MONTGOMERY — At the steps of the Alabama State Capitol, businessman Tim James on Wednesday officially launched his bid to seek the Republican nomination for governor.
The candidate, son of former Republican Governor Fob James, in early December established his principal campaign committee for his gubernatorial bid with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.
James joins businesswoman Lindy Blanchard and philanthropist Lew Burdette as recent entries into the race vying to derail Gov. Kay Ivey’s bid for reelection as Alabama’s chief executive.
During his campaign’s kickoff announcement, James honed in on a number of social issues and took aim at Ivey and Republican leadership by suggesting that they have not been sufficiently conservative in their approach to governing.
“[O]bviously, this administration is overwhelmed. I’m running for governor because I believe the leadership in Montgomery have capitulated to the political structures that control this state,” declared James. “They just don’t have the stomach for the fight. I say this because we’ve watched them cave to the special interests and the political parasites who care nothing about you and this cultural battle that’s being waged.”
— Dylan Smith (@DylanSmithAL) January 12, 2022
On the issue of gaming, James claimed that state leadership has “caved” to what he referred to as the “casino barons” who he said are “trying to turn our state into a gambling mecca.”
As the Alabama Legislature has returned to Montgomery to mark the beginning of the 2022 regular legislative session, James stated that those in favor of gambling “have drawn their swords for one final time because they know when Tim James is elected governor, Alabama will not be the Las Vegas of the South.”
Concerning medical marijuana, the gubernatorial candidate railed against the Republican-led legislature for legalizing medicinal cannabis and claimed it to be a “gateway drug” that leads to opioid addiction.
“This is not about pain and suffering. It is about money. It is being pushed by wealthy, influential people in this state who justify their greed with the self-righteous hypocrisy. They consider themselves pillars of the community. They’re not,” said James. “They are nothing but drug pushers making their fortunes on the backs of people’s misery while their product is working its way to the streets under the guise of medicine and it’s got to be stopped — I can tell you that.”
James went on to cite statistics which show Alabama ranking near the bottom regarding education. He asserted that funding was not the issue and attributed “weak leadership” as being the driving force behind what he suggested to be lackluster educational performance. James said his administration would “deconstruct the education system to its foundation and rebuild it from the bottom up.”
He also called for performance-based pay raises for the education community and the utilization of private vouchers as a means to promote school choice.
James slammed the passage of the “Rebuild Alabama Act,” which increased the state fuel tax as a means to increase revenue for infrastructure enhancement.
“Then they caved to big business and raised taxes on working families. Every time you buy a gallon of gas at the station, you’ll remember this. We haven’t had an honest discussion about tax reform in over a decade,” he advised. “I’ll start by eliminating the tax on essential groceries once and for all. We should be using our hard-earned money to feed families, not government.”
The candidate concluded his list of top priorities as governor by proclaiming that he would combat federal overreach and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
James took issue with the legislation that was signed into law during last year’s special session which instructed businesses to “liberally construe” workers’ exemption requests to mandated vaccination. He suggested that the exemptions did not cover everyone who sought to be shielded from the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates.
The primary election will take place May 24, 2022.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL