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Bobby Neal Bright, Sr. (born July 21, 1952) is an Americanmarker politician from the state of Alabamamarker. He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 2009, representing . The district includes just over half of the state capital, Montgomerymarker, as well as most of the Wiregrass Region in the southeastern part of the state. The Mayor of Montgomery from 1999 to 2009, Bright is the first mayor of Montgomery to be elected to the United States Congress. He is the only Democratic Congressperson to vote against 2009's five most notable pieces of legislation: the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (or stimulus), the 2010 Congressional budget, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (cap-and-trade), the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, and the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

Early life

Bright was born in Midland City, Alabamamarker and grew up on one of the cotton farms that were typical of the Wiregrass. After spending his youth working on the farm and graduating from high school, he took a job in metalworking to save up money for college. He later attended Auburn Universitymarker, earned a degree in political science, and took up work as an auditor. Bright also is an alumnus of Troy Universitymarker, from which he received a degree in criminal justice, and used to embark on a career as a corrections officer. While working in the prison system, he was deeply affected by the many young people he saw entering the penitentiaries and decided to enter into law to as a result[341740].

Bright is a graduate of Thomas Goode Jones School of Lawmarker of Faulkner Universitymarker. He practiced law for fifteen years before entering into politics. Bright is married to retired District Judge Lynn Clardy Bright. They have three children: Bobby Neal Jr., Lisa Lynn, and Katherine Clardy.

Mayor

Bright was first elected in 1999, defeating longtime incumbent Republican Emory Folmar. He was re-elected in a landslide against challenger Scott Simmons in 2003.

During Bright's tenure he revitalized Montgomery's downtown and riverfront including the Renaissance Montgomery complex and Montgomery Riverwalk Stadiummarker. He helped bring new jobs to the area, and saved existing jobs. He was also named the state's "Tourism Advocate of the Year" by the Governor for his work in building that industry. On the financial side, he balanced the City's budget every year and created a $30 million rainy day fund, secured millions in federal grants for important projects, maintained the city's "AA" credit rating (best in state) by holding spending and debt in check, and saved money by implementing an international prescription drug buying program.

2008 U.S. Representative campaign

Bright had never previously claimed affiliation with any party, but in 2008 he announced that he was running as a Democrat for the open seat in the 2nd District. The district's eight-term incumbent, Republican Terry Everett, was not running for reelection.

Bright said that he eventually chose to run as a Democrat because he felt that it would give him the most opportunity to be an independent thinker. He also stated his belief that Republican policies had shortchanged poor districts on federal dollars. Like many Alabama Democrats, he opposes abortion and gun control. However, he favors "a strong, honorable plan" to end the Iraq War. His political leanings could be described as fairly populist and progressive, combining moderate social conservatism with liberal views on economic issues. His views are not typical of the southern Democrats who once dominated Alabama politics prior to the 1970s.

Bright was considered the strongest Democrat to run in a district that had been in Republican hands since 1965. With the strong support of the state and national Democratic establishment, Bright easily won the Democratic nomination against two minor challengers. He faced Republican State Representative Jay Love in the November election. Both Bright and Love are deacons at First Baptist Church in Montgomery. Bright received the endorsement of bitter Republican primary loser State Senator Harri Anne Smith, whom Love had defeated by six points in the primary.

Just before the election, CQ Politics, the The Cook Political Report and The Rothenberg Political Report rated the race a toss-up, with neither candidate a clear favorite over the other.In the November election, Bright received 143,997 votes to Love's 142,231 votes—a margin of 1,766 votes, or just over 0.6 percentage points. While the two candidates each won eight of the district's 16 counties, Bright won the district's share of Montgomery County by 30 points. Love had the option of requesting a recount since the margin of victory was less than a point, but opted not to do so and conceded the seat to Bright. Bright's victory, and that of Parker Griffith in the 5th District, gave Alabama two white Democratic congressmen for the first time since Tom Bevill and Glen Browder left the House in 1997. He also represents the fourth most Republican district in the nation to be represented by a Democrat; it has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+16, and gave John McCain 63 percent of the vote in 2008.

The 2nd traditionally gives its congressmen very long tenures in Washington; Bright is only the seventh person to represent it in over a century, and the fifth since 1921.

Bright's 2008 campaign was endorsed by Democrats for Life of America.

2009 Representative career

Bright is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition.

Soon after being sworn in, Bright introduced a bill to extend tax deductions for small businesses. He was the first member of the Democratic freshman class of 2009 to sponsor a bill.

Bright twice voted no on President Obama's stimulus plan, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, one of only 7 Democrats voting against the final version.

In November 2009, Bright voted against the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

Committee assignments



References



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