Shelby announces fourth bid for office, supports troops
By By Bill Crist
Special to the Advance
After Atmore Mayor Howard Shell thanked him for his help in securing $1.2 million for industrial development, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby said, "It's not all you need is it? I know you have some needs."
Shelby went on to say that economic development was a role he liked to see government play in our country.
"There is a role for government in small town America, and this is it," he said.
Shelby was in Atmore as part of his annual tour of the state, where he holds town hall meetings in every county. According to Shelby, this is the 17 consecutive year he has held similar public meetings.
"I do like to come home," he said. "I've tried to come home, be involved and listen, mainly, to the people."
Shelby touched on several topics of local interest before taking questions from the crowd of about 30 people that were on hand to meet with him.
Several times he mentioned that as a senator, he has worked to help those that help themselves.
While some of his comments were general in nature, he did point out that Atmore, and Alabama as a whole, has strong banks.
"We don't have a lot of problem banks," he said. "It's because of the people that manage them."
Shelby went on to say that one key to turning around the economy was going to be creating demand for goods and services, as well as restoring investor confidence.
"We have a lot of capacity," he said. "I hope we can create more demand. We have the supply."
Shelby said he was proud of President Bush and his leadership over the past several years.
"I'm proud of our troops," he added. "We have had success, we will have success. I believe it's (freedom) the number one priority of the nation."
Shelby said that North Korea was also a concern, and that he hoped the dangerous situation there could be resolved without war.
After announcing that he would be running for a fourth term in 2004, Shelby took several questions.
"I want to hear from you," he said. "What's on your mind?"
Emilie Mims, executive director of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce asked what the government was doing to prevent additional corporate accounting scandals, such as the one involving HealthSouth, based in Birmingham.
"It's not just HealthSouth, it's Enron, it's Worldcom," he said. "We have to do everything we can to restore confidence in the investment community. We've got to have a new day in America on the confidence front."
Shelby said he would vote to eliminate any taxes that can be considered double taxes.
"I'm going to vote to eliminate double taxation on dividends," he said. "You can count on it. It's fundamental tax reform. It will change the way corporations are run.
"The other thing I'd like to do is eliminate is the death tax."
Shelby questioned the future of the United Nations and NATO, and expressed disappointment in a pair of European nations.
"The French disappointed me," he said, "and so did the Germans. I hope we will not allow them to get into the rebuilding of Iraq."
Shelby said that as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he saw first-hand some of the problems with the agencies involved.
"Our real problem among our 15 intelligence agencies was that they didn't always share intelligence with each other."