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Chip Drago
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The Political Round-Up

Allstate burns Bradley; REALTORS® back Byrne; Mitt says go, Kay; 'Mayor Cooper' rings a Bell; Sessions welcomes new grandchild

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
GOP gubernatorial contender Bradley Byrne is closer to the coastal insurance crisis in Mobile and Baldwin counties than most candidates, not only because his home is on the Eastern Shore south of I-10, but moreover because he himself got the dreaded non-renewal notice from his insurance company last spring.

Byrne said his campaign was still formulating a detailed plan for addressing the coastal insurance issue, but also noted, "I have been personally affected since Allstate canceled my homeowners (policy) in the spring."

"So I understand this issue in a way no other candidate for Governor can," said Byrne.

Allstate and Alfa recently revealed plans to largely withdraw from wind coverage in Alabama's two coastal counties, informing the state insurance commission of its intentions not to renew nearly 15,000 policies collectively. The decisions were based on maintaining their viability as businesses, according to spokesmen for the companies. In other words, potential claims in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane could swamp them.

Byrne said he was willing to make a few points in advance of disclosing the campaign's more comprehensive plan for dealing with coastal insurance reform.

Despite the assumption and argument of many officials north of Mobile/Baldwin, the issue is statewide, not merely coastal, said Byrne.

"The insurance carriers' steady march north with their 
cancellations make that clear," Byrne said.

Because Alabama relies upon the success of all its regions' economies to fully realize its potential, the coastal insurance crisis must be viewed as an economic development issue, according to Byrne.

"(It) deserves state attention as surely as the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closures) in Huntsville has created a state need to address their transportation issues and the possibility (now probability) of getting the C class Mercedes at the Vance production facility (near Tuscaloosa) necessitated the use of state incentives recently," said Byrne.

Alabama REALTORS® back Byrne
Byrne today won the endorsement of the Alabama Association of REALTORS® through its Alabama REALTOR® Political Action Committee (ARPAC). Rrepresenting more than 15,000 members statewide, the Alabama Association of REALTORS® is the largest business trade association in Alabama.

Mitt says, Go, Kay
In other endorsement news, former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney endorsed State Treasurer Kay Ivey for governor of Alabama.

According to Romney, Ivey has the experience and vision to do a good job as governor. He praised Ivey for adhering to conservative principles as state treasurer, adding that she would do the same as governor.

Ivey served as Romney's Alabama campaign chairwoman during the 2008 presidential race. Ivey is one of several Republicans seeking the nomination for governor in the party primary June 1.

Cooper in runoff for Birmingham mayor
Birmingham attorney Patrick Cooper, son of Maj. Gen. (ret.) Gary and Mrs. Beverly Cooper of Mobile, leads going into a Jan. 19 runoff election for mayor of Birmingham.

Cooper polled just over 40 percent of the vote Tuesday, outpacing Jefferson County Commissioner William Bell who drew about 25 percent.

The winner will serve out the remaining two years left in the term of ex-Mayor Larry Langford, who was removed from office Oct. 28, the same day he was convicted by a federal jury of taking bribes while on the Jefferson County Commission.

“There is going to be a renaissance in this city,” declared Cooper who spoke to supporters of “a new direction, a new approach and new vision” for Birmingham.

Bell thanked his supporters for “putting together a campaign on a shoestring.” Bell raised $37,900 for his campaign; Cooper raised $246,550.

Cooper's uncle, Jay Cooper, now practicing law on the Eastern Shore, was mayor of Prichard some 30 years ago.

Sessions welcomes grandchild
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions and his wife Mary were present to welcome a new grandchild in the fold last week with the birth in Gainesville, Fla., of 6 lbs., 3 oz. James Beauregard "Jim Beau" Reinhardt. Mother Mary Abigail and infant are both doing well, although the boy arrived with anticipated health issues that required surgery.

According to Sessions' office, the baby had his initial surgery Friday and handled it well. He opened his eyes Monday and all signs are encouraging, with plans to discontinue the respirator by the end of the week.

To keep up with young Jim Beau's progress, visit his CaringBridge page.

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