Woodfin facing 7 contenders in Birmingham’s race for mayor

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Mayor Randall Woodfin will have to compete with seven people to stay mayor of Birmingham come August.

The period to qualify for the Birmingham municipal election ended Friday. Woodfin, former mayor William Bell, businessman Chris Woods, activist Darryl T. Williams and Cerissa Brown qualified prior to the deadline.

Philemon Hill, Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales, and Napolean Gonzalez all filed a statement of candidacy this week and await pending confirmation from the Alabama Ethics Commission.

The election will be held Aug. 24. If no candidate can reach over 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held Oct. 5.

Here are some of the people running for mayor of Birmingham:

Randall Woodfin

Mayor randall woodfin
(Courtesy/Facebook)

Randall Woodfin was first elected mayor of Birmingham in 2017, beating former mayor William Bell in a runoff election. He previously served as assistant city attorney for Birmingham between 2009 and 2017 and was also on the Birmingham Board of Education between 2015 and his election as mayor. Recently, he headed up a program that pardoned 15,000 people with misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions between 1990 and 2020.

William Bell

William Bell, Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, Addresses CERD Commi_112755

William Bell served as mayor of Birmingham from 2010 to 2017, when he was defeated by Randall Woodfin. Prior to his time as mayor, Bell served on the Birmingham City Council from 1978 to 1989 as an at-large member and represented District 5 from 1989 to 2001 and 2005 to 2008. During his tenure, Bell oversaw a lot of business development within the city, as well as the designation of several locations as historical sites.

Lashunda Scales

Lashunda Scales has represented District 1 on the Jefferson County Commission since 2018 and is now president of the commission pro tem. She previously served on the Birmingham City Council between 2009 and 2018. In June 2013, a criminal case was brought against Scales including two indictments and six counts accusing her of using her official office for personal gain and voter interference. (Editor’s Note: The previous sentence has been revised for clarification.) She later took a plea deal that dropped the charges down to misdemeanor counts; Scales pleaded guilty to one count of ethics violations and one count of interfering with a voter while inside a polling place.

Christopher Woods

Christopher Woods is owner of CW Woods Contracting in Birmingham. A graduate of Auburn University, Woods played football for the Tigers and later played professional ball for the Los Angeles Raiders. He ran for mayor in 2017, coming third against Woodfin and Bell in the election.

Cerissa Brown

Cerissa Brown is a mental health advocate, entrepreneur and Birmingham resident. She was the director of the Birmingham chapter of the Little Black Dress Club for business women and also worked for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama.

Philemon Hill

Philemon Hill worked as a mechanical engineer for Hughes Aircraft Company before starting his own business, Legacy Sports Management International, LLC, in Atlanta. He then expanded to Birmingham with EPH Sports Warehouse. According to his Facebook, he had a part in bringing the Magic City Diamond Classic to Regions Field in 2017.

Darryl Williams

Darryl Williams is a Birmingham activist.


Here is the full list of candidates who have qualified for the Birmingham council and school board races.

Birmingham City Council

District 1

  • Clinton Woods

District 2

  • Lawrence Conaway
  • Kimberly Jeanty
  • Don Scott
  • Hunter Williams

District 3

  • Valeria Abbott
  • Joseph Casper Baker III
  • Will Jones
  • Alice Speake

District 4

  • Scottie McClaney
  • J.T. Moore
  • William Parker
  • Q. Cory Pettway
  • Gwendolyn Cook Webb

District 5

  • Richard E. Franklin Jr.
  • Darrell O’Quinn
  • Hiram G. Rahim
  • Erica “Star” Robbins
  • Roshanique Taylor

District 6

  • Keith Aaron
  • Crystal Smitherman
  • Keith Williams

District 7

  • Wardine Towers Alexander
  • La’Toya Lee
  • Lonnie Franklin Malone
  • Don “Donnie” Stone

District 8

  • Carol Clarke
  • Barbara Files-Kennedy
  • Lynette Peters
  • Celinda “Celi” Soto
  • Adlai M. Trone
  • Harry “Traveling Shoes” Turner
  • D. Denise Webber-Jenkins
  • Wanda Wright

District 9

  • Eric Hall
  • John Hilliard
  • David Russell
  • LaTonya Tate

Birmingham Board of Education

District 1

  • Sherman Collins Jr.
  • Douglas “Doug” Ragland
  • Jerry Tate

District 2

  • Terri Michal
  • Neonta Williams

District 3

  • Mary Boehm
  • Byron “Anti-Charter School” Lagrone

District 4

  • Derrick L. Billups
  • Daagye Hendricks

District 5

  • David Tarell McKinney
  • James Sullivan

District 6

  • Jamaree’ Collins
  • Leticia Watkins
  • Yancey Williams Sr.

District 7

  • Linda Roper Richardson
  • Walter “Big Walt” Wilson

District 8

  • Antoinette “Toni” King
  • Curtis Tyrone Robinson
  • Sonja Q. Smith
  • Antwon Bernard Womack

District 9

  • Jason Meadows
  • Susan Diane Mitchell

With the election over a month away, citizens are sharing what they consider to be the main issues of the city.

“It’s just the high crime rate and I’m not going out alone by myself at night, you know,” UAB student Emily Keating said.

Keating also believes the lack of businesses coming into town is also an issue.

“Creating more jobs, better jobs in the city. Not like low rate jobs, but higher ups. I think that would help for sure,” Keating said.

Jacob Dickens says housing and clean streets are another issue in Birmingham.

“Clean up the houses. Get more Habitat housing. Help the neighborhoods clean out all the trash and garbage out. That would be very good. Real good,” Dickens said.

District 8 City Councilman Steven Hoyt is not seeking reelection in 2021, but believes other issues the city faces is education and opportunity for all 99 neighborhoods.

“We need a city that puts education at the top of its list,” Hoyt said.

“We want all sides (Birmingham) to do very well,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt, along with people CBS 42 spoke with, encourage everyone to vote.

“Use your rights as a citizen to get what you want done,” Keating said.

“I really think it’s important that people exercise their right,” Hoyt said.

Election day is August 24th.

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