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Young launches bid for council president seat

Attorney Warren “Billy” Young – Chairman of the Deacon Board at Historic First Baptist Church, a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha (APA) Southern Region Board of Directors, President of the Delta Pi Lambda Chapter of APA, Vice President of the Chesterfield Club, Charter President of the 100 Black Men of Selma, Vice Chairman of the Selma-Dallas County YMCA Board of Directors, Vice Chairman of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee (DCDEC) and Vice Chairman of the Selma Downtown Redevelopment Board – on Tuesday announced his run for Selma City Council President through an online video.

For Young, the road to Tuesday’s announcement was a long one and began months ago when residents began pushing him to run for office.

“A numerous amount of people here, and people that love Selma, have asked me to seek office,” Young said. “But I would say the thing that pushed me over the edge is when I watched not just what’s going on here in Selma, but what’s going on in this country and the entire world. There are things you say you’re going to wait for, but I believe in the urgency of this moment. Selma can’t wait for people like me and others to step up, Selma needs assistance now.”

Young noted that, along with the internal struggles being faced by the city, the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic and domestic unrest in response to “injustices imposed upon people of color” make this moment different.

“The time is now,” Young said. “There’s no time to wait. We need good, sound leadership now.”

Though Young has never personally run for office, he said that politics are in his veins.

“I’ve been involved with politics pretty much my entire life,” Young said. “The first campaign I participated in was as a kid of six years old when I campaigned for Rev. J.D. Hunter, a member of the Courageous Eight.”

Young remembered working everyday after school on Hunter’s council campaign and said his own run for office represents a “full-circle moment,” as Hunter fought for Black people’s right to vote and now Young, a Black man, is running for office where that fight began.

“That was my first taste of political life,” Young said. “So, this is a full-circle moment for me, because I helped put somebody on the ballot who allowed me to be on the ballot today.”

First and foremost on Young’s list of priorities is ensuring that council meetings, as well as the action taken during those meetings, are in compliance with state law, which includes ensuring that audits are proper, that official documents are signed timely and that an operating budget can be created and stuck to in order to assure that the city is not “living beyond its means.”

“That is my first priority,” Young said. “To make sure that city government governs lawfully.”

Beyond that, Young wants to increase transparency on the council.

“I want to make sure that there is open, honest transparency for the taxpaying citizens of Selma,” Young said. “There needs to be full trust and confidence between the public and our local government.”

While Young notes that there is widespread concern with issues such as trash, potholes and infrastructure – the latter being another of his priorities – he believes that getting city government organized and operating efficiently will lead the way to addressing other problems.

“We have to make sure we have all of those things that a municipality is supposed to provide for its citizens,” Young said. “But in order to get to those things, I’ve got to make sure I get to those things at the top first. Once you get those things, the other things fall into order, but you have to have those things as pillars and foundations to perform those government functions. That’s what we need to do.”