Our Opinion: Wheres the strong black candidate in the race?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 17, 2008

In a mayoral race with only two candidates emerging, one must ask: Where is the strong black candidate?

During a national election cycle that has seen a Mormon, a black man and a woman as contenders for the presidency of the United States, Demopolis&8217; municipal elections are, well, a little pale in comparison.

Blacks make up more than 50 percent of the city population, according to the most recent U.S. Census data. And yet no able black candidate has stepped forward to campaign for the city&8217;s highest office. That&8217;s a shame.

There are contenders who could ably fill the mayor&8217;s chair &8212; like Thomas Moore or Charles Jones, who both serve on the city council. Both men have strong experience and do a good job representing the voters in their respective districts. A mayoral run by either could allow them to show their abilities to serve the entire city in a more universal way.

But unless a strong minority candidate steps forward, the city runs a risk of under-representing its majority of citizens. Whether or not a minority candidate is elected is really not relevant. What that candidate can say to the city at large is far more relevant as the city tries to grow and expand. The prospective representation of the majority of our municipal population is incredibly important.

For Demopolis to continue its growth, it&8217;s time for a strong minority leader to step forward, whether he or she is elected or not. That candidate may be able to say things the other candidates cannot &8212; and would certainly give viewpoints that are closer to the majority of our city&8217;s population. Those voices need to be heard.

The only question now is who?