Randall Woodfin gets to stay on for four more years as the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, after being elected to a second term on Aug. 24, beating out seven other candidates. He will retain his office in the third-Blackest city in the U.S. The Birmingham population is 71 percent Black.
Woodfin won 64 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, Bingham Watch reported. In second place was Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales with 21 percent of the votes, and former Birmingham Mayor William Bell, who came in third with 9 percent.
For Maxine Degraffenreid, the election was “…the first time I ever vote for anyone it was you . Congratulations,” she tweeted @MaxineDegraffe2.
Woodfin, the city’s 30th mayor, was first elected in 2017.
Here are seven things to know.
Woodfin was born and raised in Birmingham. He went on to attend HBCU Morehouse College, where he majored in political science. He later earned a law degree from the Samford University Cumberland School of Law, according to his campaign website.
Woodfin served as assistant city attorney between 2009 and 2017. He was also on the Birmingham Board of Education from 2015 until his election as mayor for the first time.
Woodfin created Birmingham Promise, a program aimed at providing tuition assistance to the city’s graduates, CBS-affiliated TV station CBS 42 reported. Under the program, every high school graduate received free college tuition, The Root reported
He also implemented a program where the city pardoned 15,000 people with misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions between 1990 and 2020.
“Thank You Jesus for this Mayor Woodfin young, brilliant, bright, and smart man He is ready to lead Birmingham, Alabama toooooo a better place,” Jean Miller @JeanMil82364882 tweeted. “I pray that you continue tooooo work hard for this city . I trust and believe in you . Soooooo CONGRATULATIONS . A job well done.”
When he first won the mayoral race in 2017, Woodfin vowed to take on Birmingham’s high rate of violent crime. It was personal. His nephew, Ralph Woodfin III, was shot and killed in August 2017, just weeks before the general election, AL.com reported. In 2012, Woodflin’s brother was murdered.
But during the first term, the city’s homicide rate stayed about the same. During his four years as mayor, 477 people were killed in the city, 31 of the victims, this year, AL. com reported in April.
“I feel a combination of anger and sadness,” Woodfin said. “I’m sad because another life has been lost. I’m sad because another mother has to wake up in the middle of the night, crying out, reaching for her child she’ll never be able to talk to again. Never be able to hug again.”
Woodfin received high-profile endorsements, including one from President Joe Biden and former Alabama Sen. Doug Jones.
In October, Woodfin and some other mayors including Steve Benjamin (Columbia, S.C.), LaToya Cantrell (New Orleans), and Chokwe Lumumba (Jackson, Miss.) published an open letter to all of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, urging them to remember the importance of Black voters in the South.
“We wanted them to know that speaking to our issues and concerns is not some perfunctory thing to do,” Woodfin told The Root. “Especially since, when it comes to the demographics of the South, (black voters) pretty much make up the base of the party. Many of the candidates reached out, but Vice President Joe Biden took it a step further.”
The result was a private listening session with Biden and the letter’s signatories, as well as other mayors and political leaders from across the South.
“Being a moderate does not equal status quo,” Mayor Woodfin told The Root. “I 100-percent reject anyone who believes that. I support a lot of things on the left but — if I’m being real — I also believe you gotta win.”
He added, “When you think about the Republican Party, the base of their party is the far right. The base of the Democratic party is the center. Those moderates — African Americans over 60, who we should all listen to — are also the ones who turn out and vote. They’re the ones who vote in midterms and support local races. So I reject the notion that being a moderate means status quo.”
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