Riley stops in Troy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Sports Editor

Four years ago, following Don Siegleman’s succesful bid for governor, U.S. Rep. Bob Riley said several of his fellow republicans approached him with hopes the congressman from Ashland would seek his party’s nomination for the state’s highest office come 2002.

"One of them was Steve Windom," Riley told attendents of a campaign fund raiser held at the Pike County Cattlemen’s Complex on Monday night.

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The comment drew laughter from the crowd of over 100 sense the current Lt. Gov. recently released a television ad, aimed at Riley, concerning the alleged purchase of stocks which Riley’s congressional committee oversees.

Riley has called the ad "full of flat-out lies" and promised to "restore some legitmacy and credibilty to Montgomery" should he become the state’s next governor.

"If you’ll help me do it," he told his audience. "I promise we’ll do a world class thing. The last thing I want to do is to go to Montgomery and warm a chair for four years."

Riley spoke of "looking across state lines" to help reinvent the state’s educational, transportation and economical systems, although he didn’t single out one as more important then the other.

"That’s my problem," he said. "You have to take them one at a time and you have to do an absolute, comprehensive reform of all of them. We have disfunctional systems.

Until we realize that … nothing’s going to change. For us to sit here and say ‘well, we’ve always done it like this, it’ll eventually work out’… it won’t."

Riley’s idea is to inherit "models" of programs that do work from other states.

"Other states figured these problems out years ago," he said.

"We can bring these models down here and plug them in."

Riley started his career in politics at the age of 52 in 1996 when he was elected to congress. He served three terms and is a strong believer in term limits.

"I don’t think our founding fathers ever envisioned a professional politician," he said.

Riley refers to himself as a "non-political politician" and friends like K.T. Cole of A.G. Edwards and Sons Inc. agree.

"Bob Riley is a plainspoken individual and he really believes that he can do the job," said Cole prior to introducing Riley at the fund raiser.

"We have a chance to put someone honest and sincere in the governor’s office."