Freshman state Sen. Bryan Taylor, an advocate of ethics reform and outspoken opponent of gambling, announced on Monday that he is not running for a second term.
“This was a tremendously difficult decision,” said Taylor, a Prattville Republican.
Taylor, joined by his wife Jessica, said they are expecting their third child in May and decided it was best for him to focus on his family, on his work in the private sector, and on his career in the Alabama National Guard.
“We made this decision independently with no concern for politics,” Taylor said when asked about opposition in the Republican primary. Fellow Republican Suzelle Josey of Deatsville, a former spokeswoman for Chief Justice Roy Moore, has announced she is running.
The senator, who successfully ran and defeated longtime Democratic state Sen. Wendell Mitchell in 2010, said he will finish the remainder of his term, which ends in November 2014 with the general election.
Taylor, in his one remaining legislative session, said his priority will be a bill he has introduced every year to give a one-time tax credit to small businesses that he said could be used for equipment or employee bonuses. If passed, the measure would allow small businesses to keep a month of sales tax collections.
The senator said he is comfortable stepping away with all the Legislature has accomplished in the last three years including ethics reform in the 2010 special session
Taylor said they have passed all of the measures in his campaign platform, including ethics reform and repealing a legislative pay raise, with the exception of term limits. He encouraged “good people” to run in the upcoming election.
“You don’t have to be a career politician to be a successful statesman,” he said.
Taylor, who served as policy director and counsel to then-Gov. Bob Riley when he ran in 2010, was the driving force behind Riley’s fight against electronic gambling in the state. He has continued the fight unsuccessfully in the Senate, unable to pass legislation that would enhance penalties for possession of gambling devices. Taylor said he talked to Riley about his decision Monday morning and told Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, about his decision about two weeks ago.
Taylor said he was also proud of redistricting, bringing Autauga County into one Senate district and moving Elmore County from being split between three Senate districts down to two. His successor will run in and serve in the redrawn district.
Taylor, a 37-year-old lawyer, said his family is much like those he represents. He said they are not independently wealthy, both he and Jessica work, they have multiple children, and are working to pay their mortgage and school loans.
Taylor pointed to his very large district that stretches from Brundidge in Pike County north to Billingsley in Autauga County. He said serving as a senator, during legislative sessions and driving through his large district to meet with constituents, left Jessica as the primary caregiver of their two children.
“I feel like now is my time to make it up to her,” he said.
Taylor did not rule out a future run, saying that someday the “Lord may call me back.”
– posted by Sebastian Kitchen