Rep. Gary Palmer conducts town hall in Helena

Published 4:48 pm Friday, August 31, 2018

For the Reporter / Michael J. Brooks

HELENA – Alabama 6th District Rep. Gary Palmer had the national spotlight on July 12, when he participated in the interrogation of former FBI official Peter Strzok.

“The Judicial and Oversight Committees combined for this event, and it was an ordeal—10 hours,” Palmer said. “I commended Strzok for his 26 years of service to the nation and told him that I knew events had been hurtful for him, his wife and his children, and that I’d prayed for him. His testy demeanor changed almost immediately.”

Palmer said he was then able to talk specifically about how Strzok downplayed Hillary Clinton’s use of an unauthorized server to send classified e-mails while at the State Department. Strzok changed the wording of the former FBI Director Comey’s report from “gross negligence” to “extreme carelessness.” Strzok was fired on Aug. 13.

“This investigation isn’t done yet,” Palmer said. “There may be more firings to come. There are other investigations going on that I can’t talk about. I know that if I’d done what Hillary did, I’d lose my security clearance or possibly be in jail.”

Palmer conducted a town hall on Aug. 28, at the Helena Sports Complex. Helena Mayor Mark Hall welcomed and introduced Palmer, calling him accessible and a partner to local officials in various projects.

Palmer said he has worked on health care reform in the U.S. House.

“I suggested we follow the program the state of Maine developed to cover pre-existing conditions,” he said. “This would bring a sense of peace and bring down premiums. Our bill died in the Senate, but we continue to press for meaningful change. We did repeal the individual mandate, so tax-payers aren’t fined for not purchasing insurance.”

Palmer said he was interested in other reforms, and that the government made $141 billion in improper payments last year due to fraud, antiquated accounting systems and administrative errors.

“We’re also looking at delays in construction projects,” he said. “I think construction projects shouldn’t be held up more than 18 months, or 12 months would be better. And once begun, they shouldn’t be stopped.”

Palmer said it’s been estimated that environmental regulatory costs amounted to $9 trillion last year, or $15,000 per household.

“These costs are hidden in almost every purchase we make,” he said. “We want clean water and air, but we can do better with regulatory reform.”

Palmer said he was optimistic about oil and gas production in America, noting that the USA was “floating” in oil and gas.

“We’re selling liquified natural gas to Lithuania and Poland now,” he said. “I think we should market the Pacific region and India. This will reduce our debt and make good trading partners for the nation. We don’t always have to saber-rattle to improve international relationships.”

In response to a question about Russian interference, Palmer said all they’ve found so far is that Russia spent a few thousand dollars to infiltrate Facebook.

“They tried to infiltrate the NRA, too,” he said. “Russia is always trying to promote division, and they’re non-partisan in doing this.”

Palmer responded to another question about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“He’ll be confirmed by the end of September, and he’ll be a great judge,” he said. “Our party has a deep bench of qualified judges.”

Palmer was elected to the 114th Congress in 2014 and is completing his second term. He’s a candidate for a third term on the Nov. 6 ballot, and has pledged, if elected, to limit himself to no more than five terms.