Chris Woods, son of civil rights leader Bishop Calvin Woods, has announced his candidacy for Mayor of Birmingham.
Woods, President and CEO of CW Woods Contracting, said his platform centers around “rubber-meets-the-road solutions” and bringing citizens of Birmingham together.
“I’m uniting people from all walks of life, from Democrats, Independents, Republicans, Libertarians, neighborhood leaders and [nonprofit] organizations, to come together to achieve uncommon results,” he said.
The election is Aug. 22. Birmingham Mayor William Bell and Board of Education Member Randall Woodfin are among those who have already announced.
Woods, 54, said his experiences as a student at Parker High School and Auburn University, where he received a degree in education and played on the football team, have shaped his platform, which revolves around reforming the city’s schools. If students are given more opportunities, the city’s crime rate will decrease, he said.
“Ninety percent of the crime committed in this city is committed by young black boys,” he said. “We have to have crime prevention and [understand] the cause of why those young men seem to have no value on life [and] no respect,” he said. “[A]s a young man their age, I was full of dreams and promise [and] so are they. We have to make it our responsibility to let them see themselves. What it’s going to take [is]…revamping the character of education[.]”
Part of Woods’ revitalization plan includes creating a “world class technical training center” to allow teenagers who aren’t college-bound to learn a trade.
“I received a great education,” he said. “I was already a printer by the 11th grade. [There was] area vocation in the schools, and I was working at Hall Printing Service on Saturdays, volunteering [to print] church programs [and] raffle tickets.” Many of his high school classmates have gone on to have successful careers from the trades they learned in school, Woods said.
Woods sued the city in 2013 after being terminated from three major projects. He won a $2.58 million judgment in 2015.
If elected, Woods said he would provide more financial resources to the Birmingham School Board as well as “lock arms” with the board to create a better education system.
Woods’ other component to crime prevention includes retaining more senior police officers and filling employee vacancies within the Birmingham Police Department.
“[We’ve] got to fill those,” he said. “That’s got to be reflected as a priority in the budget. Public safety is first.”
Woods would also like to help black businesses in the city. “I would consider my administration a failure if we don’t have a minimum of 20 people on their way to [becoming] millionaires,” he said.
Other portions of his agenda also include bringing the Birmingham Water Works, back under the leadership of the City of Birmingham, as well as set a two-term limit for the role of Mayor.
“As the Mayor of Birmingham, nobody can stop me from doing that,” he said, adding that a consecutive two-term limit “will alleviate some of this cronyism, in my opinion[.]”