Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne


Improving Our Nation’s Higher Education System


As college football season rolls around, people are starting to show their school pride. From the Crimson Tide to the Auburn Tigers to our newest team, the South Alabama Jaguars, there is a lot of excitement over football season. But is there the same level of excitement for what is happening in our college classrooms? In lower Alabama, we are blessed with many great institutions of higher learning. Mobile is home to the University of South Alabama, Spring Hill College, and the University of Mobile. We also have Columbia Southern, an online university based in Orange Beach. For some reason, when we talk about higher education, we too often forget about our state’s strong two-year college system. Here in Southwest Alabama, we have Bishop State in Mobile, Faulkner State in Bay Minette, Alabama Southern in Monroeville, and Jefferson Davis in Brewton. I strongly believe that having a flourishing system of higher education is the key to economic prosperity. I can’t stress enough how important Alabama’s institutions of higher learning are to our continued progress on economic development. The top question of any prospective employer is almost always the same: “Does Alabama have the skilled workforce to sustain our business?” We need the specialty skilled engineers that are trained at our four-year universities, but, just as importantly, we also need the community college-trained specialty workers. One is no more important than the other. Our four-year colleges must work together with our community colleges, and even our high schools, to make sure they are all meeting the needs of the workforce. That’s why last week I convened a meeting of higher education presidents and administrators from our area to talk about issues ranging from accreditation to paying student-athletes to financial aid reform. As former chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system, I have always been a strong proponent of higher education, and I understand many of the unique challenges our colleges and universities face. Currently, Congress is in the process of reauthorizing the federal legislation that governs our nation’s higher education system, known as the Higher Education Act.  The legislation, which was first signed into law back in 1965, requires updating through a process known as reauthorization about every five years. The legislation was last reauthorized in 2008. As Alabama’s only member on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I have taken an active role in the reauthorization process. Instead of passing one large bill, we have instead focused on a piecemeal approach of smaller, more manageable bills that address some of the challenges facing our colleges and universities. From simplifying the federal financial aid process to reducing the accessibility gap, our approach strives to get the federal government out of the way and provide targeted support. Just as with our K-12 education system, our educators and administrators are having to spend too much time complying with federal mandates instead of actually preparing our workforce. I am working to change that culture of bureaucracy. So, just as our state is known for outstanding performance on the football field, I want us to be known equally as well for our hard work in the classroom. A strong higher education system breeds a strong economy, and that has never been truer than it is today. Read More

Feds Get It Wrong Once Again on Red Snapper, Byrne Says


Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today responded to the results of the Alabama Red Snapper Reporting program, which indicated that the federal National Marine Fishery Service had “grossly overestimated” Red Snapper landings in Alabama. Byrne said: “Is anyone really surprised that the federal government miscalculated the number of Red Snapper caught in Alabama waters? For years the feds have failed to adequately account for the total fishing effort placed on the Red Snapper fishery. This latest failure is just another in a long line of mismanagement by the National Marine Fishery Service, that is both unfair and hurting our fishermen. “I worked to get commonsense reforms included in the Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization legislation, which passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee earlier this year. My office is in continued dialogue with House leaders to hold a vote on this legislation by the full House of Representatives by the end of the year. Our fisherman and coastal communities are being negatively impacted by yet another misguided federal program, and it is time Congress acts to make things right.” Congressman Byrne has been leading a push in Congress to reform the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which has jurisdiction over all federal fisheries. As it relates to Red Snapper, the commonsense, reform bill would: Repeal Section 407(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which imposed inflexible quotas on Red Snapper fishing; Extend Alabama's state water boundary from the current 3 nautical miles to 9 nautical miles from shore; Remove stock assessment and data collection responsibilities for reef fish currently held by the federal government and give the responsibility to Gulf Coast states. Read More

