One of Alabama’s greatest assets is its senior United States Senator Richard Shelby. He is now Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and has served in recent years as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
More importantly, Senator Shelby is one of the more senior members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is in line to become its Chairman. That will make our senator one of the two most powerful people in America when it comes to deciding how the federal government annually spends nearly one trillion dollars, including how much of it furthers preservation of Alabama values, strengthens defense, bolsters senior citizens, improves and constructs road and bridges, and enhances cities and farm.
In Alabama’s 198 years of statehood, no Senate or House member from Alabama has ever chaired either the U.S. House or Senate Appropriations Committee.
This is, clearly, a once-in-two-centuries opportunity for our state. And it’s even more important as Congress considers bringing “earmarks” back, which would not only increase opportunities for Alabama to benefit, but would enormously increase Senator Shelby’s ability to influence the entire range of issues before the Senate.
So, why is the Alabama Republican Party doing nothing to help maximize Senator Shelby’s effectiveness? And why are they considering a resolution censuring him for his failure to support Roy Moore in last month’s special election?
What did Senator Shelby do? He said that he couldn’t support Roy Moore for the open Senate and would write in the name of another distinguished Republican. He did not support the Democrat. He did not tell Republicans to stay home. He took a stand and did what he believed was right. In doing so, he reminded us that we could do the same. He encouraged us to go to the polls and vote with our conscience, to assess the facts and make our own judgment.
How much better our nation would be if we had more senators who did that! The truth is, the right to vote is grounded in the people’s voice.
We ought to commend the courage of our senior Senator and enthusiastically support him as he prepares to pick up the gavel of the Appropriations Committee of the United State Senate.
By Jimmy Rane, who is best known as the “Yella’ Fella,” the founder, president and CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving in Abbeville, Alabama.