‘Too many takers’ who don’t want to work, Sen. Tuberville says in Mobile

Alabama’s junior senator warns America is on the cusp of socialism
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 3:48 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Touring Austal USA’s shipyard and the Airbus plant, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) warned that a lack of work ethic is hurting businesses and leading the nation down the path of socialism.

Tuberville issued the warning at a Mobile Chamber event.

“We’re getting too many takers in our country,” he said. “They’d rather take a (government) check.”

That mindset, Tuberville said, needs to change.

“And I hope I don’t have to tell you this – how close, how close we are to a socialist country,” he said. “I hate to tell you that.”

Congress eliminated cash welfare to able-bodied adults in the 1990s. COVID-era stimulus payments long since have ended, and unemployment rules have returned to pre-pandemic norms. But Tuberville reiterated his view in remarks to reporters after touring Austal. He pointed to an increase in food stamp enrollment.

“A lot of people go to work one day, quit and go back home, start collecting that check again,” he said. “As I said, we got way too many takers, not enough givers. This country was built on the backs of hard-working people over the years.”

Tuberville addressed a wide range of issues in Mobile. He got a first-hand look at the emerging Mobile International Airport downtown and got a close-up view of Austal’s new steel line.

Austal USA experienced an employment decline a couple of years ago amid concerns over the shipyard’s aluminum ships. Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh said the new steel facility has been key in turning that around.

‘It’s going quite well,” he said. “It was a couple of years ago, we weren’t certain of our future. Just building aluminum ships wasn’t meeting the needs of what the navy needed. … So fast-forward to today, we’re really excited about being able to meet, not only the aluminum needs but steel needs of our Navy.”

Murdaugh said the shipyard has about 2,600 workers with plans to hire 1,200 more over the next 12 to 18 months. The shipyard is expanding, he said, to include construction of the first military medical ship in four decades.

Tuberville said it is crucial for American’s national security.

“I’ll add that we’re behind China. … They have more ships,” he said. “They have more of everything.”

While it is true that China has surpassed the U.S. Navy in ships, many experts contend the United States still has the advantage in missiles and overall naval capabilities. But Tuberville said the Navy is more important than ever as it shifts focus from ground wars in the Middle East to competition with China in the Pacific Ocean.

“Tanks don’t float,” he said. “OK, so we have to have things that float,” he said. “We have to be able to defend our West Coast and defend our allies in the West.”

Ensuring Austal’s place in America’s defense strategy, though, depend at least in part on the clout of Alabama’s congressional delegation. That clout will take a hit when Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) steps down in January.

“Seniority means a lot, but hard work is gonna take the place of seniority,” Tuberville said.

He and Mobile Chamber President Bradley Byrne both mentioned seniority in the state’s House delegation, which includes Anniston’s Mike Rogers, who is poised to become House Armed Services Committee chairman if Republicans win back control of the House in next month’s election.

“But you can’t sugarcoat it,” Byrne said. “We’ve benefited a lot from Sen. Shelby. Our harbor’s benefited a lot. You mention South Alabama. So, you know, we’re gonna have to make that up. But we’ll make that up by being smart and working hard.”

Tuberville told the Chamber audience that he has become good friends with Shelby during his two years in office.

“There’s not a guy who has done more for his country or his state than Richard Shelby,” he said.

Tuberville also praised the Mobile-Baldwin region’s contribution to Alabama’s economic growth But he warned overspending by Democrats is cause debt and inflation. And he said the state and nation need to improve education.

“It scares me. But again, I saw it the last 15 years as a coach,” he said. “And then, now that I’m on the education committee, my gosh. I mean, we talk about things that we shouldn’t even be talking about. We should be talking about things that make it better. We always talk about the problems, and we don’t solve those problems.”


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