SELMA, AL (WSFA) - It's decision time in towns across our area as voters get ready to head back to the polls to decide city government roles.
With runoff elections Tuesday, candidates have been busy campaigning to get their message to voters in the final leg of their races.
In Selma, the mayor's race continues to generate a lot of buzz. With two well-known names on the ballot, many are eager to see who will end up in office.
The candidates each have a desire to lead their city and resumes that boast experience.
State Rep. Darrio Melton and former mayor James Perkins are vying for the mayor's seat.
Melton received the most votes in the August municipal election, followed by Perkins.
Melton serves as associate pastor at Tabernacle of Praise Church in Selma. He has been a state representative for District 67 for the last six years. He also worked on the federal level for six years before becoming a state legislator.
He says his experience on upper levels of government is unique to the Selma mayoral race and the office of mayor, and he wants to bring the same momentum and accomplishments to his hometown.
His campaign slogan is "Putting Selma First."
He is hoping for a strong voter turnout Tuesday for the runoff.
"We're looking for people to go out to the polls in droves because this election is so critical for our future. We have a choice. We can go back into our past with the leaders of the past or we can move into our future with new ideas and new vision for this great city," Melton said. "We can't change our city by continuing to do the same things the same old way. We believe our campaign offers Selma a vision forward, not backwards."
Melton says he is tired of seeing Selma is listed as one of the most violent cities in the state and he recently revealed a new three-tiered plan to curb violence and crime in the city after he was shot at leaving a fundraising event several weeks ago.
"Violence is nothing new to my experience here in Selma, but it has gotten out of control. That incident only made me double down even more on the need for more public safety- the need to expand our law enforcement, to make sure that we adequately pay our men and woman in uniform. Regardless if it's a state representative or a senior citizen sitting on their front porch, they should be able to live safely in this great city," Melton said.
His plan includes joining President Barack Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, which is a partnership among more than 200 community leaders across the country.
It also calls for an increased partnership with law enforcement and for the city to create "tools for success," with an emphasis on families, education and increased economic development.
"We have to get on top of this issue and address it once and for all," Melton added. "We need to make sure we build a sustainable infrastructure for this city so we can grow and expand. A d we have to do more for this young generation that is coming up. In the Melton administration, we'll make sure the next generation can say that they're proud to stay here in Selma and move back to Selma."
James Perkins is the pastor of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. He was Selma's mayor for two terms, from 2000-2008, and he says the city needs him again.
He believes Selma is ripe for investment and opportunities and says his goal is to "reopen" the city for business.
"I recognize that I have a set of skills, experience and a vision for our community to help our city move beyond where we are today," Perkins said. "I have relevant experience and a positive track record in using my experience to move our community forward. And I have integrity. I think the person who holds this office sets the tone for the entire city."
His slogan is "Together, We Will Build a Better Selma."
He has emphasized the importance of advancing technology and using it to increase job opportunities, lower crime and identify infrastructure issues.
"We need to deal with improving the quality of our neighborhoods. We need to do a better job of code enforcement and we must do a better job of getting our city clean and keeping it clean. And then there's the integration of support between the city government and education. We need to do some things to help reduce the disparity and the quality of education. Finally, we have to deal with the issue of division and unity through faith and works," Perkins said.
The race for Selma mayor won't be the only one on the ballot.
Residents will also be voting on several city council seats, including council president. A school board seat will also be decided.
For City Council Ward 3, Miah Tolbert-Jackson will face Regina Woods in the runoff.
For City Council Ward 4, Angela Benjamin and Joyce Whitely will be on the ballot.
For City Council Ward 6, Johnnie Leashore will be running against B.L.Tucker.
For City Council Ward 7, voters will choose between Jesse Shannon Jr. and Jannie Thomas.
Incumbent Corey Bowie will be in the runoff with Lydia Chatmon in the race for city council president.
For the school board in District 3, Lola Sewell will be up against Phyllis Houser. (In District 1, Kirit Chapatwala withdrew and Danielle Wooten was certified as the official winner.)
Due to the Central Alabama Fair being scheduled on the municipal run-off election date of October 4, 2016, the Old National Guard Armory precinct for Ward 1 shall be temporarily changed to Memorial Stadium, located at 108 West Dallas Avenue.