Mayoral Candidates Bell and Woodfin Encourage BSC Engagement
Birmingham mayoral candidates Randall Woodfin and incumbent Mayor Bell face a runoff today, October 3rd. Both candidates visited Birmingham-Southern in hopes of encouraging students to play an active role in the upcoming election. The visits—Woodfin on September 19th and Bell on September 25th—were initiated by campus’ Black Student Union (BSU) and were open to the public.
While both candidates had spoken at BSC before, Woodfin’s appearance sparked the most interest on Twitter with Professor Glenny Brock’s English 204 students tweeting comments with the hashtag #EH204 (or, the tag that some of us know so well, #EH204forever).
“His personal stories from being a lawyer are great examples of how he is here for the people of Birmingham,” tweeted EH 204 student, Eva Thomas, adding, “You can tell he went to Samford because he asked if any of us were engaged.”
"At some point in this county, if we don't move beyond all the racial issues, we'll never be able to expand from where we are,” quoted Sara Elizabeth Jones in her tweet.
Other students focused on Woodfin’s opinions on public issues.
Both candidates have addressed BSC students twice during this campaign. Before the runoff, Bell and Woodfin came on separate days to speak on a one-on-one basis to Professor Lucas Johnson’s class, Voices of Birmingham, concerning local issues.
“Bell’s been around the block; he’s been here a while. He knows what he’s doing, so he talked a lot about experience and age,” recalled Liz Dial about the incumbent’s speech. In contrast to Woodfin’s conversational tone, Dial felt that Bell’s talk sounded closer to a political address where the candidate talked “to” the classroom and not “with” the classroom.
“Bell’s air was very, ‘You guys are children.’ I admit, I don’t know a whole lot about Birmingham infrastructure, but he never at any point got down at our level to explain what’s happening,” said Dial.
Woodfin visited the classroom with in a panel and was very soft-spoken. Before any remarks, Dial explained that “he would let everyone through the door first” before he confidently but politely made his point. She was unsure whether this timidness was simply part of his personality or a sign of insecurity.
Woodfin’s speech on September 19th focused on his experience as a college student and BSC. His sister took piano lessons years ago at ’Southern’s renowned conservatory. In his own college experience at Morehouse in Georgia, Woodfin served as SGA president, sparking his leadership ability. He then earned his J.D. at Cumberland School of Law.
Bell attended John Carroll High School before he studied at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). After graduating from UAB, he received his J.D. from Miles College. Both candidates are very experienced in the political realm, and, regardless of who wins the runoff, both are inspirational examples of college graduates whose love of leadership and service led them to very successful careers.
Feature photo by justgrimes via Flickr