Mayor William E. Cooper is asking the people of Enterprise to continue to put their trust in his 30-plus years of city government experience as he has announced his desire to seek election on Aug. 25 to a full term as mayor.
“I have been honored to have the opportunity to serve you, the citizens of Enterprise, as a city councilman for 28 years and as your mayor for the past 32 months,” Cooper said.
“In those years, I have been a part of some of the most significant advancements in our city’s history, and I look forward to helping usher in even more dramatic growth in the City of Progress.”
Cooper was Enterprise’s first African American councilman when he was elected in 1987 to the first of seven terms and became the first African American mayor when he was sworn in to complete the term of former Mayor Kenneth Boswell, who resigned in 2017 to accept a state appointment.
Cooper believes his record of public service speaks for itself. He takes pride in being a city leader during the years of rapidly rising population from 21,000 in 1994 to almost 30,000 today. Throughout the years, he helped usher in a period of unprecedented economic growth with the addition and expansion of automotive, aviation, agricultural, and retail industry in Enterprise. The creation of hundreds of jobs brought down local unemployment rates to a record low and gave area residents better opportunities to take care of their families.
Cooper played a major role in the re-development of several Downtown Enterprise initiatives that included comprehensive paving, sewer and water improvements, as well as construction projects such as the Enterprise Civic Center and Farmers Market. These construction projects are amongst several past accomplishments that have made life better for Enterprise residents.
“I have a proven record of accomplishments that have established our city as one the best places in our state to live and work,” Cooper said. “I want to continue to work for all the citizens of our community. I want to renew our commitment to a progressive agenda of enrichment and progress.”
As mayor, during the next four years, Cooper said his knowledge and experience will be valuable as he seeks to continue airport upgrades and paving projects, which includes the expansion of Highway 167 into four lanes. Both projects are vital to the economic growth of the city. He plans to focus efforts on building new soccer fields and a much-needed aquatic center, as well as ensuring the city’s police and fire departments continue to have up-to-date vehicles, effective tools and training needed to protect the public at the highest levels possible.
Cooper wants to intensify business and industry recruitment outreach.
“We are working from Washington, D.C. to London, England to Atlanta, Georgia, to bring industry to our community,” he said. “We pursue a diverse business and industry base, but we are also focusing on automotive and aerospace possibilities.”
An educator and band director in the Enterprise School System for 43 years, Cooper is an enthusiastic supporter of the school system and students. He wants to see more efforts to create greater opportunities for the youth and future leaders of the city. His belief is that an aggressive economic development agenda will pay dividends by bringing higher wage jobs to the City of Progress.
In addition to new business recruitment, an emphasis must also remain on supporting and building upon existing businesses and industries throughout the city. Cooper supports the new partnership between Enterprise and the Main Street Alabama Program and is highly optimistic it will greatly enhance the economic health and cultural character of Downtown.
Cooper is also pleased about the positive impact of a new $60 million, 175-bed Veterans Administration home to be constructed in Enterprise by 2023.
“We have much to be proud of in our city,” he said. “We have accomplished much, but we still have much yet to be accomplished.”
Cooper said the city has about 300 skilled and dedicated employees in whom he has confidence to direct city operations. “We have very capable department heads and employees. I support them and allow them to do their jobs without micro-managing,” he said. “I want them to know they are valued for the good job that they do.”
Cooper is a native of Dothan. He graduated from Alabama State University with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in music education and social studies. He also earned a Master of Music Education degree and an education specialist in administration and supervision degree, among other degrees and certifications. He was band director at Coppinville Junior High School and assistant band director at Enterprise High School.
Even though he had retired by 2007, Cooper returned to the Enterprise School System to assist current and former superintendents in the aftermath of the deadly tornado that destroyed the Enterprise High School and Hillcrest Elementary School.
He has served or continues to serve in many organizations and professional agencies, including the National League of Cities, the Enterprise Retired Teachers Association, the Alabama Education Association (AEA), and the National Education Association (NEA), the Music Educators National Conference, and the State Band Directors Association.
Cooper is a Free and Accepted 3rd Degree Mason and a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Past honors include Man of the Year and Teacher of the Year. He is a long-time Deacon at Friendship Baptist Church, where he also serves as Minister of Music and directs the annual Christmas Cantata.
Cooper is the son of the late Robert J. Cooper, Sr. and Marie Cooper and Dorothy Cain. He is the husband of the late Celestine M. Cooper. Together they have three children, William E. (Spud) Cooper, Jr., Pamela C. Lane and Robert J. Cooper, III. He is a father-in-law to Col. Calvin Lane and grandfather to 1Lt. Calvin T. Lane, Derel Cooper, Kamira Cooper, Yasmin Cooper and Kaden Cooper, all of whom are products of Enterprise. Cooper has one living sibling, Elizabeth Battle of Atlanta.