The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


November 1, 2012

'Pizazz' debate pits candidate issues


License commissioner

Pitted against each other in this race is 23-year Democratic incumbent Greg Tucker and Republican challenger Ronnie Coffman, a land surveyor since 1986.

Smith asked the candidates what they think of establishing a satellite office in a Madison-annexed portion of Limestone County on Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road, such as has been proposed.

Tucker said he had talked to outgoing Mayor Paul Finley of Madison about a satellite office to serve the eastern part of the county.

“I talked to Mayor Finley about the possibility of sending workers from Limestone County over there to sit in a county pool,” said Tucker. “Technology-wise, we will be ready for growth. I think by 2014 we will be in a position for a satellite office. We must be prepared for growth and we must be accessible to everyone.”

Coffman said he also advocates a satellite office but wants it located in East Limestone rather than annexed areas.

“I have looked at Mobile County,” said Coffman. “They went to Saturday services, from 8 a.m. to noon a couple of times a month. People shouldn’t have to take off work to pay their taxes.”

Smith told Coffman that Tucker serves on a state committee of revenue commissioners that resulted in a pilot program for Limestone County in which insurance verification is required before issuing or renewing driver’s licenses. He asked Coffman what he would do to stay abreast of technological innovations.

“In Georgia, they have vending machines where people have to put in their information,” said Coffman. “There are going to be new things that will make us better and I will do everything I can do to get on that committee.”

Coffman said he has operated a small business “on a shoestring budget.”

“The last four years have been tough on everybody,” said Coffman. “I will go to commission meetings to tell them of our needs to make our office better.”

Coffman asked Tucker why if the average staff size for a license commissioner’s office in a county the size of Limestone is 20 why he employs just 13 workers.

“State and federal governments are going streamlined with fewer employees and buildings and more technology,” said Tucker. “We make sure the workload has not shifted to Limestone County. If we’re getting the work done with just 13 employees, then we’re doing mighty good.”

Tucker said he had no questions for Coffman, but then he noted that Coffman’s father recently turned 80 and asked the challenger what if any influence his father had on him running for office.

“They raised me right,” answered Coffman. “They instilled values, took me to church and taught me to stand for what’s right.”

Coffman, in turn, asked Tucker if he thought taxpayers should have to take off from work to visit his office.

“We have had a mail system in place since I’ve been in office,” said Tucker. “We also have an online system. We are a bedroom community. If an individual has a hardship, I will drive all over the county to see that citizen accommodated. In hardships we see we do all we can do to serve them. Mondays and Fridays are still busy. We are equipped to serve people as quickly as possible.”

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