Shelby stops in Atmore

Published 8:33 pm Monday, January 16, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is a people person.
He proved that Friday afternoon when he visited Atmore as part of his yearly state tour to discuss local, state and national political issues with its residents.
"In January, I start my trek, my trip, around the State of Alabama, it's a big state," Shelby explained. "I'm not through with the state yet this year, I'm just getting warmed up. People in Washington have told me, 'Shelby you don't need to do that anymore.' I tell them that I want to do it because it brings me home. I enjoy coming home, I enjoy traveling the roads, I enjoy seeing the people and I enjoy listening to the people because at the end of the day I'm supposed to be a representative of the people and I'm trying to do that.
"Everyday I get up like everybody else and put my shoes on and think 'what can I do today' and the first thing that goes through my mind in Washington is how can I do no harm?," Shelby continued. "How can I do no harm to the economy and how can I do no harm to the people by overtaxing them, over regulating them and so on? I believe if a lot of my colleagues would come home more we would have a better Senate and a better House. We would be more responsible because we would be more accountable."
Sen. Shelby has given generous to Atmore by awarding the city several grants that have helped improved city facilities and have assisted in recovery efforts from hurricanes that have crippled the area in the past couple of years.
"I know he doesn't carry this around in his pocket, but I do," Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said to a capacity crowd gathered at Annie's Community Cup. "I just want you all to know how much we appreciate what he's done."
In the last four years, Sen. Shelby has been directly responsible for $11,788,289 for the City of Atmore. Shell said that a lot of the funding went toward Industrial Park access improvements, the city's watershed project, Hurricane Ivan assistance, airport improvement funding, sidewalk projects and several Community Development Block Grant projects.
"A lot of these were direct, non-matching grants and we certainly like those," Shell added with a chuckle.
Sen. Shelby is in his 20th year of service after being elected to his fourth term in November of 2004. He is part of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Special Committee on Aging and is also the chair of the Banking, Housing &Urban Affairs Committee.
"I've got five years left in this term, but I want to make the best of it and I want to do what I think is best for the people of Alabama and the United States of America," Shelby said.
Among the issues discussed, the new Medicare Part D Drug Plan, casinos, education, plans for future disasters such as hurricanes and oil production were the most emphasized. Shelby agreed that the new Medicare plan is confusing to seniors and a headache to pharmacists and vowed to continue supporting education including first-generation programs such as Upward Bound. He also stated that he believes state governments should prevail when it comes to gambling and casino issues in Alabama and agreed that federal funds shouldn't be focused in on repairing areas hit hard by hurricanes that could in the future be hit hard again. As for oil production, Shelby said he believes the U.S. government should look for alternative-drilling sites so demands could be met and if not believes gasoline prices could hit all time highs in the near future.
Other issues discussed included, the War in Iraq and how he believes a premature evacuation of troops would be a bad decision, the judiciary committee, the Federal Reserve, filibusters and state highways.

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