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Two Former State Lawmakers and Evangelical Christian Bishop Named Alabama Policy Institute Distinguished Fellows

Birmingham, Ala. – Today (December 14th, 2020), Alabama Policy Institute President Caleb Crosby announced the expansion of the non-partisan policy and research think-tank’s Fellows program. “Adding individuals to the API team with the quality, experience, and character of former Senator Bill Hightower, Bishop Jim Lowe, and former Senator Bryan Taylor is a sign of our continued commitment to excellence in driving the discussion on public policy decisions throughout all levels of government in Alabama,” Crosby said of the appointments. Each of the new Fellows will join former Chief Justice Drayton Nabers in holding the title Distinguished Fellow.

Senator Bill Hightower, of Mobile, was first elected by the people of Alabama Senate District 35 in a 2013 special election and was elected to a full-term in 2014 serving until he chose not to run for reelection in 2018. During his time in the Senate, Hightower was consistently ranked one of the most conservative members of the body. His legislative record includes pushing for lower taxes and smaller government, including the introduction of a flat-tax and a bill that would have mandated legislative term limits. His political accomplishments have earned him the endorsements of national conservative leaders such as Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), economist Stephen Moore, activist Gary Bauer, and the National Right to Life Committee.

Hightower, an accomplished businessman and international philanthropist, has worked globally with Fortune 500 corporations including Emerson Electric, AlliedSignal, Eaton, and Balfour-Beatty. Today, from his hometown of Mobile, Hightower continues to work with global corporations, assisting them in strategic development, and corporate acquisitions. He is married to Susan Binegar Hightower and together they have two children. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

Bishop James “Jim” Lowe, of Birmingham, has been Senior Pastor of Birmingham’s The Guiding Light Church since 1987, and in 2006 was ordained a Bishop by the International Communion of Charismatic Churches. During his time leading his church, the congregation has grown from 15 members to over 3,500. Lowe is a living part of Birmingham and American Civil Rights history as he nearly lost his life in the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing in 1963, which claimed the lives of four young girls. “That event in my life,” Bishop Lowe said, “helped me recognize that this type of hate could only be conquered when God’s love changes the haters’ hearts.”

The son of well-known Alabama Jazz artist and historian J.L. Lowe, Bishop Lowe is an accomplished musician in his own right and is currently Chairman of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. He is a founding member of the Gatekeepers Association of Alabama, a diverse community of pastors and church leaders committed to creating a Godly impact in political and public policy affairs. Lowe has been married to Patricia Bruce Lowe for 42 years and together they have three children and three grandchildren. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Birmingham Southern College.

Senator Bryan Taylor, of Prattville, has led a distinguished career in politics, the law, and military service. Taylor served in the Alabama Senate representing district 30 for one term having been elected in 2010 as the first Republican to ever hold the seat. During his time in the Senate, though only a freshman senator, he became known as the architect of ethics reform in Alabama as he sponsored and guided to passage a historic package of bills strengthening the state’s public service ethics laws. Professionally, he has served in three gubernatorial administrations. First, Taylor was named as Personal Aide to Governor Bob Riley in 2006 and then as Policy Director and Counsel to Riley until 2010. Second, he was named General Counsel for the Alabama Department of Finance during the second term of Governor Robert Bentley, and, third, he served as General Counsel to Governor Kay Ivey from 2017 to 2020. He currently is in private legal practice with the firm he co-founded, Bachus, Brom & Taylor.

Since shortly after September 11, 2001, Taylor has served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps both on active and reserve duties, including a tour in Honduras and a combat tour in Iraq. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq and received the American Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Award in 2004. He currently serves in the Alabama National Guard holding the rank of major. Taylor is married to Jessica Fair Taylor and together they have three children. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.

“At its core, good public policy is formed first from ideas, and then second through advocacy,” commented API’s Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel Phil Williams, himself a former state senator. “In adding these men as Distinguished Fellows, API is not only underscoring our commitment to formulating the ideas which bring about good policy, but also our commitment to getting in the trenches to work for those policies. The experience, acumen, and widespread respect these individuals bring to the table is unmatched and will serve API well.”

As Distinguished Fellows, Hightower, Lowe, and Taylor, will lend their voices and ideas to important public policy debates in Alabama. The appointments are effective immediately. Full biographies of all API Fellows are available at alabamapolicy.org.

Founded in 1989, Alabama Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to free markets, limited government, and strong families, learn more at alabamapolicy.org