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Givan asserts experience, passion qualify her as top choice for District 2 Congress seat

“There will be many formidable opponents I will face in this race but I’m not running against them,” Givan said, “I’m running for this seat.”

State Rep. Juandalynn Givan co-hosts a reception for Black women elected officials last week with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, said she doesn’t think but rather she knows she is the best candidate to serve the people of Alabama’s newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District.

Givan, a lawyer, has served as an elected official for 14 years representing District 60 in the Alabama House of Representatives. Givan said she knows she is the best candidate because of her legislator record and commitment to the people she represents. 

“I don’t think I’m the best candidate, I know I’m the best candidate,” Givan told APR. “I have a proven record of leadership. I am an advocate, an organizer and I have been a solid voice for the people. I always ask ‘what about the people,’ what’s right, what’s best for the people.”

Givan said she knows that many people within the new boundaries of District 2, as it falls within the southern portion of the Black Belt, are from rural communities and are “simple” people with simple demands. In Alabama, rural Black areas continue to have problems having access to hospitals, clean water, access to broadband, better infrastructure, schools and more services. 

“In rural Alabama they want the simple things,” Givan said. “They want clean water, they want hospitals for when they are sick and that are in range so they don’t have to be airlifted to get the services they need. And not only do they want these things, they also want someone to continue to address these issues for them.”

Givan also told APR she intends to work on several issues if elected to Congress including healthcare, tuition-free college, veteran services, environmental justice, job creation, banking reform, national security and foreign affairs. 

On Thursday Givan released a statement announcing her candidacy for District 2 and revealed that a campaign launch event will be held today at 12 p.m. at the Rosa Parks Statue site in Montgomery. Givan relayed that it was significant for her to hold her campaign launch at Parks’ statue site because the civil rights leader one day said “tired of being tired.”

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“One day a woman refused to give up her seat in order for me to be able to stand today in Montgomery and tell the world I am going to be seeking one of the highest offices in the land to represent District 2 in the United States Congress,” Givan stated. 

There are several experiences Givan cites that have molded her and helped prepare her for this decision to run for Congress. She points to being the daughter of a coal miner, a graduate of Miles College, an HBCU, and a mentee of Richard Arrington Jr. as pivotal experiences that have guided her to this point. 

APR asked Givan how she felt going into a race specifically against her Democratic colleagues. Givan responded citing the lyrics “I ain’t neva scared” from the song “Neva Scared” and “we ready” from the infamous football pre-game song “We Ready.” She respects the people she will face in the race but is not backing down from the challenge. 

Givan stated that she “has not had to kiss the ring” during her tenure as a public official.

“There will be many formidable opponents I will face in this race but I’m not running against them,” Givan said, “I’m running for this seat. So, I’ll let them chase me.”

Some of the other candidates running for the District 2 seat on the Democratic side include House Minority Leader Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Prichard, Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Opelika. Givan has worked with these individuals in the House but now is “ready” to go up against them in the primary for the congressional seat. 

Givan’s confidence in herself, unflinching attitude, eccentric debate style, infusion of culture and commitment to service are what she believes help her stand out. She is aware of how she has been perceived by her Republican colleagues and the media, but she is not phased and determined to be her authentic self even in Congress. 

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“The people know me for who I am, and the people love it,” Givan said. 

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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