Yolanda Rochelle Flowers, a career educator and rehabilitation services expert in Tennessee, defeated State Sen. Malika Sanders Fortier of Selma in the Democract run-off election Tuesday. Flowers won 55.15% (32,416) of the votes cast. Malika Sanders Fortier received 44.85%, or 26,363 votes.
This was Flowers's first campaign for office. The Birmingham native lives in the Woodlawn community of Birmingham.
“Alabama, we did it! Yolanda Flowers will officially be the Democratic nominee for governor of Alabama,” Flowers's campaign said in a statement on social media.
"Thank you so very much, God Bless and let’s press toward November 8th as we Reconstruct Alabama, together!" Flowers said.
Flowers is the first Black nominee for Governor of a major party in the history of the state of Alabama. This will be the first election in Alabama where both major party gubernatorial nominees are women.
Flowers has been strongly outspoken about her Christian faith and says that her vision for the state is to “reconstruct Alabama.”
Part of that vision is more funding for public education through an education lottery.
"I support the lottery here in the state of Alabama to fund our students' education" said Flowers on her website.
Flowers also supports Medicaid expansion and justice reform. Flowers has spoken out against Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R) plan to spend over $2 billion on prison construction.
"It takes work to come to a solution, and the solution isn't just to build more prisons." Flowers said emphasizing that the state should do more to prepare inmates for life outside of prison in order to reduce recidivism.
Flowers graduated from Woodlawn High School in 1978. She has a bachelor's degree in audiology and a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, both from the University of Tennessee. She also has an associates degree in speech therapy.
Flowers was chosen from a Democratic primary field of six.
A major challenge for Democrats moving forward will be to energize their base. In 2020, Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joseph R. Biden was soundly beaten in Alabama by the then incumbent President Donald J. Trump. Biden garnered only 36.6% of the vote that day, which amounted to 849,624 votes. Only 58,779 Democrats voted in Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff for governor on Tuesday – just 6.9% of the Democratic voters who voted in 2020.
Former Birmingham City Councilman Jimmy Blake is the Libertarian nominee for Governor. Ivey, Flowers, and Blake will be on the Nov.8 general election ballot.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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