During the meeting, Shelby touched on issues he believes are important to the country’s future and answered questions and concerns from the audience. More than 50 residents, officials and local leaders attended the meeting to ask Shelby about issues ranging from gun control to taxes and working with the current administration.
Shelby said he spends a few months each year visiting each county in the state to hear from the residents and get a feel for the issues concerning his constituents. He said he believed it was an important part of his role as an elected official, but didn’t sugarcoat the issues he believes the country is facing.
“It’s a great honor to be one of your two U.S. Senators,” Shelby said, “but it’s a tough job, and it’s going to get tougher.”
Shelby said he believes the debt level and the developed habit of borrowing money to survive is the biggest problem and concern for the nation currently.
“This country is at risk economically, although we produce more goods and services, more food and fiber, than any nation in the world. ... We are the largest debtor nation in the world,” Shelby said. “This is something we need to talk about, because it’s going to affect you, it’s going to affect your children and your grandchildren. ... If we keep borrowing and spending, the young people in this room, my grandchildren and yours, are going to have a burden on them that our parents and grandparents never would have put on us. ”
He also said he believes the current tax code needs a major overhaul to be more fair to individuals and small businesses. He said he believes that no one should pay more than 25 percent of their income in taxes, saying that would be his top limit for tax rates.
He also advocates a flat rate tax across the board, or a national sales tax in place of income taxes. He added issues with the current tax system have caused the lessening of job growth.
“We overtax the system, we overregulate the system, we overburden the system and we’re not going to create the jobs of the future,” Shelby said.
He also discussed the upcoming sequestration, a term being used for across the board cuts slated for March 1.
“It’s not the way to evaluate programs,” Shelby, who voted against the measure, said.
Another hot button issue that Shelby touched on was gun control legislation. Shelby said he is a fan of responsible gun ownership and increased gun safety, but not on banning guns for law-abiding citizens. Shelby went on to say that he has always owned guns and currently owns guns, although he declined to give a number or name a type of gun.
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair also thanked Shelby for his assistance in getting a one-of-a-kind computer forensics center in Birmingham.
Adair said the facility has assisted local and national law enforcement with cracking down on cyber crimes, including identity theft, stolen money and child pornography.
He also praised the senator for his help in the “ZeroMeth” campaign, saying that approximately 70 percent of the cases he tries are drug-related in some way.