Sessions is the best pick for U.S. AG

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2016

By Rep. Bradley Byrne

I have known Jeff Sessions for almost 40 years, and I have always considered him to be a person of the highest level of integrity, so I could not have been happier with the recent announcement that he has been selected to serve as the next U.S. Attorney General under President-elect Donald Trump.

Sessions is the perfect pick for this critical role. His time as a U.S. Attorney, service as Alabama’s Attorney General and time on the Senate Judiciary Committee give him the experience he needs to take on this tough job.

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As attorney general, Sessions will be the highest law enforcement official in the United States and will oversee the Department of Justice. He will be responsible for ensuring the law is upheld and followed throughout our country.

While I know his legal experience and steadfast defense of the rule of law will make him a perfect fit, I also believe his career has been shaped by his humble roots in southwest Alabama.

Sessions grew up in the Hybart community, near the Monroe and Wilcox county line. After attending school at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Sessions obtained a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1973.

I got to know Sessions when he moved to Mobile to practice law. As a young lawyer in Mobile, I quickly realized what an asset Sessions would be to our local community. He served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama before being nominated by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District, a position he held for 12 years.

He does not get nearly the credit he deserves for cleaning up corruption in Mobile County during his time as U.S. Attorney. In the 1980s, both city and county government in Mobile were riddled with corruption. Sessions showed great courage by standing up to those powerful individuals and sending over half a dozen people to jail.

Without his willingness to stand up for the law and root out corruption, I am not sure our area would be where we are today. Having a competent, ethical local government is a critical component when it comes to recruiting new businesses.

Senator Sessions would go on to be elected attorney general of Alabama in 1994. He was one of the first Republicans to be elected statewide in Alabama since reconstruction, and he played a critical role in making Republicans more relevant in state politics.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, where he has served ever since. While in the Senate, he has been a key leader on the Judiciary Committee, where he has advocated for judges who enforce the Constitution and for policies that reduce the size of the federal government.

Sessions also has a clear record on civil rights issues, despite some in the liberal media attempting to distort his record. As a U.S. Attorney, he filed several cases to desegregate schools in Alabama, and he also oversaw the successful conviction of a KKK leader for killing a black teenager. This successful case helped destroy the KKK in Alabama.

Given his experience, track record and professionalism, I expect Sessions will be confirmed by the Senate. He has served in the Senate for 20 years now, and his colleagues know him personally. Even though they may not agree with him on every political issue, they know he is a good man.

Sessions is the perfect pick to be the next U.S. Attorney General, and I know he will continue to make southwest Alabama proud.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.