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Shelby visits Chilton Co.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby visited Clanton on Feb. 19, speaking about healthcare, government spending, the 2010 election and more.
Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) spoke and took questions and comments from those in attendance during a breakfast meeting at Helen’s Place.
The following are Shelby’s responses on select topics.

Gov’t spending
Shelby said he has never supported any government bailouts.
“I don’t believe we can spend and borrow our way to prosperity,” Shelby said. “People wanted (Obama’s) change, and now they are finding out what that means.”
The senator said bailing out banks and auto companies goes contrary to what this country is all about, saying he was “the most outspoken critic of bailing out General Motors.”
“I’ve failed a lot of times, but you get up and try again,” he said. “…There’s no guarantee for success in this country.”
Shelby said the country’s spending is out of control.
“If we continue to build this debt upon us, we’ll rue the day for our children and grandchildren.”

HEALTHCARE
Shelby said there are a few areas where healthcare could be reformed, but otherwise America has “the best healthcare in the world.”
“I don’t believe in turning our healthcare system upside down,” Shelby said.
He said allowing people to shop for and buy insurance out of state, addressing “frivolous” medical malpractice lawsuits and preventing discrimination against people with preexisting medical conditions could help fix healthcare, “not break it.”

2010 ELECTION
The senator said recent elections in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts bode well for the Republican Party.
“I’m really hoping it (control of the U.S. House of Representatives) swings back this fall,” Shelby said. “I believe this is going to be a good year for the Republicans, but we have to work hard.”

IMMIGRATION
Shelby said America’s immigration system is broken.
“We don’t control our borders,” Shelby said. “We ought to enforce the law.”
The senator said he hasn’t ever voted for amnesty, nor does he plan to in the future.
“I’m not going to do that — if we don’t control our borders and if we don’t enforce our laws, we’re headed for trouble.”

GAMBLING
Though a state and local issue, Shelby also talked about Alabama’s gambling debate.
“I’ve always thought gambling is illegal,” he said.
Shelby said if the law is ambiguous then courts need to rule on it, and from there, the laws should be followed.
If courts sided with Gov. Bob Riley and his task force on illegal gambling, then “if people want gambling, they can change that (with a referendum).”
“There’s a down side to gambling,” Shelby said. “If you’re rich, keep gambling, and you won’t be rich for long.”