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Shelby stops in Escambia County

By By BILL CRIST
Staff Writer
Saying he was going to turn his attention to Escambia County this year, Senator Richard Shelby spoke to a group of civic and business leaders in Brewton on Monday morning.
One topic came up more than any other did though, and several audience members asked questions about the soaring price of energy. Shelby said that he favored letting the marketplace dictate prices, but that government policies were partly responsible for the current high prices.
Shelby said he supports drilling for gas and oil in the Alaska National Wild Refuge, something that President George W. Bush has called for. Many Democrats oppose drilling there, saying it would damage the natural environment and ecosystem of northern Alaska.
Shelby told the group, which included representatives of Atmore and Evergreen, that he feels there are six key issues facing our country. He discussed each before moving on to specific policies and measures that he supports. Among the six were education and preparing our young people to be globally competitive; building and maintaining a strong national defense; creating opportunities for economic gain for everyone; preserving Social Security and Medicare for the long-term future; improving Alabama's infrastructure and seeking ways to ensure privacy in the "New World."
Shelby also said he was in favor of eliminating a pair of controversial taxes, two areas the Republican Party has targeted as part of its tax reform package. Shelby said he favors eliminating the so-called death tax and marriage penalty tax.
Shelby said he was glad to be back in Alabama, and hoped that in the coming months he would be able to visit each county in the state, holding town hall meetings similar to the one in Brewton.
Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings introduced Shelby and spoke about the special relationship our county has enjoyed with the senator.