Meet Your Senator
It has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve District 4 as its Senator. The road I took to get here was full of twists and turns, but well worth the journey none-the-less.
As a native of Alabama, I attended Cullman City schools and upon graduation, I hoped one day I’d leave my small town to forge my own path in life. Knowing I wanted to enter the Historic Preservation construction field, my path lead me to Auburn University to obtain a BS degree in Building Science with a minor in Business.
While finishing my degree at Auburn, my father came to visit. He told me of his failing health, and that he wanted me to consider taking on the family business. This was an easy decision.
When family needs you, you go.
Returning to Cullman was one of the best decisions that I have ever made because it allowed me to mature in a secure environment, while still traveling the nation working hard to achieve my goals. In doing so, it helped mold me into the person I am today. It was the opportunity I never realized I wanted – but as I look back, I know now that God's hand was there guiding me.
It was in my hometown that I fell in love with my family’s business, my community, and my wife, Heather Gudger. I thought I couldn’t fall deeper in love with anything else in this world, and then my sons, Tripp and Pierce, were born.
Over the next few years, my hometown allowed me the opportunities to develop and mature my passion for restoration and my respect for preservation.
In 2003, I needed to make a decision to either move my growing business to a metropolitan city, or stay in my hometown. As I evaluated the situation, I realized my love for my family meant more than my aspiring potential in business, so I made the decision to stay in Cullman. Understanding one day my children might have to make that same decision - I realized that if my boys were to make the same decision of staying in Cullman after College, certain aspects of this city would need to change.
Having returned to my childhood city as a business owner, I was seeing Cullman with fresh eyes and how there was so much work needed to be done to revitalize it.
To me, Cullman was like an antique - unique, perfectly imperfect, and filled with stories. It was just waiting for someone to take the time to breathe life back into it.
As I got involved in the community, I’d lose sleep at night thinking about Cullman's potential and the best ways to help restore my hometown.
Heather lost sleep because of it too. One night, she finally looked at me and said, “If you aren’t gonna do anything about it, then stop complaining!"
The fire had been lit. I decided I needed to have a voice for where the vision and growth of my community would land for the next generation and I decided to run for a local elected official office on City Council.
I was elected to the City Council in 2004. In 2008, I was elected President of the City Council. No longer was it ‘What can I do to make Cullman better?' instead it became 'What can WE do to make Cullman better?”
Our primary objective was to build up the city to make it the best place for its citizens to live, work, play, and worship. We’ve seen unprecedented economic growth from 2004-2018, surviving the recession of 2008 and rebuilding after the 2011 tornadoes. We invested back into our community continuously, improving the quality of life, and empowering all citizens to care a little more, work together a little more, and to believe a little more until our aspirations started to meet our achievements!
My role as your Senator is no different than my story above. It’s going to take hard work, determination, and honest, open conversations, but I believe together, we can make District 4 a powerhouse in Alabama. How amazing it will be when communities from all over will be able to look to us for a blueprint for success!
--Garlan Gudger Jr.