Shelby needs to talk solutions in Selma

Published 4:40 pm Saturday, February 9, 2013

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby — a man who has served in politics long enough to see himself go from a Democrat to a Republican, and gain tremendous influence in Washington — will host a public forum Monday, Feb. 18 at the St. James.

This stop is part of Shelby’s annual tour throughout the state, where he holds public events in each of Alabama’s 67 counties each year. To that, I applaud the senior senator from Alabama and challenge his junior counterpart — U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions — to follow suit.

And although I unfortunately will not be able to attend this public event — as I have plans to visit the Happiest Place on Earth with my family in a few weeks — I hope Shelby will focus on a few items of local importance, rather than bringing home a souvenir of D.C. politics back home with him.

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It is my hope Shelby discusses what is being done to hopefully reinstate monies in the federal budget to pay for dredging of the Alabama River — a job that is a must for those local industries, both current and future — to better maximize the their operations and better transport some of their products.

It would be nice to hear from the senator about any programs in place for low-income areas to better compete in the economic development and economic recruitment areas, giving Alabama’s Black Belt a fighting chance against those areas in Auburn, Mobile and Huntsville.

And although I will not be in attendance, it would be nice to log on to the following day and not hear the expected rhetoric on the federal deficit, spending cuts, the strength of our military or his opposition to Obamacare. Those positions are very well known and there isn’t really much that can be cleared up at our public forum.

The positive impact Shelby has had on Alabama is tremendous. There is a reason he has served the state for so many years.

But this public forum is in Selma. It is for Selma and should be about Selma.

I hope the presentation is anything but canned and the questions from guests help drive Shelby to focus on those topics that are crucial to the Selma and the Black Belt.