Davis holds Selma open house

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 25, 2003

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis looked over his shoulder as a crowd of people lined up to come into the U.S. Federal Building on Monday.

Davis was in Selma to hold the latest in a series of open houses. The first, said Nikki Tucker, a spokeswoman with Davis’s office, was in Tuscaloosa. He’s also open houses in Livingston and Demopolis. An open house for Birmingham will be held in December.

In Selma, nearly 250 people turned out to visit the congressman. It’s not an exact count. Constituents were asked to sign in on a guest book as they entered the building so a head count could be made.

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About an hour into the session, the book was full. More copies of the sign-in sheets had to be made.

The crowd consisted of all sorts of people: old and young, black and white, white-collar and blue-collar workers. There was Henrietta Blackmon, the mayor of Camden, along with another mayor from Wilcox County. Selma’s mayor, James Perkins Jr., also stopped by prior to the City Council meeting.

There were people there from Lowndes, Perry and Wilcox counties. One couple, the people who designed Davis’s offices in Selma, came down from Tuskegee.

Not all of the visitors were American citizens.

Dexter Ali is a senior at Concordia College. He came to the United States from Trinidad. He came to the open house, trying to find the answer to a personal problem he had.

Davis staffer Carolyn Powell took him back into the congressman’s office and helped him out.

Said Ali, &uot;I’m grateful that people who are not U.S. citizens can come to the congressman’s office and get help.&uot;

Lee Jackson Jr. runs a salt water shrimp farm in Lowndes County. He gave a presentation to the congressman about his farm, hoping to seek some funds that will help it.

Col. Jim Carruthers made the drive in from Marion Military Institute to give his greetings to Davis. He said that the congressman recently spoke to the Corps of Cadets, who grilled him on the current state of national and world politics.

Martha McCully isn’t a politician. She’s just an ordinary citizen like most people in Selma. But she took the time to come up to the federal building and meet Davis because she wanted to.

Davis said he thought the crowd he met in Tuscaloosa was huge. But Selma more than surpassed that. He estimated that the crowd here was at least one and a half times bigger than the one in Tuscaloosa.

Tucker added that they were pleased with Selma overall. She said that every time they come here, the citizens greet them with open arms.

At this point, Doris Holland walked up to Tucker. She spoke with her briefly, then gave her tickets and information for the upcoming Selma Community Concert in March.

She said she hoped they all would get a chance to come.

As Holland walked away, Tucker smiled.