Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed announced on Wednesday the beginning of his re-election campaign, with public safety and community investment taking center stage during his kick-off speech at Gateway Park Lodge.
Reed is so far the only publicly declared candidate in the 2023 mayor’s race.
“Our guiding principles have been and will continue to be opportunity and safety,” Reed said from the podium. “Our path to success will be through swift informed action and constantly measure[d] progress. We have, and we will continue to draw upon best practices in other cities and foster new ideas that are best for our community.”
Before the crowd gathered on the lodge’s outdoor deck, Reed touted achievements in crime reduction and prevention during his time in office, including the removal of “nearly 2,000 guns off our streets,” the appointment of Darryl Albert as the city’s newest Chief of Police, and a 15 percent reduction in crime.
Further advocacy by his administration against “reckless laws” passed in the Alabama State Legislature related to crime was also mentioned by Reed.
“But we all know public safety never stops, and if it happens to you, crime is up 100 percent, and we understand that,” Reed said. “We won’t stop improving and innovating to make this city safe and secure.”
Economic successes under Reed’s administration, including the creation of 2,000 jobs last year, were also mentioned during his speech on Wednesday. Reed insisted that he and his administration want to “invest in high-quality Pre-K and adult skills training” for residents and families seeking jobs in the city.
“Companies like Hyundai, Manna, Amazon are making record investments here,” Reed said. “But we’re also seeing more and more small businesses grow their opportunities through micro-grant lending programs and initiatives that we have because we understand the core of our economy.”
During Reed’s first year in office, Montgomery County voters approved an increase to the county’s property tax, injecting roughly $33 million into the Montgomery Public School System. Reed described this measure as one of his administration’s “first battles.”
“We’ll keep fighting to improve our public schools and revitalize neighborhoods across Montgomery so that everyone has improved opportunities,” Reed said.
Reed was elected the first Black mayor of Montgomery in 2019, replacing outgoing incumbent mayor Todd Strange. In a lopsided runoff victory, Reed amassed 67 percent of the vote against David Wood, a TV station owner and president of Woods Communications Corporation, after emerging the frontrunner from a crowd of 11 other mayoral candidates during the general election that October.
Before his election victory, Reed was the first African American elected as probate judge in Montgomery County and the first probate judge to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2015 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Reed is the son of Joe Reed, the leader of the Alabama Democratic Conference and one of the most powerful Black political figures in state politics, who was present on the stage during his son’s speech.
Last month, a series of expletive laced audio recordings of Reed in which he appears to disregard the impact of Black voters and make disparaging remarks about Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base were released in what Reed described later as an “extortion attempt.” The audio snippets, which appear heavily edited, were three years old at the time of their release.
The municipal elections for the Montgomery City Council and Mayor’s Office are scheduled for later this year.