|Profile: Mayor Loretta Spencer|
Mayor Loretta Spencer has spent all but the first seven years of her life in the town she loves: Huntsville. She admits that she didn't dream of becoming the mayor of Huntsville as a young girl. Her life, though, speaks for itself and shows how one's choices in life can make a difference.
Spencer's younger brother, John Purdy, says that he's proud of his sister. He knew when she was in high school that she didn't get involved in committees and programs to just sit back and be listed as a member. "She was always a hardworking member of any committee that she was on," says Purdy.
Loretta Spencer graduated from Huntsville High School where she was editor of the school newspaper and voted "Most Outstanding Senior." She went on to the University of Alabama and obtained a B.S. in Elementary Education.
Spencer's resume reads as an exhausting list of public service and personal achievements. She has served on 16 different boards and agencies, including the Von Braun Center, Board of Control, the Huntsville-Madison Co. Senior Center, United Way, Cummings Research Park, Huntsville Land Trust, Huntsville/Madison Co. Chamber of Commerce, Olympic Torch Run & Celebration, Alabama Film Commission, Community Free Clinic, Huntsville/Madison Co. Botanical Garden, Crimestoppers, Boys & Girls Club, Army Relations Committee, First Methodist Church Board of Directors and Administration Committee, and the City of Huntsville Planning Commission.
Joe Davis, the former Huntsville mayor during the 1970's and 1980's was instrumental in Loretta Spencer's political career.
With her exhaustive work schedule, the Mayor also tries to attend as many community events as possible. Wherever you go in Huntsville, there's a good chance you will see the Mayor out and about. One person confessed to me that he felt that the Mayor really cares. "Whenever you talk to her, whether your a high-ranking official or just a plain person on the street, she stops and really seems to listen," he said. "That's what makes her a great mayor."
Although the mother of two and the grandmother of four, this single woman spends most of her time and energy on her job. "This is an advantage," says her brother. "She doesn't have many distractions. She focuses all her attention on the job."
Mayor Spencer says that her goal is to gain "respect for this job and this office." She believes in honesty and integrity, even when it is not popular. She says what she most enjoys is the politics of the job and accomplishing things that make Huntsville look good. Her toughest problem is making sure she has three votes on the city council so she can accomplish what she feels is best for the city.
Mayor Loretta Spencer has been honored for her service in the community, including the Virginia Hamill Simms Award for Contributions to the Arts, the Boy's Club Medallion, Girl Scouts of North Alabama Scroll of Honor, Port Authority Partnership Award, National Conference for Community & Justice Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award, Senior Center Path of Honor, U.S. Air Defense Artillery Honorable Order of Saint Barbara, Girl's Incorporated "She Knows Where She's Going" Award, Rotary Club Vocational Excellence Award, United Cerebral Palsy Johnny Evans Humanitarian Award, Outstanding Teacher Award, Huntsville Presidents' Council, Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority, Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association "Friend of Planning" Award, Alabama A&M Department of Community Planning and Urban Development "Friend of Planning" Award, and the Beautification Board Special Recognition Award.
Dedicated to her job and trying to make a difference makes Mayor Loretta Spencer an important role-model for today's young women of Huntsville. Her advice: "Pick and choose your volunteer work." She admits that she got a lot of her experience and contacts through her extremely large amount of volunteer work. She thinks everyone should volunteer "but use it for growth."
Now that she holds the top job in the city of Huntsville, Mayor Loretta Spencer makes it look easy. With no term limits, she says she plans to stay focused on Huntsville for a long, long time.