Jefferson County set for arrival of two new district attorneys
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. —
Alabama is seen as a red state, but there is a bright blue dot right over Jefferson County. After this week's election, the county has only two republican judges out of 39. Plus, the two republican district attorneys in Alabama's largest county are on the way out unless a recount changes the outcome.
The newcomers are Lynneice Olive-Washington and Charles Henderson. She's a presiding judge in Bessemer and will be the District Attorney for the Bessemer cut-off. He's an attorney with a diverse background who was elected to be the District Attorney for the Birmingham district.
Signs all over Jefferson county prove the seats for District Attorney in the Bessemer cut-off and in Birmingham sparked competition.
Henderson won the race for Birmingham defeating incumbent Brandon Falls.
"I'm just an ol' country boy. A blue collar lawyer is what I call myself," said Henderson.
Olive-Washington is the winner of the race in the Bessemer cut-off.
"I am a product of Birmingham city schools. I lived in Birmingham. I graduated from Parker High School and Auburn University at Montgomery and went to Miles College School of Law," added Olive-Washington.
Fifty-eight percent of Jefferson County voters marked their ballots Tuesday as a straight ticket for democrats. The votes were enough to give the two democratic candidates for district attorney wins for the first time in 32 years.
Olive-Washington is the presiding judge for Bessemer's municipal court. She knew, since elementary school, she wanted be a lawyer. As d-a, she says she will put special attention on violent crime, but use her experience as a prosecutor, family court lawyer and judge to focus on all crime.
"That is important to you, so what's important to you is important to the DA's office," added Olive-Washington.
Henderson is an attorney with 12 years of law enforcement experience from the county to the state level. He's also a licensed educator. He too expects to address violent crime.
"You can have the best school systems, you can have the best parks and recreation, but if your neighborhoods are not safe, people aren't going to move into them," added Henderson.
Olive-Washington and Henderson expect to take oaths of office in January.
A recount is underway for the ballots cast in the race between Olive-Washington and Veitch. The difference between the two is only 223 votes. The law requires an automatic recount with such a small difference. Veitch told ABC 33/40 he'll concede and work with Olive Washington on a transition if the recount ends in her favor.
A win for her means she'll be the first black and female district attorney in Jefferson County.