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On gaming, I’m a “yes” in the chamber and a “no” on the ballot

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Brian Brignjak and I'm currently a new member of the Alabama State Assembly. Kyle South, who previously held my seat in the Alabama House of Representatives, resigned on June 30, 2023. The following week, Governor Ivey set the primary special election for September 26th and the required primary runoff election for October 24th. .

As you can see, the special election moves quickly. I had less than two months to launch a campaign, raise money, and show voters what made me different from everyone else on the ballot. That last challenge, differentiating from other candidates, is easier said than done because Republican candidates tend to be completely aligned on the issues that primary voters care about most.

Ahead of the primary, four candidate forums were held in the district to give voters an opportunity to learn about the people vying for their support. From my perspective, they don't learn much about any of us by hearing our thoughts on national issues like education, economic development, or even the ongoing border crisis. was. Honestly, it was almost as if we were trying to outdo each other Republicans and prove who was the most conservative of the bunch. It was both tiring and frustrating. If it weren't for my genuine beliefs on certain issues, I don't know if I would be the new representative for Congressional District 16.

Like clockwork, the topic of gaming always came up in every candidate forum. Questions include: Do you support expanding gaming in Alabama?

Do you think the state needs a lottery to support education?

How will the proceeds be used?

Why isn't the law being enforced?

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My response raised eyebrows from both my fellow candidates and the person asking the question.

I will vote for the gaming bill in the House, but I will vote against it if it goes to a vote on November 9th.

My justification for this is simple. If I can't trust voters to decide this issue for themselves, how can I expect them to trust me in Montgomery? As elected officials, we have a responsibility to represent the voice of our constituents, and based on the conversations I've had in my district, people want to vote on this issue. During my campaign, many people came up to me after town halls and told me that my stance on this issue had won them their votes. Some said they wanted to do a lottery, while others said they wanted to see revenue that would make a difference in the state. I also saw polls showing that over 90% of Republican voters want this constitutional amendment on the ballot.

I have committed to doing my part to pass this bill. I don't gamble. I have never done that, and I never will. I have moral objections to this issue, but at the end of the day, I was elected to represent my constituents, not myself. At my core, I support freedom and believe that citizens are entitled to the freedom to choose in this matter.

Once this bill is voted on in the House, I challenge my colleagues to put aside their personal beliefs and vote to give people a choice.

Congressman Brian Brignjak was recently elected to represent Congressional District 16, which covers parts of Fayette, Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties, replacing Congressman Kyle South and is the newest member of the Alabama General Assembly. .

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