Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

ALABAMA's 1st DISTRICT

Byrne Moves to Overturn OSHA’s Unlawful Power Grab

2017/02/21

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, today introduced a resolution of disapproval (H. J. Res 83) under the Congressional Review Act to overturn an unlawful power grab by the Obama administration and reject a failed approach to workplace safety. The resolution would block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) unlawful “Volks” rule from taking effect and encourage a more proactive approach to worker health and safety policies.

Byrne said: “Every worker deserves safe and healthy working conditions, and bad actors who put hardworking men and women in harm’s way must be held accountable. That’s why Republicans have consistently called on OSHA to improve its enforcement efforts and collaborate with employers to address gaps in safety. 

“Unfortunately, the Obama administration consistently doubled down on failed, punitive policies that do more to tie small businesses in red tape than protect workers. With this rule, OSHA rewrote federal law while doing nothing to improve worker health and safety. Congress must reject this unlawful power grab and encourage the agency to adopt the responsible, proactive safety approach that America's workers deserve.”

 

BACKGROUND: Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), employers are required to record and maintain a log of workplace injuries and illnesses that occur during a five-year span. While OSHA inspectors have long used this information to enhance health and safety protections in America’s jobsites, the law explicitly says that employers can only be cited for record-keeping violations within a six-month time period. Yet during the waning days of the Obama administration, OSHA rewrote the law through regulatory fiat. The agency finalized the “Volks” rule, which extends the threat of penalty up to five years.

Two federal appeals courts have rejected the very policies reflected in the rule after a Louisiana construction company was cited for paperwork errors occurring nearly five years prior. “We do not believe Congress expressly established a statute of limitations only to implicitly encourage the Secretary to ignore it,” the D.C. Circuit Court noted. The “Volks” rule:

  • Is an unlawful power grab. Congress has the authority to write laws — not government agencies. The OSH Act explicitly states that an employer may only be cited for failing to keep proper health and safety records within six months. Two federal appeals courts have agreed that the statute of limitations is six months.
  • Does nothing to improve worker health and safety. Instead of focusing on paperwork errors that occurred five years ago, OSHA should spend its time and resources addressing current working conditions and preventing injuries and illnesses from happening in the future.
  • Creates regulatory confusion for small businesses. By finalizing an unlawful regulation, the Obama administration created significant uncertainty for employers. The rule particularly hurts small business owners who will face a confusing maze of record-keeping standards and unwarranted litigation.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress may pass a resolution of disapproval to prevent, with the full force of law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or issuing a rule that is substantially the same without congressional authorization. Chairman Byrne’s resolution (H. J. Res 83) would block OSHA’s “Volks” rule from taking effect and prevent future administrations from promulgating a similar rule.

For a copy of the resolution, click here.

To read a fact sheet, click here.

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The 21st Century Workforce

2017/02/19

A lot has changed since the 1930s. For example, in 1938, Franklin Roosevelt was President, and you could buy a loaf of bread for ten cents. Since then, the Internet was invented, more jobs are based in technology, and almost every American has a cell phone.

Sadly, some of our nation’s most important labor laws, like the Fair Labor Standards Act, date back to the 1930s. One could argue that the needs of the workforce have changed a lot in just the last decade, but they have most certainly changed over the last eighty years.

Clearly, something is still holding our economy back. Since 2009, the economy has grown at an average annual pace of just 1.5 percent. Wage growth remains largely stagnant, as the average hourly earnings for today’s worker is roughly the same as they were in 2009.

Meanwhile, 7.6 million Americans are searching for work, and nearly six million individuals are working part-time hours when they really want full-time jobs.

Our outdated labor laws and policies play a significant factor in limiting economic growth, and it is time we examine how to reform these important laws to allow for more flexibility for workers in the 21st Century. This is a topic I covered last week in my first hearing as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

The American workforce has transformed dramatically since some of our labor laws were passed, and the challenges facing workers and employers today are substantially different than they were in the 1930s. However, our labor policies have failed to adapt.

Our confusing and outdated labor policies are especially harmful to small businesses. Big businesses and large corporations often have entire divisions and lawyers set aside to figure out how to comply with rules and regulations. Smaller businesses, which make up the overwhelming majority of our economy in Southwest Alabama, do not have the same resources. When small businesses suffer, American workers suffer. 

It is clear our nation’s labor rules were designed for another era and no longer reflect the realities of the 21st Century workforce. That’s why it is so disappointing the Obama Administration missed an opportunity to streamline and modernize these important worker protections.

Instead, the previous administration spent its time and resources advancing an extreme and partisan agenda that would stifled workplace flexibility and limited opportunities for career advancement. We must do better.

