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Roby talks military, economy in Luverne

Martha Roby, US representative for Alabama’s Second District focused on the military and the economy during this week’s visit to Crenshaw County.

Roby, who spoke to members of the Luverne Kiwanis Club and their guests on Tuesday at the Chicken Shack, addressed the subject of the President Trump’s speech earlier in the week.

“I thought he did well explaining the military decisions about Afghanistan, some of which are probably not going to be popular,” Roby said. “For more than 15 years, we have worked to topple the terrorist regime there and many have given their lives in the struggle to beat El-Qaeda. The president pointed to a clear path forward in our dealing with Afghanistan without giving vital information to the enemy. I have always said we can’t give terrorists our playbook. Our goal has to be to keep our nation safe by eliminating these safe havens for terrorists.”

When asked about Pakistan, also known as a haven for terrorists, Roby replied that the U.S. had to “look at it with a different lens.”

“Pakistan has different qualities and capacities than Afghanistan, so they can’t necessarily be handled the same way,” she said.

Roby also discussed the efforts to fund military projects in Alabama, including $187 million for Lakota helicopters used in training at Ft. Rucker; $450 million for the USAF’s cyber-security program at Maxwell AFB providing the military a high-tech education “that will take us to the next generation,” and the possible addition of 74 F-35 Lightning strike fighters to the 187th Fighter Wing at Maxwell.

“We have worked very hard to get these fighter jets assigned to a base in our district and we are very much in the running,” Roby said.

“These could be a tremendous boost to our economy and it’s been amazing and refreshing to see how the greater community has come together to work on this effort.”

While the final decision on the fighter jets has been delayed, Roby said the announcement was expected by the end of September.

Roby addressed the issue of the national and local economies.

“Contrary to what you may have seen on cable TV, there are actually good things happening in the economy—for example, there have been 1.3 million jobs created in the last nine months in the U.S. I realize that locally you may still be feeling the downturn, but I truly believe we are moving in the right direction,” Roby said.

She spoke of several bills voted in by congress, some of which have not yet passed the senate, including the repeal of several Obama-era laws such as the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, along with the passage of a new workforce development program she believes is vital to preparing the next generation of workers in the country.

“In spite of the protesters, the hatred and division we have been seeing on our TV screens and on social media, we know there are a lot of people who are concentrating on getting up, going to work and going on with their lives,” Roby said.

She also expressed the opinion that she will never make some of her constituents happy. “Every day, I hear from people who are fierce opponents of our president, asking me to oppose him in every way. I say to them, ‘You may not like President Trump, but he is our president and I want him to succeed.’ And I agree with him on a lot of things. I’ve wanted to repeal Obamacare. I’ve wanted to protect our southern borders.

“And yet others ask me to support our president in every way, in every decision.  And to them I say, ‘I do support and agree with him most of the time, but not all the time.’ I didn’t agree with the way he went after Jeff Sessions . . . I didn’t agree with the border adjustment tax, that would have cost our state jobs and made it more expensive for food and clothing for our families. So some people are always going to be disappointed, and that’s OK.”

Roby stressed her job as state representative was to listen to the people in Alabama and to represent them, saying,

“I have to make decisions in your best interest.”

Roby remarked on the challenges ahead—building economic momentum on a local level, healthcare and tax reform.

“Healthcare is one-eighth of the economy in this country; we cannot afford to get it wrong. We are looking at lowering tax rates across the board, lowering corporate tax rates, simplifying the tax code and cleaning house at the IRS and make sure they are working for the taxpayer and not the agents.”

She also addressed the issue of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, saying the district and the country has to have reliable roads, bridges, ports and railways for local communities to reap the economic benefits.

“Farming is the number one industry in this state. I am working with the agriculture advisory board to make sure we don’t repeat mistakes we made in the past,” said Roby, who expressed enthusiasm for new developments made by agricultural scientists at Auburn University.

“They are developing a new type of peanut that is disease-resistant—think of what that could do for our economy!”

The representative said that the challenges faced by the nation were numerous.

“If we can ignore all the distractions out there, and really focus on our priorities, we in government can deliver what we have promised to you.”