Community Focused: Support state, local government
By Rep. Bradley Byrne
Last week, I was honored to host some of our local mayors, city councilmembers and city officials from southwest Alabama in Washington to hear about what they do every day for our communities.
I am a firm believer that the best people to run our towns and our communities are not the bureaucrats in Washington or the federal government. The best people to do that are the people who live, work, and play in the same place as their neighbors they represent. That is why I come home to southwest Alabama every weekend, to be in touch with the people I serve in Washington.
Everyone wants a great quality of life. Part of that comes down to having good roads and bridges, having high-quality schools, knowing that the fire department, police, EMS and other first responders will be there when we call, and countless other things that happen on a local level.
The federal government is not the best place to regulate those things. Heavy handed government mandates and rules that impose “we know best” policies on our local communities don’t work. What works in Robertsdale Brewton, or Chatom might not work in Nashville, Boston, or Anchorage.
One of the things that has always worked best is to have a strong partnership between our local, state, and federal officials. My mission has always been to assist our local leaders on projects when they need our help, but it is not my place to tell our local mayors how to do their job or what will be best for their community. I want to be a part of their team.
This teamwork approach has worked incredibly well when it comes to bringing new jobs to our area. When a prospective business is looking at locating in a new place, they want to know that officials at every level of government are willing to work with them to support their business and their employees.
A good example of this is saving our rural hospitals. In most places, these hospitals are the bedrock of a community. No major business will locate in a town that doesn’t have a hospital. So, that’s why I have been working with our local and state officials to do everything in my power to save our rural hospitals from closing. But, this requires a total team approach from all levels of government.
Another prime example of giving more power back to the local level is Alabama’s Red Snapper recreational fishing season.
In years past, the federal government has put stringent regulations on Gulf Coast fishing that has ended up hurting local fishermen. Those of us in Alabama best understand Alabama issues, and after years of continuous advocating, this year we received great news that the 2019 Red Snapper season for recreational fishermen will take place on three-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) from June 1st through July 28th, including July 4th.
As I have said repeatedly, this issue is about more than just fishing. A full Red Snapper season helps boost our coastal economies due to everything from fuel sales to hotel and condo rentals. We must continue pushing for greater state control over our fisheries.
Fixing our Red Snapper season wasn’t done by just one person. From the city councils to the state department of conservation to the halls of Congress, it took a total team effort to make a positive impact for our residents.
As long as I have the honor of representing Alabama, I promise to always be a part of the team to make life better for people in our communities. I am dedicated to doing what is best for Alabama through policies that give back to, not take from, our communities.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.