Thankfully, we are in a new era now, and I am optimistic the Trump Administration will pursue policies that benefit American workers. Just last week, President Trump announced his nomination of Alexander Acosta to serve as Secretary of Labor. From his time on the National Labor Relations Board to his service as a U.S. Attorney, Mr. Acosta has a clear record of protecting American workers and upholding the law.

As Chairman of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee, I am committed to working with Mr. Acosta to find solutions to update our labor and workplace laws and help bring them into the 21st Century. Just as important, I want to find ways to eliminate confusion and uncertainty that make it harder for small businesses to grow and expand.

We cannot accept the economic struggles of the last few years as the new normal. The American people have clearly spoken, and they expect their leaders in Washington to put the country on a better path and finally get the economy moving again, which means more and better paying jobs.

That is a top priority for me and our unified Republican government. I look forward to making a positive impact on behalf workers in Southwest Alabama and across the country.

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Byrne Named Vice Chair of Seapower Subcommittee

2017/02/17

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) recently announced that Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will serve as Vice Chair of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

Byrne said: “I am honored to serve alongside Seapower Subcommittee Chairman Rob Wittman as we work to build up our Navy fleet and focus on deterring aggression around the globe. Our Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are the finest fighting force on the globe, and they deserve the tools and resources necessary to do their job.

“Serving as Vice Chair, I will continue to advocate for our nation’s shipbuilders, including the hardworking men and women at the Austal Shipyard in Mobile and other Gulf Coast shipyards.”

Chairman Thornberry said: “The world remains a dangerous place with threats increasing in every theater.  Ensuring that our troops are the best-trained, best-equipped, and best-supported is even more critical this year.  I am encouraged by the members serving as Vice Chairs for this Congress. They bring diverse talent and experience to our committee and its' mission.”

The Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee has oversight over Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force programs. Through its authorization for Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force procurement and R&D programs, this subcommittee is committed to reversing the decline in the Air Force’s Global Mobility and Bomber forces, Navy battle force fleet, strengthening the naval air component, and providing the Marine Corps warfighter with essential equipment for combat operations.

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Byrne Announces February Community Office Hours

2017/02/17

Staff members from the Office of Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will hold office hours throughout Alabama’s First Congressional District between February 21st  and February 23rd.

The staff members will be on hand to help constituents with problems they may be experiencing with federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Medicare, and Social Security. Staff members can also assist constituents who need help applying for or receiving a United States passport.

 

Baldwin County

Tuesday, February 21

9:00 to 10:00 am: Orange Beach City Hall

11:00 am to 12:00 pm: Daphne City Hall

2:00 to 3:00 pm: Bay Minette City Hall

 

Clarke County

Wednesday, February 22

11:00 am – 12:00 noon: Grove Hill Town Hall

12:30– 1:30 pm: White Smith Memorial Library in Jackson

 

Escambia County

Wednesday, February 22

9:00 to 9:45 am – Atmore City Hall

11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Flomaton City Hall

2:00 – 2:30 pm: Brewton City Hall

2:30 – 3:00 pm: East Brewton City Hall

 

Mobile County

Thursday, February 23

10:30 – 11:30 am: Citronelle City Hall

1:00 – 2:00 pm: Satsuma City Hall

3:00 – 4:00 pm: Dauphin Island Town Hall

 

Monroe County

Wednesday, February 22

9:30 – 10:30 am: Monroeville City Hall

 

Washington County

Wednesday, February 22

3:00 – 4:00 pm: Washington County Public Library in Chatom

Thursday, February 23

9:00 – 10:00 am: McIntosh Town Hall

 

For more information on visits to Clarke, Mobile, Monroe and Washington counties, constituents should contact Congressman Byrne’s Mobile office at 251-690-2811.

For more information on visits to Baldwin and Escambia counties, constituents should contact Congressman Byrne’s Baldwin County office at 251-989-2664.

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Byrne Holds First Hearing as Subcommittee Chairman

2017/02/16

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, convened a hearing today to examine federal wage and hour policies in the 21st Century economy. This was Byrne’s first hearing as Chairman.

During the hearing, witnesses discussed how our nation’s wage and hour laws are no longer applicable to the realities of today’s workers, and the regulatory burden the laws place on our nation’s employers and institutions of higher education. The discussion covered everything from the Obama Administration’s proposed overtime rule to overreach from the Department of Labor to ways to give workers more flexibility.

The text of Congressman Byrne’s opening statement can be found below. Click here to watch the hearing. Click here to learn more about the hearing.

