Spencer Bachus visits Chilton CountyBy Emily Etheredge Published 4:11pm Thursday, March 28, 2013
Finding a balance while not compromising what is right is a current challenge faced by U.S. Congressman Spencer Bachus, R-Alabama.
Bachus stopped by Chilton County on Thursday to tour Jefferson State Community College Chilton-Clanton campus, the Maplesville Senior Center and Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.
During his visit to Jeff State, Bachus said a common problem facing congress is not enough money and too much spending.
He zeroed in on one of the largest expenses for the country’s budget being Social Security disability with 8.6 million Americans now qualifying for a disability check from the government.
“Government programs such as Medicare and Social Security are bankrupting our country,” Bachus said. “We need to go back and have rigorous requirements determining who qualifies for disability.”
Bachus said the country has become “too relaxed” on disability requirements therefore causing “an explosion” of people who qualify.
“We now have 25- and 30-year-old people who are receiving money because they claim they have high blood pressure, Bachus said. “I think we should make the requirements harder to qualify. If people can put on clothes and walk they should not be eligible for a disability check.”
The congressman told the story of a man he met who suffered from Cerebral Palsy, graduated from Rutgers University and went on to become a talented photographer who never received a disability check.
“His work ethic was he had to get up and go to work every day and he wasn’t worried about qualifying for disability,” Bachus said. “We need to stop paying people to be disabled.”
Bachus shifted his morning talk from politics to community colleges, commending two-year universities for providing more than adequate programs for those who attend.
Bachus said he commonly hears people say there are too many community colleges deeming the comments as “elitist” coming from people who assume everyone can afford to attend a four-year university.
“I met a surgeon and a medical doctor who both lived in Birmingham,” Bachus said. “On the wall of the doctor’s office he has his degree from Jeff State, and the other man came from a single-family whose mother was blind, attended Jeff State and now he is a doctor.”
Bachus recognized Dr. Judy M. Merritt who has been the president of Jefferson State Community College for 34 years.
Bachus said Merritt was a humble person who never “tooted her own horn” and treated Jeff State as her family.
Merritt said success requires leadership and commended the leaders of Chilton County for making the Chilton-Clanton campus a success.
With close to 700 students enrolled, Bachus said it was encouraging to see a campus that had a promising future.
Bachus thanked everyone who attended his visit to Jeff State and Merritt said Chilton County has been a wonderful community of showing support for the campus.
Members of the Chilton-Clanton campus administration led the congressman on a tour of the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center before he left to visit the Maplesville Senior Center and Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.
For more information about Bachus’ visit to Chilton County, check the Weekend edition of The Clanton Advertiser.