The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 19, 2014

Parker Griffith announces his gubernatorial bid

Calls Bentley administration 'pointless'

By Jean Cole

— Former U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith kicked off his campaign for governor Wednesday with a promise to “fight for the hard-working men and women of Alabama” and to “free our state from the aimless, even pointless, administration of (Gov.) Robert Bentley.”

Griffith, now a Democrat after serving one term in Congress as a Republican from 2009-11, said he plans to push a change in direction for state government, centering on job creation, reforming, retooling and expanding Medicaid and creating an education lottery.

“When I look at Alabama today, I see health care denied, education delayed, workers underemployed and unemployed. I see a great state that is not prepared to compete in the global economy,” Griffith said in a statement. “As governor, I will take action and I will make a difference. I believe there is a great tide of dissatisfaction that can sweep away the obstacles before us.”

Griffith, a Huntsville physician who also served as a state senator, said he would focus on three core issues.

“These issues  — jobs, education, health care — will be at the heart of my campaign,” he said. “All of these are within our reach without depending on a dysfunctional federal government.

“We can do the education lottery on our own. We can draw down the federal money for better health care under existing law. We can get back in the jobs business through our own actions as Alabamians.”

In the statement, Griffith, who was originally a Democrat before switching to the Republican party in 2009, said, “I welcome all who will come to our table — Democrats, independents and Republicans of good will who will not allow themselves to be bullied and defined by the Tea Party extremists.”