Soon-to-be Mobile City Councilman Josh Woods spoke recently with 1819 News about his hopes for the city's future.
Woods was elected to the District 6 seat following the resignation of Scott Jones in April. Jones was not afraid to speak his mind on controversial issues in Mobile, but Woods said he isn't sure how outspoken he will be.
"I guess that's to be determined," he told 1819 News. "Issues come up all the time. Taking a strong stand or taking a weak stand, I can't really tell you because I don't really know and don't have an issue in front of me, specifically. But what I can tell you is that I'm going to represent every voice in District 6 and that's what we ran on — representing every person, every cul-de-sac, every street. Everybody has the right to be heard and that's what I intend on being is being a voice for District 6."
Woods was inspired to run for council to make a difference and serve people. He also wants to participate in making Mobile a place where people desire to live.
"For years and years, every generation in Mobile, you know, we grow up with folks and they move off to college for their education and they find a career and they never move back to Mobile," he said. "With my three boys, I want that to change. If I can play some small part in one day when my boys have that decision of, 'Where do I start a family? Where do I settle down for my career?' It has to be Mobile. So, that really drives me."
For District 6, Woods plans to hold community meetings and have conversations with the people to ensure their voices are heard.
"I want to be the voice of the people, the voice of everybody across District 6," said Woods. "Because it is their seat, it is our seat. I want to carry their voice, but I also want to play in role in making sure Mobile's momentum continues."
With large corporations operating in Mobile and jobs growing, Woods said he wants to push the city forward by listening, learning and leading. He plans to bring together HOA presidents and representatives from areas that do not have HOAs to ensure concerns are heard. District 6 is around 90% residential, Woods said, and the immediate issues he wants to address are traffic and traffic lights.
Woods said he recognized public safety is important and vowed to support law enforcement and firefighters.
District 6 is expected to grow substantially with the recent annexation of three areas west of Mobile. Woods has already met with the West Mobile Annexation Committee to hear concerns.
During annexation discussions, one group came out against the annexation because of the city's LGBT support. The city has two LGBT liaisons, and the Faith Family Freedom Coalition of Metro Mobile posted billboards opposing annexation because of "its diversity, equity and inclusion policies."
Other residents have come forward opposing LGBT events held in Mobile this year, and some of them addressed the city council. When asked how he would respond to those issues, Woods told 1819 News, "That's in the mayor's purview. That's on the administration's side and that really doesn't have anything to do with council but that's in the mayor's purview and I'll leave it at that."
Woods said the best thing about Mobile is its people and how neighbors look after each other. He thanked the community for their votes and would not take the job lightly.
Woods will be sworn in on Aug. 8 at 10 a.m., just before the council meeting that day.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.