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Yolanda Rochelle Flowers received one of the highest vote counts in the Alabama Democratic Party primary and is in the Democratic primary runoff on June 21. Flowers spoke with 1819 News on Thursday about her campaign to be Alabama’s chief executive.
Flowers, a first-time statewide candidate, told 1819 News that she has learned a lot about politics campaigning across Alabama during the last six months.
“I have learned that you have to get your rest, manage your time, be proactive, manage your money, and be a good listener,” Flowers said. “Another thing I found out is that organizations will hit you up for money. They think because you are a candidate you have plenty of money, but we don’t.”
There was an incident in the primary where the Flowers campaign was cited for not having filed campaign finance reports.
“We thought we were doing it right, but apparently we weren’t,” Flowers said. “I learned that not many people are willing to donate to the cause. They are happy you are running, but they won’t step up and support the campaign. A few have.”
Flowers said that it has been difficult to raise money to get her message out due to a reluctance to donate to Democratic candidates in Alabama during the 2022 election cycle.
“There were times where it was tough with no funding coming in,” Flowers said, but “God always provided. The foundation of the campaign is Bible-based."
With so much attention placed by the mainstream media on the Republican gubernatorial race, Flowers feels the media has sent the message that only a Republican will be the next governor.
“[Not] only the press, but it has leaked over to the public,” Flowers said. “I meet a lot of naysayers. There is a lot of pessimism. A lot of county Democrat clubs are not meeting. Many people are so negative. There are some young people however that are real positive. The Auburn University group and the young folks in Mobile are enthusiastic. I met a young man from Chilton County when we were meeting in Bibb County and only about four people were there, and he was so intent on getting that Chilton County club up and meeting again.
“The Democratic party is asleep. It needs to wake up.”
Flowers' campaign has received little to no support from the corporate world or associations in Montgomery.
“The media has played a part in suppressing the attention that the Democratic primary has gotten – a big part,” Flowers said. “No one has reached out to me from the business community. No big corporations are backing my campaign. A few churches have reached out and helped, nobody else. It has been disheartening.”
Flowers considers herself a pro-life Democrat but wants exceptions to Alabama's abortion law.
“I believe in pro-life but I believe a woman has her rights,” Flowers said. “There should be some exceptions so the woman doesn’t die.
“The legislature has put too much focus on killing rights."
Flowers supports exceptions to Alabama’s law banning abortions for rape and incest.
“If I was impregnated by force, I would not want the child,” Flowers said.
Flowers also cited incest where the brother or the father impregnates a child as young as the age of nine where there needs to be an exception. She said that when she was a child she was sexually assaulted by the son of her babysitter.
“I kept it to myself,” Flowers said. “Men do not understand what women go through.
“To ban abortion is wrong. There are women and girls who are being sex trafficked that get impregnated. There is great cruelty that is implemented on women. I am whole life, the baby as well as the woman.”
Flowers is in favor of enhanced security in schools in response to school shootings like the one that occurred at Uvalde, Texas.
“Yes we do we need [School Resource Officers (SROs)] in every school,” Flowers said. “In addition, police substations should be located within close reaction times to the schools so that [SRO] can get help quickly when he calls for it, and it not take an hour for the police to respond.
“There should be beat cops in every community. There have been some dirty cops that have hurt trust with the community, but we need armed officers” to defend the schools against school shooters.
Flowers said that she also supported hardening the schools so that it is difficult to enter and so that there are barriers in place to prevent someone from using their vehicle to bust the door down to get in.
“Teachers need to be trained for these situations,” Flowers said.
Flowers does not support arming the teachers.
“I know it is going to be costly, but we need to protect our babies,” Flowers said.
Flowers was asked if she supports eliminating the four percent state sales tax on groceries.
“I am, we have so many poor people,” Flowers said. “The tax on food, I am against it. We can replace that with the lottery to fund education.”
Flowers said that she is pleased with her primary performance but needs to raise money in order to get her message out before the primary runoff and will need much more in the general election.
“We need the financial support if I am going to be your bullhorn,” Flowers said.
“I enjoyed my Democratic competitors,” Flowers said of the Democratic primary process. “We formed a great comradery.”
Flowers is a former educator and rehabilitation services professional who spent most of her working career in Tennessee. She is an Alabama native and lives in Woodlawn in Birmingham.
Flowers faces State Sen. Malika Sanders Fortier (Selma) in the Democratic Primary runoff on June 21.
The eventual Democratic nominee will face incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey (R) and Libertarian Dr. Jimmy Blake in the Nov. 8 general election.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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