After spending the past few years on the sidelines, former Cullman legislator James Fields is making another run at Alabama elected office — but not the one most might have expected.
Fields has announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of the State of Alabama, and made the news official with a formal reception at Harbert Center in Birmingham Friday night. If he wins the nomination in the Democratic primary, Fields would become the first African-American nominee for statewide executive office in Alabama.
A Hanceville native, Fields was a popular face in local politics during his tenure in the Alabama House, winning his initial seat in the legislature by nearly 60 percent. He was voted out in 2010 largely due to straight-party ticket voting, which was unusually high due to national and state races.
Though he hasn’t been active in politics the past three years, Fields has been keeping busy with civic duties and his role as a pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in Birmingham.
After watching how the political climate has changed since he left office, Fields said he believes the time is right for him to get involved once again.
“I believe there’s a brighter future for Alabama, and we’re able to make that happen,” he told The Times.
Fields said there are numerous state issues he’d like to tackle if elected, specifically education and industrial recruitment. He said he’d also like to improve communication by bringing both sides together for the good of the state.
“Listening to the voices out there, there are some people disappointed in the way government has been run,” he said. “I think we will bring that happy medium to the process. We believe we’re people of integrity, and that the ladies and gentlemen in Montgomery are, as well. We just want to bring some truth and honesty into government.”
Despite his start in the House, Fields said he’s always been interested in taking on a role in the executive branch. If elected, he said he would strive to make Alabama a state that residents can be proud to call home.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’ve always wanted to be in the process of helping people as lieutenant governor,” he said. “I think we need someone who can be there and rightly derive the word of truth in a away this state would be proud of. Alabama is a state of beauty, and diversity, that welcomes people in.”
As he prepares to dive back in to the campaign trail, Fields said he looks forward to meeting citizens across the state and ensuring every voice is heard.
“It will still be challenging to overcome the 2010 election cycle, but I believe people will get excited once again in the political process of voting,” he said. “I believe voting is a right granted to every individual in this state. Everyone has a voice, and my faith tells me that every person is of worth and should be counted.”
‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.