BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Three new members of the Birmingham City Council were sworn in ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.
In District 4, J.T. Moore replaced former City Council President William Parker. Carol Clarke takes over in district 8 after Steven Hoyt chose not to run for re-election. The final newcomer is LaTonya Tate, who beat out John Hilliard in a runoff for district 9 just a few weeks ago.
Moore, who now lives in Woodlawn and helps mentor teens at the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club. He also helps provide free legal assitance through Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham.
All of the newest members talked about the importance of listening to constituents during the next 4 years.
“They live in these neighborhoods. They know what they need and so I am just a natural fighter, an advocate for marginalized communities and people and so the goal is to just make sure that we push the concerns of the district,” said Tate.
Tate founded the Alabama Justice Imitative and has a lot of priorities for her term.
“We want address blight, definitely get a grip on crime, criminal justice law enforcement background, definitely want to do that and make sure we address the food deserts,” said Tate.
With two-thirds of the previous council remaining, new members like Clarke want to continue progress that leaders have made on street resurfacing, blight removal, and neighborhood revitalization.
“That might involved attracting more private investment, into neighborhoods that have been distressed for a long time and declining in population, so helping to really stabilize and grow neighborhoods is going to be a big focus,” said Clarke.
Clarke will be pushing to quickly clean up areas near venues that will be used during the World Games, especially around the Crossplex in her district.
The new councilors invite constituents to be a part of neighborhood association meetings to help get involved.
“The number one issue I want to tackle is recruitment, into neighborhood association. I think Councilman O’Quinn made a very good point that we are the answers to our problems, so the more people we can get involved, the more people that can help create different committees, things that they’re interested in, and everybody can find their place to contribute,” said Moore.
After council members were sworn in, District 7 Councilwoman Wardine Alexander was elected City Council President. District 6 Councilwoman Crystal Smitherman was elected president pro-tem.