MOBILE — Mobile County has a unique situation. For the first time ever, it is in two congressional districts.

The district that is new to Mobile County is the second congressional district, running from northern Mobile County to Georgia through Alabama’s rural Piney Woods, some of the Wiregrass, and ending at the Georgia line in east Alabama. From the Mississippi line to the Georgia line.

The new district includes the state capitol of Montgomery, and one of its residents drove from Montgomery to Mobile on Wednesday to speak to the West Mobile Republican Women’s Club. 

Caroleene Dobson, a Montgomery attorney and native of rural Monroe County in the district, addressed a problem that has plagued Mobile and southern Alabama for decades.  A new bridge is needed on Interstate 10 over Mobile Bay. That’s the stretch of I-10 that connects Mobile on the west to Baldwin County on the east.

It’s called “The Bayway,” and it gets congested on beach weekends, sometimes at rush hour, anytime there is a wreck or breakdown and sometimes for no apparent reason.

Gov. Kay Ivey and her Alabama Department of Transportation have a plan to build a new six-lane elevated bridge to parallel the existing four-lane Bayway. The problem is how to pay the estimated $2.7 billion price tag.

The current Alabama Department of Transportation plan now includes a toll charge, projected to be $5.50 each way or $2.50 with an ALGO pass, or $40 monthly.

Dobson told the Mobile group, “In Congress, I pledge to take the lead in obtaining federal infrastructure funds to pay for the I-10 bridge. without a toll.”  

She put emphasis on the word, “pledge.”

“Interstate 10 is a federal highway. This is a federal bridge. There are funds available from your existing tax dollars to pay for this federal bridge,” Dobson said.  She emphasized the word “federal.”

Dobson had driven herself from her home in Montgomery to the Mobile meeting.  Fortunately, she did not have to cross the I-10 Bayway, or she may have been late. She drove over the I-65 “Dolly Parton” bridge, which was built with federal dollars and has never had a toll.

Dobson told the GOP group, “I do not want our citizens to have to pay twice for the I-10 bridge.” 

She emphasized the word “twice.”

Dobson, 37, said that this is her first run for political office.

“I am not a career politician," she stated. "We have too many career politicians in Washington.” 

Dobson is running in the March 5 Republican primary. According to polls, she is one of three leading candidates, along with former State Sen. Dick Brewbaker and State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore).

Four other candidates are Karla DuPriest, Hampton Harris, Stacey Shepperson and Belinda Thomas.

If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote in the March 5 primary, there will be a runoff between the top two vote-getters on April 16.

There are also 11 Democrat candidates for the second congressional disctrict running in the separate Democrat primary, also on March 5. The two winners of the party primaries will face off in the November 5 general election.

The counties in the new second congressional district are Washington, southern Clarke, Monroe, Conecuh, Butler, Crenshaw, Pike, Montgomery, Bullock, Macon, Russell, Barbour and parts of Mobile; most of the city of Mobile, most black precincts, and most of north Mobile County.

The second congressional district is considered vital by national political parties because of the slim margin by which Republicans control the House of Representatives. The district is demographically a swing district and could make a difference in control of the U.S. House. 

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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