Montgomery voters went to the polls Tuesday and as most observers expected, Steven Reed and David Woods received the most votes and will advance to the runoff election.
Reed is the probate judge of Montgomery County. Woods is a prominent businessman and broadcaster who owns three television stations including Montgomery’s Fox affiliate. From early in the process, most observers expected that it would be Reed and Woods in the runoff.
As of press time 47 of 48 precincts had reported.
Steven L. Reed had 18,485 votes (42 percent), David Woods received 10,245 votes (24 percent), Edward F. Crowell: 5,257 (12 percent), J.C. Love III had 4,233 votes (10 percent), County Commissioner Elton Norris Dean, Sr. had 1,828 (4 percent), former Congressman Artur Davis received 1,780 votes (4 percent), Victorrus E. Felder had 872 votes (2 percent), Shannon Ferrari received 277 votes, Ronald L. Davis had 186 votes, Bibby Simmons 155,Butler Browder 127 and Hobson Cox: 91
Reed thanked his supporters at his election night event and said, ‘“This is a chance for us to not only impact today, but to change tomorrow, and to change days beyond that because what we want to make sure we do is that we’re truly bringing opportunity to everyone in this city, regardless of their zip code, regardless of their neighborhood.”
Despite the second place finish Woods expressed confidence.
“We feel great,” Woods told reporters. “Montgomery’s an amazing place. Tonight, Montgomery said they want a humble servant, they want a business leader to take this city forward into the future.”
Steven Reed is the son of Alabama Democratic Conference Chair Joe Reed.
Reed was born and raised in Montgomery. Reed has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Morehouse College where he also lettered in football. He also has a Master of Business Administration degree from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management
As Probate Judge, Reed has expanded access to representation, improved facilities, added a $million of new voting machines, and modernized the office to better serve the community.
Reed’s contribution toward the creation of the Alabama Healthy Minds Network has helped hundreds of people get the treatment and services they need instead of spending time in jail. He has made improvements to mental health services. He worked across the aisle with former Sec. of State Jim Bennett when he initiated a statewide voter PR campaign centered on educating the public about new Voter ID laws and was named to the Department of Homeland Security’s Election Integrity Commission.
Steven Reed is very active in the community. He is an alumnus of Leadership Alabama, serves on the boards of the River Region United Way and Britton YMCA, is a volunteer YMCA football coach and a member of the Metro Board of the Montgomery Area YMCA.
Steven attends Community Congregational United Church of Christ where he is the Moderator. He is also an active member in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Reed has received the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award for Governmental Service, and was chosen as a New Deal Leader. He was also invited to the Aspen Institute Justice and Society Seminar and traveled to Israel at the invitation of the American Israel Education Foundation.
Reed and his wife Tamika have three children.
Reed has been endorsed by Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter “Walt” Maddox.
David Woods is emphasizing fighting crime in his campaign.
“At what point do we say: enough? It’s time to tackle crime instead of accepting it as the norm,” Woods said recently following the shooting of a toddler. “Much of this violence is because of drugs. My policy will be ZERO TOLERANCE!”
Woods said that he has a plan to return law and order to Montgomery. Part of Securing Montgomery’s Future is to ensure our officers have the training, equipment, manpower, and trust of the community.
David Woods was born in Dothan, the 7th of 9 kids. He attended the University of Alabama. Following college, he worked for his father’s television business in California, Texas, and Louisiana. David left his father’s company in 1985 to purchase WCOV-TV Montgomery. WCOV later became one of the first affiliates of the Fox Network. Today Woods Communications owns three television stations serving Montgomery and surrounding areas.
Woods was instrumental in the development of the Amber Alert Program for the state of Alabama during his time as President of the Alabama Broadcasters Association. He was subsequently named Broadcaster of the Year in 2006.
David assists law enforcement officials in their efforts to protect our community and keep criminals off the street, which has led to numerous awards. He was awarded the City of Montgomery Citizen Service Medal by the Chief of Police for his support of the Montgomery Police Department. Montgomery’s District Attorney awarded David for his support of Crime Victims Rights. The Governor and Attorney General recognized David for his efforts in supporting public safety officers.
Woods has gone on several church mission trips visiting Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India and most recently Poland. Woods is very active in the Montgomery community and currently serves on the board of directors for the Montgomery YMCA and River Region United Way.
David and his wife Donna have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. They are active members of St. James Methodist Church where David served on the board for seven years. David led a small group for 8 years and previously volunteered as a Youth Sunday School teacher.
Current Mayor Todd Strange is not seeking re-election.
(Original reporting by WSFA TV and the Montgomery Advertiser contributed to this report.)
AFL-CIO endorses Adia Winfrey for Congress
Democratic congressional candidate Adia Winfrey’s campaign announced Monday that she has received the endorsement of the Alabama AFL-CIO in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District.
At their annual convention last week, union leaders from across the state recognized Winfrey’s “passion, ability to lead and attentiveness to the issues affecting working men and women” as reasons to endorse the Democratic challenger against incumbent Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama.
“Labor unions have long been a leading force in our nation’s economy,” Winfrey wrote. “Workplace safety standards, employee benefits, equal pay for women, non-discrimination policies and so much more can be attributed directly to union members who were willing to speak up for what is right. I look forward to being a voice for Alabama’s hard-working men and women in Congress.”
Winfrey is challenging Rogers, a nine-term incumbent, in the Nov. 3 general election. During his 18 years in Congress, Rogers has earned only a 16 percent lifetime rating by the AFL-CIO for his votes.
