On Tuesday, Birmingham voters elected 36-year-old Randall Woodfin to be its new mayor. He defeated incumbent Mayor William Bell by nearly 20 points.
Woodfin’s campaign focused heavily on issues of poverty, with vows to create jobs, raise the minimum wage to $15, and to work to provide free community college to the area.
“It’s empowering people where they live,” Woodfin said in an interview with The Root. “It’s taking a 21st-century look at how Neighborhood Watch looks. It’s introducing conflict resolution to our boys and girls entering middle school. It’s finding a way to get our young people to understand what empathy means in childhood before they’re adults. It also means tackling poverty head-on and asking young boys to put guns down and stand ready to replace it with a job in their hands.”
“Congratulations to Mayor-Elect Woodfin for running a great grassroots campaign,” wrote U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Facebook. “I look forward to working with him and focusing on the issues that matter to the people of Birmingham and across this country.”
Woodfin was supported by Our Revolution, an offshoot of Sanders’ 2016 campaign for president.
In 2016, Woodfin served as the State Director for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Alabama.
Randall Woodfin isn’t the first young, Southern, black progressive elected to lead a major Deep South city in 2017. Earlier this summer, voters in Jackson, Mississippi elected Chockwe Antar Lumumba, who said he planned to build “the most radical city on the planet.”
Woodfin will assume his new role as Birmingham’s new mayor later this year.