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Endorsements for the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries

Editor’s note: During the next week until the June 1 primary, The Selma Times-Journal will offer its endorsements for its readers.

The recession presented a new set of challenges in Alabama. While the economy is showing signs of improvement, still there are issues that remain. And, Alabama still has lingering matters, such as a new constitution, that the Legislature and governor have yet to deal with.

In a word, Alabama needs leadership.

In this election year, The Selma Times-Journal sees on the Democratic Primary ballot June 1 Artur Davis as the best candidate of choice.

Davis has vision. He sees beyond the emotionally charged issues into the heart of questions that matter to individuals, instead of power brokers.

Davis has advocated for a constitutional convention. He understands the need for local governments to have autonomy outside the Legislature.

Davis understands the requirements of metropolitan areas, such as Birmingham. He knows the pressures pushing development of jobs and growth in those regions of the state.

But as a representative in Congress for the Black Belt, Davis also has understood the high poverty rate in this area of the state. He has introduced legislation in Congress to extend financial incentives to industry locating and hiring in this region. He has helped mediate between government and industry in the Black Belt.

Davis knows that all suffer when one area of the state is rife with unemployment. That is why he rises above race, has foregone the power brokers and has voted his convictions in Congress.

It is his vision for the future and his quality of leadership that has earned Davis this endorsement.

BRADLEY BYRNE

On the Republican Primary ballot for governor the most solid choice is Bradley Byrne.

Byrne has advocated constitutional reform, although he does not believe the document should be rewritten. He would like to see the constitution reconsidered article by article.

There is no doubting where Byrne stands on ethics matters. He is succinct and solid: ban double dipping; pass-through pork and PAC-to-PAC transfers. He wants to give the Ethics Commission subpoena power, which would strengthen the body and encourage self-policing among elected and appointed officials.

Byrne is no newcomer to Alabama politics. He began his career on the Alabama Board of Education. Then, in 2002, voters in District 32 elected him to the state Senate, where he served two terms.

Yet, the most telling of Byrne’s character came when the Alabama Board of Education appointed him Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education to serve as the chief executive officer of Alabama’s two-year college system — a system rotten with very public problems needing reforms to turn it from a bed of corruption to its mission of educating students.

Byrne rose to the challenge and the students of Alabama are the richer for it.

Byrne is a conservative, but he is a reformer. He is honest and forthright. That is why The Selma Times-Journal endorses Byrne as the Republican candidate in the primary.