“For seven generations, my family has called Talladega, Alabama, home,” Winfrey said. “I am the mother of four amazing children, a doctor of psychology, author, founder of the H.Y.P.E. (Healing Young People thru Empowerment) Movement, and … I am running for Congress in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District! I believe in the future of our beautiful state and nation. It is time for leadership with a new vision which is #FocusedOnAlabama.”
Winfrey has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wilberforce University and a doctorate of clinical psychology degree from the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology.
Plaintiffs ask for panel of judges to reconsider ruling on Alabama voter ID law
Plaintiffs suing Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill alleging the state’s voter ID law discriminates against minorities on Monday asked a panel of judges to reconsider an appeals court decision that affirmed the law.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund on Monday filed a petition Monday asking that all of the judges on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reconsider the July 21 decision by a panel of three judges that fell 2-1 in favor of the state’s voter ID law.
The 2011 law requires voters in Alabama to show a valid, government-issued photo ID to vote. The NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries and several minority voters sued, arguing that lawmakers knowingly crafted the law to prevent Black people and other minorities, who are less likely to have such photo IDs, from voting.
The three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in its July 21 opinion found that the burden of Alabama’s voter ID law is minimal, and does not“violate the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution, nor does it violate the Voting Rights Act.”
Merrill has argued that the state’s voter ID law is meant to deter in-person voting fraud and that the state makes available mobile photo ID units able to provide voters with the necessary IDs.
District Judge Darrin Gayles in his dissenting opinion wrote that voter fraud in Alabama is rare, and that “while there have been some limited cases of absentee voter fraud, in-person voter fraud is virtually non-existent.”
Gayles wrote that Merrill presented evidence of just two instances of in-person voter fraud in Alabama’s history.
“Despite the lack of in-person voter fraud, Secretary Merrill claims Alabama enacted the Photo ID Law to combat voter fraud and to restore confidence in elections — a dubious position in light of the facts,” Gayles wrote.
Gayles noted that former State Sen. Larry Dixon, R-Montgomery, before his retirement in 2010, sponsored similar voter ID bills.
“During this time, Senator Dixon made repeated comments linking photo identification legislation to race, including ‘the fact you don’t have to show an ID is very beneficial to the Black power structure and the rest of the Democrats’ and that voting without photo identification ‘benefits Black elected leaders, and that’s why they’re opposed to it,'” Gayles wrote in his dissenting opinion.
“It is clear from the statements of the legislators who enacted Alabama’s photo ID law that they passed it for the unconstitutional purpose of discriminating against voters of color,” said LDF senior counsel Natasha Merle in a statement Monday. “As long as this law is intact, Black and Latinx Alabamians will continue to be disproportionately excluded from the state’s electoral process.”
Attorneys in the filing Monday told the court that “roughly 118,000 Alabamians lack qualifying photo ID, and Black and Latinx voters are twice as likely to lack qualifying ID as compared to white voters. Given this evidence, a trial was required to determine whether HB19 violates the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.”
Voting rights activist calls for federal Department of Democracy
LaTosha Brown, a Selma native who co-founded Black Voters Matter, issued a statement saying that it is time to reimagine American democracy.
The co-founder of an organization that is working to mobilize Black voters in Alabama and elsewhere used the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act on Thursday to call for a new federal agency to protect voting rights nationwide.
LaTosha Brown, a Selma native who co-founded Black Voters Matter, issued a statement saying that it is time to reimagine American democracy.
“The Voting Rights Act should be reinstated, but only as a temporary measure. I want and deserve better, as do more than 300 million of my fellow Americans,” Brown said.
The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the law in a 5-4 ruling in 2013, eliminating federal oversight that required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to get approval before they changed voting rules.
“To ensure that the Voter’s Bill of Rights is enforced, we need a federal agency at the cabinet level, just like the Department of Defense,” Brown said. “A Department of Democracy would actively look at the patchwork of election systems across the 50 states and territories. With federal oversight, our nation can finally fix the lack of state accountability that currently prevails for failure to ensure our democratic right to vote.”
She cited excessively long lines, poll site closings and voter ID laws in the recent primaries in Wisconsin, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas as voter suppression techniques that disproportionately affect Black and other communities of color.
Brown said that the July 17 passing of Rep. John Lewis, who was nearly killed marching for voting rights in Selma in 1965, has amplified calls for the Voting Rights Act to be strengthened. That’s the right direction, she said, but it isn’t enough.
“History happens in cycles, and we are in a particularly intense one. We have been fighting for the soul of democracy, kicking and screaming and marching and protesting its erosion for decades,” Brown said.
Alabama Forestry Association endorses Jerry Carl
The Alabama Forestry Association on Thursday announced its endorsement of Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Jerry Carl.
“Jerry Carl has experience working closely with the forest products industry in his role as County Commissioner and will carry that knowledge to Washington,” said AFA Executive Vice President Chris Isaacson. “Throughout his career, he has been a strong advocate for limited government and free markets and will continue to promote those same values in Congress. We are proud to endorse him.”
Carl is a small businessman who has started more than 10 small businesses in South Alabama, creating hundreds of jobs. He is currently serving on the Mobile County Commission.
“I am thrilled to earn the endorsement of ForestPAC,” Carl said. “Alabama has a thriving network of hard-working men and women in all aspects of the forestry community, and I look forward to being a strong, pro-business voice for them in Congress. As a lifelong businessman and an owner of timberland, I understand firsthand the needs and concerns of the forestry community, and I will be a tireless advocate in Washington for Alabama’s forest industry.”
Carl said that he was inspired to run for the Mobile County Commission when he became frustrated with the local government.
He and his wife, Tina, have been married for 39 years. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Carl faces Democratic nominee James Averhart in the Nov. 3 general election. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, who currently represents the 1st Congressional District, did not run for another term and has endorsed Carl.