Sanders plans to reclaim Senate District 23

Published 2:50 pm Monday, June 20, 2022

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Hank Sanders made the choice last minute in 2018 to not run for reelection of Alabama Senate District 23, a position he held for 35 years. Sanders entered the 2022 Senate race to reclaim his old seat, held by his daughter, Malika Sanders-Fortier, for the current four-year term.

Sanders is currently in a run-off with newcomer Robert Stewart, who is looking to add a fresh perspective to the problems faced in district 23. Sanders is firing back, putting his experience as the backbone of his re-election campaign.

“I think that the experience I have will let me hit the ground running,” Sanders said. “I won’t have to spend years trying to learn or even a year or months trying to learn. I will be able to hit the ground running.”

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Sanders told Alabama Political Reporter in 2018 that he thought he would serve one more term. “I qualified to run in January (2018),” Sanders said. “However, when I took off 24 hours for our 48th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, I began to realize what a heavy load I carry.”

Sanders said he feels his services are needed. When asked how his wife feels about him returning to office, Sanders said he hopes she will understand. “I am sure she would prefer I not run. I am sure she will understand,” he said.

“These are very difficult times for the state of Alabama, in fact for the country,” Sanders said. “I feel like my services are needed. Sometimes you have to go forth and serve even if you would rather do something else.”

Helping to increase funding through altering how funding was calculated and dispensed in rural counties and rural school systems in the 90s is an accomplishment Sanders feels is one of the highlights of his career.

“The biggest accomplishment I have made is one that continues every year, and many people do not know about it,” Sanders said. “This formula change allowed smaller schools to get a fairer shake. That means every year that Lowndes gets more than they would have gotten. That means every year Butler gets more than they would have gotten, and Dallas and Selma. That has more impact than anything.”

Sanders and his wife, Faya Ora Rose Toure, have a lawfirm in Selma. He and his wife have built several community institutions in the Black Belt region.

When asked about the steady decline in Selma’s Population, Sanders said violence is a major factor.

“The population in rural areas are decreasing steadily and is decreasing in the Black Belt at a faster rate,” he said. “We need to continue to bring in new industries. If there is work to do, people stay. If there is not work to do, then people will leave. The other thing we need to do is work on the violence. That is not something a senator can do by himself or by herself. That is something that you have to work with the cities and the counties with because they are on the front lines. We have to support them and provide resources.”

Sanders opponent won Dallas County, Sanders home county, during last month’s election. Sanders isn’t worried about the run-off, however.

“The sheriff’s race had an impact on all the races. I think we will do very well in this run-off,” Sanders said.

The run-off election will be held on June 21, 2022. Mark your calendars and make your voice heard.