The Birmingham Times
Seventeen rising Democratic stars – including Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin — will together give the keynote address at the party’s convention on Tuesday, the Democratic National Convention Committee said Sunday.
Woodfin is among a group of upcoming leaders in the party to speak that include Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House of Representatives minority leader and gubernatorial candidate, and an array of mayors; state senators and state representatives.
The keynote spot is generally given to one emerging leader in the party — Barack Obama famously had the slot in 2004, when he was a U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois — but with the virtual convention proceedings limited to two hours each day, officials decided to showcase more people.
The 17 Democrats will jointly give a single speech on Tuesday night’s theme, “Leadership Matters.”
Woodfin endorsed Biden late last year for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination because the vice president “would view mayors as his partners in the campaign and he would view us as partners in the White House,” Woodfin said. “That’s important to me.”
Biden’s success is also important for other Democrats in a crucial election year, said the Birmingham Mayor.
“You need somebody at the top of the ticket who can help down ballot candidates and expand the map nationwide,” he has said. “From all the evidence I’ve seen, Vice President Biden gives us the best chance to do that.”
Earlier this year, Woodfin joined the national Co-Chairs of “HBCU Students for Biden” to discuss Biden’s ‘Lift Every Voice’ initiative, a plan for black America. “In that plan, he made it plain: African-Americans have been dealt the short end of the stick. And when he comes to the middle class, this is a generational issue. One I believe that cannot be fixed overnight,” Woodfin said, … “This is an unfair system that perpetuates debt and poverty in the black community.”
The vice president wants to make public colleges and universities tuition free for families with income below $125,000, Woodfin said.
“He also looks to invest more than $70 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). But I think there’s some other things we need to talk about. He also wants to provide high quality universal pre-K for every three and four-year-olds in our country, so that every child gets out to a good start. A good start is what this is all about,” said the mayor.
Convention chief executive officer Joe Solmonese said in a statement, “The convention keynote has always been the bellwether for the future of our party and our nation, and when Americans tune in next week they’ll find the smart, steady leadership we need to meet this critical moment.”
On Monday, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones will be among the speakers at the Convention and is expected to deliver brief remarks.
Biden endorsed Jones’ candidacy prior to the Democratic Senate primary in 2017, when Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore; and Jones endorsed Biden’s candidacy for president soon after Biden announced he was entering the race for president.
Updated at 8:53 a.m. on 8/17/2020.