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Shelby visits Demopolis on Saturday

About 100 people met U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby for a hometown meeting at Smokin’ Jack’s Saturday, where the state’s senior senator outlined some of the nation’s most pressing issues.

On the deficit

“It took the United States 200 years to build a debt of $1 trillion,” he said. “In the 20 years since, we’re on pace to hit $20 trillion.

Our deficit is my No. 1 concern,” It it’s not yours, it ought to be.”

“I don’t believe we can spend and borrow our way to prosperity,” he said. “People wanted (Obama’s) change, and now they are finding out what that means.”

The senator said bailing out banks and auto companies goes contrary to what this country is all about, saying he was “the most outspoken critic of bailing out General Motors.”

“I’ve failed a lot of times, but you get up and try again,” he said. “…There’s no guarantee for success in this country.”

Shelby said the country’s spending is out of control.

“If we continue to build this debt upon us, we’ll rue the day for our children and grandchildren,” he said.

Shelby said there are a few areas where health care could be reformed, but otherwise America has “the best health care in the world.”

“I don’t believe in turning our health care system upside-down,” he said.

He said allowing people to shop for and buy insurance out of state, addressing “frivolous” medical malpractice lawsuits and preventing discrimination against people with preexisting medical conditions could help fix health care, “not break it.”

On gambling

Though a state and local issue, Shelby also talked about Alabama’s gambling debate.

“I’ve always thought gambling is illegal,” he said.

Shelby said that courts need to rule on the law, and from there, the laws should be followed.

If courts sided with Gov. Bob Riley and his task force on illegal gambling, then “if people want gambling, they can change that (with a referendum).

“There’s a down side to gambling,” If you’re rich, keep gambling, and you won’t be rich for long.”