Byrne makes last stop in Cullman before March 3 primary

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U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, right, poses for a photo with Cullman County Commission chairman candidate Philip Widner, left, Thursday at the Red Door Café in Cullman. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama on Thursday stopped by The Red Door Cafe for what was his last campaign stop in Cullman County before the Tuesday, March 3 primary election. Byrne is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.

Byrne spoke to a full house at the café, where he explained why he thinks he is the best candidate to take on Jones in the 2020 general election.

Byrne campaigns on being a “Pro-Trump” candidate and said of Jones, “He doesn’t vote with President (Donald) Trump and he doesn’t vote with you and me.”

He criticized Jones for voting to convict Trump on articles of impeachment earlier this month, his record on abortion and his vote against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

He said of the current state of Washington D.C., “I think Washington is broken. I think Washington’s brokenness is due in part to the divisions in this country and I believe the divisions in this country is we’ve got a relatively small group of people trying to take us in a direction that we’ve never been and should never go. You are seeing that being played out as we speak in the presidential democratic primary.”

Byrne also spoke of a recent bipartisan bill he said he worked on with Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California that passed both the House and Senate. The bill defines harassment rules governing lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill.

“Jackie is a very, very liberal democrat from California. I am a very conservative Republican from Alabama,” he said. “The two of us worked together, drafted the legislation, passed it through both houses by unanimous vote and it was signed into law by the president. It can be done. If you make up your mind to solve problems and not just shoot your mouth off to get on television, if you are serious about wanting to get things done, you do that. We are not going to solve these bigger problems on a partisan basis- either party. If you put the country first and your party second, you’ll solve problems.”

During the question and answer portion of his visit, Byrne was asked about health care reform. He referred to the failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and the frustration he felt. He discussed three things he would like to see happen regarding health care.

“We’ve got to get transparency into health care pricing- hospital, doctor and pharmaceutical,” he said. “It’s hard for the health care consumer to understand what the real pricing is if they are not being transparent.”

Byrne said he also supports allowing health insurance to be purchased across state lines and generating competition to drive costs down.

Finally, he said, “You and your health care provider should be the ones making decisions for you about when you get your health care and how you get your health care and what health care you get. Medicare for all, which is (democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen.) Bernie Sanders’ solution, would destroy Medicare for people 65 and older and force all of us to give up wherever we get our health care from for a government run program.”

He added, “I do not want the federal government to have control over those decisions. Those are your decisions and my decisions and the health care provider’s.”

Byrne stuck around to meet and greet the many guests who came out to hear him speak. When explaining to supporters his thoughts on serving in office, he said, “I consider it a privilege. It’s a gift that I get to do it. I won’t do it forever. Whenever I am done doing it, I will come back home and be an Alabamian like I am now and be thankful for the experience.”

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