James to run for governor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Working hard to improve the State of Alabama has proven to be the motto of the James family. This week, Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, announced his plans to join the race for governor in the 2002 campaign.

&uot;Running for governor is not one of those things you just wake up in the morning and say, ‘I’m going to run for governor today.’ It’s actually been on my mind for a long time,&uot; said Tim James.

&uot;I have no professional experience whatsoever. I’ve been in the private sector all my life. Frankly, I think people that have been in the private or business sector have the kind of preparation that people need to be governor,&uot; he said.

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&uot;The constant stair-step approach to government just creates politicians; it’s a revolving door and I think it’s unhealthy. Good people have to engage in this arena. If not, we continue this tailspin that we’ve been in and what’s missing is honesty, integrity and character. I’m just ready to move this state forward.&uot;

A native of Opelika in Lee County, James attended Baylor Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tenn., and then went on to Auburn University where he played football and majored in finance. It was also in Auburn that he met his wife, Angela.

In 1987, James bought a company in Escambia County where he ventured into the construction business and stayed for almost a decade.

&uot;In 1995, my brothers and my partners had been looking at the concept of toll infrastructure-type projects because so much money from the department of transportation is used on maintenance of existing roads,&uot; explained James. &uot;I was a managing partner and we started a toll road/bridge project that was privately funded. It was just completed last summer and it is one of the only projects of its kind in that it has 13 miles of four-lane highway and it was built in 13 months.&uot;

James expects that his experience as a builder will aid in his mission in creating a strong foundation to move Alabama to the top. &uot;I’m a builder. I fix things. That’s what I’ve done my entire life and I look at government in terms of building.&uot;

Two major issues that he plans to focus on are education and economic development.

&uot;When I walk away from this job, I want every single school in this state to be performing better. I am not happy with the national averages — we can do better than that.

&uot;I also think that we need to concentrate on all 67 counties in Alabama, not just the big ones. We need to concentrate on small business as well. Rather than spending $150 million on a big manufacturer like Honda or Mercedes, which have 1,000 employees in just one place, I would much rather see 50 companies with 20 employees each scattered throughout the state,&uot; he said.

When asked what advice his father has given about his new venture, James said, &uot;A wise son heeds the advice of his father. His advice is to stay the course even though there will be a lot of shots fired. He likes that the people of Alabama are starving for straight talk — no gimmicks, just the fundamentals, and that they demand honesty and a level of integrity that is unquestionable. That is who I am.&uot;

In 1988, James moved to Greenville, along with his wife Angela, and his three children, Fleming, 16, Tim, 13, and Sarah, 8, all who attend Fort Dale Academy.

&uot;What I want to say to the people of this wonderful state is that I want them to join me in this crusade and for the first time in this state’s history, I want to take it to the its highest capacity,&uot;

James will be seeking the Republican nomination along with Rep. Bob Riley and businessman Jim Cooper, and plans to make Greenville the home of his campaign headquarters.

&uot;When I leave office, if education is not in the national average but way above it, then I’ll feel like I’ve done a good job. If the numbers of people in our prisons are reduced, then I’ll feel like I’ve done a good job. If jobs are stronger and more sound in every county, then I’ll feel like I’ve done a good job. If we have moved forward, then I will feel that the people of the state have been served well and history will be good to me.&uot;