Rep. Ward speaks at chamber luncheon

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2010

State Rep. Cam Ward spoke to the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce at their luncheon Tuesday afternoon at the Clanton First United Methodist Church.

The Alabama economy and jobs were at the forefront of Ward’s presentation, during which he stressed that tough decisions would be made by the legislature once government officials go back in session.

Ward is currently running unopposed to become an Alabama state senator for the district including Chilton County.

“There is no opponent, but there’s plenty of opposition,” he quipped to the chamber members as he began his speech.

Ward immediately stressed the economy and jobs as the state’s current primary concerns and touched upon how he’d tackle the issues as senator, citing “how” legislators deal with the problems as the key to improving conditions.

“Promises are being made from both sides,” Ward said of Democrats and Republicans attempting to sway voters on economical issues. “Anybody who stands here and says he has the answer is not telling the truth. It’s not that easy. There is no silver bullet answer. There are some tough choices ahead for the legislators about where to cut and who to cut.”

Specifically, Ward said this weekend’s sales tax holiday as a potential boost for the state’s economy.

“It encourages people to spend money,” he said.

Ward emphasized that raising anymore taxes would not help matters and that government should be more creative with tax policy in general.

He also addressed gambling in Alabama, something he does not support.

“People can debate this as a moral issue all day long,” he said. “But the fallacy is that it doesn’t bring in any money.”

Ward cited Mississippi, Nevada and New Jersey as states that have casino gambling and/or lotteries and said their unemployment rates were even higher than Alabama’s.

While Ward expressed his personal opinions on the issue, he did not attempt to sway any chamber members either way on gambling.

“If you want it, go push for it,” he told them. “But don’t let anybody tell you, ‘If we just had this, all of our money woes would be solved.’ It’s going to be tough. We’ve got to tighten up.”

He wrapped his speech by telling the chamber he wants to make himself as accessible as possible if and when he takes office this fall.

“I don’t want to be someone who talks at you,” he said. “I want to talk with you. It’s good to hear what you guys think.”

The chamber presented Ward with a box of candy, as they do for each guest speaker at their luncheons.

Guests at the luncheon included representatives from Verizon Wireless, AT&T and VIVA Medicare. Chilton Food Innovation Center director Christy Mendoza was also in attendance as a guest.

Chilton County Board of Education member Curtis Smith led an invocation prior to the start of the meeting,

The next chamber luncheon will take place on Oct. 5 at the UMC with guest speaker James Spann of ABC 33/40. The luncheons are now held every other month.