Brown Salaam won’t push religion

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2002

On Tuesday, LaTosha Brown and Yusuf Salaam will square off in a run-off for the seat held by Ed Maull for the last four years.

The Times-Journal’s Reader Advisory Board — consisting of 12 members of the community — presented four questions to both candidates and asked them to respond. Below are Brown’s and Salaam’s answers.

1. What responsibility do you have to supporters in you are elected?

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LaTosha Brown

“As the representative for District 67, my responsibility is to represent all the constituents of District 67. I want to get as many people engaged in the political process as possible,” she said. “I think all of us are concerned about the same things, and that’s what I’m committed to doing. Once people see my commitment to this area, I think they will understand.”

Brown said she wants to establish advisory committees that will allow constituents to become involved in the political process.

“I want them to give me the constant pulse of Dallas County, and I need to be held accountable to this community.”

Yusuf Salaam

“I owe all of my supporters, which I might add, is a diverse body in Dallas County, dedicated and responsible service that addresses the concerns of all Dallas Countians, not a narrow-minded special interest group,” Salaam said. “I think I have an obligation to the special needs of farming interests, commercial interests and neighborhood concerns.”

Salaam said he has “deliberately” run a campaign “which has kept me independent and beyond the manipulative controls of any special interest group.”

“Consequently, my independence makes me very dependable for all of Dallas County.”

2. What is your education background?

LaTosha Brown

Brown said she attended Selma High School and Auburn University-Montgomery. She said she is currently working on a master’s degree through Auburn.

Yusuf Salaam

Salaam said he attended Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., and for one year during high school he attended Colorado Rocky Mountain Preparatory School. He then attended the University of Georgia, received his juris doctor from the University of Miami (Fla.) School of Law. He was also a Hasty Fellows Scholar at the University of Wisconsin.

3. How would your religious commitment affect your policy making?

LaTosha Brown

“I was born and raised as a Christian in a Baptist Church,” she said. “That has helped me shape my guidelines for serving people.”

According to Brown, her faith will play a larger part in her work rather than her policy making.

“Jesus was always in service, and this is simply another opportunity to serve other people,” she said. “This isn’t about my personal agenda, it’s about doing work for God’s people.”

Yusuf Salaam

“My religious commitment will play a role the same way it did as a member of the Selma City Council,” he said. “You can look at my track record on the council. When I gave my word, I was very honest.”

Salaam also said he would not make religion his agenda in Montgomery.

“I do not plan to, however, make direct use of my religion in government. If you look at my record on the council, I did not attempt to justify or rationalize decisions by bringing God or religion into the law,” he said. “My policy making is articulated in common, secular language.”

4. If your opponent wins, will you support that person in the general election? (After the primary run-off, either Brown or Salaam will face Mark Story, who defeated Steve Cameron for the Republican nomination.)

LaTosha Brown

“I will support whichever candidate would best represent the constituents of Dallas County and has a plan for improving life in this county.”

Yusuf Salaam

“I have been working so hard to achieve victory that I haven’t really given any thought to it. I don’t really want to talk about it.”