The Rock swears in

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Sanders begins new term

By Dale James / Selma Times – Journal

It had the feel of a family reunion, and in a sense that’s what it was.

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Friends and well-wishers gathered in a second-floor Dallas County district courtroom Tuesday evening to attend a swearing-in ceremony for Hank Sanders on the occasion of the beginning of his fifth term as a state senator.

It wasn’t exactly a coronation. &uot;They’ll hold the coronation for governor in January in Montgomery,&uot; Sanders, a Democrat, said drily.

For that matter, it wasn’t even official. He’s been the official state senator for District 23 since the day after the Nov. 5 election.

Rather, it was a chance to come together with friends and supporters and to look back at just how far they’ve come.

Sanders took his first oath of office in 1983. Since then, he sighed, he’s grown &uot;a lot older and a lot heavier.&uot;

It was obvious that to those gathered in this room on this day, Sanders represented much more than just someone who had been elected to political office. More than a few gathered for this occasion are old enough to remember a time when they could not vote.

He is the Harvard-educated lawyer who made them proud, who gave a voice to those who have known what it is to have no voice. When others left for places where the challenges were not as intimidating and the obstacles not as great, he stayed.

Among those who delivered remarks for the occasion was Dr. David Hodo, who has actively worked in all six Hank Sanders campaigns. Hodo lauded his friend for what he termed a &uot;unique achievement&uot; in Alabama politics during this last campaign.

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. called Sanders one of his political role models.