By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Saturday, January 9, US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) told a packed house at the Mid Alabama Republican Club in Vestavia Hills that he always wanted to earn his way and that is what he wants to do.
Senator Richard Shelby said that he was elected to the Alabama legislature, four times was elected to the US House, and now is in his fifth term in the US Senate and always wanted to earn the people’s support.
Sen. Shelby praised the group for the massive crowd that completely filled the conference room at the Vestavia Library. Shelby said If we did this at every meeting town hall meeting across the country we would win that Presidential election, “We have got to win.”
Sen. Shelby said, “I remember when I grew up people respected us. They feared us. Under Richard Nixon, under Ronald Reagan, under George W. Bush we were feared. “Does anybody fear us or respect us anymore?”
Alabama’s senior US Senator said Alabama is going to be in the forefront of this election. We (Republicans) have control of the Senate now. We have 54 seats. I would rather have 60, but we have control and have control of the House, we need the Presidency.
Sen. Shelby said, “I don’t have a lot of respect for this President. I don’t have a dialogue with him. That is the first time ever. Very few of us do.”
Shelby said, “If you care about this country and you want to work and you care about your Grandchildren’s future I am your man.”
Shelby praised Senator Jeff Sessions: He is a very good Senator. I vote with him in every case on immigration because our immigration system is broken.
Shelby continued, “I voted against the budget deal. It had money for Planned Parenthood. I wasn’t voting for that. It had money for refugee resettlement. I wasn’t voting for that.” There was some good things in there as well, but on the whole it was not a good deal.
On guns, Senator Shelby said that Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and the worst gun violence. “Does the President want to make the rest of the nation like Chicago?” We have over 300 million people and over 300 million guns. Do we take the rights away from our people to have guns? I say no.
Sen. Shelby said that he is holding hearings on the President’s executive gun control and that he wants Attorney General Loretta Lynch to explain what the President is doing and why he is doing it.
Sen, Shelby said that he and Senator Sessions are working to prevent openings on the federal bench in Alabama from being filled by President Obama. A Republican President will do a lot better job. I don’t want somebody selected by President Obama getting a lifetime appointment here in Alabama.
Shelby said that overturning the Glass Steagall Act in 1999 was a mistake. “I was the only Republican on the banking committee to vote against that.” 5 years later we had a financial collapse and the banks wanted us to bail them out. I believe that businesses should live or die in the market place. Shelby called Dodd Frank “Draconian” and said that it puts the regulatory burden on the small banks. Without the Glass Steagall repeal we probably would never have had the bail out.
Shelby declined to endorse anybody for President but did say tat, “At the moment we are going to have a race between Trump Cruz and Rubio but that could change.” I know Senator Cruz and have worked with him. I know senator Rubio as well. I do not know Mr. Trump well. I have met him a couple of times.
Shelby said that he held hearings on the Export Import bank reauthorization and opposed that.
“It is corporate welfare.” Shelby said that we export over two trillion of goods and services and most of that does not get any support from the Export Import bank. Despite his opposition the reauthorization passed anyway. “They passed a bill but they haven’t got a quorum yet (on the bank board). That has to come through the Banking Committee and I am the Chairman. I am in no hurry.”
Shelby said that when he got to Congress all that research money was going to Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford. I asked how I can get some of that money for Alabama. I talked with the Presidents of Alabama, Auburn and UAB and they said that what they needed was federal research dollars. I was glad that I was able to do that.
Shelby warned that the debt had become the number one problem facing the country. “It has become much easier to borrow money than it is to cut spending or raise taxes.” I am worried how we are going to pay off the debt.” If we don’t deal with the national debt we won’t be able to do anything about national defense or student loans.
Shelby said that he agrees with Chief Justice Roy Moore that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
Sen. Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986 and is seeking a sixth term.
Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia), who served with Shelby in the Alabama Legislature said, “I went to Montgomery in 1966. Four years later my good friend Richard Shelby came to town. I have known Richard Shelby for 45 years. I want to say something about Seniority, Seniority in Washington is just like it is in Montgomery. Seniority means everything.”
Shelby faces four challengers in the Republican Primary on March 1.