On October 3rd, 1863, President Lincoln issued a Proclamation on Thanksgiving establishing the fourth Thursday of November as a national holiday, encouraging every American - at home and abroad - to give pause and give thanks.
Thanksgiving had existed before in America. There was the First Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims and Native Americans in Massachusetts in 1621, of course, and Presidents George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison also issued proclamations encouraging the celebration of Thanksgiving.
It is interesting that during a time as perilous as the height of the Civil War, President Lincoln entrenched this holiday of gratitude and togetherness into the American year.
1863 was a time of divisiveness and uncertainty, and yet people throughout the country could still find things to be thankful for.
Only two months after this proclamation, on December 3rd, 1863, the final symbolic decoration was added to the outside of the Capitol Dome in Washington: a 19-foot tall statue known simply as Freedom.
The freedoms we enjoy today are some of the greatest things we can be thankful for. For many throughout the world, the freedoms we enjoy do not exist for them.
As we gather with friends and family, I hope you will take time to answer this simple question: what are you thankful for this year?
For myself, I am extremely thankful for my family, my friends, and for the opportunity I have to serve you in Washington.
I am thankful for the many pieces of landmark legislation we were able to pass this year, including fully funding our military for next year, providing funds for vital water infrastructure projects, and enacting meaningful change to the G.I. Bill and the Veteran’s Choice Program.
I am also thankful for all of the positive economic news this year: our thriving economy and jobs market are creating more opportunities for people in Alabama and around the country.
With good news there is also bad. The acts of violence we have seen over recent months in Pennsylvania and California demonstrate the amount of evil there is still to combat in this world. The extremely deadly wildfires currently raging in California causes our hearts to ache for all those affected so unexpectedly and so close to the holidays.
But even in these tragedies, there are things to be thankful for. The first responders who risk their lives to help those in need; the medical professionals who provide service to the sick and those in pain; and perhaps the thing for which we as Americans can be most thankful is our interminable spirit to come together as one, help our neighbors, and make the world a better place to live through one small act of kindness at a time.
More personally, I am thankful to be a child of a loving, forgiving, and all present God. I’m also thankful to call Southwest Alabama home.
Of course, I am thankful for my wonderful family; every moment I get to spend with Rebecca, our children, and our grandchildren is a moment I feel truly blessed.
Lastly, I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I have again to serve the people of Southwest Alabama over the next Congress.
There is a memorable verse from the book of John: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
One of the truths we can hold firmly to this Thanksgiving is this: we in the United States are richly blessed with life, prosperity, and freedom. Knowing that, we can be very thankful indeed.
From my entire staff, family, and myself, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.Read More
One hundred years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the world’s largest, deadliest, and costliest war to that date drew to an end. The guns that boomed over field and forest in Europe fell silent.
World War I was over.
Over 116,000 Americans had lost their lives.
One year later, President Woodrow Wilson issued a statement to the nation in celebration of the first Armistice Day, expressing his thoughts on the war’s end: “To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”
In 1938, twenty years after the Armistice, Congress formally recognized Armistice Day as a national holiday “dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
Unfortunately, the “war to end all wars” was only the precursor to an even deadlier, costlier war.
The next year, World War II broke out across Europe, a war that would cost the lives of over 400,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.
For a particular Alabamian and veteran of WWII, the celebration of Armistice Day was not quite recognition enough for the service and sacrifice of veterans who had served, not just in WWI, but for all those who had worn the uniform of our nation.
Raymond Meeks, a native of Birmingham, brought the idea of a national Veterans Day, to be held on what was then Armistice Day, to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Gen. Eisenhower greatly supported this idea, and in 1947 Weeks led the first national celebration of Veterans Day right here in Alabama.
In 1954, President Eisenhower signed into law the formal celebration of Veterans Day here in the United States, dedicated to the memory of all those who served our country in the armed forces.
To this day, words cannot express our gratitude for that service.
Today, as I serve in Congress, it is an incredible honor to know that I am able to represent a free people thanks to the service, dedication, and sacrifice of our veterans.
That is why I advocate so strongly for our nation’s veterans. We need to provide them with proper access to educational and workforce opportunities, we must work towards a health care system that actually gets them the care they need, and we must help them get the benefits they earned.
Just this year, I voted to provide greater funding for programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), positive reforms to the G.I. Bill, and better access to career and technical education for veterans to reenter the civilian workforce. Additionally, my office has helped to resolve hundreds of cases for veterans and their families right here in Southwest Alabama.
Service in the military is so much more than just a job. It is a dedication to support and defend the Constitution and the people of the United States, both at home and abroad. That service is immeasurable, and I am humbled to represent so many of those who have fought for our freedoms.
The words of President Eisenhower on the first official Veterans Day stand as a charge for today: “Let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting and enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”Read More
At a recent church service, the sermon focused on the 12th chapter of Mark’s Gospel, which describes Jesus’ answer to a question from a scribe about which Commandment is “first of all.” Jesus replies with the Shema: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Even though Jesus was not asked about a “second Commandment”, he adds to the Shema, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In response, for once, a scribe agrees with Jesus.
It seemed timely to hear this verse and to hear a modern-day minister preach on it. Just a few weeks ago, eleven people were tragically killed at a Jewish synagogue near Pittsburgh. These innocent Jews were killed by a man filled with hate, much like the murders of innocent African American Christians in a Charleston church three years ago. These horrific events remind us that evil is not a superstition, but an all too real presence in our society.
The Old Testament and Jesus are crystal clear: the very essence of God is love. Therefore, anyone who hates another person acts against God and his purposes for humankind. Jesus took it another step by joining the Commandment to love one another with the Commandment to love God. Saint John in his first letter is explicit: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Our obligation to love one another applies to everyone. Indeed, the very presence of hate inside us is the work of evil, and we should all strive against that evil in our own lives. And when a particularly tragic work of evil happens, as happened in Pittsburgh, we need to speak out so that we reinforce our collective resolve against it.
In the heart of election season, it is especially important to remember that more unites us than divides us. As Americans – and as humans – we are united by common bonds of love, faith, and understanding. Far too often we get caught up in the areas of disagreement, instead of realizing that far more brings us together.
We are all imperfect humans made by our Creator. While we are often divided by where we live, our age, our background, our race, or our gender, we are brought together by many important common factors.
My study of U.S. history long ago convinced me that our national principle of the equality of all people, explicit in The Declaration of Independence and reiterated by President Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address, is rooted in our Founders’ understanding of the Bible’s clear teaching that we are all created and loved by God, and therefore must love and must value one another. So violent attacks on people because of their race or religion are truly un-American as well.
An attack on any human because of their religious beliefs or the color of their skin or their background is an attack on all of us and the values we hold most dear. When we let these actions further divide, we only fuel the fire of hatred. Instead, we should use events like we saw in Pittsburgh to unite us and bring us closer together.
So, please allow me to add my voice with many others against the evil of these and other acts of violence. There is no place, and this is no time, to hate.Read More
This past week, I had the pleasure of visiting many fine farmers and foresters throughout Southwest Alabama to learn more about the incredible work they do on a daily basis. This was part of my annual “Ag Matters” agricultural tour, which brings me to farms and forests in each of the six counties that make up Alabama’s First Congressional District.
Forestry in Alabama first began in Clarke County, and that is where I began my tour. I was pleased to learn more about how the people at Canfor Southern Pine carry on the forestry tradition to this day.
Not only are they the largest employer in Jackson, Canfor produces high-quality lumber products that are used all throughout the Eastern United States. At this mill alone, they produce around 110 million board feet per year in lumber products. To produce this much material, they rely on the sustainable harvesting of private timberlands throughout our region.
I had a chance to tour some of these private timberlands and learn more about ways owners are working with the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect endangered and threatened species. It is important that we find solutions that work for both our environment and for those trying to make a living through sustainable practices.
Animals such as the gopher tortoise and the black pine snake are threatened in certain areas of Alabama. Timberland owners and workers want to protect our environment, as a healthy environment is critical to their future. But, they should not be unduly limited by the government in the work they do.
I was able to talk with several foresters from all around Southwest Alabama at a forestry roundtable hosted at a local branch of Alabama Ag Credit. The people at Ag Credit also know that our farmers and foresters are our future and believe in providing them with sound financial options through responsible lending and thorough financial counseling.
As I continued my tour, I saw some excellent examples of topiary management at a garden nursery in Mobile, learned about the bumper crop of cotton this year at farms in Escambia and Baldwin counties, and was informed of the status of this year's peanut harvest.
This past year, I was one of the leading advocates to get cotton back in Title I of the Disaster Package to provide further assistance and recovery options for farmers adversely affected by unforeseen natural circumstances.
One of the biggest takeaways from my tour this year was just how fortunate we are that we were not more directly impacted by Hurricane Michael. I'm dedicated to working with Representative Martha Roby on continued recovery efforts for farmers in the Wiregrass and throughout South Alabama. We need to make sure they receive the necessary federal and state assistance they deserve to get through these unexpected and difficult times.
One thing is certain: as we enter the final legislative session of this year, we must reauthorize the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill will provide greater protections for the cotton and peanut growers in our area and for other farmers and foresters throughout Alabama and the nation.
Without the tireless efforts of producers all across the nation, life as we know it would not exist. From providing the food we eat, to the raw materials for the clothes we wear, to the foundational building elements all around us, our farmers and foresters impact our daily lives in truly tangible ways.
We owe it to them to fight for more protections to help create a stronger future for all of Alabama, and we must always remember that our farmers are our future.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) recently introduced legislation to create a pathway toward securing our borders by building a wall on the southern border of the United States.
Byrne’s bill, known as the 50 Votes for the Wall Act (H.R. 7073), would use the budget reconciliation process to overcome a threatened filibuster by Senate Democrats. Budget reconciliation allows bills to pass out of the Senate with only 50 votes, while almost all other Senate bills require 60 votes. Budget reconciliation was the same process used to pass tax reform last year. The bill would also fully fund the border wall, eliminating the possibility that Democrats could bottle up funding in future appropriations bills, and direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to finalize construction before the beginning of President Trump’s second term.
Congressman Byrne said: “Border security is national security, and we cannot allow Democrats to continue to block our efforts to build a wall along our southern border. That is why I am introducing the 50 Votes for the Wall Act, which creates a process to overcome the Democrat obstruction and move forward with plans to construct President Donald Trump’s border wall.
“Sixty-three million Americans voted for President Trump with the promise of building a wall because they want us to finally secure our borders. With the 50 Votes for the Wall Act, we can make the wall a reality and ensure the safety of the American people.”
The bill has earned the support of FAIR, a leading immigration reform organization. FAIR Government Relations Director RJ Hauman said, “Even though President Trump and Congressional Republicans have a clear mandate from the American people, Democrat obstructionists have repeatedly blocked border wall funding and are once again threatening to do so in December. This is why it is important to pursue other avenues to ensure that the border wall is funded once and for all. One such avenue is Congressman Bradley Byrne’s Fifty Votes for the Wall Act – which provides a unique and filibuster-proof funding mechanism for the border wall. FAIR applauds Congressman Byrne for introducing this legislation, and recognizing that Democrat obstruction poses a significant national security risk.”
Congressman Byrne’s bill is sponsored by fifteen of his Republican colleagues, including Mo Brooks (R-AL), Mike Rogers (R-AL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Brian Babin (R-TX), Jim Banks (R-IN), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Bill Posey (R-FL), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), and Lamar Smith (R-TX).
Click here to read the 50 Votes for the Wall Act.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will launch his Fourth Annual “Ag Matters” Tour of farms and timberland throughout the First Congressional District on October 23rd and October 24th. The “Ag Matters” tour will draw attention to the important impact agriculture has on Alabama’s economy and highlight some of the major issues facing Alabama’s farmers and foresters.
The “Ag Matters” Tour will kick off in Jackson on Tuesday morning. From there, Congressman Byrne will tour private timberland in Chatom, visit a garden nursery in Mobile, host a forestry roundtable in Monroeville, and tour farms in Fairhope and Atmore.
Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture John McMillan, Commissioner Elect of Agriculture Rick Pate, and representatives from the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Forestry Association will join Congressman Byrne for the “Ag Matters” Tour.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will hold three town hall meetings around Southwest Alabama in the month of October. The town hall meetings will be held in Lillian (10/22), Saraland (10/25) and Bayou La Batre (10/29).
Byrne ranks among the top of all Members of Congress for the number of town hall meetings held. Since assuming office in late 2013, Byrne has held over 100 in-person town hall meetings, including meetings over the phone and through Facebook.
All the town hall meetings are open to the public and free to attend. All the information can be found online at Byrne.House.Gov/TownHalls.
What: Lillian Town Hall Meeting
When: October 22, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. CT
Where: Lillian Community Club (34148 Widell Avenue; Lillian, AL)
What: Saraland Town Hall Meeting
When: October 25, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. CT
Where: Saraland City Hall (937 Highway 43 South; Saraland, AL)
What: Bayou La Batre Town Hall Meeting
When: October 29, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. CT
Where: Bayou La Batre City Hall (13785 South Wintzell Avenue; Bayou La Batre, AL)Read More
There are very few places in the United States that can boast the sort of diverse infrastructure we have here in Alabama. There are 11 interstates, over 3,000 miles of freight rail, 5 commercial airports, and more than 132,000 miles of rivers and stream channels in our state.
One of our state’s most important pieces of infrastructure is the Port of Mobile, the 10th largest port and fastest growing container terminal in the United States. With 41 berths, 5 million square feet of warehouses and yards, and covering 4,000 total acres, it has an economic impact of around 135,000 jobs in Southwest Alabama and generates more than $22 billion per year in economic value.
Recent expansions and developments at the Port will only further grow the economic impact of the Port on not only Southwest Alabama but our entire state. For example, the recent announcement about a new roll-on/roll-off vehicle processing facility at the Port will help our state’s automotive manufacturing industry continue to grow.
Even with these impressive facts, it has been clear that our infrastructure throughout the country is in need of updates, repairs, and overhauls to ensure that we are at the cutting edge of transportation and innovation in order to compete economically on the world stage.
