Bradley Byrne announced his candidacy for Alabama First Congressional District on June 4, 2013. Bradley Byrne was born and raised in Mobile, just a few miles from the site where his great-great-great grandfather, Gerald Byrne, settled in the 1780’s after coming to America from Ireland. One of Gerald’s sons became the first Probate Judge in Baldwin County, another son, Baldwin’s first postmaster. Bradley’s grandfather was elected Sheriff of Mobile County in 1926, notably running as the candidate of sweeping reforms in a campaign against “The Ring,” the corrupt cabal that then ruled Mobile public life. Bradley is the second of Elizabeth and Arthur Byrne’s three children. The Byrnes have been a continuous part of the Mobile-area community since well before Alabama’s statehood.
Bradley attended University Military School in Mobile. After completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, Bradley came home and received his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. He practiced law in Mobile for more than 30 years, always active in the local community in various service organizations.
In 1994, Bradley entered the public arena, offering his candidacy as a member of the Alabama State Board of Education. He was elected, and then reelected in 1998. In 2002, Bradley won the Republican nomination and general election to the State Senate representing District 32, and he was reelected in 2006.
While in the Senate, Bradley served on the Education Committee, the Education Budget Committee, and the Judiciary Committee, and chaired the Joint Oversight Committee on State Parks. Bradley Byrne has worked for more than 20 years to improve education in Alabama and has served on numerous boards and committees, winning a number of awards along the way, including the Phi Delta Phi Outstanding Lay Person Award in 1998, the Alabama Association of School Boards’ Champion for Children Award in 2004, the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools Legislative Leadership Award in 2004, and the South Alabama Literacy Champion Award in 2006.
Bradley is committed to conservation and smart management of the natural resources we enjoy in Alabama, and won the Legislator of the Year Award from the Alabama Wildlife Federation in 2005. Bradley and his family have a place just upriver from Mobile, near land his ancestors settled over 220 years ago. It’s where the Byrne family gathers to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
In 2007, Bradley was appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education as Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, to serve as the chief executive officer of Alabama’s two-year college system. The system was plagued with well-publicized problems. An entrenched system of corruption needed great reforms to return to the core mission of educating students and preparing them for the workforce. Bradley’s reform efforts have been successful. Working with a dedicated team, the two-year college system was righted, and the ongoing effort to serve students and the people of Alabama has been refocused to its proper goals.
In serving over 300,000 people per year and with a budget of over $1 billion, the Alabama College System includes 21 community colleges, four technical colleges, Marion Military Institute, Athens State University, the Alabama Industrial Development Training Institute, and the Alabama Technology Network.
In his role as Chancellor, Bradley also served as Chairman of the State Workforce Planning Council. In that role he oversaw all of Alabama’s workforce development efforts, giving him a keen understanding of the state’s ability to expand the workforce by fostering a business climate that creates good jobs.
Since 2010, Bradley has worked as an attorney in Mobile focusing on economic development efforts for a wide range of business clients. He is also Vice Chairman of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Council and serves on the Board of Directors for the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce.
Bradley Byrne, 59, has been married to the former Rebecca Dukes of Montgomery for 32 years.
Rebecca is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of South Alabama, and they are the parents of four children: Patrick, a graduate of The University of the South, works for Hargrove Engineers + Constructors in Mobile; Kathleen, a graduate of the University of Alabama, works in Huntsville; Laura, a graduate of Tulane University, works for Mobile Baykeeper in Mobile; and Colin, a junior at Tulane University.
Bradley lives in Fairhope where he and his family are members of St. James Episcopal Church.