With some Tuscaloosa voters set to return to the polls for runoff municipal elections, the Tuscaloosa Thread was able to speak at length with the candidates running to represent the city's District 6: 2-term incumbent Eddie Pugh and retired TPD captain John Faile.

In the March 2nd elections, Faile pulled ahead with 939 votes to Pugh's 860, earning just about 40% of the vote. A third candidate, Eric Gaines, drew 572 votes.

Now, Faile and Pugh will face off Tuesday to see who will take the majority vote.

Candidate John Faile

Faile is a retired Tuscaloosa Police Captain with over 45 years of service in the Tuscaloosa community. He told The Thread that his priority is being a very present and approachable councilman.

"We were happy to come out on top," Faile said. "About 65% of the people voted for change. I hope they come back to the polls and finish that off and we get a change in our district."

Faile ran on a platform that was very pro-law enforcement, with an emphasis on keeping District 6 financially conservative and opposing any plans for the City to borrow large amounts of money, arguing that individuals and the City should live within their means. He said his advantages over his opponent include that a willingness to listen to the issues residents in his district are facing that have been long unaddressed.

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After his time at TPD, and he worked as the Director of the Tuscaloosa County Juvenile Detention Facility until 2017. He said he has volunteered in the community in several ways, including acting as a youth baseball coach for 10 years and serving as the president of the King-Hubbard Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.

"People want a representative to listen to them. I've been out in the community, and many people don't even know who our councilman was," Faile said. "I've been of service to people for 45 years. I've grown up in this town, and I know what affects one part of town affects the rest."

Faile said some of the most pervasive problems in his district include flooding issues on McFarland Boulevard and a sewage Lift Station that has been broken for years, leading to a foul stench across the area. At the start of his campaign, the City used chemicals to mask the odor, but Faile said he wants to address the problem more directly.

"Also, we don't get much out of Elevate Tuscaloosa in this district, and I want to see our fair share of that tax," he added.

Incumbent Eddie Pugh

Eddie Pugh has already served two terms on the City Council, and was one of the earliest incumbents to announce his re-election bid, saying he had some things he "wanted to finish up."

Pugh served as a member of the Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue service for 35 years and retired as a Battalion Chief. During this time, he received several commendations including the Professional Firefighter of Alabama Jim Clinton Award and the International Association of Firefighters Leadership Award.

"I learned to work with people in all different kinds of situations. I learned to help those in need, those with disabilities, and those who, minutes before, had lost all of their material things and sometimes worse," Pugh said. "I know how to make good things happen in District 6 and love to serve the citizens of Tuscaloosa."

Pugh said that a few of his greatest success stories during his last term included extending city sewer services to areas around Woodland Hills and Beech Hills, the addition of a $3 million turning lane from Hargrove Road onto McFarland Boulevard, and other road projects that have improved flooding issues throughout the district.

Pugh said if re-elected, he wants to secure additional funding for new equipment for the Tuscaloosa Police Department and Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue service. He said he would also like to continue funding summer learning programs, pre-k programs and college credit courses for high school seniors in the city.

Pugh said he also wants to see the completion of the McAbee Center, to pour $10 million into improvements at Bowers Park and continue to build more affordable housing within the district. He also said he wants to bring another grocery store to the district if possible.

"I appreciate my opponent's interest and passion for our district and city," Pugh said. "We all are better when everyone cares and is involved. Bottom line: I love my city, and want the best for it."

The 2021 runoff elections will be held from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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