Byrne takes ‘road to reform’ to Troy

Published 10:54 pm Thursday, May 27, 2010

Alabama gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne was greeted by a crowd of supporters in downtown Troy Thursday, as he made a stop on his “Road to Reform” tour.

Byrne, a Republican, has been on tour officially for the last two weeks, making efforts to visit nearly every county in the state, he said. His tour will end Saturday.

Byrne faces Republicans Tim James, Robert Bentley, Roy Moore, Bill Johnson, Charles Taylor and James Potts.

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The winner will compete against the Democratic nominee either Ron Sparks or Artur Davis in November.

As the June 1 primary election date draws near, Byrne told those gathered just why it was critical he be elected to office.

“Over the last several weeks, the most powerful special interest in the state has been running ads trying to lie about me,” Byrne said, referring to the Alabama Education Association who has battled with Byrne when he was the former chancellor of the two-year college system working to clean up corruption. “They know their days are numbered.”

The AEA is a group led by Democratic party leaders, but Byrne said money from the Tim James campaign has contributed to the funding of this organization.

“I threaten everything they stand for. It’s time to release that strangle hold,” Byrne said.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, who opened the ceremony for Byrne, agreed.

“You look at the millions being spent on negative ads against the next governor of Alabama Bradley Byrne — They don’t want to see a man take the state further, and that is itself reason enough to elect Bradley Byrne the next governor of Alabama,” Lunsford said.

In his speech to the crowd, Byrne highlighted four crises the state faces, citing each as a reason to put him in office: high unemployment, budget deficits, public corruption and the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster.

“While we should be dealing with (unemployment), the Legislature spent most of the session dealing with bingo,” Byrne said.

Byrne said the state is looking to face severe budget hardships in the next year, as this budget is held up with federal stimulus funds that will no longer be available.

“People in Montgomery will want to raise your taxes, but in a Byrne administration, there will be no new taxes,” he said. “You have to have someone in as governor who has run state government.”

As the former chancellor of the two-year college system, Byrne said he has experience cutting back budgets.

And, as former college system head, Byrne said he also has experience in another area the state needs to address — cleaning up public corruption.

“We have the largest public corruption investigation in Birmingham, and they are not just looking at part of state government, they are looking at all of it,” Byrne said.

“It is time to put an end to the culture of corruption in Montgomery. Tell Paul Hubbert and AEA we want out government back.”

To stop that “corruption” Byrne said he plans to hold a special legislative session, where he spends five days passing several ethics reform bills: banning double dipping and passed through pork spending; putting an end to PAC to PAC transfers; requiring lobbyists to disclose every penny they spend; mandating annual ethics training; and giving the ethics commission subpoena power.

Byrne said lastly, he plans to make BP pay for every dime will cost to clean up the oil spill and compensate those who have already felt the loss in the seafood industry.

“I have been to 393 places in the state to make public appearances, and everyone is always telling me the same thing,” he said.

“You are simply looking for someone who will stand on principles and not back down. I pledge to you in the next four years if you make me your governor, no matter what they anyone says about me…I will not back down.”