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November 01, 2002   Email to Friend 

Bob Riley Talks About His Plan For Change
Paul Till

With election day just around the corner, Friends & Family asked Congressman Bob Riley--whom the Alabama Farmers Federation has endorsed for governor--about the biggest issues facing the state and his plan for the future.

Friends & Family: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing our state?

Riley: After four years of newspaper headlines detailing the scandals and corruption of the current administration, I think the biggest challenge facing our state is restoring integrity back to the Office of Governor and restoring the people's trust in their state government. I think our most important goal is to comprehensively reform the public education system to provide our children with a world-class education.

Friends & Family: What do you plan to do about it?

Riley: Since my first answer was two-pronged, I will answer this question similarly. First, we must pass the comprehensive ethics reform package detailed in my Plan for Change to help ensure Alabamians that the corruption of the last several years has ended and can never occur again. Secondly, I want to implement my plan to reform education that is outlined in detail in my Plan for Change at www.bobrileyforgovernor.com.

Friends & Family: Do you support higher taxes at the state level?>

Riley: I do not think increasing taxes is the answer to every problem we face. In education for example, we have no idea what funding we need because we have a broken education system. Don Siegelman had $2 billion more to spend on education than the previous administration, but we haven't seen any results from the investment.

Friends & Family: Do you support current use property tax valuations?

Riley: I believe in a fair and equitable tax system. Our current tax system includes both fair and unfair provisions. I do think that property taxes should be based on how people utilize their property.

Friends & Family: What do you think is the biggest issue facing education in Alabama?

Riley: There are so many, but the place to begin reform is with accountability to the taxpayer and tailoring every initiative to the goal of providing a world-class education to each and every child in Alabama. In creating education policy, we must always act with the interests of the children involved, not with the interests of adults.

Friends & Family: What is your position on rewriting or reforming the state constitution?

Riley: I support reforming parts of our constitution with a commission approach.

Friends & Family: What will you do to improve Alabama's economy?

Riley: Foremost, I will establish a long-range plan for Alabama. Economic development in this state has been very disjointed in the past. We must do many things (as outlined in my Plan for Change) to build the infrastructure that will allow us to bring non-exportable jobs to Alabama. We must also structure our development on all parts of the state, especially the rural sections.

Friends & Family: Unemployment in rural Alabama is double digit. What do you plan for rural economic development?

Riley: In my Plan I propose the creation of Business Advisory Panels throughout the state to ensure that we focus on economic development in each region. In those areas that are the hardest hit, we must also put in place economic incentives to attract businesses to those regions.

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