Harbert executive Will Brooke announces run for congress
Will Brooke, executive vice president and managing partner of Harbert Management Corporation, announced this morning that he is running as a Republican for Alabama’s sixth congressional district seat.
Brooke joined Harbert Corporation and its affiliates as Vice President and General Counsel in August of 1991, and served as their Chief Operating Officer from 1995 until 2001. Before his employment with Harbert, Brooke was founder and Managing Partner of the Birmingham law firm, Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff and Brandt, and an attorney with the Burr & Forman law firm in Birmingham. He’s also a former chairman of the Business Council of Alabama.
He was deeply involved in the successful efforts to reform the Alabama Supreme Court in the 1990s, and was Chairman of ProgressPAC in 2010 when the Alabama Legislature elected its first Republican majority in over 100 years.
Brooke told Yellowhammer in an exclusive interview Tuesday morning that the skills he’s built over the years being in leadership positions with businesses and community organizations have prepared him to represent the sixth district.
“Washington is dysfunctional,” Brooke said. “I’ve had a lifetime of opportunities to build skills that I can put to use in Washington for the people of the sixth district. There’s a desperate need for leadership in Washington. I’m a strong, common sense conservative. I operate on principle, not polls. I have been privileged to have a leadership role in a lot of different organizations — from businesses to charitable organizations and community organizations. I’ve worked on everything from science and technology, to business, to social matters. All of those things give me a perspective that few other candidates are able to bring to the table. It’ll allow me to provide the kind of leadership that the sixth district needs in Congress.”
Brooke has over the past several weeks been quietly rallying support for a congressional run. His candidacy could drastically alter the landscape of the race. His personal financial resources will be unmatched among the current field, and unlike most first-time candidates, his fundraising ability is not in question. The relationships he’s built in the business community over the last couple of decades will serve him well as he solicits support.
“It’s a strength for me,” Brooke said when asked about his fundraising ability. “I’m going to have to count on a broad base of support of friends and people throughout the district. My wife, Maggie, and I deeply believe in what we’re doing and we’re going to invest in the campaign, but it’s the support of others that will make it work.”
Brooke said that Washington’s out-of-control spending is without question the top issue for his campaign.
“The need to cut spending is incredibly important. That’s job number one,” Brooke said. “It’s also very important that we focus on the needs of the sixth district and how we can promote economic development and improve opportunities for people to get good paying jobs and create opportunities for the future. Constituent services will be a big focus for us as well.”
Recent Republican primaries have been framed as battles between Tea Party candidates and business candidates — Chamber of Commerce-types and the grassroots. When asked about the perceived rift in the Republican Party, Brooke said he’s confident he could be a unifying force.
“I can absolutely bridge that gap,” Brooke said. “I don’t think the rift is that serious. As long as the candidate stays focused on needs of district as a whole, we can get beyond that.”
Brooke joins State Rep. Paul DeMarco, orthopedic surgeon Chad Mathis and Alabama Policy Institute founder Gary Palmer as an officially announced candidate.
The sixth congressional district seat is currently held by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills. After over two decades in Congress, Bachus announced in late September that he will not seek another term in 2014.
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