Residents give their opinionsPublished 1:49pm Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting with and hearing from several hundred people from all walks of life who live in Southwest Alabama. They came out to speak their mind on a wide variety of issues spanning from federal involvement in local education to illegal immigration to the budget deficit. I want to thank everyone who attended one of my 14 town meetings and in some cases braved heavy thunderstorms to give their views. Beginning last Monday, my staff and I spent four days visiting city halls, volunteer fire departments, senior centers and community halls from Wilmer to Brewton and northward from Perdue Hill down to Gulf Shores. Whether it be seniors, veterans, business owners and community leaders or young people, all shared concerns about their country and our future.
We began the week with a moving presentation of a Bronze Star to World War II Army veteran James Philpot, who waited some 70 years to receive the high commendation for his “meritorious achievement in active ground combat against the enemy on December 1, 1944” while serving with an anti-tank unit in the Rhineland of Germany. Philpot spent most of his life after his military service unaware that he was eligible to receive one of the military’s highest honors until he inquired with my office several weeks ago. We helped to confirm his eligibility for the Bronze Star and secured the medal and certificate from the Secretary of the Army for presentation to him during the Wilmer town meeting.
Whether in Bayou La Batre, Satsuma or Gulf Shores, folks expressed their dissatisfaction with the direction of political decisions in Washington, from the unsustainable national debt to ridiculously tight Red Snapper fishing limits in the Gulf.
I noted the House of Representatives, in which I serve, has offered up and passed budget blueprints for three years in a row that actually cut federal spending – unlike the Senate and the White House. Unfortunately, the House does not have the constitutional power to force its will on the Senate, which, until recently, has refused to write and pass its own budget plan.
I want to thank everyone who came out to talk to me and my staff over the last week and I always look forward to hearing your views – whether in person or by phone, letter or email. It is an honor to represent you in Congress and I will continue to do my best to make sure your views are heard in Washington.