Selma Mayoral Candidates Participate in Open Forum

IMG_9616The candidates running for the upcoming Selma Mayor seat are all diverse in ages and backgrounds, but all want to help Selma grow into a destination city. At an open forum on Sunday at Selma High School, all five candidates were able to share their platforms and answer questions as individuals and as a group.

Incumbent Mayor George Evans is hoping to stay in office and make Selma the best city he believes it can be.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Evans says. “We need some infrastructure changes and street paving, and stuff like that that doesn’t come over night. And so, it’s just going to take a bonafide effort from the citizens of Selma along with city government, education-wise along with industry to build our city. And it can be done.”

Evans has been in office since 2008, when he beat former mayor James Perkins. Perkins was mayor of Selma from 2000-2008, and is now the pastor of a Selma church. He doesn’t plan on forgoing any of his titles if he wins the election.

“This is just an opportunity for me to share experience, knowledge, about what’s going on in our community to help build Selma,” Perkins says.

Another candidate is councilman Greg Bjelke. He’s been on the council since 2011, and his hoping a role as mayor will give him a chance to change some things about Selma.

“I felt as if I was sitting on my hands, and show up to the meetings and yay and nay and go to ribbon cuttings, and that’s all very nice and all, but I wanted to more,” Bjelke says. “I was just frustrated seeing what I can do and I don’t want this term to pass with me saying I wish I had, I wish I had. ”

State Representative Darrio Melton also cast his name into the race. Amidst questions and concerns that he may be too young to be mayor, he reminded the crowd of his success in Montgomery as a representative. He hopes to mirror those success in Selma.

“Our city is crumbling at its foundation,” Melton says. “And I have experience, I have relationships both in the federal and state level that I think I can use in regards to building our city and moving our city into the 21st century.”

The final candidate in the race is Jerria Martin. Martin is 28 and has no political experience, but isn’t letting that hold her back. She is hoping to bring the youth back into her city to help it thrive once again.

“Even our motto is, ‘From Civil War to Civil Rights and Beyond.’ But my question is, when are we going to get to the beyond?” she says. “So I think it’s time for this younger generation to rise up and be that beyond, and lead us to that beyond.”

The elections for the Selma Mayor position will be held on August 23.

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