Former Montgomery Mayor Remembers Reagan

Former Mayor Folmar
Former Mayor Folmar

Because of all that's taking place in California and in Washington, local Republicans say there won't be any memorials here even though it is believed that Ronald Reagan had a huge impact on Alabama politics. One man who remembers what times were like refreshes our memory.

Exercising is what former Montgomery Mayor Emory Folmar does everyday. It's become quite common to find him working out at the gym, but what was far from a common or ordinary experience for him was getting to meet Ronald Reagan.

"He was the nicest guy I have ever been around," Folmar told WSFA 12 News while working out.

Folmar met the former president 24 years ago when Mr. Reagan came to Birmingham for a campaign rally when he first ran for president.

"I never will forget it. The crowd was building up and building up and I said good grief I hope I don't forget my lines. And here I am getting ready to introduce the next president of the United States and he was making me calm."

And, Mr. Reagan's appearance here in this state may have changed Alabama politics forever.

"You remember the election in Alabama was close in 1980. He won by about 14,000 votes and it was a close election all the way through, but it wasn't so in 84. In 84, I was campaign manager that year and it was a piece of cake," said Folmar.

"Mr. Reagan had an overwhelming win here in 1984 in a state that was believed to be filled with nothing but Democrats. People were saying this man believes like I believe. I didn't know I was a Republican but I believe what this fellow is saying."

Folmar believes Ronald Reagan is the greatest president ever because he changed the tax code and cut taxes, and got rid of communism without firing a shot in what Mr. Reagan called the evil Russian Empire.

And then, there's also the former president's personality that Folmar says is unforgettable.

"The guy could do so much and never seem to get irritated. Little things that would irritate me and other folks around him he was just laughing and smiling all the time. He had a sense of humor beyond belief and that would be what I would remember that a great man with a great load has a sense of humor all the time."

And the changes in party politics seem to be continuing here in Alabama. There are more Republicans than ever in the state legislature and on the appellate courts.

Reporter: Eileen Jones