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Sen. Mitchell kicks off campaign at Harbin CenterBy Regina Grayson

With a huge crowd of over 300, and bright decorations of yellow and black, Sen. Wendell Mitchell kicked off his senate campaign last Thursday evening at the Tom Harbin Ag Center in Luverne.

Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue welcomed everyone to the evening’s festivities, saying that it was a &uot;very special night for a very special man.&uot;

Sen. Mitchell said that he could not &uot;express his heartfelt appreciation for all of you being here tonight.&uot;

&uot;In 1974, we kicked off my first campaign,&uot; Mitchell added. &uot;It seems just like yesterday when we started.&uot;

&uot;Your support has encouraged me all these years.&uot;

Mitchell was first elected in 1974, and has served for six terms since that time. From 1978 until 1982, he did not run for senator because he ran for Congress.

Mitchell expressed his disagreement with the negative political advertisements he had seen in the recent races.

&uot;I’ve had 16 opponents over the years,&uot; he said.

&uot;I have been against all of these false, negative innuendos about my peers in this race….I have not cut one negative ad against my opponent.&uot;

Mitchell’s opponent in Nov.’s election is Joan Reynolds of Greenville.

&uot;You know that I do not play party politics,&uot; he said. &uot;I try to serve everyone equally.&uot;

Mitchell said that he appreciated the help and support he had received from everyone.

&uot;I am overwhelmed at this wonderful crowd here tonight,&uot; he concluded. &uot;I will always be grateful to you, to my family and friends, and to my heavenly Father.&uot;

Luverne School Principal Earl Franks said that he was a &uot;Wendell Mitchell man any way you look at it.&uot;

&uot;I’m a man for the children,&uot; Franks said. &uot;So is Sen. Mitchell. He has helped us with everything from science labs to uniforms,….anything we’ve asked him for.&uot;

Henry Guy Edwards of Luverne told the crowd that Mitchell had been a friend and business associate &uot;for many years.&uot;

&uot;I worked for Oxford Industries for over 42 years,&uot; Edwards said. &uot;Sen. Mitchell was always more than willing to help us at any time.&uot;

&uot;Twenty-five to 30 years from now, when he decides not to run again, we may not have a state senator who knows where Luverne and Crenshaw County even are,&uot; Edwards said.

Helen Saffold Darby of Luverne said that Mitchell was always &uot;accessible.&uot;

&uot;He will return a call even when he thinks you want something,&uot; she said, laughing. &uot;There are a lot of politicians you won’t see until it’s time for elections, but we see him all the time….and, he comes bearing gifts.&uot;

Darby said that if the senator could not do something for someone, he was

&uot;man enough to say he couldn’t do it, but he would at least look into it.&uot;

&uot;If he wins, we win,&uot; Darby said. &uot;If he loses, we all lose.&uot;

The huge crowd enjoyed a delicious fare of barbeque, baked beans, potato salad, rolls and vanilla cake with yellow and white icing.