Byrne said: “In recent years, working families and small businesses have faced significant challenges as they’ve struggled through the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. Since 2009, the economy grew at an average annual pace of just 1.5 percent. The net result is limited opportunity for hardworking men and women.

“In fact, the labor force participation rate has dropped to 62.9 percent — nearly the lowest level in decades. Wage growth remains largely stagnant, as the average hourly earnings for today’s worker is roughly the same as in 2009. Meanwhile, 7.6 million Americans are searching for work, and nearly six million individuals are working part-time hours when what they really need are full-time jobs.

“We cannot accept this as the new normal. The American people have clearly spoken, and they expect their leaders in Washington to put the country on a better path and finally get the economy moving again, which means more and better paying jobs.

“That’s why Republicans are committed to advancing a bold agenda that will remove barriers to job creation and empower more Americans to reach their full potential. As part of that effort, this subcommittee will examine the policies impacting America’s workforce, and ensure those policies support, rather than hinder, the ability of workers to succeed and employers to grow and hire.

“A key part of this effort will be robust oversight of the policies under our jurisdiction, and as Chairwoman Foxx has made clear, a commitment to holding the administration accountable for how it enforces the law. There is too much at stake for families and small businesses to leave any stone unturned, whether it’s examining policies that are intended to promote safe and healthy workplaces, holding federal contractors accountable, or ensuring wage determinations under the Davis-Bacon Act are done accurately and fairly.

“We have a lot of ground to cover in the coming months. And of course, an important part of our agenda — and the reason for today’s hearing — will be taking a close look at a law that affects practically every workplace in the country: the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law was signed over eighty years ago to address the challenges that existed during the Great Depression. It established important protections for workers, and has served as the foundation of our nation’s wage and hour policies ever since. 

“A lot has changed in those eighty years. For starters, things that are part of our daily life didn’t even exist back then — smartphones, iPads, and the internet, just to name a few. Advancements in technology have led to virtual workplaces, entire new industries, and flexible, innovative work arrangements. Most recently, we’ve seen the rapid rise in the so-called “sharing” economy.

“The point is the American workforce has transformed dramatically, and the challenges facing workers and employers today are different than they were in the 1930s. However, our labor policies have failed to adapt. The rules and regulations surrounding the Fair Labor Standards Act are simply outdated. At the same time, small business owners are getting tied up in a complex regulatory maze that forces them to confront costly litigation and limits their ability to expand.

“It is clear our nation’s wage and hour rules were designed for another era and no longer reflect the realities of the 21st century workforce. That’s why it’s so disappointing that the previous administration missed an opportunity to streamline and modernize these important worker protections. Instead, the Obama administration spent its time and resources advancing an extreme and partisan overtime rule that would stifle workplace flexibility and limit opportunities for career advancement.

“I can tell you that small businesses in my district are breathing a sigh of relief that this fundamentally flawed rule was blocked by a federal judge. Countless small business owners were worried that they would have to cut their employees’ hours or even lay people off. Colleges, universities, and non-profits were bracing for an especially devastating impact. As an example for my home state, the rule would have cost the University of Alabama System 17 million dollars in just the first year, costs that would have likely been passed on to students in the form of higher tuition and fees.

“Fortunately, we have a new administration that understands how misguided regulations often hurt the very individuals they’re intended to help. We also have a new Congress that is working to advance an agenda that will foster economic growth and deliver results for the American people.

“Bringing our nation’s wage and hour rules into the 21st century will be an important part of the conversation. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses who can speak more to the challenges resulting from an outdated law and the need for positive reforms that will improve the lives of hardworking Americans.”

Note: The Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has jurisdiction over wages and hours of workers, workers’ compensation, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, trade and immigration issues as they impact employers and workers; workers’ safety and health, and all matters related to equal employment opportunity and civil rights in employment.

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Byrne Statement on Labor Secretary Nomination

2017/02/16

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Alexander Acosta to serve as Secretary of Labor.

Byrne said: “Alex Acosta has a clear record of protecting American workers and upholding the law. From his time on the National Labor Relations Board to his service as a U.S. Attorney, he has the background and experience necessary to excel as Secretary of Labor. I hope the Senate will act quickly on this nomination because we need a Secretary of Labor in place to help move forward our efforts to support American workers and bring workforce policies into the 21st Century.”

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Byrne Introduces Bill to Give Veterans Full Access to Local Care

2017/02/14

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today introduced legislation to give veterans full access to private, local medical care.

Rep. Byrne’s bill, the Full Choice for Veterans Act, expands eligibility of the Veterans Choice Program to any veteran. Under the Veterans Choice Program, veterans receive a card to get care from private doctors or hospitals. Currently, access to the VA Choice Program is limited to those who have waited longer than 30 days for VA care or those who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility.

