Ryan Owens was like many other high school students at Illinois Valley Central High School. He was a huge sports fan and excellent athlete who played on different teams throughout his childhood.
Unlike other high school students, Ryan did not spend his time preparing for college or the workforce. Instead, he dreamed of something bigger than that. He dreamed of becoming a Navy SEAL. As one of Ryan’s high school friends put it, “He always talked about the greatest thing he could do was serve his country.”
It was that willingness to serve that lead him to join the Navy just weeks after graduating from high school. After much training and hard work, Ryan became a member of Navy SEAL Team 6, an elite and highly secretive fighting force. It was SEAL Team 6 that succeeded in killing Osama bin Laden.
Ryan had a storied military career, receiving numerous awards throughout his twelve deployments. On the personal side, Ryan married and became the father to three kids.
This past January, Ryan joined other U.S service members in conducting a raid in the Middle East country of Yemen to target terrorist groups. During the raid, Ryan was tragically killed while working to capture important intelligence information.
During his Joint Address to Congress earlier this year, President Donald Trump recognized Ryan Owens and his service to our country. President Trump said, “Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation.” Having been in the room, I can tell you it was one of the most powerful moments I have ever seen.
On Monday, we celebrated Memorial Day and all the Americans who lost their lives serving our country. Memorial Day started after the Civil War and was originally known as Decoration Day. It was formally codified into law in 1971 and is now observed on the last Monday in the month of May.
As we think about Memorial Day, people like Ryan come to my mind. People who choose to put country above self. People who turn and run into the firefight. People who constantly go above and beyond the call of duty.
I am reminded of people from right here in Southwest Alabama who have given their all. For example, Marine Corporal Christopher Winchester from Flomaton who died from a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq or Bruce “Bubba” Ferrell, a graduate of Baldwin County High School, who stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
Over the course of our history – from Lexington and Concord to Gettysburg to the shores of Normandy to the streets of Afghanistan – men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States of America and the freedoms we all hold dear.
A little known Memorial Day tradition relates to the American flag. The flag is flown at half-staff until noon when it is raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. This is to signify that we will not let the sacrifice of those who passed away serving our country go in vain and that we will continue fighting for and defending the United States of America.
So, the next time you look up and see an American flag, I hope you will think of people like Ryan Owen. I hope you will take a few extra seconds to reflect on what the Red, White, and Blue actually stands for and the sacrifices that make our lives possible.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018.
Byrne said: “Overall, I believe President Trump’s budget is a step in the right direction toward cutting wasteful spending, right-sizing the federal bureaucracy, and rolling back government overreach. At the same time, there are some proposals that Congress must closely examine.
“Specifically, I am pleased to see President Trump get serious about reforming our nation’s welfare programs. Many of these programs are the true drivers of our national debt, and they must be reformed.
“As we make these reforms, we must also put a real focus on skills training programs to help Americans prepare for and obtain good paying jobs. While we absolutely must encourage work, we need to do so while also expanding opportunities for low income Americans to gain the skills necessary to meet the needs of today’s workforce.
“In the coming weeks, I look forward to working with my Congressional colleagues from both sides of the aisle to put forward a plan to reform our welfare programs, promote job training, and close the opportunity gap.”Read More
Staff members from the Office of Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will hold office hours throughout Alabama’s First Congressional District between March 23rd and March 25th.
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.
Tuesday, May 23
9:30 am to 10:30 am: Gulf Shores City Hall
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm: Silverhill City Hall
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm: Bay Minette City Hall
Thursday, May 25
9:00 am to 10:00 am: Fairhope City Hall
10:30 am to 11:30 am: Daphne City Hall
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm: Spanish Fort City Hall
Wednesday, May 24
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Grove Hill Town Hall
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: White Smith Memorial Library in Jackson
Wednesday, May 24
9:00 am to 10:00 am – Atmore City Hall
10:30 am – 11:00 am – Flomaton City Hall
1:30 pm – 2:15 pm: Brewton City Hall
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm: East Brewton City Hall
Thursday, May 25
11:00 am – 12:00 noon: Citronelle City Hall
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Satsuma City Hall
3:30 – 4:30 pm: Bayou La Batre City Hall
Wednesday, May 24
9:30 – 10:30 am: Monroeville City Hall
Wednesday, May 24
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Washington County Public Library in Chatom
Thursday, May 25
9:30 am – 10:30 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.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today applauded the announcement of two Department of Transportation grants for airports in Southwest Alabama.
