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Brock: Black Belt will not be abandoned

The small chef sitting next to the cash register at Ed’s Pancake House said the message loud and clear: &uot;We elected Governor Riley.&uot;

Gov. Don Siegelman’s concession to Republican Congressman Bob Riley took many by surprise.

And he finally won &045;&045; it just took an extra two weeks for it to happen.

For people like Dallas County Democratic Party Chairman Alston Keith, the announcement came as a surprise.

Keith did not know about it when contacted Monday evening.

With the election now official concerns quickly turned to how much attention Riley will focus on the Black Belt. Much of Siegelman’s campaign focused on this area of the state, while Riley concentrated on larger population areas in North and South Alabama.

Brock Wells, chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party, acknowledged that the Black Belt was looked over during the election.

But, he added, there are advantages to having a Republican governor in office. With a Republican president and Congress, a lot could get done for Alabama, Wells said. Riley had supported President George W. Bush in Congress on a number of key issues.

Wells said that Republicans in Dallas County would do everything possible to ensure that Riley focuses some of his attention on the Black Belt.

He said that while Riley has not named any people from the Black Belt to his transistion team as of yet, he is still naming people to that team.

Keith also said getting Riley to come to this part of the state is a priority.