HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who is seeking a sixth, six-year term, was in Huntsville Monday.
Shelby spoke at the Huntsville-Madison County’s Washington Update and expressed concern about the loss of American influence in the world, the dangers of cutting defense spending and his reservations about welcoming Middle Eastern refugees to the U.S.
Shelby also expressed his support for Constitutional right to bear arms and his opposition to President Obama’s planned executive order on guns.
Shelby, a Republican, said he is seeking another term because he believes he can make a difference in Washington, including supporting space, military and law enforcement programs that have a large presence in Huntsville.
“I believe I can make a difference, my experience, my resolve,” he said. “We live in a challenging time, you know these are turbulent times, I talked about it today, not just the world, but in this country.”
Shelby said it was a mistake to trust Iran in a nuclear deal. He said he expects some of the $100 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets -- set to be returned to Iran as part of the nuclear deal -- will be used to fund terrorism.
Shelby also said he expects Iran will eventually acquire nuclear weapons. He said that would lead Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Persian Gulf states and possibly Turkey, to also seek nuclear weapons.
He also expressed concern about the size of the U.S. debt, pointing out that it didn’t reach $1 trillion until 1982. He said the debt is at $18 trillion today.
Shelby said he worries the U.S. will never pay it off, but instead the Federal Reserve will continue to buy up U.S. treasury securities to fund the government.
While expressing concerns about a number of issues, Shelby was optimistic about the growth in North Alabama. He said FBI Director James Comey will come to Huntsville this year to help dedicate the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center (TEDAC) Laboratory at Redstone Arsenal.
The senator said Huntsville’s high education levels in math, science and engineering will continue to attract talent to the area, calling it a “plus, plus, plus” for the area.
Shelby also mentioned his role in promoting growth in North Alabama.
“Well I tell people in Washington when they come to see me, and they’re talking about this program and that,” he said. “If it has to do with aerospace or anything else that I think it might get to the North Alabama area I say, ‘Well, let me tell you what, why don’t you think about what you can do to expand your business down here. And then let’s talk more.
“And we’ve done that over the years.”
Shelby has four opponents in the GOP primary set for March 1, John Martin, Shadrack McGill, Jonathan McConnell and Marcus Bowman, according to the Alabama Republican Party.