Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

ALABAMA's 1st DISTRICT

Listening To You Is My Top Priority

2014/08/22

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

2014/08/15

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

2014/08/13

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

2014/08/13

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

2014/08/08

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

2014/08/08

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

2014/08/08

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

2014/08/02

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

District Work Period Is All About You

2014/08/02

I know many of you have probably heard that Congress is in “recess” for the month of August. Now to some of you, that may bring up images of a bunch of kids hanging out on the playground, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This August, I will spend the District Work Period traveling throughout Alabama’s First Congressional District with stops planned in each of the six counties which make up our district. This travel allows me to spend time with you, the people who elected me. Much of my time will be spent on promoting economic development in our area. During a recent telephone town hall, I asked the participants what was the most important issue on their mind. Improving our economy was the top answer. With that in mind, I’m planning to bring together representatives from our area’s chambers of commerce and industries for an economic development roundtable in Atmore. I will also be speaking with the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce about economic development in Baldwin County. One of my favorite ways to spend my time in the district is visiting with local businesses. Whether it is Gulf Distributing in Mobile or Olin Chlor Alkali Products in McIntosh, I look forward to hearing about how federal policy is affecting our local industries. During the visits, I think it’s important to not only visit with the business owners and managers, but also the employees. It’s important I not lose sight of what issues matter most to them. We’ve planned even more town hall meetings, with stops scheduled in Saraland and Chatom. I’ve already held 26 town halls, but I plan to keep holding more. Town halls are a great way for me to interact directly with the people I represent. I also devote most of the meetings to taking questions from those in attendance. You can get updates about when my town hall meetings will occur by signing up for email updates on my website, Byrne.House.Gov. With school starting back soon, I will also convene a roundtable with local K-12 education leaders. I want our students to have the highest standards possible, and for parents to have an important role in the education process. I’m worried that federal mandates and policies coming from Washington are making it harder for our teachers and administrators to do their job. I look forward to hearing directly from them during the roundtable discussion. I will also be embarking on a tour of hospitals in the First Congressional District. With new rules and regulations from ObamaCare coming out every day, our hospital administrators are being hit hard. These hospital visits will allow me to see firsthand how the law is impacting the medical field and will provide a great opportunity for dialogue on how to move forward. I know we have many fine doctors and nurses in Southwest Alabama, and I look forward to hearing what’s on their mind. This is certainly not an all-inclusive list of the events we have planned, but it should give you an idea of how I will be spending the month of August. The best part of the schedule is that it will give me an opportunity to hear directly from the people I represent in Washington, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Read More

Byrne Statement on Closure of Alabama Power Coal Units

2014/08/01

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) issued the following statement today following an announcement by Alabama Power that they will close two coal generating units in North Alabama and reduce or eliminate coal power units at Barry Steam Plant in Mobile County. Alabama Power’s announcement comes in response to a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule on greenhouse gases at existing power plants. Congressman Byrne has repeatedly warned about the impact the EPA’s rule would have on Alabama power production. Byrne said: “It is extremely alarming to learn that Alabama Power will be closing coal units in North Alabama and cutting down on operations at Barry Steam Plant in North Mobile County due to an ill-conceived rule from the EPA. Just earlier this week I joined my colleagues from the Congressional Coal Caucus to draw attention to the harmful effects the Obama administration’s new rule on existing power plants will have on coal production in America. “While the long-term impact of Alabama Power’s decision remains to be seen, it is clear that President Obama’s ‘war on coal’ is already starting to impact Alabama families. I fear that this is just the start and that this rule will continue to harm our economy and kill good-paying jobs. I will keep pushing President Obama and his activist EPA to abandon this rule and join House Republicans in supporting an all-of-the-above energy strategy.” Read More

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Contact Information

2236 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4931
Fax 202-225-0562
byrne.house.gov

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.


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

Spencer Bachus

ALABAMA's 6th DISTRICT