Chamber in Session: Washington Update Welcomes U.S. Senator Luther Strange

Annual event sells out as members welcome state's first new U.S. senator in two decades

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Chamber members gathered at Embassy Suites April 17 to welcome United States Senator Luther Strange for Chamber in Session: Washington Update in a sold-out event.

Touching on his former role as the state's attorney general, Strange said one of the actions in which he took pride was his work in the BP oil spill. "By doing the work in house, we were able to save the state of Alabama $180 million in legal fees," he said.

Strange didn't dwell on the past long, moving on to current affairs in Washington. He had high praise for both his colleague, senior Senator Richard Shelby and his predecessor, former Senator Jeff Sessions, who he was tapped to replace when Sessions became Attorney General under President Donald Trump.

"Senator Shelby has taken me under his wing and helped me learn to be a senator," Strange said. 

Although he's served as a senator for just a short time, Strange said he's happy with his committee assignments, because he feels they sync up well with Senator Shelby's committees, and they're important committees for the state. Strange sits on Armed Services, Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources and the Budget Committee. "The Budget Committee is the kind of committee that ties everything together," he says. "It's a committee that requires common sense and discipline."

Strange spoke briefly on the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, noting the House of Representatives had been unable to get a bill to the Senate for consideration. "It's not just about repealing and replacing, but about fixing problems," Strange said. "That's a lot easier said than done."

Creating jobs creates economic activity. - Sen. Luther Strange

Strange then moved on to tax reform, an area in which he said he felt President Trump could have a measure of success. "It's good news for the people in this room - the small and large business owners," he said. "Creating jobs creates economic activity." Strange told Chamber members he felt the tax reform structure would be geared towards job creation.

Strange also addressed what he called the "regulatory wet blanket" he said was hanging over the business community, and said there would be a major initiative to apply a common sense test to eliminating red tape. "It won't happen overnight; it will take quite some time," he said. Strange encouraged members to review their own industries for examples of regulations that needed review and submit them to his staff.

The 2017 Chamber in Session: Washington Update was presented by Crimson Village.

The Gold Sponsor for the event was Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Downtown.

Silver Sponsors were Cintas and TekLinks.

The Bronze Sponsor was Raymond James.

Table Sponsors: Bryant Bank, Community Service Programs of West Alabama, Express Employment Professionals, FNB of Central Alabama, JamisonMoneyFarmer PC, Michael McGuire State Farm Insurance, Shelton State Community College, Tuscaloosa City Board of Education.