Big props to Randall Woodfin. He made history, becoming the youngest person elected mayor in the history of Birmingham, Alabama. What’s even sweeter, he beat out two-term incumbent William Bell.
This Morehouse grad’s grassroots campaign attracted the attention of the likes of Senator Bernie Sanders and many others.
Just read his bio on his campaign website and you can see how he won the hearts of people. “I am a proud son of Birmingham. And I’m running for Mayor because I want to serve my city, the city that made me who I am. I want to help Birmingham be everything it can be. I want Birmingham to be a place where every citizen has opportunities to work, to play, to learn, to grow, to develop their potential to its fullest.”
He got his first job at 15, working at Western Supermarket on Crestwood Boulevard. He started as a bag boy, but moved up to doing displays, floor stocking, receiving. He says he learned the whole concept of customer service, of taking care of the people whose goodwill pays your salary — of putting other people first. Woodfin worked at Western until he got accepted at Morehouse College, where he received a degree in political science.
Senior year he was elected Morehouse’s student body president. On his campaign website he talks about the impact it had, “That gave me an amazing opportunity, not only to lead the student body, but also to interact with the administration and members of the board of trustees. I learned a lot about who I was. And I learned how to be a leader.”
He wasted no time getting his feet wet. After his freshman year he worked for U.S. Congressman Earl Hilliard. Woodfin would go on to work in the Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services, and with the Jefferson County Committee on Economic Opportunity’s “Weed and Seed” program. He was inspired to go to law school, not with the ambition of going to a big-name law firm, but to use a law degree to serve the community. By 2007 he had a law degree in his hand. However, he had come to realize that politics was the route to making a difference. He became an organizer, working on campaigns at all levels, in Alabama and elsewhere. Woodfin clerked in the City of Birmingham’s Law Department during his last year of law school. He returned there after law school and has been a lawyer for the City of Birmingham since.
He campaigned saying that he wanted to see Birmingham reach his potential. This native son is setting the example.