Steven Reed makes history as Montgomery’s first black mayor

Updated: Oct. 8, 2019 at 10:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed has defeated David Woods and will become Montgomery’s next mayor.

He makes history as the city’s first black mayor.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Reed had 67 percent of the votes. A total of 48,979 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s election.


Reed will replace current Mayor Todd Strange, who, after a decade of service, did not seek reelection.

He will be sworn into office on Nov. 12.

Mayor-elect Reed spoke to a crowd of supporters Tuesday night.

“If there was any doubt about what we can do when we come together, when we unify this city, let the record show tonight, above all, show what we can do when we come together in this city and we build around positivity, around opportunity and all the things that tie us together,” Reed said.

When asked why he thought his campaign resonated with voters, Reed said it was the vision for a united Montgomery.

“I think our vision for a better Montgomery. Our vision for a united Montgomery, and our vision to create better opportunities for everyone and I believe our concise vision that was very consistent from the day one is something a lot of people listened to,” Reed said. “I believe people really were attracted to that. They really were interested in some of our ideas and that energy and that enthusiasm that we felt so many days in the community is going to churches, going to community centers, going to neighborhood programs, we felt the energy there and we felt that energy in some unlikely corners for some. So we knew the message was resonating, and we knew that somewhere along the line, we knew that we were making a difference and that we were connecting, and I think that’s why we had the results that we had tonight.”

Woods thanked all of his supporters Tuesday night and said he doesn’t have any regrets.

“Montgomery is a special place populated by special people and that hasn’t changed. And we’re just going to go forward and try to support Steven Reed as mayor. And I just want to encourage everyone to try to continue to work together to bring Montgomery as a unified city. A unified Montgomery is a lot stronger than a divided Montgomery,” Woods said. “We want to go forward in a sense of unity.”

Mayor Strange spoke about the results Tuesday night, commending both candidates.

“Well, obviously, it’s been a hard fought time from 13 down to two," he said. "You have to give credit to those that are in the arena. Steven, obviously, winning this evening, I’ve talked to him, congratulated him, placed our transition sport. We’ve been meeting with both of them in a transitional fashion, now we can focus directly with Steven. There’s a lot of information to impart to him.”

Strange had encouraging words for Woods and Montgomery, saying the city is moving in a good direction.

“To David, I would just say that, and the message I gave him tonight is there’s closed doors and then there’re open doors, and there’ll be something there too, but Montgomery is moving in a really good direction," Strange said. "And I’m just excited about what our future will hold. Steven will have a different direction, different thoughts, which is really good. Change is always scary, but change is good. So we wish him extreme good fortune and congratulate him on such a great, great campaign.”

Strange said he wants to do everything he can to make the transition as transparent as possible.

During the general election, Reed received 42 percent of the vote, taking the majority, but because he did not attain more than 50 percent, the election went to a run-off between him and Woods, a Montgomery businessman and owner of Fox affiliate WCOV-TV.

Reed announced his intent to run in the mayoral election back in February on WSFA 12 News. During his campaign, Reed spoke of increasing Montgomery’s police force, increasing support for schools, and bringing in more jobs that offer a livable wage. He received endorsements from Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and U.S. senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

Reed became Montgomery County’s first black probate judge (as well as its youngest) in 2012. He was re-elected without opposition in 2018.

Reed is the son of Joe Reed, the longtime leader of the Alabama Democratic Conference, which is the black caucus of the Alabama Democratic Party.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.