Alabama’s senior United States senator, Richard Shelby, a Republican, announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2022. In a statement, Shelby said:
“Today I announce that I will not seek a seventh term in the United States Senate in 2022. For everything, there is a season. I am grateful to the people of Alabama who have put their trust in me for more than forty years. I have been fortunate to serve in the U.S. Senate longer than any other Alabamian.
“During my time in the Senate, I have been given great opportunity, having chaired four committees: Appropriations, Rules, Banking, and Intelligence. In these positions of leadership, I have strived to influence legislation that will have a lasting impact – creating the conditions for growth and opportunity.
“Serving in the U.S. Senate has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I have done my best to address challenges and find ways to improve the day-to-day lives of all Americans. I have also focused on the economic challenges of Alabamians, increasing access to education and promoting facilities to improve the quality of schools. I have worked to enhance Alabama’s role in space exploration and the security of our nation. Further, I have supported the utilization of Alabama’s greatest resources, including its unparalleled river system and the Port of Mobile.
“My service in the U.S. Senate would not have been possible without those who have encouraged me over the years. I am particularly grateful for the support of my wife, Annette, and my entire family. Additionally, my staff, whose determination and loyalty have been unwavering, has been absolutely necessary in achieving my goals.
“Although I plan to retire, I am not leaving today. I have two good years remaining to continue my work in Washington. I have the vision and the energy to give it my all.
“Thank you again for the honor you have given me – the honor to serve the people of Alabama in Congress for the last 42 years. I look forward to what is to come for our great state and our great nation.”
Shelby’s announcement had been expected, and his departure is worrisome to many in state politics who see Shelby as a powerful and capable legislator who’s directed many millions to Alabama, including major projects at the Port of Mobile and his role in getting an FBI campus and Space Command located in Huntsville.
He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, after serving for eight years in the Alabama Senate and eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Shelby, 86, is vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, having previously chaired the powerful committee, as well as the Senate’s Banking and Intelligence committees.
Katie Britt, president of the Business Council of Alabama, who previously served as Shelby’s deputy press secretary, press secretary, deputy campaign manager, communications director and chief of staff, in a statement Monday thanked Shelby for his years of service.
“Senator Richard Shelby is truly Alabama’s greatest statesman, and we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his service to our state and our country,” Britt said in a statement.”It was an honor to work for Senator Shelby on behalf of Alabama families, and his leadership in the Senate will be greatly missed. Our family wishes him, Annette, and the Shelby family all the best in their next chapter.”