Last week, in a major bipartisan effort, Congress sent a piece of legislation to President Trump’s desk that will help to unlock the full economic potential of our region and state.
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 passed the Senate last week, after passing out of the House a few weeks back. This bill authorizes funding for waterway projects, port improvement projects, and other important water infrastructure projects in all 50 states. Not only will this allow for much-needed infrastructure improvements, but the bill reinstates a “Buy America” provision for federally funded projects, meaning a boost for American steel producers.
Commonsense legislation like this will create jobs, incentivize the use of American-made products, and build our nation’s capabilities to produce, package, and transport goods all around the globe. It will also make our drinking water safer, improve our wastewater systems, combat algae blooms, and restore our nation’s beaches through grant programs.
The Army Corps of Engineers can move forward on improving our dams, locks, reservoirs, and shipping channels. We have a major Army Corps project that needs attention right here in Southwest Alabama. The project to deepen and widen the Mobile Bay Ship Channel has the ability to fundamentally alter the economic potential of the Port and create more jobs in our state. Senator Richard Shelby has long been a champion for this project, and I am committed to working with him to make it a reality.
Our shipyards, airports, and rail yards will all see an impact from waterway projects like this, and I am thankful to the members of the Senate and my colleagues in the House for passing this water infrastructure legislation to help propel Alabama even further into the 21st Century.
The future of Alabama rests upon our ability to look beyond the short term and into what will set us up for success for years to come. Focusing locally on important infrastructure projects will spur economic growth through business investment and job creation, and it will open up opportunities we don’t even know exist yet.
Investing in our infrastructure today will lead to a stronger tomorrow. I applaud the work of my colleagues in both the House and the Senate in making a better economic future possible through this vital water infrastructure legislation.Read More
One of the things we pride ourselves on as Alabamians is taking care of each other. Not only should this mean we take care of those we know or our next-door neighbors, it should also mean taking care of all those throughout our region, especially those experiencing hardships.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anywhere from 115 to nearly 200 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Last year alone, roughly 72,000 people died from this public health crisis. No community or group is exempt from the crisis. This is not a political issue. The opioid epidemic has been going on for far too long, and it is time that something be done about it.
It became clear early in the opioid epidemic, as we were just beginning to understand the problem, that treating the opioid crisis would require assistance from every level of government, but also from the private sector. This is more than a single statewide issue, or even a regional issue. The entirety of our country is being affected: every death is another loved one, friend, or neighbor that won’t see their loved ones again.
In Congress, we knew we needed to start looking for ways to support those in need in our own backyard, all across the nation. When it comes to a drug crisis like this, prevention comes down to early detection within the community, proper medical treatments, and patient support programs.
Last month, the House passed landmark legislation to address the opioid epidemic. Last Wednesday, the Senate passed that bill, known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, and it will now be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
SUPPORT stands for Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment. This multi-pronged solution will be able to better detect, treat, and provide recovery opportunity for those at risk or suffering from opioid abuse or overdose in our communities.
Our bipartisan bill will both establish and expand upon early-detection programs to better spot those who may be struggling with opioid addiction. It will also increase health care providers’ ability to treat patients with effective solutions, and it will establish drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries under Medicaid.
This legislation is the most significant congressional action against a single drug crisis in our nation’s history: it is bipartisan, bicameral, and it is a plan that will provide assistance to those who need it most.
This legislation comes on top of efforts over the last two years to increase funding for grant programs that help states deal with the opioid crisis. Top-down, government-knows-best solutions rarely work, so I support giving greater resources to allow states and local communities to develop programs that best meet the needs of their residents.
Oftentimes we can become wrapped up in our own world of heading to and from work, catching the game, and making sure the kids get to school on time. Rarely do we think of those who may be suffering through the struggles of addiction. But, we are all part of a community, and we cannot fail anyone in our community by not acting.
I am proud to say that Congress has done the right thing, and I will continue to support our medical providers, first responders, police officers, and recovery program managers here in Alabama. They need our constant support.
I will also keep all those throughout the country who struggle through the awful grips of addiction in my prayers and will continue to look for greater ways we as a community can come together and provide for all our neighbors.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement after Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.
Congressman Byrne said: “Our nation is better off with Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, and I am glad the circus is over. I applaud the senators who supported Judge Kavanaugh, including Alabama Senator Richard Shelby.
“This process and the shameful tactics used have been an embarrassment to our nation, but I hope we can now move forward as a country and not return to these pathetic political games again.”
Congressman Byrne has been a steadfast supporter of Judge Kavanaugh throughout the confirmation process. For example, he delivered a speech on the House floor urging senators to support Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.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.
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Big news! Proud to see this great event return to one of America’s best baseball cities. https://t.co/W2jJeXBYB9
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