Mobile Regional Airport will receive a $2,200,000 grant to rehabilitate runways, reconstruct runway lighting, and acquire aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles. Bay Minette Municipal Airport will receive a $930,000 grant to rehabilitate runways.
Byrne said: “Airports are a critical part of our transportation system, and they also play a key role in economic development. These grants will allow Mobile and Bay Minette to make important improvements to their facilities. I want to thank Secretary Chao and the Department of Transportation for partnering with us on these grants, and I look forward to continuing our work to improve infrastructure in Southwest Alabama.”Read More
Last week, we celebrated National Police Week with events in the nation’s capital and in communities right here in Southwest Alabama. These ceremonies served as an opportunity to say “thank you” to those who help keep us safe.
During one ceremony in front of the United States Capitol, President Donald Trump proudly proclaimed that “patriotic Americans of all backgrounds truly support and love our police.”
The ceremonies and Police Week also presented a solemn opportunity to honor those who have lost their lives while serving in the line of duty. At the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, this quote from former President George H. W. Bush puts the sacrifice best: “Carved on these walls is the story of America, of a continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream."
In 2016, 145 officers were killed in the line of duty, including Correctional Officer Kenneth Bettis who was attacked by an inmate at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. Already in 2017, 50 more officers have lost their life in the line of duty. These numbers are heartbreaking.
In addition to honoring our law enforcement officers, we also took time to reflect on the sacrifice of the families of police officers and first responders. These families must overcome long hours, late nights, and constant fear as their loved one works to protect us.
In Congress, we used Police Week as an opportunity to pass a number of bills important to our nation’s law enforcement officers. I want to highlight a few of them.
First, we passed the Thin Blue Line Act. This bill would amend the federal criminal code to include the killing or attempted killing of a law enforcement officer or first responder as an aggravating factor in federal death penalty decisions. Those who target and kill our law enforcement officers should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
We also passed the Probation Officer Protection Act, another pro-police bill that would authorize probation officers to arrest hostile third parties who harm them or obstruct them from doing their job. This commonsense bill will help keep probation officers safe and free up time for our law enforcement officers to focus on other priorities.
Third, we passed the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act by a vote of 411 to 1. This bill simply permits the American flag to be flown at half-staff when a local police officer, firefighter, or first responder is killed in the line of duty. This will be just a small token of appreciation on behalf of a grateful nation.
Of particular importance to Alabama, the House passed the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act. The bill formally authorizes the National Computer Forensics Institute, which is located in Hoover, Alabama. This program helps train state and local law enforcement regarding cyber and electronic crimes.
Finally, we passed the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act. Many of our nation’s veterans go on to serve as police officers, and this bill would prioritize the hiring of veterans under the federal COPS Hiring program.
These are just five examples of our efforts in Congress to crack down on crime and support our nation’s police officers.
Never forget that we get to lay our heads down on our pillow at night feeling safe because there are men and women out there patrolling the streets. So, the next time you lay down for bed, be sure to say a special prayer for all our law enforcement officers and first responders.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today announced his service academy appointments. As a Member of Congress, Congressman Byrne can nominate students from the First Congressional District for appointment to the United States Air Force, Naval, Military (West Point), and Merchant Marine Academies.
Byrne said: “I am honored to nominate these impressive young men and women from Southwest Alabama to attend our nation’s military service academies. For me, there is no greater part of my job than being able to share this exciting news with these young people and their families. I applaud these individuals for their willingness to serve our country, and I wish them all the best in their academic and military careers.”
The following students received appointments to U.S. Service Academies after becoming eligible for consideration through an official nomination from Congressmen Byrne earlier this year:
Eligible applicants must be at least 17 years old, be a citizen of the United States, have good moral character, demonstrate strong leadership skills, and achieve impressive scholastic achievements.
Congressman Byrne is only responsible for nominating students to the service academies. The final decision on appointments rests solely with the academy. You can learn about the nomination process by clicking here.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), along with four other Members of Congress representing districts on the Gulf Coast, sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today urging him to extend the number of days for the 2017 Red Snapper season in federal waters.
In asking for a longer season, the Gulf Coast congressmen point to the inaccurate data the National Marine Fisheries Service used to set the 2017 data.
Byrne said: “A three day Red Snapper season is simply not acceptable, especially given how many Red Snapper there are in the Gulf right now. Anyone who knows anything about Gulf Coast fisheries would agree that the Red Snapper fishery is incredibly healthy.
