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James brings his GOP gubernatorial campaign to Troy

Features Editor

Tim James, a Republican seeking his party’s nomination for governor, said he’s not surprised U.S. Rep. Bob Riley received the endorsement of the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association last week.

"I know why," said James, whose campaign trail came through Troy on Tuesday, "because he’s a big chicken."

The 39-year-old Greenville businessman and son of former two-term governor Fob James sandwiched a buffet breakfast at Julia’s Restaurant between early morning appearances on a WTBF Radio call-in show and Channel 52’s Today in LA.

According to James, Riley has cancelled three scheduled debates this week alone. "He knows he’s not going to beat me head-to-head," said James of the congressman.

Lt. Gov. Steve Windom is also a candidate for the GOP’s nomination.

Right now, said James, the public has an "image" associated with all three candidates. He admits as much when he talks about his father.

"These people don’t know me. They know my daddy," he said. "But this election’s going to be won in the last three weeks. Images are going to move off to the side. There’s going to be two defining issues in this primary; a question of re-writing the constitution and raising taxes."

James is outspoken about his disagreement toward a Constitutional Convention and total overhaul of the 101-year-old document.

"People say it’s too long," he said. "But no one can name one way in which the Alabama constitution has negatively affected their lives. It’s just something for newspapers like the Birmingham News and Montgomery Advertiser to write about on their editorial pages. The constitution is what keeps gambling and casinos out of Alabama."

Former Coffee County senator Dwight Adams said he supports James because of his adamant opposition to the re-writing of the state constitution.

"He was the only candidate to speak out against constitutional reform," said Adams.

James labels himself a conservative candidate and said his platform is built on education, first, and helping the growth of small businesses throughout the state.

"The only way you’re going to grow in the State of Alabama is with small business," he said. "The Hyundai plant is a good thing. But only for 10 or 12 counties. I believe we need to take an aggressive approach toward creating incentives for small businesses so we can experience horizontal growth in every county."

Fob James was unseated by Gov. Don Siegleman in 1998 largely because of his opposition to the lottery yet when the bill was delivered to the people one year later it was voted down. And while conservative, James isn’t against the establishment of a state-wide lottery for education.

If that’s what the people of Alabama want.

However, he points to one interesting negative associated with a neighboring state’s lottery.

"The poorest people in the state of Georgia are funding the upper middle class’s way through college," he said. "Because of the lottery."

James announced his candidacy in July, 2001. Like his father, he attended Auburn University where he played football, receiving his degree in finance in 1985. He is the managing partner of the Baldwin County Bridge Company, LLC, which was responsible for the building of the Foley Beach Express. The $36 million project created a safer and faster route to the Alabama Gulf Coast.