Sen. Shelby speaks on Alabamas growth

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 15, 2008


U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby was right at home in Dallas County, speaking to a group at the library in Selma about the war in Iraq, politics and helping people help themselves.

Shelby spoke of how he campaigned in Selma 30 years ago, and had a recommendation on how to complete the I-85 corridor from Montgomery top Meridian, which he said wouldn&8217;t solve the Black Belt&8217;s problem.

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The Republican, nursing a cup of coffee and a fractured right foot, joked with old friends including Harry Gamble, whom, Shelby said, probably knew him longest.

Shelby took questions from area residents in his town hall style meeting, before heading off to Thorsby. One issue, next to the war, was about a major interstate near Selma. He had a new idea he said Gov. Bob Riley should consider, though a new four-lane highway may not be the entire answer.

Jean Martin, city councilwoman and longtime friend of Shelby&8217;s, announced the Senator&8217;s pledge of $172,000 to help rebuild the Visitor & Information Center at Cahawba, the state&8217;s first capitol. Located southwest of Selma along the Cahawba River, the welcome center was struck by lightning and burned in 2005.

Turning his focus with questions, Shelby said he wanted to get U.S. troops out of Iraq.