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Senator Richard Shelby Talks Infrastructure, Defense, and International Challenges

Montgomery Business Community Welcomes Senator with Standing Ovation

The central Alabama business community welcomed U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby at today’s Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues breakfast where he discussed President Trump’s infrastructure plan, Alabama’s important role in national defense, and global challenges facing the United States.

Alabama’s senior senator has focused on making Alabama an essential hub for our national defense that includes both military and civilian jobs. He took the lead in securing Senate passage of the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that will deliver pro-growth, middle-class tax relief, reduce the tax burden on business, and increase paychecks and Alabama’s wealth.

“If you look at the economic development projects in Alabama, there is one constant: Senator Richard Shelby,” BCA President and CEO William Canary.

“The Business Council of Alabama commends Senator Shelby for his extraordinary contributions, his dedication to our national security, and his service to the state of Alabama, its economy, and most importantly, its people,” BCA President and CEO William J. Canary said.

Sen. Shelby appeared before a full house at the Alabama Activity Center chamber event. The Business Council of Alabama co-sponsors the chamber breakfasts.


He said he hopes President Trump will “come with a meaningful infrastructure plan” that he believes will require “a lot of private money” seeking investment opportunities.

The president has released only a framework of a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that will involve federal, state, and private investment, but has yet to release legislative details.

“If there is an infrastructure bill, we’re going to make sure Alabama is represented,” U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby

“I want to see the substance,” Sen. Shelby said. “If there is an infrastructure bill, we’re going to make sure Alabama is represented.”

National Defense

Sen. Shelby recognized two of Alabama’s seven members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, whose districts include parts of Montgomery.

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, 187th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Commander Col. Will Sparrow, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, pose with artist’s rendering of the progression of fighter aircraft from oldest to the newest F-35 jet at the 187th Fighter Wing, during a ceremony at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues this morning in Montgomery. The aircraft are the P-51 Mustang, the F-15 Eagle, and the newest fighter wing addition, the F-35 that will be housed at Montgomery’s Dannelly Field. (Contributed photo by SSGT Jared K. Rand, Alabama ANG, 187th Fighter Wing public affairs specialist)

They later participated in a ceremony celebrating their role in locating the F-35 Lightning II and securing flying missions for the 187th Fighter Wing, at Dannelly Field, further continuing the Red Tail World War II fighter pilot legacy “for generations to come.”

He also acknowledged U.S. Air Force senior officers from adjacent Maxwell Air Force Base and the Air Force’s graduate school, Air University, and the overall importance of Maxwell and major U.S. Army bases in Huntsville and Enterprise.

“They are important for our national security but also to the economy of the area,” Sen. Shelby said.

Sen. Shelby said the military’s most important duty is to secure the nation. “We hope to come forward in the next few weeks with an omnibus appropriations bill that is good for our military,” Sen. Shelby said.

Global Challenges

Sen. Shelby touched on the challenges presented by China, its growing economy, and political and military desire to control the western Pacific Ocean, North Korea’s nuclear weaponry, and Russia’s continued influence on the world stage.

“I believe, and a lot of people believe, that China will be our biggest adversary,” Sen. Shelby said.

North Korea might be a “poor nation” but its nuclear capability means “we live in a dangerous world,” Sen. Shelby said.

“We live in a dangerous world,” U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby

Sen. Shelby said he, like former President George W. Bush, once had coffee with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, but came away with a different opinion of Putin than Bush who said he had “looked the man in the eye” and “was able to get a sense of his soul.”

“I looked at him and didn’t see that,” Sen. Shelby said, drawing laughter from the attendees.

Sen. Shelby was introduced by Montgomery attorney Jere Beasley, who served as Alabama’s lieutenant governor when Sen. Shelby was an Alabama state senator. “We are fortunate to have Richard Shelby in the Senate,” Beasley said.

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Dana Beyerle
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