Congressman Byrne’s bill changes that and give every veteran access to health care providers in their community, regardless of a veteran’s situation.

Byrne said: “Veterans should not be forced to remain in a VA system that is dysfunctional and broken. This is why Congress created the Choice Card program a few years ago to give veterans greater access to private medical care in their local community. Sadly, the VA created roadblocks to limit veteran access to the Choice Card program. Our veterans deserve better.

“Under the Full Choice for Veterans Act, we will give veterans the choices they need and access to timely medical care. Even more, I think we can actually save taxpayer money by cutting down on the bloated VA bureaucracy. This is a win-win situation, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this legislation.”

Byrne is a strong and consistent advocate for increasing veteran access to private medical care. In 2015, he introduced similar legislation to expand veteran access to private care.

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Maintaining A Navy

2017/02/12

The shipbuilding industry has always been critically important to those of us living on and around the Gulf Coast. Our area has a proud tradition of building warships and supporting the military.

For example, we build the Littoral Combat Ship and Expeditionary Fast Transport at Austal in Mobile. Important military vessels are also built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula and Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City.

Given the importance of shipbuilding to our area, it should not come as a surprise that I am a huge advocate of the United States Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. But, my support is about much more than just supporting the local economy.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with two important nationwide organizations: the Surface Navy Association and the Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition. In my talks with these organizations, I spent much time outlining why it is in the best interest of the United States to build up our fleet.

The Constitution gives Congress the express authority to “raise” an Army, but it says Congress is to “provide and maintain” a Navy. This is an important distinction that makes clear our Founding Fathers’ intention for our country to consistently have a fully capable Navy fleet.

One of the top reasons for having a strong Navy relates directly to our economy. 90% of world trade goes by sea and at least four million jobs in the United States are connected to sea trade. Who helps keep these sea lanes open and free for commerce? The United States Navy.

Over 80% of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of the sea. That is a pretty remarkable statistic that demonstrates just how important it is for the United States to have the ability to freely navigate the sea and respond to issues.

For example, when a disaster like the tsunamis in Japan or the earthquake in Haiti occurs, the world needs the United States and our Navy to respond and provide assistance quickly.

A lesser known issue relates to the world’s communication systems. 95% of all voice and data are transferred under the ocean by cable. It would not take much for our adversaries to disrupt these cables and bring a lot of our daily lives to an abrupt stop.

In Congress, I am honored to serve on the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. This position allows me to be involved in all discussions about the future of our nation’s fleet and the need to project strength around the globe.

We currently have only 274 ships, and a recent Navy Force Structure Analysis found the need for 355 ships in order to meet the most critical demands. That is why I am so pleased President Trump has made clear his support for a 350 ship fleet.

Now, I am proud to be a staunch proponent for less federal spending, but I believe we can make the investments needed to build up our military while also making cuts in other, less critical areas. In other words, we can be fiscally responsible at the same time we are building up our Navy.

In fact, President Thomas Jefferson was one of our country’s greatest advocates for a smaller government and less spending, but even he understood the importance of maintaining a strong Navy. During his presidency, he grew the Navy to protect the flow of commerce around the globe.

So, I think we can, and we must, make real progress in building up our Navy. The safety and security of the American people and the success of the economy depends on nothing less.

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Byrne Thanks Errical Bryant for Years of Service

2017/02/09

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced today the departure of Errical Bryant, who has served as his Director of Operations for the last three years.

All told, Bryant worked for Alabama’s First Congressional District for almost fifteen years, previously serving as an intern from Congressman Sonny Callahan and a staff member for Congressman Jo Bonner.

Bryant has accepted a position working for Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice.

Upon her departure, Congressman Byrne placed a statement in the Congressional Record thanking Bryant for her years of service to Southwest Alabama. A transcript of the statement can be found below.

Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share my deepest appreciation for my Director of Operations, Errical Bryant, for her years of service to Alabama's First Congressional District. Today marks Errical's final day serving the people of Southwest Alabama.

“Like so many on Capitol Hill, Errical started out as an intern for Congressman Sonny Callahan in 2000. After working for a period of time as a door attendant in the U.S. Senate, Errical returned to serving the First District as Constituent Services Director for Congressman Jo Bonner. She later added the responsibilities of Administrative Director and Scheduler. Errical served in this position for over ten years, until Congressman Bonner retired from Congress in 2013.

