“Through a more hopeful brand of politics, we can advance sustained urban growth with livability and affordability at its core,” Gregorie said. He added, “Folks say ‘the third time’s a charm.’ We’re going to test it.”

In Montgomery, Alabama, two African-Americans have entered the mayor’s race. Montgomery County Commission vice chairman, Dan Harris and former U.S. Congressman, Artur Davis are trying to defeat incumbent mayor Todd Strange. Election Day is August 25.

Harris says he plans to focus his campaign on economic development, education, and crime.

“I think I served well on the county commission. I have a record and I’ll run on that record and I’ve enjoyed that service, but I believe that I can better use my talents and my vision in service to this community in the position as mayor,” Harris told reporters.

Davis said because there are two African-Americans in the race, the BNlack vote could be divided.

“I have one of two conclusions: either there’s even more dissatisfaction with Mayor Strange than I thought, or somebody really wants to divide up a certain part of the vote in this community,” Davis said.

Davis is a former four-term Congressman who represented the 7th District of Alabama from 2003 to 2010. After an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010, Davis abruptly switched to the Republican Party to widespread criticism from Black Democrats.

“The people of Montgomery deserve more – not just a few handouts at election time and grand promises that don’t materialize,” Davis said when he announced his candidacy. “I fully understand that not every one of you will agree with me on every issue. And some of you haven’t agreed with every choice I have made. I respect that, but I know that this campaign is about something bigger than party or past disagreements.”

During Mayor Brown’s tenure, Jacksonviille has been nationally recognized for its superior business climate and employment opportunities.  For two years in a row, Forbes magazine has ranked Jacksonville among the top five cities in the nation for job-seekers.  Forbes also ranked Jacksonville as the second fastest-growing job market for IT business services (behind Austin, Texas). CNN Money showcased the city as “hot for startups,” and Jacksonville was recently named the “Best U.S. City to Start a Business” by Wallethub.com.

Brown was raised in Jacksonville by his mother and grandmother, who both worked two jobs and raised five children together.As a young man, while attending Jacksonville University, Brown worked 40 to 50 hours a week stocking shelves at a Winn-Dixie grocery store. He almost dropped out of school, but a Jacksonville pastor co-signed a loan so Brown could continue his college education and graduate with pride. Brown was the first in his family to graduate college.

“I grew up in a city that gave me an opportunity,” Brown says.

When asked what he’s learned as mayor during the past four years, Brown didn’t miss a beat.

“I learned how to stay focused and I learned that the key to making good things happen is partnering with the private sector,” Brown said. “It’s been challenging; I came into office when people didn’t know me but I kept focused on putting Jacksonville first. There are plenty of good things happening in Jacksonville and I’m glad we’re putting people back to work.”

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Black Southern Candidates Look To Advance Progress, Help Democrats was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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