Listening To You Is My Top Priority


From Atmore to Chatom and Daphne to Theodore, our August District Travel Period has been filled with stops throughout the First Congressional District. At each stop, my top priority has been to listen to the concerns of people from our area. Far too often, it seems politicians are only interested in talking at people, but it is through actively listening that I can better represent you. Much of our August has been spent touring local businesses, ranging from a chemical plant in McIntosh to a paper mill in Bay Minette. I am always impressed by the variety of products and services we produce right here in Southwest Alabama. A common theme during each of these stops has centered on the idea that Washington is standing in the way. Whether it is a burdensome federal mandate or a costly tax, our local businesses are being held back by federal polices, rules, and regulations. Hearing directly from businesses owners and employees helps me better tackle the difficult task of cutting through red tape in Washington. In order to continue growing the number of great businesses in Southwest Alabama, we must continue to maintain and grow a skilled workforce. Over August, I’ve made it a priority to spend some time exploring details about job training and technical education in our area. Last week, I visited the Alabama Aviation College and Airbus/AIDT Training Center to see firsthand how we are training the first batch of employees for the new Airbus Final Assembly Line in Mobile. From my time as chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system, I have seen just how useful our two-year colleges can be in training the workforce. That’s why this week I will be holding a roundtable with higher education leaders and presidents from throughout Lower Alabama. As I have mentioned before, I am also devoting time in August to visiting all the hospitals in the First District. We have recently visited some of our more rural hospitals in Grove Hill, Jackson, Chatom, and Atmore. While all of those involved in the health care industry are facing serious changes brought on by ObamaCare, our rural hospitals are being hit especially hard. ObamaCare was designed to help our nation's most vulnerable people and improve healthcare in rural areas, but the exact opposite is happening. I am hopeful that recent changes allowing veterans to seek care at non-VA providers will help boost our rural hospitals, but other challenges certainly await. We have also continued to hold open town hall meetings and events to allow constituents to share their concerns directly with me. We have held town hall meetings in Saraland and Chatom, and a Senior Citizens Roundtable at the Senior Citizens Center in Fairhope. At each of these events, the number one concern seems to be President Obama’s continued disregard for the rule of law. Repealing ObamaCare, building the I-10 Bridge over the Mobile River, and expanding Red Snapper season also remain some of the top concerns I hear. All of those are issues that I am actively working on in Congress. So whether at a town hall meeting or while touring a business, this August has been all about listening to you. Henry Ford once said that one of the secrets to success "lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own." I probably don’t always agree with everything people share with me while I am traveling the district, but I am a better Congressman having listened. You keep sharing your concerns and ideas about our country, and I’ll always be here to listen. Read More

Education Policy Best Handled Locally


It’s that time of the year again. Children all across Southwest Alabama are packing their backpacks, gathering their school supplies, and heading back to school. It is an exciting time for students, parents, teachers, and myself. Education is an issue that is personal to me. As a parent and former member of the Alabama State Board of Education, I have seen firsthand the great teachers and administrators we have in our area, and I have continued to stay engaged on education issues while in Congress. I am the only Member of Congress from Alabama serving on the House Education and the Workforce Committee which has direct oversight over the federal Department of Education. Last week, I called a meeting with school superintendents from Alabama’s First Congressional District. We had representatives from Washington, Clarke, Escambia, Baldwin, and Mobile counties, in addition to superintendents from the Saraland, Chickasaw, and Satsuma city school systems.  The purpose of the meeting was simple: to share ideas and concerns about the federal government’s role in education. Throughout the meeting, it became clear that most of our local school leaders worry about the federal government’s heavy hand interfering with education policy. Whether through time-consuming red tape or burdensome federal mandates, teachers are being forced to spend time complying with federal regulations instead of actually doing their job. I firmly believe that education decisions are best left to the parents, teachers, and administrators who know our children best, not some federal bureaucrat sitting behind a desk in Washington, DC. There has been a lot of debate and talk recently about federal education standards, and the debate has brought out strong opinions on all sides of the issue. I want our children to have the highest standards possible, and I am certainly pleased with the progress Alabama students have made over the last few years. That said, I don’t believe the federal government should be using federal grants and funding to coerce a state into adopting certain academic standards. The education policy that works best in Oregon may not be the same standards that are important to our students in Alabama. As our region and state continues to gain more manufacturing jobs, it will be important that more focus is placed on skills training and technical education. So why should the federal Department of Education be able to hold our state back? In Congress, I am pushing for policies that return decision-making authority back to the state and local entities. We should empower teachers, administrators, and parents on the front lines to make decisions that fit the needs of each individual child while focusing on lasting reforms that reduce duplicative and ineffective programs. I have signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1386, the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act. The bill expresses the sense of Congress that states and local education agencies are responsible for education policy and that the Secretary of Education should not issue federal rules, regulations, grant conditions, etc. that conflict with state authority or result in additional costs. I look forward to continuing to work with Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and all my colleagues in the House to return authority over education policy back to the states, where it belongs. Read More

