VP in Priceville
Cheney in town to stump for Aderholt, terrorism, energy costs among topics
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Vice President Dick Chaney took a cue from a cold and wet day to rain praise on 4th District U. S. Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, while speaking to about 550 elected Republican officials and party leaders at Celebration Arena in Priceville on Monday. Luncheon guests paid $250 each to boost Congressman Aderholt's 2006 reelection bid.
"You have sent a man to Washington who is pro-family, strong on national defense and a fiscal conservative. His focus is always on doing what's right for the people of his district, not party. I'm pleased to stand by the side of one of our nation's fine congressmen and ask you to send him back to Washington," Chaney said.
Chaney was greeted with a standing ovation when he stepped to the speaker's platform and again when he departed. He was interrupted several times by loud applause during his 40-minute speech.
Among the topics he addressed were health care, economic growth, alternative energy sources, Supreme Court appointments, the war on terror, and national security.
He said to keep America competitive in a world market, healthcare has to get in step with the 21st century.
"The plan to help seniors pay for their prescription drugs is a step in that direction," Cheney said. "We also need plans that will enable small businesses to join together in offering their employees affordable health insurance and prevent doctors from being forced out of their practices."
Energy was on Chaney's mind, too.
"We need Congress to pass a bill that will open up arctic regions of Alaska to exploration and production of oil," Chaney said. "At the same time this administration is pushing ahead to discover and develop reliable and inexpensive alternative energy resources."
On the judicial front, Cheney said President George Bush has been consistent in his appointments.
"President George Bush takes his office seriously and he never leaves any doubt about how he stands," he said. "He has given our Supreme Court two good justices and he has also made several good appointments to the lower courts including (Alabama's) own Bill Pryor."
He also called for Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act and supported the Secret Service in having the right to intercept and monitor communications between a party in the United States and a suspected terrorist abroad and vice versa.
"If we have people in the U.S. talking with terrorist, we want to know about. We all should be grateful that we haven't had a terrorist attack on the U. S. in over four years," he said.
Cheney said he also thinks American could soon see a reduction in troop levels in Iraq.
"We still have a lot of work to do in the war on terrorism but we are on the offensive and we have a clear plan for victory. In spite of the efforts of the insurgents the Iraqi people are closer to having a democratic government than they ever have. As their law enforcement and military forces grow in strength, we'll be able to reduce our troop levels," he said.
Cheney's visit drew glowing praises from local Republicans.
"I think this is the greatest thing that has happened in Morgan County since the president last visited here several years ago," said Clay Marlowe, chairman of the Morgan County Republican Executive Committee. "We have Republicans here today from throughout the state. It's unbelievable."
The visit also was a public relations boost for Aderholt.
"I think it says a lot about Congressman Aderholt's standing with the nation's highest leaders," Somerville Mayor Ray Long said. "It's great for our district. I'm glad to be a part of it."
Prior to the vice president's speech guests were treated to a meal of corn salad, cornbread muffins, baked beans, asparagus with a Dijon vinaigrette and barbecue chicken. Servers were cheerleaders from Wallace State Community College.
Entertainment was provided by FFA string banks and gospel quartets from West Morgan, Ider and West Point High Schools. The national anthem was sung by Randy Owen of Ft. Payne, lead singer of the group Alabama.