College Dems weigh in on local races

Published 2:47 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Alabama College Democrats (ACD), the official collegiate arm of the Alabama Democratic Party (ADP), recently issues a slate of endorsements for a number of candidates in Black Belt runoff races, including those still vying for seats in Selma.

“The Black [Belt] area is at a crossroads, we cannot wait any longer for the right leadership to move our region forward,” a statement from the ACD said.

According to the statement, the ACD hosted a series of online conversations with Black Belt candidates in order to discern which was most qualified to move the region forward.

“After having the pleasure of talking to several local Black [Belt] area runoff candidates via Zoom, we feel that we have identified the best candidates who, upon taking office, would take on the status quo and help bring new life to their communities,” the statement read. “We were inspired by the energy that these candidates possess and how passionate they are about their communities. When we pressed them on specific policy ideas that will stimulate growth and investment in their communities, we liked what we heard and offered our endorsement.”

In the mayoral contest, the organization threw its support behind Miah Jackson, Executive Director of Dallas County Court Services and currently a member of the Selma City Council representing Ward 3, who will face former Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. in the Oct. 6 runoff.

“Young Democrats are the future of the party with an active and vested interest in the future of our government,” Jackson said. “Collegiate students are emerging activists and current researchers of contemporary issues and solutions and are typically on the cutting edge of our government’s evidence-based solutions to systemic local and national problems.”

The ACD endorsement isn’t Jackson’s first in her bid to become the first woman to serve as Selma’s mayor – she’s previously been endorsed by Sue Bell Cobb, the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, former Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard, Montgomery attorney Bruce Maddox, former mayoral candidate Cleophus Mann, R&B singer Meli’sa Morgan, Chief Operating Officer of Aletheia House in Birmingham, Gloria Howard, and more.

“The endorsements I’ve received always served to inspire me to continue moving forward and reinforce my belief that I am on the right path,” Jackson said. “This particular endorsement also serves to inform the youth and young adults of Selma that their peers agree with the campaign’s vision.”

In the race for president of the Selma City Council, the ACD backed Warren “Billy” Young, who serves as president of 100 Black Men of Selma and the Delta Pi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha and vice-chair of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee (DCDEC), who will face Lydia Chatmon of Selma Aids Information and Referral (AIR) in the October runoff.

“This endorsement means a great deal to me personally and a lot to my campaign,” Young said.

On the personal side, Young noted that his father, Woodrow W. Young, was one of the first African-Americans to serve on the DCDEC, the same body on which the junior Young currently serves.

“I’m a lifelong Democrat,” Billy Young said. “So, personally, it means a great deal to me to have the endorsement of an arm of our party.”

Where the campaign is concerned, Billy Young noted that the endorsement of the ADC is an indication that he’s in tune with young voters and their priorities.

“It’s a huge endorsement for our campaign because these are young people that are Generation Z that, after hearing my platform and my position on the issues that face us as Selmians, saw it fit to give me their endorsement,” Billy Young said. “So, it makes me feel like I’m in touch with the issues of the day among our young members of the public.”

In the Ward 2 race for the Selma City Council, the organization threw its support behind Landon Nichols, who formerly served as Destination/Marketing Coordinator for the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce and currently works the Montgomery-based Medical Advocacy and Outreach (MAO), who will face off against Christie Thomas next month.

“I believe this endorsement is incredibly important because our young people are the future and they acutely recognize Selma and the Black Belt’s desperate need for next-generation leadership to shake the status quo,” Nichols said. “I think the College Dems endorsement further demonstrates my lifelong commitment to building diverse, intergenerational coalitions – not just throughout Selma, but beyond our borders. We are going to need this style of broad, collaborative leadership to stabilize municipal government and secure new investments into our city.”

In the Ward 4 race for the Selma City Council, the ACD backed Lesia James, a 20-year veteran of Selma City Schools currently working as a senior advisor and graduation coordinator, who will face Javares Whitely in next month’s runoff.

Neither of the candidates in the other two runoff races in Selma, for the Ward 3 and Ward 6 seats on the Selma City Council, garnered an endorsement from the organization.

In the Ward 3 race, Blackbelt Benefit Group (BBG) co-founder Clay Carmichael will go up against Mead Walker, while Dallas County Commission appraiser Atkin Jemison will face former Selma City Councilman B.L. Tucker in the Ward 6 contest.

In nearby Demopolis, the organization threw its support behind mayoral candidate Aliquippa Allen, dean of the University of West Alabama’s (UWA) School of Business and Technology, while backing T’keisha Chandler, who works with the New Order National Human Rights Organization, in the race for the District 3 seat on the Demopolis City Council.