Category: 2017 Birmingham Mayor Elections
VIDEOS: BirminghamWatch brought residents together for a series of meetings leading up to the 2017 elections.
Both challengers involved in a recent mayoral election debate targeted what they said were shortcomings in Mayor William Bell’s administration, while Bell fired back with attacks on their records, or lack thereof.
Aug. 10, 2017 – On Thursday morning, WBHM and the Birmingham Business Journal held a mayoral debate that featured three of the 12 candidates in the race – incumbent William Bell and challengers Chris Woods and Randall Woodfin – a restriction that drew criticism from the candidates who were not invited to take part.
According to WBHM, the candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on polling data, specifically, a WBRC Fox 6 News poll that sampled 214 registered Birmingham voters. In the poll, 54 percent of likely voters cited Bell as their first choice, with Woods at 17 percent and Woodfin at 14 percent.
Some candidates who were not included in the debate took to social media to express their frustration. “They use the same flawed data polling that FOX 6 use don’t waste your time!” (sic) wrote candidate Frank Matthews on the event’s Facebook page.
Philemon Hill, another candidate, wrote on Facebook that the debate was skewed in Bell’s favor, calling it “a bought event” that was “a controlled environment so Bell can feel comfortable.” He also took issue with the event’s scheduling – at 8:30 a.m. on the first day of school for Birmingham City Schools. “Holding a mayoral forum at the same time … education can’t be a priority for any involved party,” he wrote.
Gigi Douban, the news director at WBHM, called such claims “ridiculous,” noting that “setting benchmarks for participants is common practice,” and saying that focusing on candidates who had polled at over 10 percent allowed for a “more substantive discussion of the issues.” Read more.
Mayor Name: Chris Woods Age: 55 Residence: Birmingham Political experience: None Professional experience: Owner, C.W. Woods Contracting Services Inc., 1989-present; owner, Magic City Construction, 1989-1997; wide receiver, Denver Broncos, 1989; wide receiver, Los Angeles Raiders, 1987-1988. Civic experience: Member, Huffman Recreation Board. Education: Auburn University, bachelor’s degree in industrial arts; A.H. Parker High School. Top
Mayor Name: Randall Woodfin Age: 36 Residence: Birmingham Political experience: Member, Birmingham Board of Education, 2013-2017; president, Birmingham Board of Education, 2013-2015; candidate, Birmingham Board of Education, 2009. Professional experience: Assistant city attorney for Birmingham, 2009-present. Civic experience: Board member, Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy; board member, Birmingham Botanical Gardens; board member, Hispanic Interest
Mayor Name: Frank Matthews Age: 61 Residence: Birmingham Political experience: Candidate, Birmingham City Council, District 2, 2005; Candidate, Mayor of Birmingham, 2003; Candidate Birmingham City Council, District 2, 2000; Candidate, Alabama State Legislature, District 58, 1998; Professional experience: CEO, Tough Communications Advertising Agency, 1999-present; Licensed Minister, Church of God in Christ, Inc., 1985-present; Member, Birmingham
Mayor Name: Donald T. Lomax Age: 68 Residence: Birmingham Political experience: None Professional experience: Professional bus operator at MAX Transit, 2006-present. Education: Talladega College, bachelor’s degree in accounting, 1994; Cleveland State University, bachelor’s degree in business and finance, 1981; Ullman High School, 1967. Top contributors: None filed. Main issues: In an interview with AL.com, Lomax
Mayor Name: Lanny Jackson Residence: Birmingham Political experience: None Professional experience: Supervisor, UAB Building Services; first sergeant/E-8, United States Army, 1972-1993. Education: Miles College, bachelor’s in political science, 2000; Troy University, associate’s degree in general education; J.S. Abrams High School, 1972. Top contributors: Self, loan, $1,195.50 Main issues: According to Jackson’s campaign website, if elected
Mayor Carl Jackson did not respond to requests for information from BirminghamWatch.
Mayor Name: Trudy Hunter Age: 44 Residence: Birmingham Political experience: None Professional experience: ADA 504 compliance officer/VA certifying official at Birmingham School of Law, 2017-present; student administrative assistant at Birmingham School of Law, 2015-2017; summer law clerk at Brooks, Hubbard & James, P.C., 2015; parent community connector at Birmingham Education Foundation, 2014-2015; child welfare senior