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Givan on AL-2: ‘I am a fighter’

Name: Juandalynn Givan

City of residence: Birmingham

Party: Democrat

Age: 53

Occupation: Lawmaker, attorney 

Education: Undergraduate degree from Miles College; law degree from Miles School of Law.

Previous elected offices or applicable experience: Elected to four terms in the Alabama House starting in 2010; previously worked for Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington Jr. on capital projects and development. 

Why should district residents vote for you on March 5: “The question should not be why should they vote for me, the question should be why would they not vote for me? I am the clear choice for proven leadership in my experience working in several levels of government. My ability to demonstrate my voice, my vision and my leadership in the House of Representatives. … I am a fighter.”


MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, has a little Shih Tzu she loves. Friends of hers have small dogs they adore too.

“But when we’re looking for someone to guard our house, we’re gonna look for a pit bull, we’re going to look for a Rottweiler,” the candidate for Congress in Alabama’s Second District said. “I am a Rottweiler.

“… I am a fighter. It’s well known, it’s well documented.” 

An Alabama House member in the minority party since 2010, votes don’t always go her way. But whatever the issue, Givan makes sure she’s heard.

Now she wants to take her big voice to Congress.

“The people need someone who’s going to fight for them, regardless of the outcome,” the lawyer by trade said. 

Givan said people in the central and south Alabama district want less big government and some priorities that should be simple.

“Education, voting rights, civil rights, human rights, veterans’ rights, social services, clean water, environmental justice, banking reform,” Givan said. “If you look through history, these have been the issues …”

Two months out from the March 5 primary, where Givan is one of 11 Democrats on the ballot, she said she is now getting to work to meet voters. She’s one of several candidates who don’t live in the district, as is allowed by law. If elected, Givan said she may spend some time in Birmingham, “but for the most part, I will live in the district proper.”

“I love the district,” she said. “I’m getting a chance to meet people. I’m getting a chance to see people who look like me but they have different values and belief systems.”

The newly drawn district stretches more than 200 miles – from the Mississippi to Georgia borders – across several rural counties, dips into Mobile County and stretches north to include all of Montgomery County.

Many of the residents have chosen not to live in big cities, Givan said.

“ But do they have issues? Sure,” she said. “Their issues are simple. Farmers want lower gas prices. They want lower prices on feed and exports that come in that they need to manage their farms and their livestock, their agriculture.”

She also said closures of hospitals in rural Alabama are a critical concern. Other hospitals are closing their maternity services.

“We need to get some hospitals opened or reopened in rural Alabama,” she said.

She said she’s spent some time in the parts of the district’s countryside and talking to residents about what they want, including broadband access and water and sewer infrastructure. They want good roads and schools and better care for veterans, she said. 

She said rural areas need a better voice, she doesn’t think residents are treated the same as those in urban areas by the government.

“They’re voices can’t be heard as much because they don’t have the big city mayors, they don’t have the big city commissioners,” she said. “…So as a result, you have people who feel disenfranchised.””

In committee meetings or on the House floor, Givan is known for going toe-to-toe with her Republican colleagues in debates over bills.

“If you bring me a critical race theory bill you want passed … but you don’t know what the Middle Passage was, who’s fault is that?” Givan said about the legislation outlining how race is discussed in education settings and how millions of enslaved people were shipped to the United States.

In the 2019 session, then-Speaker Mac McCutcheon cut off Givan’s mic during a floor discussion on bills that are usually noncontroversial. Givan said she refused “to stay on the plantation” and called her GOP colleagues cowardly. She later apologized for the incident that led to an early adjournment of the House that evening. 

As far as her legislative victories, some of the successful legislation she’s proud of include last year’s Genesis Act, which created certificates of nonviable birth for parents who request them for fetal deaths before 20 weeks of gestation.

Last year, she also worked with Republican colleague Allen Treadaway, R-Morris, to pass a Jefferson County specific bill cracking down on exhibition driving.

She also passed in 2013 legislation making it a crime to fail to report to law enforcement that a child is missing or has died.

If elected to Congress, Givan said she’d be respectful of leadership but she wouldn’t be afraid to speak out when needed.

“For many people, it’s not all about the big victories; it’s the fact that you fought for them,” she said.

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