By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, August 22, 2017, residents of Birmingham go to the polls today to elect their Mayor, City Council, and school board members. Unlike the state, county, or judicial elections, municipal elections are nonpartisan.
Longtime incumbent William Bell (D) is seeking a third term as Mayor. Bell was a member of the Birmingham City Council for several terms and was the Mayor Pro Tem in 1999. He then assumed the role of Mayor when longtime incumbent Richard Arrington retired. Bell, however, was defeated by City Councilman Bernard Kincaid. Bell returned to the City Council and was, elected Mayor in 2011 and re-elected in 2013.
Bell said on his website, “What I tell people is that we are all in this together. We are developing Birmingham so all of our neighborhoods are safe, clean and are places where people want to raise their children.”
For those voters who want to see an alternative to another term for William Bell; there is a crowded field to choose from. They include Patricia Bell, Randy Davis, Erwin Philemon Hill III, Trudy Hunter, Chris Woods, Carl “J” Jackson, Randall Woodfin, Fernandez Sims, Frank Matthews, Donald T. Lomax, and Lanny E. Jackson.
One of the challengers with the most “buzz” is Randall Woodfin.
Woodfin promised tha “As Mayor, I would execute a dynamic “Opportunity Agenda” that would fully leverage City Hall in support of Birmingham’s greatest resource: its people. Create Neighborhood Opportunity Centers. Develop partnerships with Jefferson County Workforce Development centers, adult education providers, the Birmingham Business Alliance, and the local business community to convert City-owned community centers in high-unemployment neighborhoods into “Opportunity Centers” that can connect Birmingham residents to job training, adult education and local employment opportunities. Develop an Opportunity Tax Credit to Encourage Hiring Birmingham Residents from High-Unemployment Neighborhoods. Work with the City Council to develop an “Opportunity Tax Credit” – against a company’s Occupational Tax liability for hiring and retaining Birmingham residents from high-unemployment neighborhoods, formerly incarcerated Birmingham residents, and Birmingham public housing residents. Debt-Free Local Community College for Birmingham Public School Graduates. Earmark funds for the “Fred Shuttlesworth Opportunity Scholarship” which would provide for debt free community college for every Birmingham Public School student that graduates that wants to attend a Jefferson County community college.”
Woodfin is an attorney. He grew up in Birmingham, attended Birmingham Public Schools from K-8, went to high school at Shades Valley, went to college at Morehouse, and received a law degree from Samford’s Cumberland School of Law.
The Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham City School Board will also be on the ballot on Tuesday. Birmingham is divided into districts so residents need to look up what district they are in to find out who will be on their ballot for city council and school board.
The polls will open on Tuesday at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm.
In order to be given a ballot, you must have a phot ID. The most common form of photo ID is a driver’s license. Make sure that your driver’s license is not expired. Forms of photo ID accepted at the polls include a valid: driver’s license; Alabama photo voter ID card; state issued ID (any state); federal issued ID; U.S. passport; employee ID from the federal government, State of Alabama, county, municipality, board, or other entity of this state; student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools); Military ID; or Tribal ID.