Voters attend Birmingham mayoral debate to learn about candidates, issues

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Most of the candidates fighting to be Birmingham’s Mayor made their case to voters Monday night, with about two weeks until the election.

Candidates Patricia Bell, Philemon Hill, Trudy Hunter, Lanny Jackson, Frank Matthews, Fernandez Sims, Randall Woodfin, and Chris Woods joined current Birmingham Mayor William Bell for the debate at The Worship Center Christian Church Monday night.

People living in various parts of Birmingham told CBS 42 that unifying all neighborhoods in the city should be a priority.

When talking about specific topics, undecided voters said reducing crime, adding jobs, and prioritizing education are the most important subjects.

“I want to listen to the candidates as a whole, to hear one person always say what they want to, I want to see them all together,” said Fannie Perry, who said crime and opportunities for youth are her two biggest concerns.

Several candidates talked about the need for resources to help educate and train a future workforce for all types of positions, including some from tech companies that could look to relocate to Birmingham.

Some voters said they want to see all communities and neighborhoods be a priority for whoever is leading the city.

“The main things that run into the south side is going to be my concern, the outer cities, Ensley, West End,” said CeCe Pickett.

Pickett just recently returned to the city of Birmingham. She stressed the importance of making sure voters knew the candidates and their stances before the important election.

Small businesses were also a big topic of discussion. Al Elliot is on the cusp of opening a business and was there to listen to ideas that might impact his decision on where to set up shop.

“Pending on the direction of the city, there is several other neighboring cities that can attract similar businesses that I’m trying to open, but I really want to open it in Birmingham,” said Elliot.

While it’s often the city school board of education directly controlling decisions on public education, voters made it clear they want the mayor doing whatever he or she can to support the youth of Birmingham’s future.

“We have one on the way and if we wanted to stay in the city of Birmingham, it’d be nice to know the schools are taken care of and looked after and that education is really important to the politicians,” said Jocquelyn Griggs.

The election is August 22.

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