The former Speaker of the House focused on high gasoline prices and the country’s need for energy independence as he addressed more than 400 attendees at the Pell City Civic Center.
“This is the first presidential candidate we’ve had come to St. Clair County,” said Freddie Turrentine, chairman of the St. Clair County Republican Party. “It is a great honor for him to put us in the mix with Huntsville, Montgomery and Birmingham.”
Turrentine said due to such a large response, the event was moved to the Pell City Civic Center gym.
“I think it’s great and shows even though Speaker Gingrich isn’t at the top of the polls, people in Alabama haven’t made their minds up yet and still want to hear what he has to say,” he said.
St. Clair County Commissioner Paul Manning said it was a beautiful day to be an American.
“I appreciate Speaker Gingrich coming to Pell City, Alabama and would like to see him and the Republican Party win in November,” he said.
St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Phil Seay said this is the first presidential candidate he can recall visiting St. Clair County.
“This has brought excitement to our county and put us on the political map,” he said. “I think it is a recognition of the excitement and growth of St. Clair County. This county is important to the state, and therefore the national picture.”
Mayor Bill Hereford said it is really a great honor to have Gingrich in Pell City.
“Speaker Gingrich is certainly a distinguished American who has done so much for his country,” he said. “I think this is an indication that this is basically a very strong Republican county. I believe that had to be a factor in his decision to come visit us.”
Robert Hood, who lives near Odenville, said he feels Gingrich is intelligent enough and mentally tough enough to deal with the issues our nation is facing.”
“I think there are more tough issues facing the candidates than ever before,” he said.
Sue Collier, of Pell City, said she came out in support of Gingrich.
“I just like his honesty,” she said. “He tells it like it is.”
Bobbie Collier, of Prattville, said she feels Gingrich is one who can debate President Barack Obama.
“That’s why I’m supporting him,” she said. “We need someone who can get Obama out.”
Gingrich spoke about his goal to see gas at $2.50 per gallon.
“The President went to North Carolina and said you couldn’t get to $2.50 gasoline,” he said. “My challenge for him—I’d be glad to debate him at any gas station in America.”
Gingrich said America needs energy independence.
“When Obama was sworn in, the gas price was $1.89,” he said. “No Obama, no expensive gas.”
Gingrich said this country’s dependence on foreign oil is also a national security issue.
“I don’t want to ever see a United States president bow to a Saudi king,” he said.
Gingrich said he would also like to repeal Obamacare, approve the Keystone Pipeline, move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and make other needed changes.
Gingrich also stopped at the Pell City Texaco on U.S. 231 and spoke to Pell City resident Jeff Jones.
“The rising price of gas is hurting disposable income,” Jones said.
Gingrich said he is hearing that sentiment everywhere he goes, and spoke about opening the Keystone Pipeline and opening areas of Alaska for drilling as a way to combat high gas prices.
Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said he was proud to have Gingrich in St. Clair County.
“It’s exciting to me to be able to participate in this campaign, and to see the respect the Gingrich campaign has for our county, our voters and our beliefs,” he said. “Speaker Gingrich expresses his beliefs and feelings and puts many of our thoughts into very clear-cut words. He is precise in his plans and every statement he made received applause from the people of St. Clair County.”
Turrentine said he wanted to thank Hereford, the civic center and everyone involved with the event.
“Everyone—please get out and vote March 13,” he said. “Let your voice be heard.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.