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Gov. Robert "Bob" R. Riley

Self Description

March 2008: "Governor Bob Riley was sworn into office for a second term as Alabama’s chief executive in January 2007, following a successful first term marked by great progress for the state. During those first four years, Governor Riley made good on promises to improve education, put Alabama’s economy on the right track and restore honesty to the Governor’s Office. The people overwhelmingly endorsed the Governor’s actions and his vision for a second term. They re-elected him with 58% of the vote, making him only the third sitting Alabama governor to win re-election in modern times.

Bob Riley was born and raised in the small Clay County town of Ashland, where his family has lived on ranches and farms for six generations. After graduating from the University of Alabama at age 20 with a degree in business administration, he returned to his hometown, married his high school sweetheart, Patsy Adams, and began a 30-year career in the private sector in which he ran several successful businesses and a cattle farm. On their ranch in Ashland, Bob and Patsy Riley raised a family of four children: Rob, Jenice, Minda and Krisalyn.

Shortly after the birth of his first grandchild, Bob Riley believed he could make a difference through public service. So in 1996, at the age of 52, he ran for Congress. A then-political unknown, he beat tough odds and well-known opponents and was successfully elected to represent Alabama’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the House, Congressman Riley worked to pass the first balanced budget in a generation, the first tax cuts in 20 years, and a stronger national defense from his seat on the House Armed Services Committee. He also fulfilled a promise to serve only three terms.

As his congressional service was nearing an end, his home state found itself in dire straits. Alabama was bleeding jobs, its education budget was once again on the verge of proration, and the Governor’s Office was mired in scandal.

Congressman Riley was urged to run for governor to turn the state around. After announcing his candidacy for governor in July 2001, he went on to defeat two opponents in the Republican primary with 73 percent of the vote. In November 2002, he also defeated the incumbent governor in the general election. As soon as the last vote was counted and he was declared the winner, Bob Riley rolled up his sleeves and got to work.

Governor Riley fulfilled a promise to assemble a Cabinet of world-class leaders pledged to help him reform state government. He also took action to make his administration the most open and accountable in state history. He banned pass-through pork in his Cabinet agencies, saving taxpayers $40 million. He opened his office’s records with a transparency never before seen in Alabama. And he implemented an accountable budget process called SMART Governing that allows taxpayers to see how their money is being spent by every agency of state government.

During his first term, Governor Riley also successfully changed Alabama’s economic development model. Governor Riley inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression at the beginning of his first term. But during the next four years, Alabama achieved record low unemployment rates, experienced the creation of more than 100,000 new jobs, and attained a record budget surplus. In fact, Alabama’s strong economy has gained national recognition. Alabama’s economic development was ranked number one of all 50 states and declared the best of the southern states for four consecutive years.

Perhaps most encouraging to Alabamians are the improvements made in education during Governor Riley’s first term. A strong and growing economy allowed him to propose record funding for Alabama schools. During his first term, education funding increased by more than $2 billion. Historic investments the Governor made in nationally-renowned programs like the Alabama Reading Initiative and the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative are getting results in higher test scores. At the same time it has invested record funding into its classrooms, the state also has the highest amount ever saved in its rainy day fund and proration prevention account.

Now Governor Riley is pursuing an ambitious agenda called “Plan 2010.” The Governor is proposing even more funding for schools, including a record-setting bond issue to help school systems with construction projects and repairs. He is proposing historic pro-growth tax incentives that will help middle class families, make health care more affordable and create new jobs. These pro-growth policies will stimulate the economy and result in even more funding for education. And Governor Riley continues proposing sweeping ethics reforms that will make state government even more accountable."

Third-Party Descriptions

April 2010: "Since 2008, Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican who is nearing the end of his second and last term, has been on an aggressive campaign to stop the spread of electronic bingo machines, arguing that they are little more than slot machines and thus illegal under the State Constitution. He set up a task force on gambling, which has been raiding electronic-bingo casinos and carting off the machines in the middle of the night."
August 2003: Republican Governor of Alabama.


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Alabama (State Government) Organization Mar 13, 2008
Member of (past or present) Republican Party (U.S.) / Republican National Committee Organization Mar 13, 2008
Member of (past or present) US House of Representatives Organization Mar 13, 2008
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of Alabama, The (Tuscaloosa) Organization Mar 13, 2008
Supported by (past or present) Advised by (past or present) William "Bill" Canary Person Apr 11, 2008
Opponent (past or present) Successor to Gov. Donald "Don" Siegelman Esq. Person Mar 13, 2008

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
Apr 17, 2010 Graft Probe Heats Up Bingo Issue in Alabama

QUOTE: ...Alabama learned that its hottest issue — whether electronic bingo is illegal gambling, or a harmless way to raise revenue for governments and charities — had become the subject of a federal criminal investigation. Even by the normally unsightly standards of Alabama politics, the fight had become downright ugly.

New York Times
Apr 27, 2009 On Voting Rights, Test of History v. Progress

QUOTE: The central question before the [Supreme] court, though, is this: Did Congress overstep its constitutional power in 2006 by reauthorizing Section 5 of the act [Voting Rights Act of 1965], which requires states and localities with a history of discrimination to obtain federal permission before making changes to their voting procedures?

New York Times
Aug 03, 2006 Strong-Arming the Vote

QUOTE: party politics certainly appears to have been a driving force in a legal maneuver it just pulled off in Alabama, where it persuaded a federal judge to take important election powers away from the Democratic secretary of state and give them to a Republican governor.

New York Times
Aug 15, 2003 Alabama's Chief Justice Defies Court Order

QUOTE: Defying a federal court order, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court said yesterday that he will refuse to remove a granite monument that is inscribed with the words of the Ten Commandments...

Washington Post