Welcome to All Things Madison’s “Behind the Scenes with Madison’s City Council” series. Each week for seven weeks, All Things Madison will feature one of Madison’s city council members and share about their roots in Madison, what led them to run for their position, what projects they are tangibly working on to better our community, and much more. To discover what district you reside in and learn who your district’s councilmember is, please click here.
Like many in our Madison community, District 2 councilwoman Connie Spears grew up as an Army brat.
“I grew up a little bit of everywhere,” she says, sharing that the Huntsville area was the closest thing to “home” that she knew growing up. Her grandparents lived in the Five Points area, so in between military moves, her family would return home to Huntsville for extended stays and visit with family and friends.
It wasn’t until her father retired from the military and she graduated from Auburn University that she decided to put down roots of her own in rural Madison, Alabama.
The year was 1984, and Spears says the community had a grand total of one four-way stop and one traffic light. She loved living and working in Madison though and being a part of a city that was on the cusp of explosive development.
When her son Ross was born, Spears says that she pressed pause on her career to focus on being a mom. Her two sons were part of the rezoning shuffle of the 1990s and early 2000s when schools were added left and right; Her son Ross attended school at both West Madison Elementary and Heritage Elementary while her younger son Riley attended both Heritage Elementary and Columbia Elementary. Through all of the shuffling, Spears highly enjoyed volunteering at the schools and serving on the PTA boards. Her final PTA position was President at Columbia.
She shared that her road to serving as a councilwoman was organic and that nobody was more surprised than her when her path started veering that way.
“I had someone approach about being on the school board, and I just laughed,” she shared. “But then I began meeting people over the next few years who became mentors along the way.”
She continued to pray about and consider the idea of being on the school board and laughs that her internal dialogue sounded a lot like arguing with God.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be appointed but I guess was supposed to apply!” She laughs. “And I just figured we’d see who was right – me or God!”
Sure enough, Spears was appointed to serve on the Madison City Schools Board of Education in 2009 and went on to serve 10 full years in the position.
During her decade of serving the community in this capacity, Spears says that she began setting her sights on the city council.
Spears says that she had several people encouraging her to consider running for city council, plus “I had my own frustrations with the city council while being on the school board.”
She went on the share that she believed she could do the job, and do it well.
“When I ran in 2020, my goal was always to run for the seat. I didn’t want to say anything negative about anyone.”
She says that when we won the seat, she was shocked and in awe.
When describing what she does as the District 2 city councilwoman, Spears says that “it is my job to represent my district in the decision-making process for the city of Madison. I am also in a constant state of communication with the constituents.”
She says that communicating with those in her districts looks like a lot of emails as well as a lot of chatting spontaneously in the aisles of the grocery store.
Spears explains that city council members serve on a handful of committees and act as liaisons with various departments. She is also constantly advocating for necessary improvements that need to be made within her district.
“The roads in Limestone County have not been kept up,” she says. “We have a lot of improvements and maintenance that needs to happen.”
Spears explains that a lot of the roads in District 2 were designed for farms and that current infrastructure improvements include covering ditches and widening the roads for the thousands of commuters that travel these roads every single day.
She continued to explain that Brownsferry Road will eventually be five lanes but not to expect that overhaul any time soon. Segers Road will also eventually be widened as well.
“The next major road improvement with money that will come from the state level is improving Highway 72 from Providence all the way down to County Line Road. It’ll possibly be widened a couple of lanes, but I don’t have details yet on exactly how traffic will be improved through that corridor.”
Spears shared those road improvements are important to her personally because she drives them often as well.
“My mom lives in Athens, so I drive these roads regularly. I hear your complaints, and I fully understand that our roads in Limestone County need to be diligently included and moved up in priority in our CIP (capital improvements projects).”
When asked what she loves about serving on the city council, she says that she “likes being able to help our citizens and hear about the problems they are having in their day to day lives. If I don’t have the answer, I have no problem finding it out for you, and I will.”
She says that she always answers her phone, and jokes that the frequent telemarketers get an answer just like everyone else does.
“I am here to make your life easier and better. That is my job.”
Spears would also like to encourage interested Madison residents to apply for various boards and committees within the city.
“You don’t have to run for these positions. There are so many different boards and committees to consider, which is a great way to be involved and learn more about Madison without having to do something big like run for city council.”
If you are interested in exploring the various opportunities to serve within these committees and boards and making our city a better place, please click here.
“We are always looking for new candidates!” says Spears.