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White enters House race

The field of candidates for the vacated House of Representatives District 72 seat has expanded again.

“I’m running,” Uniontown mayor Phillip White told the Times on Monday. White, recently elected to a second term in the mayor’s office, said that his time in Uniontown’s City Hall has prepared him to make the House seat a position of strength for the Black Belt.

“If I’ve learned anything in my tenure as mayor,” he said, “it’s that no one person can work alone and get anything done. Whoever is our next state representative has to be a person who will pull people together, who will work with whoever they need to work with to get things done. It has to be someone who can build relationships, because a plan only works when it’s built on relationships. I know I’m that person.”

According to White, the need for relationships and unity is the most serious issue confronting the area.

“We have similar problems throughout the Black Belt, in all our counties, Hale, Perry, Marengo, Bibb, all of them…but before economic development, we need community development,” he said. “It all comes down to relationships. If we don’t put somebody in office who is committed to making relationships work, we’re cutting this area short.”

White cited his weekly trips to Montgomery and quarterly visits to the nation’s capital as evidence of the effort he’s making to build the relationships his district and his city need. “I’ve trying to find people who’ll help me make Uniontown a better place to live,” he said.

White sees these efforts as just one small part of the region-wide struggle to improve the quality of life in the Black Belt.

“The issues throughout the district are the same, but there’s no one clear-cut answer,” he said. “If there was, our problems would be solved already. There’s not just one answer. Everyone has to be willing to do their part. As state representative, I would do my part by working, every single day, to make living in the Black Belt better.”

White stated that he would make that goal, the improvement of Black Belt life, to be his only focus when he reached the state capital.

“The people here just want to live and live a good life. They want someone who has their best interests at heart,” said White. “That’s the support I’m looking for in this campaign, the endorsement of the people. I have people call me and offer an endorsement or a contribution, and that makes me leery. When I get to Montgomery, I don’t want to look over my shoulder, making sure I’ve satisfied other people. I just want to work for the people of this area.”

White illustrated his point by describing a visit he received Friday. “I was working late, and a guy stopped by who told me he’d heard I was running and drove down from Hale County just to meet me. We talked for about 30 minutes, I got to know him, and he told me he’d support me. That’s why I’m running, to go to work for people like him…that’s my only promise. When I’m elected, I will work hard for the citizens of this district to make their life better.”