“By bringing other Gulf Coast Congressmen together, I am hopeful we can get the Trump Administrative and Secretary Ross to provide some relief for our recreational fishermen ahead of the 2017 federal season.”
The letter was signed by Congressmen Garrett Graves (R-LA), Randy Weber (R-TX), John Carter (R-TX), and Steven Palazzo (R-MS).
The full text of the letter can be found below.
Dear Secretary Ross,
We write today to express our disappointment in the recent announcement from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of a three day recreational Red Snapper season. It is unacceptable. We ask that you reevaluate this decision and extend the number of days for the 2017 season.
On March 21st, we wrote to you about the importance of access to adequate fishing resources in the Gulf of Mexico, and namely Red Snapper. You responded that the Red Snapper fishery is a high priority for you and your department, and therefore it is time for more than three days.
Our recreational fishermen are being penalized by NOAA for a statistical anomaly. Currently, NOAA’s data says that recreational fishermen exceeded last year’s quota by 129,906 pounds. However, 129,000 pounds represents less than .02 percent of the recreational quota. This decision has no bearing on the health of the stock, and there is no chance NOAA is representing the number with any degree of accuracy.
At the state level, we continue to see report numbers that do not match NMFS’s data, caused by the lack of real-time information. For example, in Alabama, preliminary estimates for 2016 show a total of approximately 821,000 pounds counted by Alabama’s Snapper Check Program. NOAA’s estimates for the same time show approximately 2 million pounds accounted for. Mississippi’s data shows the opposite problem. According to data from Mississippi’s Tails n’ Scales Program, almost 40,000 pounds were accounted for, yet NOAA’s data claims there were zero pounds taken. It is time for recreational anglers to stop being penalized for NOAA’s bad science and lack of coordination.
In short, there is serious doubt that federal data is accurately reflecting the number of Red Snapper in the Gulf. For that reason, we feel revaluating your agency’s decision for the 2017 season is warranted, and we urge you to continue working with us to develop a long-term solution to address these issues impacting our recreational fishermen and coastal communities.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.Read More
We are blessed to live in a part of the world known for our beautiful scenery, abundant natural resources, and marvelous waterways. It is easy to see why my family has not left Southwest Alabama since my great, great, great grandfather settled here in the 1780s.
A critical part of our local culture is the Gulf of Mexico, including a wide range of fish that call the Gulf home. Like so many others, my family has gone fishing in the Gulf for as long as I can remember.
Given how important fishing is to so many, I was incredibly frustrated to learn that this year’s Red Snapper season in federal waters will only be three days. That is simply not acceptable and a further indication of how poorly the federal government is managing the Red Snapper fishery.
During a recent House Oversight Committee hearing on Red Snapper, I pointed out that preliminary estimates done by the state for 2016 show a total of approximately 821 thousand pounds of Red Snapper caught in waters off of the Alabama coast. Federal estimates for the same time show approximately 2 million pounds accounted for.
Mississippi’s data shows the opposite problem. According to data from Mississippi’s Tails n’ Scales Program, almost 40,000 pounds were accounted for, yet federal data claims there were zero pounds. The system is completely broken.
Since being elected to Congress, I have made Red Snapper a top priority. We passed a bill out of the House in 2015 that would have repealed the quota system and given the Gulf states control over the data collection and stock assessments. I personally wrote and championed these provisions with the support of other Gulf Coast colleagues. While we succeeded in getting the bill out of the House, I was very disappointed the Senate failed to even take up the bill.
I want to be clear: Red Snapper is not an issue that just comes up once a year in my office. In fact, we work year round to increase awareness, build support, and push for a permanent solution. We are utilizing a strategy focused on both an administrative and legislative solution.
First, I am hopeful that under President Donald Trump we can get some relief. President Trump is a big believer in rolling back regulations and getting the government out of the way. There is no better example of big government micromanagement and failure than the Red Snapper issue.
With a new director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees the National Marine Fisheries Service, I hope we can get back to longer seasons, more local data, and a balanced system that actually works.
Second, I am going to continue working with my Gulf Coast colleagues on legislation to fix the system and get us longer seasons for recreational fishermen. Discussions are actively ongoing about a legislative solution that tackles this issue head on and gives more control to the individual Gulf states.
