Meet Gary Palmer
Republican Candidate Seeking Election to the U.S. House to Represent the 6th Congressional District of Alabama
- For 24 years has led the Alabama Policy Institute, one of the most influential conservative organizations in Alabama
- Served on Governor Robert Bentley’s Alabama Commission on Improving State Government
- Appointed by Governor Bob Riley to the Governor’s Task Force to Strengthen Alabama Families
- Served as an advisor to the Alabama Aerospace, Science and Industry Task Force
- Received a Focus on the Family Leadership Award from Dr. James Dobson
Alabama’s 6th Congressional District
- Encompasses Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Coosa, Shelby and parts of Jefferson County
- The third most conservative district in Congress
- The Cook Political Reporter ranks the district as a plus-27, which is interpreted as a Republican having a 27-point advantage over a Democrat.
Hometown: Hackleburg, a small town in Marion County
Family life: Husband to Ann, father of three.
Childhood: My dad was a logger when I was growing up. After I went to college he started a business building roof trusses where he handled small commercial buildings and homes.
Educational & professional background: I’m the first person in my family to go to college. I went to the University of Alabama and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management. After college I worked with a couple of small businesses and two major engineering companies, Combustion Engineering and Rust Engineering. After I left Rust I went to Focus on the Family, then I came back to Alabama and started the Alabama Family Alliance, which is now the Alabama Policy Institute, where I’ve been the last 24 years.
Economic development: To spur economic development, we have to open up our energy resources. And that’s not just specific to Alabama—it’s what we have to do nationally. America is the world’s energy superpower. We dwarf every other country in the amount of oil, natural gas and coal that we have. Energy impacts every aspect of our economy. We need to be selling natural gas, oil and coal to Asia and Europe. I think the key to an overall economic recovery is opening up energy resources.
Specifically in the 6th Congressional district, we have to continue to be very wise in how we build out infrastructure. We also need to take advantage of existing infrastructure like railroads. The railroads in this district reach 78 percent of the country and can reach the farthest point in two days. The district should be a great stop for manufacturing because we are a right-to-work state and a low tax state. We also have a good quality of life and more navigable water than in any other state in the country. On top of that, the third largest oil sands in the country is in north Alabama. We need to take advantage of these resources that we have available to us.
Palmer path for the country: The Palmer path starts with taking advantage of energy resources, but it involves many other issues, including repealing and replacing Obamacare. Obamacare is having a devastating impact on employment. Small businesses, the driver of the economy that employs the majority of Americans, aren’t expanding because of Obamacare. Many are refusing to go past 49 employees and some are even having to cut work hours because of the mandate.
We must reevaluate the regulatory environment in which we are operating. We need a public/private commission to evaluate all of the regulations and eliminate the ones that are obsolete, overly burdensome or redundant and get them down to a manageable number. We must also make sure they are understandable and minimize the drag they have on the economy. It’s estimated that in 2013 the regulatory environment cost the economy $1.5 trillion. That’s almost $15,000 per household.
We have to address the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has gone from an agency that is looking out for the environment to literally an economic menace.
Why he’s running: I decided to run because after working almost 25 years in the public policy arena I realized that you cannot keep sending the same kind of people to Washington, D.C. We need people in Congress who are looking out for the long-term best interest of the country. We cannot be a nation that elects politicians to govern us that are only there to look out for special interest groups. We are paying an enormous price for that right now. In the long term it’s good for everyone if we can get our focus on the country, get our economy going again and paying down the debt. That will benefit everyone. So instead of looking at short-term consequences and how those impact a few, we need to look at long-term consequences and how they impact everybody. I’m well equipped for that.
What he wants people to know: One thing I want people to know about me is that they might not agree with everything I do or the principles I adhere to, but I think there is one thing everybody can count on: they will know where I stand on topics and can count on me to do what I think is right and not what is political.