Late Friday afternoon, former state Senator and First congressional district candidate Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) participated in a call with President Donald J. Trump (R), Labor Secretary Scalia, and Larry Kudlow of the National Economic Council of Advisors to discuss the Trump Administration’s efforts to support small businesses during the government ordered economic shutdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 .
“Friday afternoon the White House invited me, my wife Susan, and small business owners from across the country to join President Trump for a call to discuss the Administration’s response efforts,” Hightower said. “As small business owners, we understand first-hand the challenges small businesses are facing and we greatly appreciated the opportunity hear from the President and his team about their work to support small businesses across the country.”
“President Trump discussed his work to cut red tape and their efforts to change the policy to defer payments for one year on economic loans, as well as simplify the loan process and break down barriers,” Hightower added. “In addition to the President, Labor Secretary Scalia and Larry Kudlow from the National Economic Council discussed the Administration’s efforts to bolster employment insurance and payments, as well as guaranteed loans for small businesses.”
Hightower is running in the Republican primary runoff against Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl. The winner of the Republican primary runoff will face the winner of the Democratic primary runoff where James Averhart faces Kiani Gardner.
“One of the reasons I am running for Congress is to fight for south Alabama’s small businesses,” Hightower said. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and they need our support now more than ever. I am committed to fighting for our small businesses in the House of Representatives, not only in the midst of this crisis, but also on the other side where we begin our recovery. During our recovery it will be critical to have someone like me who has the business experience, like President Trump, to understand and lead.”
The President told Fox News on Tuesday that he hoped that we would be able to begin lifting some of the restrictions on business and movement as early as Easter.
“It’s not built to shut down,” Trump said of the American economy. “Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don’t want to be locked in a house or an apartment or some space,” Trump said during a Fox News town hall Tuesday afternoon.”
“You can destroy a country this way by closing it down where it literally goes from being the most prosperous,” Trump said, remarking on the strength of the U.S. economy just three weeks ago before the economic shutdown that has shuttered thousands of businesses, closed bars and restaurants, and left tens of millions of Americans sitting idle.
The Alabama legislature is scheduled to go back to work on March 31 and Alabama schools are tentatively scheduled to reopen on April 6.
Public health experts have expressed skepticism that an April 12 lifting of the public movement restrictions could be done safely.
A stimulus package to try to prevent a deeper recession is expected to pass the U.S. Senate later today.
The Alabama party runoffs have been moved to from March 31 to July 14 by Governor Kay Ivey (R).