In a sit-down interview with The Baldwin Times last week in Fairhope, Congressman Bradley Byrne said there could be a possibility he could challenge newly-elected Senator Doug Jones for his seat in the 2020 election.
“I’m actively looking at it,” Byrne said. “I’ve got a lot of things I’ve got to do in addition to that. We don’t take our eye of the ball with the job we’ve got now. I love what I’m doing now. I’m not dissatisfied in the least with what I’m doing now, and I think we’ve done some good things - but it’s something I’m definitely thinking about.”
Byrne said his consideration of running was not a reflection of any personal issues against Jones.
“I’ve known Doug for a long time, and I think very highly of him personally and professionally,” Byrne said. “He’s a person of sincere beliefs. A number of his beliefs are not in the mainstream of Alabama thinking, though, and he and I have differences about those. I wouldn’t run against Doug because I have some personal thing against him or I’m just being petty or partisan. I just think when you go to Washington as a House member or Senator, you have to represent the people that sent you there.”
Byrne used an example of a recent vote on an anti-abortion bill that came up in Congress as one way Jones might be out of line with the voters of Alabama.
“We had the pain capable abortion bill that came up a few weeks ago, and what that bill does is prohibits abortions after 20 weeks because we have scientific proof that shows babies in utero feel pain after 20 weeks,” Byrne said. “The vast majority of countries in the world do not allow abortions after 20 weeks - America is an outlier on that issue. It’s become such an ideological thing with the Democratic party, and Doug took a strong stand pro-choice during the election, so whereas every Republican voted Aye on that law, Doug voted no and it failed in the Senate. I’m not taking anything away from Doug personally when I say that. He’s just not in line with what I consider to be the mainstream of Alabama political thinking on some key issues. That being said, he could prove me wrong and if he does, I like the job I’ve got and I can keep on keeping it. But if he votes the way I think he’s going to continue to vote, then, yes, I’m going to take a hard look at it, talk to people I know around the state and if it makes sense for me and the state and the people down here, then I’ll do it.”
Byrne also mentioned some of the legislation currently before the House, including a bill that would help go after web site providers and websites that help promote and protect sex trafficking.
“We put in the statute that if you have a site and you knowingly allow sex traffickers to use your site for sex trafficking communications, then that is a federal crime,” Byrne said. “It seemed pretty straight forward and common sense to me, but there were some people who had some First Amendment concerns. I just think you lose your First Amendment rights when you commit a crime, and it’s a crime to knowingly aid and abet someone in sex trafficking.”
Byrne said he also believed there would be good news for red snapper fisherman for at the least the next two seasons.
“What we proposed for this year and next year is that we let each state manage the federal waters that are just off of the state waters,” Byrne said. “The council has agreed to that, National Fisheries Service has agreed to that -so by next month, I think we’ll have that all settled out and each state will be in charge of their seasons. What Alabama has proposed is three-day weekends like last year and, as I understand it, a whole week at Fourth of July week. If we do that this summer and next summer and continue to show we’re good stewards of the stock, not only would I like to make that permanent but we could expand it to other species, specifically triggerfish and amberjack. It’s showing we’re responsible with our fish stock - it’s in our best interest to be responsible. We all need to work together. There are plenty of fish out there.”
On the I-10 Bridge project, Byrne said that federally, the project is ready to go and he is trying to help state officials get the help they need to move the bridge forward.
“We’ve got our ducks in a row,” Byrne said. “All of the approvals will be done in May. We met with ALDOT officials this week in Washington, and they’ve narrowed the groups that could do the construction to three. There is one other federal financing program they want to use to help with this, and we’re going to try to help them collapse the timeline on that so they can hopefully get construction started some time during the first quarter of next year.”