MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones is the first prominent Democrat to join the Alabama race for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Jones in a statement Wednesday says a divided nation and state need “more voices of reason who want more dialogues than monologues.”

He is perhaps best known for prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four girls. Jones was U.S. attorney from 1997 to 2001.

The party primaries for the Senate seat will be Aug. 15. The general election will be Dec. 12

The Senate seat is currently held by Republican Luther Strange, who was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley.