Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bob Riley (Alabama)
Riley was born in Ashland, Alabama, a small town in Clay County where his family had ranched and farmed for six generations. Riley attended the University of Alabama, graduating with a degree in business administration.
Riley was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 defeating his sole opponent, Libertarian John Sophocleus, and served from 1997 to 2003. He did not run for re-election to his seat in November 2002, instead running for governor and defeating the Democratic incumbent, Don Siegelman and again defeating Libertarian candidate John Sophocleus. Riley took office in January 2003.
In 2003, Alabama state politics gained national attention when the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Roy Moore, refused to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the court building. Riley reportedly supported Moore, but ultimately did not play a large role in the dispute, and there was nothing he could do to prevent Moore from being removed from office by a judicial ethics panel.
Riley also proposed a sweeping reform of the state's tax system, regarded as one of the most regressive in the United States. Riley intended to shift more of the burden to the rich in order to salvage the dismal state of Alabama's state finances. He presented his plan in Christian terms, arguing that the existing system was unfair to the poor, but his plan was rejected by voters on September 9 2003, with 68 percent opposed to it.
Riley is married to Patsy Adams Riley, also from Ashland. The couple has four children and four grandchildren.
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