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December 31, 2008

Historic moment

Fields’ victory is The Times top story of 2008

By Tiffany Green

STAFF WRITER

James Fields made history in Cullman County and made international headlines when he won the State House of Representatives District 12 seat earlier this year.

Fields became the first black man to represent Cullman County when he won the District 12 seat by defeating Wayne Willingham with 59.34 percent of the vote.

“History is being made tonight,” said supporter Sen. Hinton Mitchem, on election night, January 29.

Cullman County’s population is more than 97 percent white and one percent black according to statistics from the United States Census Bureau.

“They may say he was the first African-American from Cullman to be elected to state office. In my opinion that in a community where two percent are minority, he was elected due to the content of his character,” Judge Kim Chaney said after swearing in Fields. “I’ve known James for over 20 years and he has always been a good friend and he is always helping others. It was an honor to administer his oath of office.”

Fields said he does not feel the color of his skin was an important matter in the election.

“Being an African-American just doesn’t matter,” Fields said. “I think it’s a historical moment because we were given an opportunity to run.”

Fields will complete the term of fellow Democrat Neil Morrison, who resigned in August to accept a position as interim president at Bevill State Community College.

“He will keep up the same tradition that I think we’ve had in this county of good legislators,” Nancy Worley, vice-chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, said. “I think Cullman County will be very well represented.”

State Democratic Chairman Joe Turnham agreed.

“Mr. Fields’ victory is a victory for all of Cullman County,” he said. “James Fields is going to be able to transverse a lot of the divide that exists not only in this county politically, but in Montgomery.”

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