State Leaders Surprised By Japan Trip

Montgomery, AL – Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley, State Senator Lowell Barron and State Representative Seth Hammett say they were all surprised by a travel proposal out of Governor Riley's office. The three say they learned that Riley's administration is proposing to spend state money to send them to the next World's Fair in Japan. They say no one has contacted them about the trip. Administration officials say they were only trying to plan ahead and make sure the state's top leaders could attend a special week at the World's Fair where Alabama will be saluted. At issue is a one-point-four million dollar contract that the Riley administration has with a Birmingham advertising agency. Luckie and Company is promoting the state through advertising during 2005. A list of planned expenditures that accompanied the contract included 30-thousand dollars for the ad agency. That will cover the cost of sending Baxley, Barron and well as Governor and Mrs. Riley and state security officers to Japan next year.