Bradley Byrne
Bradley Byrne

This article continues an ongoing series of articles where BamaPolitics.com will ask questions of the candidates running for federal office in 2020. These articles are designed to give our readers an introduction to each candidate and give you a better understanding of why they are running.  We also wanted to ask questions, that are not a part of their regular stump speech or talking points. Let us know what you think and let us know if there are questions you have you would like to see answered by reaching out on our BamaPolitics social media or my personal Twitter account @dpreston2020.

Bradley Byrne is the current Representative from Alabama’s First Congressional District.  In his District, he represents Southwest Alabama which includes Mobile County, Baldwin County, Washington County, Escambia County, and parts of Monroe County and Clarke County. Byrne has served in this office since 2013. Before serving in Congress, Byrne served as a State School Board member, a State Senator from Baldwin County and Chancellor of the state’s two-year community college system.  Byrne was born and raised in the Mobile area and has lived there all of his life. 

Why do you want to run for the United States Senate and put your family through the riggers and the emotional and physical stress of a campaign?

Campaigns aren’t easy, but this election is critically important for our state. I’ve always been a fighter, and it is something that runs in my family. My granddad ran for sheriff of Mobile County many years ago against a corrupt group known as “The Ring.” When I ran our two-year college system, I made a bunch of enemies when I took on the corruption in the system, helped send crooks to jail, and turned the system around. So, I understand that doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it is critically important we elect a Senator who is going to fight for Alabama and our values every single day. My family is no stranger to campaigns or an election cycle, but they understand just how important it is to have a conservative fighter representing Alabama. It is worth it to them, and it is worth it to me.

What can you do as a Senator to help promote jobs and ensure that the people of Alabama are trained for those jobs in not only the burgeoning Aerospace cluster in Mobile surrounding the Airbus manufacturing facilities, but also the aerospace cluster around Huntsville?

Alabama’s economy continues to boom, but we need to ensure we have the trained workforce to keep the growth going. This means a continued investment in our two-year colleges and career/technical education in high school. Not all of our students need a four-year degree to be successful, especially in today’s economy. I know we are seeing great progress in our larger cities, but I want to make sure that the economic growth is also helping our rural areas. That means we need better schools, expanded access to broadband in rural areas, and a commitment to saving our rural hospitals. So while we need to keep up the progress in places like Huntsville and Mobile, we need to make sure we are also showing attention to rural areas across Alabama.

President Trump and his administration recently announced tariffs on 4 billion dollars worth of new products from Europe, with a bulk of those tariffs coming on Airbus products, do you support these tariffs on Airbus? What could you do as a Senator to support or oppose those tariffs?

Alabama’s workers are the best in the world, so it is no surprise Airbus chose Mobile to build their first-class airplanes. I’m proud to stand with the Trump Administration as it works to protect American jobs, and I’ll continue to work with President Trump to advocate for our Alabama workers. We cannot allow other countries to take advantage of our workers here in America.

Seeing that the Senate has done away with earmarks, and you have shown a great aptitude in working through the federal government bureaucracy to get things accomplished, as you did with local control of the red snapper season, what can you do as a Senator to help secure more federal funding for the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project?

I’m proud we have been able to secure a $125 million grant from the federal Department of Transportation to help build the new I-10 Bridge, and I am going to keep pushing for additional funding every chance we can. Furthermore, federal funding can come from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). GOMESA money is funding Alabama receives for our offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf. My suggestion is that ALDOT bond the GOMESA money to increase its worth. That way more money would be available to help offset the cost of the bridge. But when it comes to that project, we must find a way to get the cost of the project back down. When I started working on the I-10 project, the cost was around $850 million. Somehow it has now ballooned to over $2 billion. That isn’t acceptable, and we need to get the costs back down to something reasonable to make it easier to secure federal funding and to prevent Alabamians from having to pay a toll simply to get to work. I am a big believer in teamwork, so I am going to keep working with officials at the state, local, and federal level to get the costs under control, stop the toll, and still make the project a reality.

What one piece of legislation would you introduce, sponsor, co-sponsor, or work to push through the Senate as his first objective of elected to the United States Senate from Alabama?

Based off what I am hearing from people in Alabama and what I have seen firsthand at the southern border, we must do something about our broken immigration system. That must start with border security and closing the ridiculous loopholes that allow people to game the system. Migrants are encouraged to cross our border and give themselves up to law enforcement. After arrest, migrants claiming asylum are eventually permitted entrance into the country while their claims are processed. The vast majority never show up for their court date and remain free inside the United States. Only a few months ago, a Mobile teacher was killed in a car crash by an illegal immigrant minor who had falsely claimed asylum but never showed at his court date to avoid deportation. This is a matter of both national security and the personal safety of every Alabama family. So, my first priority will be to push through real border security that will keep the American people safe, close the loopholes, and finally secure our border. Then, we can look at other reforms to our immigration system, but we can’t do that until the border is secure.

David Preston
David is a small business owner and contributing columnist to BamaPolitics.com. He attended the University of South Alabama and studied political science. He ran for his first and only political office in the city of Daphne, Alabama for city council where he lost by less than 200 votes to a sitting incumbent. David has a passion for all levels of politics, aviation, business development and recruitment, history (his dad drug him to Civil War battlefield for Summer vacation instead of Disney world and six flags) and the Mobile region.