the military in 2007 as a sergeant major, earning the Legion of Merit commendation.
He has more than 20 years experience in industrial sales management, including jobs with Black Creek Integrated Systems, Mayer Electric Supply, Walden General Contractors, Schneider Electric and now Graybar Electric.
He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama and only nine credit hours left to earn a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also is an adjunct instructor in electronics engineering at ITT Technical Institute in Bessemer.
Holt and his wife, Amy, have three children: one who is a student at UAB and two who are at Hoover High. He has been the committee chairman for the Boy Scouts of America Troop 23 at Discovery United Methodist Church since 2011 and is a member at Hunter Street Baptist Church.
Hoover’s election for mayor and the seven City Council seats is Aug. 23. Holt originally said he is running for Place 1, held by Joe Rives, but on June 23 announced he had changed his mind and will run for Council Place 4. Other candidates for Place 4 include Mike Shaw and Joel Smith.
The seat is now held by Jack Natter. Natter initially qualified to run for re-election but changed his mind on July 15 and withdrew his name from the race.
This article was updated at 12:40 a.m. on June 24 to reflect Holt's change of plans regarding which seat on the Hoover City Council he will seek and on July 19 after Joel Smith qualified to run for Place 4.