Gary Palmer holds meet-and-greet town halls

Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL06) was back home in the district this week. Palmer, his wife, Ann, and his staff hosted meet-and-greet format town halls with constituents in Alabaster on Monday and Trussville on Wednesday. Alabama Today caught up with Palmer on Wednesday in Trussville.

Despite severe weather, approximately 80 people attended the Trussville Civic Center for the congressional town hall.

“I was here Friday for the Prayer Breakfast, and it is still raining,” Palmer said. “Trussville is growing. I am really excited about the direction we are going.”

Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat said, “Thanks for taking the time to come out and meet with us. Welcome back to you, your wife, and staff.”

Palmer told the residents that construction would resume again on the long-delayed Northern Beltline.

“It won’t be I-459 – I think it will be I-422,” Palmer said. “I think it will make a big difference.”

“In just eight years, Birmingham has gone from the number one city in Alabama to number three,” Palmer continued. “I think that is because we have not been bringing in the companies like we should have.”

Palmer said that it is important to attract companies and jobs for this area rather than them going to Charlotte or Dallas, “so you don’t have to fly to Dallas to meet the grandkids.”

Palmer said that he brought his D.C. staff out to meet the people of the district because “they need to meet the people that they work for: you.”

“Thank you for coming,” Palmer said. “We have the Washington staff as well as the district staff. I chair the Republic Policy Committee, so I also have the Committee staff.”

Ethan Vice is my District Director, while William Smith is my Chief of Staff,” Palmer said as he introduced the various members of his staff. “These are some of the absolute best people that I have ever worked with across the board. I am blessed to work with them.”

Palmer said that if a constituent has a question about a veteran’s benefits issue, he has a staff person there who specializes in that and a staff person who specializes in IRS issues.

Palmer made reference to the growing passport delay situation.

Palmer said he has staff that specializes in passport issues. “We get about fifty of those calls a day.”

The renewing, issuing, and replacing lost or stolen passports has become a major issue. The State Department is months behind on the work. If you are planning on international travel within the next ten to twelve months, apply for a passport or passport renewal as soon as possible due to the bureaucratic delays and new European security rules that will not allow American visitors whose passports will expire within the next three months.

State Representative Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) was also there to chat with constituents.

Palmer grew up on a small farm in Hackleburg in North Alabama. He attended the University of Alabama and played football for then-head football Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He co-founded the Alabama Policy Institute (API) with Tom Parker, which he headed for over 25 years.

In 2014, when Congressman Spencer Bachus announced his retirement, Palmer entered the crowded Republican field to replace Bachus. Palmer and then State Representative Paul DeMarco advanced to the Republican primary runoff, where Palmer prevailed. Palmer advanced in the Republican leadership under then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Ohio) to head of the Republican Policy Committee.

Palmer recently announced that he is seeking a sixth term representing Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

CD-06 presently includes all or parts of Shelby, Jefferson, Blount, Bibb, and Chilton Counties. In the map that the Legislature passed three weeks ago, the district would lose Blount County but would pick up parts of Autauga and part of Elmore counties. That map, like the previous map, is currently being challenged in federal court by civil rights activists. The ongoing legal saga means that there is currently a great deal of uncertainty about what those congressional districts will actually look like in next year’s election. The major party primaries will be on March 5.

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