“Mr. Speaker, I asked former Congressman Jo Bonner to share his appreciation for Errical. Congressman Bonner said, ‘Simply put, Errical is a wonderful human being--one of the finest people I know--and her many characteristics of honesty, hard work, dedication, and patriotic duty are the very qualities that will well serve America's next Attorney General. There are very few people in Alabama who have interacted with our office over the past 14 years who have not had the pleasure of working with Errical Bryant. In many ways, she has become the face of Alabama's First Congressional District in Washington and she has always made visitors feel extra special and at home, forever representing Congressman Byrne and me in the most professional manner humanly possible. While Errical's strengths are considerable, her talents are unlimited and her love of country is second to none.’

“When I was elected to Congress, one of the first pieces of advice I received from Congressman Bonner was to hire Errical. I distinctively remember my wife, Rebecca, and I meeting with her to discuss the position. During our meeting, Errical said ‘If you do everything I tell you to do, then you will be a really good Congressman.’ Having worked with Errical over the last three years, I can say there was a lot of truth to that statement.

“As my Director of Operations, Errical handles everything from scheduling meetings to managing office finances to planning special events. She is a master of the little things and keeps the office running smoothly and effectively. Despite all the stress and pressure of a Congressional office, Errical keeps the train on the tracks and the schedule moving.

“She has also helped countless people from Southwest Alabama arrange successful visits to our nation's capital. Upon their arrival to Washington, she has been a welcoming face ensuring southern hospitality remains ever present in our office. In addition to planning everyday visits, she has overseen ticket distribution for multiple presidential inaugurations and major gatherings.

“Errical has arranged important visits to Southwest Alabama for other Members of Congress, cabinet officials, and foreign ambassadors. These visits were planned and executed perfectly, which helped leave a positive impression of our part of the country on both national and world leaders.

“As our internship program coordinator, Errical has also helped mold and shape the next generation of leaders. She has instilled professionalism and confidence in countless young professionals that will serve them well in whatever career path they take.

“In addition to all of her official duties and responsibilities, Errical has served as the office's unofficial party planner and executive chef. Displaying the same southern hospitality she shows to our constituents, Errical has organized countless celebrations for co-workers, usually bringing in a classic ‘Pouncey Family’ homemade cake or pie.

“I asked some of her current and former colleagues for one word that describes Errical, and I think these hit home: dedicated, steady, diligent, passionate, ethical, motivated, funny, sunny, meticulous, loyal, accommodating, conscientious, and tenacious.

“Mr. Speaker, Errical has been ‘the face’ of Alabama's First Congressional District for much of the last fifteen years, and her service will be missed. As she moves on to begin a new role, I want to wish her and her husband, Thurston, all the best.

“So, on behalf of Alabama's First Congressional District, I want to thank Errical for her years of hard work, commitment, and service to Southwest Alabama.”

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Byrne Statement on Alabama Senate Appointment

2017/02/09

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement in response to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley appointing Luther Strange to the United States Senate.

Byrne said: “I want to congratulate Luther Strange on his appointment to the United States Senate. I look forward to working with him to advance policies and legislation important to families and small businesses in Southwest Alabama. Alabama has always had a strong and united Congressional delegation, and I look forward to working with Luther to keep that tradition alive.”

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Contact Information

119 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4931
Fax 202-225-0562
byrne.house.gov

Bradley Byrne was born and raised in Mobile, just a few miles from the site where his great-great-great grandfather, Gerald Byrne, settled in the 1780’s.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, Byrne received his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. He has practiced law in Mobile for more than 30 years, always active in the local community through various service and economic development organizations.

Byrne served as a member of the Alabama State Senate representing District 32 from 2003 to 2007. Byrne was elected to Congress in December 2013, to complete the term of Congressman Jo Bonner, who announced his retirement in May 2013. Congressman Byrne was elected to his first full term on November 4, 2014.

In Congress, Byrne has established himself as an effective legislator by successfully advocating for local interests while also championing a smaller, less invasive federal government. Byrne is a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, House Committee on Rules, and House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Byrne has been married to the former Rebecca Dukes of Montgomery for over 30 years. Rebecca is the President and CEO of The Community Foundation of South Alabama, and they are the parents of four children: Patrick, Kathleen, Laura, and Colin. Bradley and Rebecca welcomed the birth of their first grandson, MacGuire Arthur Byrne, on September 4, 2014. Bradley lives in Fairhope where he and his family are members of St. James Episcopal Church.


Serving With

Martha Roby

ALABAMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

ALABAMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Robert Aderholt

ALABAMA's 4th DISTRICT

Mo Brooks

ALABAMA's 5th DISTRICT

Gary Palmer

ALABAMA's 6th DISTRICT