Category: 2017 Birmingham Elections

Newly Elected Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams Calls for Broad Coordination to Move the City Forward

This is the third in a series of interviews BirminghamWatch will be conducting with newly elected city officials.

New District 2 Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams is all about coordination — with neighborhoods, with the mayor’s office, with local businesses and utilities — and making sure those perspectives are represented when considering solutions to Birmingham’s issues.

Williams defeated his incumbent opponent, Kim Abbott, née Rafferty, with the largest margin of victory in any of the Oct. 3 runoffs – 71.43 percent to 28.57 percent. Williams attributes his victory to voters’ frustration with a lack of growth in District 2.

“It became apparent that the district was becoming somewhat stagnant in terms of growth,” he said. “And I mean not only economically. Our infrastructure was not being taken care of specifically in our district. It was very hard to see any sort of progression.”

During his term as councilor, Williams hopes to restart that growth. His plan involves placing focus on existing District 2 features such as Ruffner Mountain and Banks High School, and making sure that infrastructure repairs and community policing both take into account the specific needs of their communities. Read the Q&A.

First? Look at the Books: A Q&A With Birmingham’s Next Mayor

This is the second in a series of interviews BirminghamWatch will be conducting with newly elected city officials.

Birmingham Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin said he is “concerned” with the way his predecessor has run City Hall, and his first order of business when he takes office Nov. 28 will be to assess city finances and staffing to see whether there has been any wrongdoing.

Woodfin defeated incumbent William Bell, who had served as mayor since 2010, by a significant margin in Oct. 3’s runoff election. Throughout his campaign, Woodfin, who takes office Nov. 28, promised, among other things, to conduct a forensic audit on city finances, to provide more support for the city’s neglected neighborhoods and to restore transparency and accountability to City Hall.

In an interview with BirminghamWatch conducted just after the announcement of his administration’s transition team, Woodfin discussed his expectations for the beginning of his mayorship, his plan to reshape the mayor’s office staff, and his approach to both neighborhood and economic revitalization. Read the Q&A

Former BSC President Krulak and Alabama Power VP Knight Will Lead Woodfin’s Transition Team

Oct. 10, 2017 — Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin announced Tuesday that he had selected Charles Krulak and Bobbie Knight to co-chair his transition team.

In a press conference held at Vulcan Park and Museum, Woodfin described Krulak and Knight as “true public servants” who would provide counsel to his nascent administration in the months leading up to his Nov. 28 inauguration.

Krulak was president of Birmingham-Southern College from 2011 to 2015. He previously served as the 31st Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and he worked in a variety of high-level positions for bank holding company MBNA between 1999 and 2005.

Until her retirement in 2016, Knight had served as a vice president for Alabama Power, and she previously was chair of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute board of directors. Read more.

For Newly Elected Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, the Neighborhood is Still the Thing

This is the first in a series of interviews BirminghamWatch will be conducting with newly elected city officials.

Accessibility and accountability are the main priorities for newly elected Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn.

In a close runoff election, O’Quinn unseated current District 5 Councilor Johnathan Austin. After taking office Oct. 24, O’Quinn plans to immediately start working on ways to engage and educate communities on the resources municipal government can provide, he said.

O’Quinn is part of a wave of new leadership headed to City Hall after the Oct. 3 runoff election. Despite his neophyte status in city government, O’Quinn has been heavily involved in Birmingham on the community level since moving to the city in 2001. He currently serves as president of the Citizens Advisory Board and the Crestwood North Neighborhood Association.

That experience has allowed him to see where communities and neighborhoods have been underserved by Birmingham’s city government, he said.
“I’m sorry to say that the bar has been so low that for me to step in and make a significant difference is pretty damn easy,” O’Quinn said.

Recently, O’Quinn spoke to BirminghamWatch about his early priorities as councilor, his plans to address Birmingham’s economic stagnation and his expectations from the new power dynamic at City Hall. Read the Q&A.

Four New Members and One Incumbent Elected to Birmingham Board of Education

The Birmingham Board of Education will have six new members after Tuesday’s runoff election.

Only three incumbents remain on the nine-member board that oversees the state’s fourth-largest school system.

New Board of Education members elected Tuesday – all current or retired educators – are Douglas Lee Ragland, Michael “Mickey” Millsap, Patricia Spigner McAdory and Sonja Q. Smith.

Also in the runoff, incumbent board member Daayge Hendricks was re-elected for a second term.
Read more.

A Bad Night for Incumbents: Challengers Take the Lead in Council Runoffs

A Crestwood North Neighborhood resident experienced a realization as he greeted Darrell O’Quinn Tuesday night in the parking lot of the Shoppes at Crestwood: “We’re going to have to get a new neighborhood president.”

O’Quinn’s term as neighborhood president comes to an end as he prepares to move into his new role as District 5 representative on the Birmingham City Council. In unofficial results, he edged out incumbent council President Johnathan Austin 2,430 votes to 2,271.

The night belonged to those who had never held the offices they were seeking. Read more.

Randall Woodfin Defeats Incumbent William Bell to Become Birmingham’s Next Mayor

A night of upsets in Birmingham city government culminated in the victory of challenger Randall Woodfin over incumbent William Bell.

Woodfin topped Bell in the race by more than 7,500 votes, getting 58.94 percent of the vote compared to Bell’s 41.06 percent, according to the unofficial vote tally.

It was the end of an often contentious campaign in which Woodfin challenged the status quo. “We deserve better” was his campaign slogan.

Bell campaigned on his experience and accomplishments. But ultimately, a public dissatisfaction with Bell’s seven-year administration won out.

“Birmingham, this is our moment,” Woodfin said to a raucous crowd of supporters gathered at his campaign party. Read more.

Woodfin Beats Incumbent Bell in Birmingham Mayor’s Race, Other Results

It appears Birmingham voters have replaced their mayor and the president of the City Council.

Randall Woodfin has beaten incumbent William Bell in the race for the mayor’s post. In unofficial vote returns Woodfin has taken almost 59 percent of the vote to Bell’s 41 percent.

It also appears that Council President Johnathan Austin has been beaten in his bid for re-election. In the District 5 race, Darrell O’Quinn had 52 percent of the vote to Austin’s 48 percent, though only about 200 votes separated the men in the district race.

Find the full list of results here.