Byrne to Hold Senior Citizen Resource Fair, Roundtable


Area senior citizens are invited to attend a special event in their honor sponsored by United States Congressman Bradley Byrne on National Senior Citizens Day at the James P. Nix Center in Fairhope. Rep. Byrne will bring together representatives from key federal and state agencies and organizations in a Resource Fair to highlight services and benefits of special interest to senior citizens. Participants will have the opportunity to have a conversation with Congressman Byrne in a Senior Citizens Roundtable from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Byrne said: “Baldwin County, the Fairhope area in particular, enjoys a large community of active and involved retirees. My office has assembled a great collection of resources and groups which will be present to assist seniors in various areas including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, and the Social Security Administration. I am looking forward to hosting the roundtable and having a great discussion on issues that matter most to our area’s seniors.” Among the many planned Resource Fair activities, the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission’s Area Agency on Aging will sponsor a free legal clinic. To obtain a power of attorney or advanced directive at no cost from a local attorney, participants must be at least age 60, bring proof of identity, and provide the complete name, address and telephone number of the person or persons to whom they will assign power of attorney. Other representatives expected to be in attendance include: Area Agency on Aging AAA services and activities Benefits counseling Medicare, Medicaid and State Health Insurance Program Free Legal Clinic for Seniors Social Security Administration Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Alabama Department of Human Resources: Elder abuse FBI Task Force: Financial Exploitation AARP: Free tax counseling and Fairhope “Livable Communities” award Free blood-pressure checks and refreshments – including an “Ice Cream Social” – will be provided courtesy of the Nix Center. Who: Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) and area senior citizens What: Senior Citizens Resource Fair and Roundtable When: Thursday, August 21, 2014, 8:30 am – noon CT Where: James P. Nix Center, 1 Bayou Drive, Fairhope, 36532 Note: The Resource Fair will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon, but the Roundtable Discussion with Congressman Byrne will take place from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Read More

Byrne: Christians Under Fire in Iraq


Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today released the following statement about continued reports of Christians being singled out and attacked by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Byrne said: “Stories of Christian women and children being captured, killed, and beheaded are heartbreaking.  ISIS has even demanded that Christians ‘leave, convert, or die.’ The threat of genocide is very real, and ISIS seems to be growing in power by the day. I urge President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Hagel to take swift action to protect Christians living  in the Middle East which is consistent with the actions taken to protect the Yazidis   “I support President Obama’s decision to conduct limited military air strikes against ISIS and to deliver humanitarian aid in Iraq to the Yazidi religious minority being persecuted by ISIS. ISIS is a truly dangerous terrorist organization whose advances must be halted. Their desire to create an Islamic State puts all people of different faiths at risk, and I remain especially troubled by the status of Christians in Iraq and all throughout the Middle East.” Read More

Byrne to Hold Town Hall Meetings in Chatom, Saraland


Representative Bradley Byrne (AL-1) will hold town hall meetings in Chatom and Saraland on Tuesday, August 12. Congressman Byrne has held 26 town hall meetings to date, but this will be his first town hall in Chatom since being elected to Congress. Congressman Byrne held a town hall meeting in Saraland in May. With the House out of session during the month of August, Congressman Byrne has a packed schedule of business tours, town hall meetings, hospital tours, roundtables, and much more. Who: Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1), residents of Chatom What: Town Hall Meeting When: Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 pm CT Where: Chatom City Hall, 27 Cochran Avenue, Chatom, AL 36518   Who: Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1), residents of Saraland What: Town Hall Meeting When: Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 4:00 – 5:00 pm CT Where: Saraland Chamber of Commerce, 939 Highway 43 South, Saraland, AL, 36571 Read More

Veterans Deserve Better Health Care Options


Earlier this year, our eyes were opened to an alarming crisis at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We were shocked to learn that veterans were being placed on secret waiting lists and thousands of veterans were experiencing wait times of more than 90 days for medical care. Even worse, many veterans never received care at all. As soon as these problems became public, the American people demanded that accountability be restored and the problems fixed. In the House of Representatives, we set out to tackle the VA crisis head on. I immediately pointed out that the culture of complacency at the VA could not be changed overnight, but there were some obvious places to start. First, those involved in these deceitful tactics had to be investigated and held accountable.  The first major move in the right direction was the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. Secretary Shinseki served our nation admirably, but his leadership at the VA was clearly failing. The VA Inspector General and Congress also launched independent investigations and audits to get to the root of the problem. Second, I joined a number of my colleagues in the House to urge for greater focus on health care options that allow veterans to seek care from private doctors and specialists outside the VA system. Severe backlogs and extreme distances to VA facilities under the previous system were forcing many veterans to simply go without care, leaving them helplessly stranded. I’m pleased to report that just last week President Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 into law. I had proudly supported the bill just a week earlier when it passed the House of Representatives 420 to 5. The bill addresses a number of problems at the VA by ensuring strong accountability measures are in place and requiring the VA to expand non-VA care to any veteran who lives more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility or who experiences wait times of more than 30 days. Specifically, the bill makes it easier to fire or demote senior-level VA officials who before had been protected by outrageous federal laws. Federal bureaucracy and labor unions shouldn’t stand in the way of holding those responsible for these egregious acts accountable. The bill went even further by reducing the amount available for bonuses to VA employees. Many reports indicated that VA employees were manipulating wait times in order to receive performance bonuses, and that practice must stop. Most important to Southwest Alabama, this bill means that our veterans no longer will have to travel hours out of the way to receive medical attention from the VA hospitals in Biloxi or Montgomery. Instead, under most circumstances, our local veterans can now choose to visit a specialist or hospital of their choosing close to home. I cannot overstate how much this freedom of choice will mean to our veterans. I know this bill won’t solve every problem at the VA, but it is certainly a major step in the right direction. I will continue working with new VA Secretary Robert McDonald, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Pensacola, and all my colleagues in the House to ensure that our nation’s veterans receive the best care possible. Ultimately, the federal government should be working for our nation’s veterans, not against them. Read More

