20 Under 40: Melton takes leap of faith to run for mayor of his hometown
Published 2:44 pm Friday, July 21, 2017
Mayor Darrio Melton, a Selma native, attended Selma High School before going off to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to study psychology. During his time there, he realized that he wanted to enter seminary and attended Emory University. He never thought he would end up in politics, but he ended up taking that path.
“It was never my idea to be involved in politics, but since 2004 I’ve been involved in politics,” Melton said. “I worked at the federal level, I served at the state level and now I’m serving on the municipal level.”
Melton is married to Christi and they have two children, Darrio II and Kinslee Joi. Melton serves as the associate pastor at his church, Tabernacle Church of Praise, where he also spends time teaching.
Besides being the mayor of Selma and pastoring at his church, Darrio also spends much of his time coaching a youth baseball team.
“I love investing in young men, especially many of those young men I’ve learned over the years come from single parent households,” Melton said.
“Many of them … the mother is the main provider for those young men, and I know having a male in their life goes a long way in trying to instill different values inside of them.”
Darrio has been coaching baseball for six years, and has also coached soccer and basketball.
“Coaching and mentoring is something that I love, love doing,” he said. “I really have a passion for young boys to help build and shape them into young men so they can be very productive in our society, in our community, wherever life takes them.”
Melton said it’s all about helping people better themselves, whether that’s through coaching, pastoring or leading the city.
“I believe in building people,” Melton said. “I always try to find way to add value to people. If we’re not adding value, we’re not improving peoples’ lives.”
As far as his hopes for Selma, Melton said he wants to capitalize on the rich history in Selma, and push the city forward.
“I see our city not only being mentioned for the history that took place in our city, but mentioning what we’re doing in the 21st century,” he said. “We can be the innovative center not only of the Black Belt region, but hopefully we can be one of the innovative hubs of Alabama and the southeast.”
Melton said he wants Selma to be a place where people want to visit and move to.
“It is my hope and dream that we continue to build and work to be that innovative hub,” he said.