Politics for breakfast

Fighting corruption in Montgomery is the key to solving many of Alabama’s issues over the next several years, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne said during a July 8 campaign stop in Pelham.

Byrne met with about 20 supporters, Shelby County officials and mayors while having breakfast at Fran’s Restaurant on U.S. 31.

During the campaign stop, which was part of Byrne’s “Moving Alabama Forward” bus tour, Byrne said he planned to fight the “culture of corruption” in Montgomery if elected.

“The biggest crisis facing our state right now is the corruption,” Byrne said. “Until we clean up the corruption, we won’t be able to clean up the other crises in the state.

“There is a culture of corruption in Montgomery,” Byrne added. “Just because we cleaned up the two-year college system doesn’t mean all of the corruption is gone.”

If elected, Byrne said he plans to call a special legislative session the day after his inauguration to consider several ethics reform bills.

Byrne also said the next governor will have to battle state unemployment, work to set the state’s budgets and deal with the effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“We are going to focus like a laser on our economy,” Byrne said. “If our legislators put the same energy into economic development as they did bingo last year, we would have a very good economy.”

Byrne, a Baldwin County native, said he has seen the effects the oil spill has had on South Alabama residents.

“It is sad what (the oil spill) has done to a whole way of life down there,” Byrne said. “BP has failed us, and our federal government has failed us.

“Our governor now, Bob Riley, is doing a good job,” Byrne added. “But the next governor is going to have to step up and do a really good job.”

Because Byrne is facing fellow Republican Dr. Robert Bentley, a Columbiana native, in a July 13 runoff, he urged everyone at the meeting to cast their ballots next week.

“I like Robert Bentley. He is a good man,” Byrne said. “But he has aligned himself with the Democratic union bosses who have been holding this state back.

“In a runoff, turnout is everything,” Byrne added. “We will move this state forward, and make Alabama the great state it is meant to be.”