MEET IVA WILLAMS

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Birmingham native Iva B. Williams III will be a candidate for the Jefferson County Commission District 2 seat in 2010. Williams will formally announce his candidacy Monday in front of the County Courthouse. "I have really had an aspiration to join the Jefferson County Commission for a while and I did not want the challenges to scare me off ," said Williams, 39. "Right now our entire county is facing challenges with regard to the economy. It's time for leaders to step forward and provide new ideas." The District 2 seat is held by Shelia Smoot, who plans to vacate the office to run for Congress. Williams named the preservation of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, community and economic development in the western area of the county and fiscal responsibility with county money as his major issues. Williams said maintaining the hospital is paramount in a community with high numbers of people without private insurance. "That issue is first and foremost with me," he said. "It is even more important with the economy in the shape that it's in." Williams said more attention must be paid to the western area of the county. He said the economic situation is dire with a dilapidated housing stock, no new industries, and a lack of basic amenities. Citizens must travel outside of their communities for both shopping and recreation, he said. "We deserve the same opportunities that are offered to suburban communities," he said. "Challenges will always be there and I don't see anybody on the horizon who's willing to step up to those challenges and I want to be the one." Williams, director of government relations for Waldrep, Stewart & Kendrick law firm, took a leave of absence to run his campaign. "It's going to take that kind of effort to get my message across," he said....

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