Rep. Palmer hosts town hall in Clanton

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, April 5, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Congressman Gary Palmer, who represents Chilton County as part of Alabama’s 6th Congressional District, hosted a town hall meeting open to the public at Clanton City Hall April 3.

Palmer said he hosts such events in order to keep constituents informed on his efforts on Capitol Hill.

“What I typically do at a town hall is not give a long speech,” he said. “I try to give you a quick update on what I have been trying to do, and then I want to hear from you. I want to get your questions.”

Palmer spoke for about 20 minutes on various topics such as ISIS, business regulations and the economy, corporate tax rates and healthcare reform.

He then fielded questions from the audience for about another 40 minutes.

“If you watch the mainstream media you would never know this, but we have accomplished a tremendous amount in the last year,” he said. “It has been pretty chaotic. The president likes to tweet things out, as you know, which kind of keeps things stirred up a little bit.”

Palmer first brought up the United States’ efforts to combat the terrorist organization ISIS.

“ISIS had declared itself a caliphate,” he said. “They had established a national capital, and they had a school system. They had hospitals and were engaging in international trade. They were selling oil from fields they captured in northern Iraq. Within less than a year, we basically destroyed their army. They still exist as a terrorist organization.

“We have taken 95 percent of their territory. The most important thing about it is, in all of our combat operations worldwide in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Niger, all combined we lost 24 soldiers. We lost 81 to accidents and 24 in combat. That in and of itself is a remarkable accomplishment.”

The representative then discussed efforts to help jump start the national economy.

“One of the things I’ve been pushing since I’ve been there is sensible regulation,” he said. “Over the last decade or so we have absolutely shackled our economy. The Trump administration instructed every agency to do an overview of all regulations to eliminate all the ones that are obsolete. We have removed 25 percent or maybe more of the regulations from the books.

“Businesses were having to pay people to make sure they were in compliance with regulations that didn’t even matter anymore. That’s what got the economy growing.”

Palmer said the economy had been stagnant under former President Barack Obama’s time in office, and now under President Donald Trump changes have been made to aide its growth.

“I’m not trying to pick on the Obama administration, but during the eight years of the Obama administration our economy never grew more than 1.8 percent in any year,” he said. “It’s the first time in history a president has served two terms and never had an economy that grew more than 1.8 percent in a year. Prior to 2008, according to a report by the Gallup organization, there were 100,000 more businesses that were starting up than were closing.

“Small businesses in small towns are the key. By 2014 there were 70,000 more businesses closing than opening. When I got to Congress one of the things I wanted was try to bring some predictability to regulations, which would encourage people to start or expand a business.”

Palmer went on to discuss how the lowering of corporate tax rates from 35 to 21 percent after recent legislation has aided businesses.

“That had an immediate impact on the economy,” he said. “You started seeing businesses paying bonuses and increasing wages. I just left West Fraser, where they have increased pay for their employees. They have increased investment. They are looking at another big investment that is really going to impact Chilton County.”

The last item Palmer brought up before fielding questions from the audience was his plan to help lower healthcare costs.

Palmer said he coauthored legislation that would have lowered insurance premiums and increased the number of people with health insurance nationwide, but Sen. John McCain of Arizona eventually killed the bill.

“We were a John McCain away from being on the path to help rebuild our healthcare system,” Palmer said.

Anyone wishing to watch the town hall in its entirety may find a video of the event on the Congressman Gary Palmer Facebook page.