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Jim Bennett has Died

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, August 18, 2016, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a Joint Resolution honoring the life of longtime Alabama Secretary of State James R. “Jim” Bennett (R) who passed away on Thursday.

The resolution was sponsored by State Representative Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) who was a longtime friend and neighbor of Secretary Bennett. The entire House signed on as cosponsors of the resolution, which now goes to the State Senate.

Bennett served the people of Alabama as Secretary of State, Commissioner of the Department of Labor, State Senator, State Representative. From 1961 to 1971 he was a reporter for the Birmingham Post Herald. He was also an author and historian, who wrote books on the early history of Birmingham, Jefferson County, and the iron industry in Alabama. He was a graduate of Jacksonville State University and was later President of the Board of Trustees at Jacksonville

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said, “This morning I am saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and former cabinet member James R. “Jim” Bennett. Alabama has lost a wonderful leader and true public servant,” Governor Bentley said. “On Monday, I visited Jim and awarded him the Governor’s Cross in recognition of his unselfish service to Alabama. This is an Alabama National Guard medal, and it is highest honor that can be bestowed by the Guard. Jim was a dedicated public servant for many decades who truly cared for the people of Alabama. I know his legacy, and his memory will live on for years to come.”

State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) said, “Very sorry to learn of the death of Jim Bennett. Jim was a true statesman who served as Alabama’s Secretary of State, as a member of the Alabama House and Senate as well as serving as a reporter for the Birmingham Post Herald.”

Rep. Williams said, “Not only a statesman, Jim was also a true gentleman. I am grateful our paths crossed. He was an outstanding person. Please pray for his family.”

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Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said, “Secretary Bennett left a historic footprint in Alabama. He was well respected and served our state with the heart of a servant. Prior to his time as Alabama Secretary of State, he was a member of the Alabama House of Representatives and Senate. In addition to his time in the legislature, Secretary Bennett was commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor under both Governor Bob Riley and Governor Robert Bentley.”

Lathan said, “Secretary Bennett was just elected to be the Alabama Republican Party’s College of Elector member for the 6th Congressional District for Donald Trump. He was still engaged in our process. Secretary Bennett was a role model of volunteerism with his time and heart. His service is an example for all to follow, now and in the future. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Secretary of State John Merrill said, “Secretary Bennett contributed extensively to the betterment of the entire state of Alabama as he dedicated his life to the service of the people, and I am confident that there are very few who have contributed as extensively as he has.”

Secretary Merrill said, “Before taking office, I met with Secretary Bennett at a Cracker Barrel in Birmingham. At one point during the meal, Secretary Bennett looked at me and said, ‘John, this job isn’t easy, and you might lose some friends, but this position requires that you be absolutely committed to protecting and continuing to build this outstanding democracy we have been so blessed to uphold.’ That statement really describes the degree of commitment to public service that Secretary Bennett displayed.”

State Auditor Jim Zeigler said, “Our prayers and condolences for the family and friends of the late Jim Bennett. We lose a part of Alabama history.”

Former Secretary of State Beth Chapman (R) said on social media, “Rest in peace former Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett.”

Click here to read the joint resolution that is pending before the Alabama Senate.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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