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Carmichael announces bid for Ward 3 council seat

With current Ward 3 Selma City Councilwoman Miah Jackson throwing her hat into Selma’s mayoral race, an opening has emerged for someone to fill her council seat – as of this week, one person has decided to vie for the spot.

Clay Carmichael, one of the original founders of the Blacbelt Benefit Group (BBG) announced this week that he would be campaigning for the Ward 3 council seat.

“Seeing some of the difficulties I’ve had, and construction jobs have had or contractors and businesses have had, or just something as simple as doing an event with BBG, you seem to run into a wall when you run into the government part of it and it doesn’t need to be that way,” Carmichael said. “If we want to be business friendly and we want things going on in our community…why would the government be difficult when it comes to that point? Hopefully, by being a part of the government, I can help to change that.”

Carmichael noted that he had never been very interested in politics until returning to Selma roughly 10 years ago after helping to launch a restaurant in Tuscaloosa.

While his bid for the Ward 3 council seat is his first foray into politics, Carmichael has been an active volunteer for many organizations, as well as himself, over the years.

Carmichael launched BBG after a successful fundraiser to benefit Habitat for Humanity after a string of tornadoes decimated Tuscaloosa.

Elsewhere, he’s served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity and MainStreet Selma.

“I volunteer where I can,” Carmichael said. “But I’ve kind of stepped back from those in preparation of this campaign because I want to put all that energy into my campaign and Ward 3. I really want to focus on this and I don’t want any distractions.”

While Carmichael believes his experience with local nonprofits and businesses will serve him well as an elected official, he take a more existential approach to the idea.

“I feel like experiences in general just kind of lead you to the next step in life,” Carmichael said. “Having been in business and the private sector for so long, and then stepping into the nonprofit sector over the last 10 years, and hearing about and seeing the needs in the community has really just given me more of a drive and a heart to help Selma more than anything else. The ultimate way to do that is to hear from the people of Selma and try to represent them as best I can. If there’s a need in the community I can help with, I want to know about it and try to push it through at the government level. That’s the highest help you can give your community really.”

Though Carmichael wants to see big projects springing up in the city, he believes the focus should be on addressing some of the city’s more systemic and long-standing issues first.

“We need some financial responsibility, we need some improved infrastructure and improved public safety – those are the three priorities of government in general, I believe, and those are three areas where we need a lot of improvement here,” Carmichael said. “Those are the basic things we really need to focus on. We need to get those right, then we can begin looking at some other things and build on that.”

While Carmichael is currently the only person to announce a campaign for the council seat, he expects that others will be announcing bids shortly.

“I feel like I’ve got a good chance,” Carmichael said. “I wouldn’t run if I didn’t. I’m sure there’s going to be some good competition that announces and I’m all about a good competition. That’s really for the people of Ward 3 to decide.”