Shelby brings message to Troy

Published 11:24 pm Monday, February 6, 2012

Now in his 26th year in office, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., stopped by the Pike County Courthouse on Saturday morning to visit with area residents and discuss successes and concerns.

“I think it’s good for me to come home and go to the big towns and the small towns,” Shelby said to a crowd of more than 20 people.

Shelby’s visit to the county was his 1,683rd trip to meet with residents in the area. He said he is committed to hold at least one meeting in each county every year.

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The republican senator congratulated community leaders and business people for attracting industry and jobs.

“You’ve done well in Pike County,” Shelby said. “You have a lot of diversity here.”

Shelby addressed questions about national debt, taxes and leadership. He said he felt as if the country needed a new president and he was quick to denounce government bailouts.

“I don’t believe in rewarding failure,” Shelby said.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford told Shelby that Pike County was a little concerned about defense budget cutbacks that may have caused the recent layoffs at Sikorsky Support Industries.

Shelby said he understood the worry and added, “I am going to see what we really need in this country. We’ve got to be on the cutting edge of tomorrow.”

A point Shelby stressed to his audience was the need to curtail the nation’s debt accumulation. An audience member asked if Shelby thought it was smart to continue to borrow from other countries, such as China.

“China is eating our lunch on trade…eating the whole world’s lunch,” Shelby said. “If we keep accumulating debt, there will be a time when China says, ‘No.’ ”

Shelby said he’d like to see a fundamental overhaul of the nation’s current tax system.

“It’s been easier to borrow money,” Shelby said, adding that there would be a day of reckoning for the country if the United States continues to live outside of the nation’s means.

“We are deeply challenged,” Shelby said. “We owe too much money.”

Shelby’s stop in Pike County was only one of his scheduled talks in Southeast Alabama on Saturday.