After a brief stint with no representation on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, Alabama is back in the mix.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones has been appointed to the influential committee tasked with overseeing the nation’s armed forces, national security and military research and development. Jones will assume his position on the committee when the 116th Congress convenes in January.
Alabama is home to five military bases, which employ 8,500 active-duty service members and more than 23,000 civilians. With Jones’ appointment, Alabama will regain some representation for the aerospace industry in Huntsville and the shipbuilding industry in Mobile, both of which have deep ties to the military.
In 2017, the Department of Defense spent $7.7 billion on contracts in Alabama. Alabama hasn’t had any representation on the committee since Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions left the Senate to become attorney general and his temporary replacement, Luther Strange, lost the Republican primary to Roy Moore.
More than 375,000 veterans, including 65,000 retirees, live in Alabama.
“Alabama and its citizens have long played a significant role in our national defense, from building or maintaining ships and other vehicles to leading cutting-edge research and development to volunteering to serve in our armed forces,” Jones said. “It is vital that we have a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, a role that I am honored to be able to fill in the next Congress.”
Jones said he is committed to serving as Alabama’s advocate for a strong national defense, which also means a strong and prosperous economy in our state.
“I look forward to working with Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Reed to advocate for our service members and their families, and for a robust national defense posture that protects our interests at home and abroad,” Jones said.
Democrats had to fill three seats on the committee after losing three of the senior Democrats who were serving there. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida; Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri; and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, all lost their re-election to the Senate, leaving a gaping hole for the Democrats. Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, is the highest-ranking Democrat on the committee.
“Senator Jones is a tremendous advocate for Alabama and a true champion for our service members and their families,” Reed said. “I am pleased to welcome him to the committee and know he’ll continue working on a bipartisan basis to help keep America strong militarily and economically.”
Jones will remain on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where his office says he will continue to advocate for improved access to health care and quality educational opportunities for Alabamians.
Jones will also continue to serve on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He will no longer serve on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.