The Alabama New South Alliance (ANSA) and its sister organization the Alabama New South Coalition held their fall convention at the Maggie Street Dream Center in Montgomery. The political endorsement group heard from several statewide and multi-county district candidates and voted to endorse the straight Democratic ticket for the November 8th election. Local chapters will need to make endorsements for local county races.
The group also reviewed the ten amendments to the Alabama Constitution, which are on the upcoming November ballot, and made recommendations for the statewide membership to follow.
Several statewide candidates on the Democratic ticket came to explain their reasons for running and answer questions. Anita Kelly, candidate for Place 5 on the Alabama Supreme Court said,” I have had 18 years’ experience as a judge in Montgomery and my Republican opponent has none. He was the lawyer for the Republican Party in Birmingham and was a delegate to the RNC for Trump in 2016 and 2020.” Kelly urged voters to go to her website and that of her opponent and see who had the best record for Alabama.
Kelly pointed out that all nine of Alabama’s Supreme Court Justices, who are elected statewide, are white Republicans, two are women and seven are men, none are Black, in a state that has a 27% Black population.” I am hoping to be elected to influence the Alabama Supreme Court in a positive way for all Alabamians,” said Kelly. She also indicated that she had very limited financial support and had not been able to purchase TV time. The lack of financial support from the state and national Democratic party was a similar lament that all the statewide Democratic candidates expressed.
Pamela Lafitte of Mobile, who is running for Secretary of State said she wanted to restore early and curbside voting that had been taken away as part of her efforts to expand voting rights. The Secretary of State’s main role is in running elections and maintaining statewide records. Lafitte indicated that she too was underfunded and wanted more support from the state and national parties.
Will Boyd, candidate for U. S. Senate to fill the seat vacated by Senator Richard Shelby gave short remarks and said he was optimistic, going into the final stretch of the election, that he and other Democratic candidates could win in November. He said,” We must have a great turnout of Black voters across the state, including 324,000 who did not vote in the last election, the 300,000 new voters, who have registered since the 2020 election, and the support of ‘Doug Jones white voters, who have a more progressive view of state politics.” Boyd said his campaign was trying to motivate these voters with limited finances.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell, running for re-election in the 7th Congressional District, Lin Veasey running as the Democratic candidate in the 3rd Congressional District, Curtis Travis, running for House District 72,including Greene and Hale counties, also came to speak to the ANSA Convention.
Dr. Richard Arrington, former Mayor of Birmingham, and first President of ANSC was the luncheon speaker. He gave a resounding defense of voting as the most powerful non-violent strategy that Black people must make positive change and move society in a progressive direction. He said, “A strong Black vote can put starch in the backs of politicians, even him and create the conditions to elect a Black man to the White House.”
He said, “We can’t stop working. We can’t stop fighting. Slavery is dead but it is not yet buried. We might have to pass the plate and dig the grave, because his kinfolks won’t bury him.”
On the ten amendments to be on the Statewide ballot, ANSC recommends voting No on Amendment One, which would limit the power of judges to fix bail for a dozen crimes in addition to capital murder and lead to long waits in jail for Black people charged with lesser offenses like burglary.
On Amendment 2, which would allow use of public funds from state and local government for expansion of WIFI and broadband, ANSC recommends Yes.
On Amendment 3 and 4, which deal with additional limitations on the Governor commuting death sentences and disallow the Legislature from changing election laws within six months of an election, ANSC recommends a NO vote.
On Amendments 5-10, ANSC recommends a YES vote. These amendments deal with taxation and local matters. Amendment 10 would accept the recompiled 1901 Alabama Constitution, and removal of racially discriminatory language. There are some concerns that the recompiled Constitution does not strengthen the right to public education in the state, in ways that it should, but ANSC felt that this could be remedied by additional clarifying amendments in future years.