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Byrne visits Atmore

By By Adam Prestridge
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne said he would focus quickly on the state’s fiscal problems if elected a year from now.
In an interview prior to a meet and greet at David’s Catfish House in Atmore, Byrne “stood his ground” when it comes to his opposition to gambling, but said he did not fully understand the category in which the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ casino near Atmore falls.
Byrne, the former chancellor of the state’s two-year college system, said that all statistics he’s reviewed on gambling revenues prove that they are down and he believes there should be a “more stable means” of funding for education.
Byrne also credited the voters in Escambia County with his first political victory.
Byrne, who most recently was appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education in May 2007 as Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, to serve as the chief executive officer of Alabama’s two-year college system, believes his experience in education will be a plus entering next year’s campaign season. In fact, he has many changes he would like to see in order to improve the state’s educational system.
Byrne also said he would seek changes in tenure law.
With that said, Byrne believes teachers that go the extra mile should be rewarded with merit pay.
In addition, Byrne agrees with term-limited Gov. Bob Riley that a charter school law is needed.
Political Ethics
As chancellor of the two-year college system, Byrne dealt with much corruption as he took over and virtually “cleaned house.” He said that would also be the case to an extent in Montgomery.
Byrne added that his first task if elected to office would be to call the Legislature into special session to deal with the state ethics bills.
Industrial growth
With Alabama in the running for Northrop Grumman’s tanker contract for the United State’s Air Force and ThyssenKrupp steel mill preparing for its opening in Calvert, Byrne is optimistic about the state’s industrial future.
Though Byrne sees many opportunities for the state’s beaches with tourism and its future in biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals, he believes the state’s leaders should stay focused on its current assets.
Gambling
Byrne “stood his ground” when it came to the issue of gambling in the State of Alabama as an opponent of gaming and an education lottery.
As for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ current 17-story casino and hotel, Wind Creek, Byrne said it falls in a different category, one he does not completely understand.