Bryan Taylor announces Senate run
Bob Riley will not be governor this time next year, but his former policy director hopes to be pushing his agenda in the state Senate.
Bryan Taylor resigned his position as policy director and legal counsel for Riley on Thursday. On Monday, Taylor announced he was running to represent Senate District 30, which includes all or part of Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Crenshaw, Butler and Pike counties.
He wants the seat held by longtime Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, who is running for an eighth term.
But, first, he has to defeat two Republican opponents including Ken Barnett of Prattville and Prattville City Councilman Ray Boles in the primary.
In front of about two dozen supporters that included several members of the Riley administration, Taylor said leaving the administration he has served in for four years was difficult, but he decided to run after seeing the continued antics of the Democratic majority in the Senate.
"Unfortunately, our cause to break up the corrupt, good-ol'-boy system in Montgomery has been met year after year with stiff resistance, particularly by the Democrat majority in control of the state Senate," Taylor said.
He accused the majority of killing education reform, mocking accountability and anti-corruption measures they campaigned on, and pushing to legalize casino gambling. The 34-year-old attorney helped shape the administration's stance on electronic bingo.
Taylor, who lives with his wife in Prattville, said the situation "reached the boiling point" several weeks ago.
"Like many of you, I was absolutely repulsed by the unabashed corruption on display in the state Senate," he said. "Some defenders of the system tried to dismiss it as politics. No, it wasn't just politics; it was pure, unadulterated corruption."
Taylor said the last legislative session, which ended Thursday, convinced him "this state desperately needs a new class of elected leaders who want to serve for the right reasons."
Senate Democrats said last week that the legislative session was the most successful in years. They said they balanced the budgets with decreased revenue coming into the state while protecting senior citizens, children and teachers.
The senators applauded the passage of bills that will let voters decide if they want to use $1 billion for road and bridge work, offer tax credits to businesses that hire unemployed workers, and help save the state's Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program.
Democratic leaders have said bingo is not taxed or regulated now and that the legislation would have ended the raids by Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling, and the legal fight between Riley and Attorney General Troy King over the gambling-related litigation.
Taylor said he is tired of the federal investigations, indictments, and convictions.
"I'm tired of being embarrassed by our elected officials," he said. "We deserve better."
Taylor knows the Riley talking points, carrying the governor's message of job creation and battling corruption. He talked about the accomplishments in education and economic development during the Riley administration.
"It happened in no small part because Governor Riley challenged the good-ol'-boy politics of the past and has operated the most open, honest, accountable administration in Alabama history," he said.
Taylor supports charter schools, disclosure of lobbyist spending on public officials, rewriting "Alabama's ridiculously weak ethics code," tax relief for small businesses, and targeted tax credits for businesses that will get people back to work.
He also wants the state to continue its support of the Alabama Reading Initiative, the Alabama Math, Science & Technology Initiative, ACCESS Distance Learning and First Class Pre-K.
Taylor, who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Iraq, joined the U.S. Army after Sept. 11, 2001, and was a captain and a JAG prosecutor prior to joining the administration. He is a member of the Alabama National Guard.
Riley will join Taylor for a meet and greet in Prattville om Tuesday. Taylor traveled to Troy on Monday. He will visit Luverne and Greenville later this week.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen