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Brewbaker in AL-2 race: ‘I proved I can solve problems’

Name: Dick Brewbaker
Party: Republican
City of residence: Pike Road
Age: 62
Occupation: President of Brewbaker Motors. Brewbaker sold the family dealership early this year, but unwinding the business is a longer process.
Previous elected offices or applicable experience: Two terms in the Alabama Senate; one term in Alabama House; Pike Road Town Council; education liaison to former Gov. Fob James.
Education: Bachelor’s of science in economics and history, Vanderbilt University.
Why should district residents vote for you on March 5: “When it comes to solving problems that actually affect people – I’ve listened to the culture-war language of other people involved in this – I proved I can solve problems.”

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In 2018, then-state Sen. Dick Brewbaker had a safe Republican district and a portfolio of legislative work that would make him hard to beat.

But he didn’t run for reelection, keeping a two-term pledge. 

“That was a tough decision,” Brewbaker told Alabama Daily News recently. “I really wanted to run again. But I also wanted to keep my word and keep my reputation in good condition, so I left.”

Now, he’s running for Congress in the newly drawn Alabama District 2 and he’s making the same promise: Work hard to effect real change for the people of the sprawling new district and then get out. He’ll term-limit himself, though he’s not sure yet if it’d be four or five. No more than a decade in Congress, though, he said. 

In the Alabama Senate, Brewbaker said he was able to pass bills that helped people. Among them were bills that paved the way for public school virtual learning options.

“When COVID came around, if we hadn’t passed the virtual schools act in 2015, I wonder where we would have been?” he said.

Also in 2015, he sponsored the Fostering Hope Scholarship legislation to provide higher education funding opportunities to children in foster care. It’s managed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources and Brewbaker said he checks every year to make sure it’s still working.

And in 2017, he was one of a few GOP senators who forced a vote on and passage of legislation requiring insurance coverage of therapies for children with autism. The Business Council of Alabama opposed the legislation. 

More than six years later, Brewbaker said he doesn’t expect the BCA’s support in this race because of that effort. At a certain point, you can’t care who’s on your side, he said.

The splintering in Congress has been frustrating to watch, Brewbaker said. 

There’s so much Republican focus on what group you’re in, and, you know, trying to divide ourselves into ever smaller groups,” Brewbaker said. “That’s got to stop. 

“Republicans need to get serious about governing again. I mean, for the country; I’m not sure how much longer we have to turn this around.”

Asked what current Congressman he’s likely to emulate, Brewbaker pointed to Alabama’s Rep. Robert Aderholt.

“You don’t get the idea that he’s looking for Twitter hits, he’s serious about governing,” Brewbaker said. “We need to get back to that and away from these Matt Gaetz-types.” 

Voters have real problems that Congress should be focused on, Brewbaker, a father of five with five grandchildren, said.

District 2 is “a long way from affluent” and its residents need relief from inflation, including still-high food prices. He blames recent inflation on government overspending and energy policies.

People who care more about the environment than they do for the people living in it,” he said. “And the people bearing the brunt for all these policies are not the political elites. They’re the people having to pay more for fuel, more for milk, more for eggs.”

District 2 used to be known for agriculture and the military with the Wiregrass and stretching up to the River Region. Now, it’s more than 200 miles – from the Mississippi to Georgia borders – across several rural counties, then dips into Mobile County and stretches north to include all of Montgomery County.

“Racially gerrymandered is the word you’re looking for,” Brewbaker said in a conversation with ADN.

The only way to get to know the district and its people is “to wear out a lot of tires,” he said. He plans to do that in the coming months. 

The boundaries will make representing the district a challenge.

“The interests of north Mobile County and Barbour County probably have very little to do with each other,” he said. “… The good news is, I don’t think the district really competes with itself. I don’t think what’s good for Barbour County is going to be bad for Mobile County.

The person who represents the district is going to have many varying interests to figure out and understand. 

Brewbaker is one of eight Republicans on the March 5 primary ballot. There are 11 Democrats.

Brewbaker said he wouldn’t be running if he thought a Republican victory was an impossible task. There are enough Republican voters, if they turn out, he said.

“I’m the person in the race, who based on the political offices I’ve been trusted with in the past, I think I’ve proven I can help solve problems. I did it in the state Legislature and I’d like to do it in Congress.”

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