‘I’m running again, too’
This being an election year, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who is seeking a sixth term, said the Republican presidential race is “going to be interesting.”
He did not make any predictions, but said that Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz are leading in the polls. Alabama will play a more pivotal role in this year’s primaries with a March 1 ballot as part of what’s being billed as the Southeastern Conference primary because five of the states have universities that compete in the SEC. Other states with a March 1 primary are Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Shelby expects a lot of GOP presidential candidates to visit Alabama and a number already have. “I think it’s good for Alabama not to be in a primary in June when it’s all over,” he said at a Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues at the RSA Activity Center.
“I hope we will continue to control the U.S. Senate and I remind all of you I’m running again, too,” said Shelby, who is the chairman of the Senate banking committee and serves on the appropriations committee.
Shelby, R-Ala., who was first elected to the Senate in 1986, said that the 2016 elections “are very, very important. They will be pivotal to America. Do we want eight more years of what we have now? I hope not. America will tilt to the left. The land of opportunity will be ebbing and not growing. That’s why presidential elections are so, so important.”
Alabama’s senior senator criticized President Obama for issuing executive actions for gun control. “I would tell the president that the Second Amendment is not a suggestion – it’s the Constitution. I’ve never seen a president in my lifetime issue more and more executive orders. And he is doing this although he is not king; he’s not czar; he’s not a dictator. He is the president of the United States and we’ve got a Constitution.”
He said that he hopes that Americans vote “for a change in the government” in the November general election.
Shelby accused Obama of saying that the terrorist attacks last year in Paris were caused by global warming. “My gosh, he’s over at another planet.”
Shelby worries about bringing Syrian refugees to the U.S., saying “some of them will be terrorists. Our immigration policy is broken.”
He said that the U.S. has lost respect in the world as well as fear and “you’ve got to have both. Do you believe Vladimir Putin fears President Obama? No.”
"Before being elected to the Senate, Shelby served four terms in the U.S. House and eight years in the Alabama Legislature.