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Clinton Woods and Crystal Smitherman selected to fill vacant Council seats

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Crystal Smitherman (left) and Clinton Woods are the two newest members voted to the Birmingham City Council. Woods will serve District 1 and Smitherman will serve District 6. (Erica Wright Photos, The Birmingham Times)
By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday selected Clinton Woods to fill the vacant District 1 seat to replace Lashunda Scales and Crystal Smitherman to fill the vacant District 6 seat to replace Sheila Tyson.

Scales and Tyson were sworn in last month as Jefferson County Commissioners.

The City Council voted 4-3 for Woods and unanimously for Smitherman following interviews – after the panel went into recess — with six finalists, three for each seat.

Smitherman and Woods will be sworn in at the council meeting on Wednesday, January 2.

District 1

Clinton Woods sits on his seat on the dais.Woods was voted as the new councilor for District 1 by the Birmingham City Council. (Erica Wright Photos, The Birmingham Times)

Woods secured the votes of Councilors Hunter Williams, Wardine Alexander, John Hilliard and William Parker while Council President Valerie Abbott and councilors Steven Hoyt and Darrell O’Quinn voted for Brandon McCray.

“Regardless of what the vote turned out to be, I’m ready to work with each and every one of you,” said Woods, who served as campaign manager for Jefferson County Sheriff-elect Mark Pettway and is a state licensed commercial general contractor and a project management professional.

“I want to say congratulations to you… and I say to you continue to push forward and I look forward to working with you in the community and here at the City Council,” said Hilliard.

Woods said he has three areas of focus in District 1.

“Number one is getting business back into the area . . . we have to come up with some creative solutions to bring back businesses . . . invest in our youth, our kids and make sure we have programs to engage them especially from the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. after school and we want to make sure we focus on public safety,” he said.

Woods is also son of businessman Chris Woods, who made an unsuccessful run for Birmingham mayor in 2017.

District 6

Crystal Smitherman sits on her seat on the dais. Smitherman was voted as the new councilor for District 6 by the Birmingham City Council. (Erica Wright Photos, The Birmingham Times)

Smitherman, at age 25, will now be the youngest member on the City Council. Hunter Williams was previously the youngest member on the council at age 31. Smitherman is the daughter of former Birmingham City Council President and current Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Carole Smitherman and Alabama State Senator Rodger Smitherman, who were both present at Tuesday’s meeting.

She is currently in her last year of law school at the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa.

Smitherman said she is looking forward to following in her mother’s footsteps and serving residents in District 6.

“I feel like it’s full circle to look at my mom and see what she did and learn from her guidance and be able to take those principles and values that she has given me and to be able to sit on the City Council and just continue her legacy,” she said.

Councilor Alexander congratulated both Woods and Smitherman, saying, “I’m so happy now, I’m no longer the newest kid on the block, so I welcome you to join us and I echo the sentiments of my fellow council members that you did not make this an easy task for us, and we did have some very good and capable people out there . . . we’re very happy to select you, so I thank you and I look forward to you joining us.”

-This story was updated on December 19, 2018 at 10:35 a.m. to correct Councilor Hunter Williams age as 31 and not 30.