Byrne Comments on Situation in Iraq


Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s authorization of limited airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq. Byrne said: “I support President Obama's decision to authorize military air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. The situation is growing more dire by the minute, and American leadership is needed now more than ever. While I want our involvement to be limited, we can no longer sit on the sidelines while a country we devoted so many American lives to falls into the hands of terrorists once again. “ISIS has made repeated threats against the American people, both overseas and here at home. There is no doubt ISIS poses a clear threat to the United States, and the group is better funded and more extreme than al-Qaeda. I will continue to pray for the safety of American personnel stationed in Iraq and those who will carry out these missions against a truly dangerous enemy." Read More

Byrne Votes to Secure Border, Halt Obama Amnesty Program


Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) tonight supported legislation that would boost border security, expedite deportations, and prohibit the expansion of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). Specifically, the border security legislation (H.R. 5230) would: Boost the National Guard presence on the southern border; Change the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act of 2008 to make it easier to deport illegal immigrants; Increase funding for the Department of Homeland Security to boost border security; Prohibit federal agencies from denying access or activities to border patrol agents on federal park or federal monument land; Accelerate judicial proceedings for immigrants; and Strengthen laws prohibiting criminals with serious drug-related convictions from applying for asylum. The bill would not add to the deficit since all of the funds in the bill are fully offset through cuts and recessions in current funds appropriated to various federal agencies. H.R. 5230 passed by a vote of 223 to 189. Byrne also voted in support of H.R. 5272 which prevents the President from taking any executive action to authorize new deferred action on illegal aliens and prohibits the President from taking any executive action to grant new work authorizations to illegal aliens. The bill explicitly prohibits any blanket amnesty. The bill passed by a vote of 216 to 192. Byrne said: “The crisis at our southern border must be addressed, but the answer isn’t just to give President Obama a blank check. The border security bill passed in the House today would  pave the way for real border security that is so desperately needed. The bill also allows for the more swift, yet still compassionate, return of the unaccompanied minors at our southern border. “There is no doubt President Obama’s continued threat of executive action has only exacerbated the problem.  By prohibiting the expansion of President Obama’s DACA amnesty program, this bill would send a clear message that his unilateral executive action must stop. The language in H.R. 5272 is very clear in that no further forms of blanket amnesty will be allowed. Until President Obama puts his pen down and hangs up the phone to engage in good-faith negotiations with Congress, I will be hard pressed to support any immigration legislation. “At the request of myself and some of my Alabama colleagues, I am pleased that House leadership included provisions to expedite the deportation process and strengthen the language prohibiting further executive action. With these changes made, I feel confident that this bill is the right step forward. “By not acting on this bill before the August District Work Period, the House would be playing right into President Obama’s hands and further encourage his use of executive action. The House has now acted to address the border crisis while the Senate has skipped town. I implore the Senate to return to Washington right away to pass these bills and make positive steps toward real border security.” Read More

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Contact Information

2236 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4931
Fax 202-225-0562

Committee Assignments

Armed Services

Natural Resources

Bradley Byrne, 58, 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 in various service organizations.

Byrne served as a member of the Alabama State Board of Education and as a member of the Alabama Senate representing District 32. In 2007, Byrne was appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education as Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education to serve as the chief executive officer of Alabama’s two-year college system.

Byrne has been married to the former Rebecca Dukes of Montgomery for 32 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 lives in Fairhope where he and his family are members of St. James Episcopal Church.

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