We did receive a bit of good news. With the help of Senator Richard Shelby, we were able to secure a permanent expansion of state waters out to nine miles Gulf-wide. In the past, some Gulf states had state waters out to nine miles while others, like Alabama, only had three miles of state waters.
Permanently expanding the state waters to nine miles for Red Snapper will provide parity among the Gulf states and give important certainty to our fishermen as they work to further build up the artificial reef system in state waters.
The fight for a longer Red Snapper season continues, and I am more emboldened than ever before to get us a solution.Read More
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is failing the American people by driving up costs and limiting options for families. President Trump and the Republican controlled Congress have pledged to make repealing and replacing Obamacare a top priority.
Well, we had a major breakthrough last week when the House passed the American Health Care Act. I voted in support of this legislation to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a system that gets the federal government out of the way.
Americans deserve an accessible and affordable health care system that promotes quality care and peace of mind. Rather than top down, one-size-fits-all insurance plans mandated by the government, we need innovation and competition in our health insurance market to drive down costs for families.
That is exactly what the American Health Care Act does. The bill repeals the individual and employer mandate penalties to allow workers, families, and employers greater flexibility to find health care plans that actually work for them. For low and middle income families who do not receive health insurance through a government program or their employer, the bill offers monthly tax credits to help purchase affordable coverage.
The core focus of the American Health Care Act is to drive down costs and repair damage done to the overall insurance markets by Obamacare. Beginning in 2018, the bill provides immediate funding to help calm the individual market and lower premiums.
Specifically, the bill contains a premium stability program modeled after the successful program enacted in Maine. In Maine, individuals in their 20s saw premium savings of nearly $5,000 per year and individuals in their 60s saw savings of more than $7,000 a year.
As premiums dropped, younger and healthier individuals entered the market. This increased total enrollment in Maine and saved their citizens thousands of dollars a year on their health insurance. Such savings are in stark contrast to what we have seen under Obamacare.
Our commonsense bill also reforms health savings accounts (HSA) to make it easier for families to save for medical care. Even more, the bill fundamentally reforms Medicaid and cuts about one trillion dollars in taxes.
Some in the liberal media have attempted to distort the truth about the American Health Care Act in an effort to protect Obamacare, so I want to clear up some of the misinformation.
First, the bill specifically prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with pre-existing conditions. The bill also continues to require insurance companies to allow young adults up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance, maintains the ban on lifetime or annual limits, and prevents insurance companies from charging women more than men.
The House also passed a bill making crystal clear that every provision of the American Health Care Act will apply to Members of Congress and our staff. Members of Congress should not be held to a different standard than other Americans.
In a victory for those of us who are pro-life, the bill blocks government funding of any kind from going to Planned Parenthood and redirects that funding to community health centers, which are much more plentiful and do not provide abortion services.
I thoroughly read and analyzed the American Health Care Act before voting in favor of it on May 4th. Passing this bill is a huge step toward fixing our health care system and rescuing the American people.
The bill now moves over to the Senate, where it will likely undergo additional changes. I look forward to following the process as it moves forward, and I encourage you to do the same.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017.
Byrne said: “Today, I voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health care plan that actually lowers costs and gets the federal government out of the way. Importantly, the bill continues to ensure protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It also cuts taxes, defunds Planned Parenthood, and fundamentally reforms Medicaid.
“To be clear, I understand additional changes to the bill may be necessary as the bill moves over to the Senate, but today was a step in the right direction toward rescuing the American people from the failures of Obamacare.”
The American Health Care Act passed by a vote of 217 to 213.
Click here for more information on the American Health Care Act.Read More
119 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
Retweeted by RepByrne
Bravo Zulu to the Class of 2017. May God bless you w/ fair winds & following seas. May God bless the Navy, Marines… https://t.co/k7mLDttjJW
Retweeted by RepByrne
The port of Mobile is now the fastest growing port in North America. https://t.co/O0rd8EQvSz
The Science Channel recently did a special on the Littoral Combat Ship, which is built in Mobile. Glad to see more positive attention on this
As we continue this Memorial Day weekend, may we not forget the reason for the holiday. Countless Americans have lost their lives in order to
It's Memorial Day weekend in Southwest Alabama, and we all know what that means: traffic. Yet another reminder of the need to #BuildTheBridge.
I've been very impressed with the way President Donald J. Trump has represented the United States on the world stage this week. He has been steadfast
Another horrible and heartbreaking act of Christian persecution in the Middle East. Join me in saying a prayer for peace, comfort, and understanding.