By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, August 22, 2017, residents of Mobile go to the polls to elect their Mayor and City Council.
In the Mobile Mayoral race, incumbent Sandy Stimpson is seeking a second term as Mayor. Former Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, who was unseated by Stimpson in 2013 is running to make a political comeback. Donavette Ely and Anthony Thompson also are on the ballot seeking to be Mobile’s next mayor.
Stimpson is a White Republican who unseated Jones, a Black Democrat four years ago. The racial and political divides make it hard for both candidates to grow their coalition. Stimpson says that the changes he has made over the last four years are a positive momentum and that Mobile should not go back to Jones’s policies.
The Stimpson campaign said on social media: “In the last three years, we have laid the foundation for the big things happening in Mobile, but our work is not done. Now, we need your help to carry our momentum into Election Day and fulfill the vision of One Mobile.” The Stimpson campaign claims that Mobile is the home to 7,400 new businesses under his stewardship and the city has momentum.
Prior to becoming Mayor, Stimpson spent nearly 40 years in his family’s lumber manufacturing business where he worked his way up to CFO and Executive Vice President. Stimpson has been the chairman and a long-serving board member of both UMS-Wright Preparatory School and Prichard Preparatory School. He is a member of the University of Alabama’s President’s Cabinet and a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Alabama. He has also served on the board of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Alabama Wildlife Federation, Governor’s Conservation Advisory Board, Partners for Environmental Progress, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, where he served as Chair in 2009, and the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), where he served as chair in 2010. Stimpson has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alabama in 1975.
Sandy and his wife Jean have been married since 1975 and have four grown, married children and 11 grandchildren. They are longtime, active members of Ashland Place United Methodist Church.
Former Mayor Sam Jones said in a statement on social media, “Mobile……. our Current Mayor was asked a direct question about Donald Trump on Live TV. He completely avoided the question. Was this yet another Opportunity our Mayor could have shown courage to stand up against Bigotry and Unjust behavior? Wasn’t this an opportunity to show us how he could unify our City by attempting to distance himself from the disappointing leadership of our current President? Once again…… Silence. How can you claim to be ‘One Mobile’ when you consistently avoid talking about what is harming our country? Black, White, Rich, or Poor…… how can you still stand behind Sandy Stimspon when Mayors across the country are standing up with their Voice/Action against what’s happening in our Communities and our Mayor says NOTHING? Whether you have been given a small contract from Sandy, you are a part of his weekly Book club, or you think he’s a God Fearing Man……. does this excuse him from stepping up to do his job? You can like him personally……. but it’s about what’s best for the ENTIRE Community. This Election is about more than your personal relationship with Sandy Stimpson. Support him publicly if you are his friend…… but we ask that you put this country and this city above your personal interest. What good is having a great budget or a thriving Downtown if we all can’t sit down and enjoy it because of the very poor race relations we are experiencing right now??? This is bigger than Democrat vs Republican…… Rich vs Poor. This is about the survival of a Community that will be destroyed because we do NOT have a Leader in Sandy Stimpson that can bring both sides together. August 22nd……. Vote your conscience. Vote for the candidate that feels just as comfortable in Districts 1,2,& 3 as he would be in Districts 4 &5. Please leave all The Cliches of ‘One Mobile’ and ‘Mobile Momentum’ behind us…… because the Momentum that Sandy is showing us will destroy our ability to unite this City. Share this with your friends so we may put our city back on the right track. We are ‘ALL IN’….. are you?”
Jones served as Mayor for two terms, from 2005 to 2013. He served nine years in the US Navy and four terms on the Mobile City Council. The City landed the Airbus plant while Jones was Mayor. Jones attended Jackson State University in Jacksonville, Florida.
Anthony Thompson is a newcomer to politics. He says that the biggest problem in Mobile is the lack of trust in government. Thompson promised to have regular town halls, give the public access to police body cameras, decrease the Mayor’s control over the police, and better care for the homeless. Thompson says that the biggest thing he brings to the office is his compassion.
Thompson, 32, has been a nurse for 14 years. Thompson has a Bachelor’s degree from Charter Oak College and an LPN certificate from McFatter Technical College in Miami.
Donavette Ely is focusing her campaign on preventing crime, by providing programs and resources to youth counseling, workshops, and a healthy lifestyle. Ely wants to encourage entrepreneurship. Ely also wants to attract creative new industries to provide jobs. Ely said on social media, “My Platform message has not changed. Our high school students are taking P.E. repeatedly as filler course. At this age, our youth are at their most creative stage. It’s time to replace these classes with Introduction to Business Entrepreneurial, New Technology, and Clean Energy Training Classes.”
The Mobile City Council races are also on Tuesday.
Polls open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm. Voters must bring a valid photo-id with them to the polls in order to participate in the election.