Randall Woodfin is a nonpartisan candidate vying for the office of mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. He has served as the District 5 representative on the Birmingham City School Board in Alabama, since he was elected on Aug.27, 2013.
He earned his bachelor’s in political science from Morehouse College in 2003 and Juris Doctorate from Samford University Cumberland School of Law in 2007. Woodfin has served as an appointee to the Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services and the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity.
The son of a social worker and elementary school educator, Woodfin has his sights set on leading Birmingham’s proverbial Oval Office. Read what he has to say.
What does voting mean to you?
Voting in local municipal elections is one of the most important things voters can do. After all, most of the major decisions that affect our daily lives are made by local officials who have a direct impact on our job opportunities, public safety, education and neighborhood revitalization.
What makes you a leader?
What I value most is listening to the people I serve. As a leader, I am expected to have an understanding of what people need and to work in a collaborative manner with citizens, other leaders and resource providers to deliver solutions for the public good.
How will you engage the millennials in this political process?
Millennials are beginning to represent a bigger part of the electorate in cities throughout the country. My team is comprised, primarily of Millennials and we are reaching out to them where they are, including social media and by engaging them where they live and socialize.
How are you utilizing technology and social media to reach the people?
We use social media to tell the story of the people of Birmingham — all of Birmingham, not just the parts the current administration puts in brochures. I believe hardworking citizens, as well as youth and elders, deserve their stories to be told. Beyond that, we use every available technology, especially mobile and digital technology to reach voters where they are 24 hours a day.
Why are you running for mayor of the city of Birmingham?
I am running for Mayor because I love my hometown and I truly believe our citizens deserve better than they have been getting. We currently have an administration led by someone that has been at city hall since 1979. In all this time, we have seen a massive population decline, job stagnation, and crime increase. I want to be a part of progress for the people of Birmingham. If I thought someone else would do it, then I would support them. This is truly a case of me being the change I want to see.
With so many people in the race, how are you distinguishing yourself?
First, I announced one year before the election and committed to a year-long, 52-week conversation with the citizens of Birmingham. Next, I have a very detailed, robust plan for the city that is common-sense, budget-based and people-informed. Lastly, I am not the only face of this campaign. I have a team of young people who are the frontline of our grassroots effort to talk to as many people as possible. Together, we have knocked on over 40,000 doors and spoken with thousands of voters.
With the election just a few weeks away, what are you doing to ensure that the people get out to vote?
Our campaign is attracting voters and volunteers who want to spread the word and encourage their friends to get out the vote. We are doing our best to harness this enthusiasm. In addition, we have a team with strong experience in turning out voters.
What has been the most challenging aspect of running a political campaign?
Raising funds against an incumbent mayor was an initial challenge. Fortunately, our message and the readiness for progress from everyday people has inspired thousands of people to contribute to our campaign. We have raised nearly $300,000, mostly on the strength of small dollar contributions (under $100.) What was really challenging, has turned out to be a strength and incredibly inspiring.
What are some of the things you have promised the citizens of Birmingham?
I promised to fight for progress for the entire city, not just one part of it. Progress looks like basic services like street paving, sidewalks, curbs and lighting, to be implemented with a sense of urgency. Progress looks like working with the intention to collaborate with the city council and other area leaders to create a fertile environment for job growth needed in Birmingham.
In the last days of the election, how can people support?
First, we are in the final stretch of the campaign where cash is critically important. Any dollar amount of support — $30 to buy a radio spot or $150 to buy a television spot — puts us in position for success. Help us get out the vote, sign up at www.RandallWoodfin.com/VOLUNTEER. Also, follow and share on social media. It will be a big boost in the final days of the election.