By Barnett Wright
The Birmingham Times
Travis Hendrix, a sergeant in the Birmingham Police Department, who secured a number of high-profile endorsements and Sylvia Swayne, a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee, are headed to a Oct. 24 runoff in a special election for the House District 55 seat.
According to unofficial results on Tuesday with 96.77 percent counted, Hendrix received 670 votes or 27.91 while Swayne received 515 votes or 21.45 percent in a crowded race with seven candidates.
District 55 encompasses parts of Birmingham, including UAB/Southside, the West End, and Fairfield.
Swayne, if elected, would be the first transgender representative elected to the Alabama House.
With a career in law enforcement, Hendrix, 40, endorsed by Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Rep. Anthony Daniels, Alabama House Democratic Leader, has said he hopes to leverage his experience to advocate for more resources, as well as build relationships with community leaders to establish preventative programs for young people, “so they can continue to be successful.”
Aside from legislation to make people “at least” feel safe, he would advocate for more resources in schools so that teachers and students can continue to be successful.
“All I’m trying to do is just be a mentor and be a leader for our youth,” he said, “and also bring back some programs and resources that that can be preventative, that we can continue to educate our kids on the importance of gun safety and also valuing their lives because right now, we’ve got a lot of kids that really don’t value their lives.”
Swayne, 26, has said she can offer a bold and unique perspective as the only candidate in her 20s. She doesn’t see this as a win for her or even the greater LGBTQ community, but for all Alabamians who can see the value of having a trans legislator having a seat at the table she told the Alabama Reporter.
Swayne said she would make workforce development and Medicaid expansion a priority, and that the state is not providing enough workforce development in trade fields. People also don’t have adequate transportation to get to work or proper healthcare, which impacts their ability to work.
“Every Alabamian deserves equal access to quality health care,” she said. “Alabama is leaving money on the table by refusing to expand Medicaid, and I’ll do everything I can as representative of District 55 to encourage the governor and my fellow legislators to make the common sense decision to expand Medicaid.”
The seat became vacant after Rep. Fred Plump, D-Fairfield, resigned in May after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Unofficial results for the House 55 District Seat
Travis Hendrix. . . . . . . . 670 27.91
Sylvia Swayne. . . . . . .. . 515 21.45
Phyllis E. Oden-Jones . . . . 485 20.20
Cara McClure . . . . . . . . 364 15.16
Ves Marable . . . . . . . . . 180 7.50
Kenneth Coachman . . . . 106 4.41
Antwon Bernard Womack . 81 3.37
This story has been updated at 11:06 a.m. on 9/27/2023.