By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Representative James Buskey, D-Mobile, announced on Tuesday his retirement from the Legislature after more than 40 years of holding his seat.
Buskey is one of the longest current serving members of the Legislature only second to Representative Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery. He has been in office since 1976.
“It’s hard to find the words to express just how special this experience has been for me, and how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve the people of Mobile,” Buskey said. “But as much as I’ve enjoyed my forty-one years in the Legislature, I will be retiring after my forty-second year.”
Former House Minority Leader Representative Craig Ford, D-Gadsen, said Buskey’s retirement is “a huge loss for the Legislature.”
“I don’t care if you’re a newly elected Legislator or the Governor, when James Buskey speaks, you listen,” Ford said. “He’s more than earned his retirement, but I sure do hate it for the Legislature and the people of Alabama.”
Alabama Legislative Black Caucus Leader Representative Napoleon Bracy, D-Prichard, said Buskey was a “mentor to all of us.”
“He taught us a lot about the Legislature, but he also knows how to bring people from all sides together to make sure that Mobile and South Alabama always come first before personal or partisan politics,” Bracy said. “I don’t think he can ever really be replaced, but I know that his influence will continue on because all of us who have served with him have learned from him and try to follow his example of what it means to be a Legislator and a public servant.”
Buskey held multiple positions in the Legislature during his 41-year tenure. He served as the ranking member on two committees. He served as chairman of the Joint Legislative Black Caucus. Buskey also has an award named after him.
As Buskey closes the door on his career, he said he is “grateful to the people of Mobile.”
“At the end of the day, what I hope for the most is that everyone – regardless of whether you agreed with the decisions I made or supported someone else during the campaigns – felt like I always had an open door and did what I believed was in the best interests of the people of Mobile and the people of Alabama,” Buskey said.