Month: March 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz could win in places like Alabama: opinion

In this Aug. 8, 2014 photo, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, delivers a speech to 2014 Red State Gathering attendees in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)Tony Gutierrez One of my favorite Crimson Tide souvenirs is a little pin-on button that plays a few seconds from one of Coach Bear Bryant's locker room speeches. Press a spot near the smiling face of the Bear and you'll hear him say, in his distinctive slow, low growl, "I ... want ... to ... win." That steely, certain desire for victory isn't just part of our state's famous athletic programs. It's in our blood. Many of us descend from the fierce Scots-Irish who settled much of our state, and we were "Born Fighting," as the title for the best-selling book about those immigrants explains. Rebels and outcasts to this day, we simply love someone who'll fight. AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com and jpepperbryars.com.). More opinion on AL.com That's why Ted Cruz could easily win in a place like Alabama, and anywhere else where voters are looking for a leader who'll actually fight for what we believe. The senator from Texas just announced that he's running for president during a stirring speech on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He spoke from the heart, and it was refreshing to hear a politician tell his family story and explain his beliefs without having to…

Charter schools will bring options to Alabama families

Conservatives have long believed that any meaningful reform of public education must include charter schools, which are publicly-funded yet free from most burdensome regulations. These institutions are magnets for creative teachers and hubs of innovation, yet earlier this month a state senator from Birmingham warned that a current proposal to allow them would create a "dual" and "segregated" education system in Alabama. The problem is we already have such a system, but it's segregated not by race but by families with options and those without. AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com and jpepperbryars.com. More opinion on AL.com I learned this firsthand while attending a public middle school in the late 1980s in Mobile. My parents were worried because the school had a bad reputation and was located in a rough neighborhood. So after several letters, calls and meetings my mother convinced the middle school to allow me into its advanced placement program. At least with that option, she thought, I could be partially shielded from what she had heard. My classes were challenging and rewarding, but as I grew from a little boy into a young teenager I became disinterested in lessons and distracted by life. I daydreamed through class and spent my afternoons doing anything but homework. My grades┬ásteadily declined and I eventually began failing English. Ironic, of course, because now I'm a writer, but back then the subject bored me.…

Who do I think I am? Like you, a little bit of everything: opinion

After publishing dozens of controversial opinions on these pages I often receive emails from readers asking the same question: "Just who do you think you are, anyway?" It's rhetorical, of course, but still a fair question. Perhaps I should try to answer. First, I'm mostly who I've chosen to be: a politically conservative Roman Catholic. Those governing forces -- philosophy and faith -- guide me in most affairs. I'm conservative because I believe the maxim "that government is best which governs least." AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com and jpepperbryars.com. More opinion on AL.com I'm Catholic because I believe the church is what it claims to be. I've chosen to be the husband of a remarkable woman, and believe our marriage is a sacred, unbreakable bond. Together we're the parents of five wonderful children, and choose to believe we're solely responsible for their health and well-being, along with the formation of their faith, character and education. Second, who I am was heavily influenced by my upbringing. I'm the youngest of seven children born to a firefighter and freelance writer. My siblings partially raised me, too. From my bothers I learned about hard work, art and history. From my sisters, tenacity, compassion and taste. Our little three-bedroom, one-bath house in Mobile was always full of people, dogs and cats and was very noisy (especially during Alabama football games). We learned to eat fast…

Alabama’s State Legislature could use a few more Marines

Marines are a special breed. Their famous motto, "Semper Fidelis," which is Latin for "always faithful," represents how these warriors remain faithful to their mission, to their fellow Marines, to the Corps and the country -- regardless of the consequences. It's an indelible principle that continues to guide them long after they've hung up their uniforms and joined the civilian world. "There's no such thing as a former Marine," explained General James Amos, the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps. "You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico." AL.com Opinion About the writer J. Pepper Bryars grew up in Mobile and is now a writer living in Huntsville. Contact him at jpepperbryars@gmail.com" More opinion on AL.com State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison, is a Marine, and Alabamians are fortunate to have him serving in our State Legislature. Last week, after hearing from the constituents he was elected to represent, the conservative lawmaker rented space on a billboard in his North Alabama district that read, "Governor Bentley wants to raise your taxes. I will not let that happen. Semper Fi - Senator Bill Holtzclaw." Holtzclaw and his constituents were responding to the governor's plan to break his campaign promise by proposing a more than half-a-billion dollar tax increase. The vast majority of Holtzclaw's constituents are conservative (I'm one of them) and our senator is…