- Associated Press - Saturday, May 31, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - With no candidates on the Republican side, the winner of the Democratic primary for the 7th congressional district on Tuesday is all but assured of getting to Washington.

Incumbent congresswoman Terri Sewell is running for a third term in the 7th district, the only congressional district in Alabama with a majority black population. Sewell faces Tamara Harris Johnson, a former attorney for the city of Birmingham.

Sewell grew up in Selma where she was the first black valedictorian at Selma High School. She said she’s “a proud product of the district,” which stretches across central Alabama and includes parts of Birmingham and Montgomery.

Sewell, 49, said during her two terms in office that she has brought jobs and other improvements into the district.

She said she will continue efforts to expand Medicaid, which she said would cause “so many to benefit.”



She said in the House she has fought for programs to benefit veterans and children and will continue those efforts if elected to another term.

She said she also want to “put the teeth” back into the Voting Rights Act, saying the landmark legislation was diluted by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“We can’t be in the business of restricting the right to vote,” Sewell said.

Sewell said she will continue efforts to bring new jobs into the district, pointing out recent success in bringing a new business to Wilcox County.

Johnson says she wants to do more to help farmers in the heavily rural district and criticized Sewell for not doing enough.

“The 7th district is one of the poorest districts in the country,” Johnson said. She also said not enough is being done to help farmers in the mostly rural district.

“I am going to seek to get on the agriculture committee because agriculture is vital to the district. I don’t see how anyone can represent the district and not represent farmers,” Johnson said.

This is Johnson’s second run for elected office. Johnson, a lawyer in private practice in Birmingham, was defeated in 2012 in a race for a Jefferson County circuit judgeship.

Johnson said some of Sewell’s plans to reduce unemployment have not been enough, like holding sessions to teach people how to prepare resumes.

“You can go online to learn how to write resumes,” Johnson said.

Johnson declined to give her age, saying it wasn’t relevant.

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