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Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, on the floor of the U.S. Senate.


Alabama leaders comment on Shelby not seeking another term

Alabama leaders were quick to thank Sen. Richard Shelby for his service.

Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby announced Monday that he is retiring from the U.S. Senate at the end of his term and will not be seeking a seventh term in 2022. Alabama leaders were quick to thank Shelby for his service to the people of Alabama.

Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, said in a statement:

“Senator Shelby’s retirement will be a huge loss to Alabama and to our nation. His work and influence has been felt in every corner of our state. Alabama’s economic strength owes a lot to his leadership. I look forward to continuing to work with him the next two years on our respective Appropriations Committees to continue to serve and deliver for the people of Alabama.”

Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, congratulated Shelby on his long, illustrious career in public service and highlighted Shelby’s impact on Alabama:

“Senator Shelby has had an enormous impact on Alabama and America. He has been an exemplary and honorable public servant and devoted family man. I have enjoyed working with Senator Shelby on a myriad of Alabama projects and national policy issues. I wish Senator Shelby and his wife, Annette, the very best as they begin this next chapter in their lives together.”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said:

“Congratulations to my friend and mentor, Alabama’s Senior United States Senator Richard C. Shelby on the announcement of his retirement! Senator Shelby has been an effective conservative leader for our state for four decades! We need a proven, effective, conservative leader as our next Senator!”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement:

“Few people have had a more consequential impact on our state than Senator Richard Shelby. During his 42 years of service and even before that in the Alabama Legislature Senator Shelby was always influenced by the guiding principle of doing what is best for the state of Alabama. His legacy will be felt for generations to come. While we will miss his incredible influence, He and Annette have earned a well-deserved break from the grind of public service. The people of Alabama owe him a debt of gratitude.”

BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt said:

“Richard Shelby is truly Alabama’s greatest statesman, and we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his service. It was an honor to work for him on behalf of Alabama families, and his leadership in the Senate will be greatly missed.

“We wish the Shelby family all the best in their next chapter.”

Congressman Jerry Carl, R-Mobile, said:

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“Senator Shelby’s impact on the state of Alabama is immeasurable, and he will be greatly missed when he retires at the end of his term. During his more than forty years of public service, Senator Shelby has been a consistent fighter for the entire state of Alabama, especially coastal Alabama, bringing growth and development to every corner of the state. Without Senator Shelby’s leadership, the Port of Mobile would not be such a massive economic engine for the state of Alabama and for the First Congressional District. I will continue working with him the next two years to bring further growth and opportunity to our state, and I wish him and his wife Annette all the best.”

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan said:

“Senator Shelby has consistently played a major role in improving so many areas in Alabama: infrastructure projects and prioritizing the deepening and widening of the Port of Mobile, in Huntsville he promoted our high-tech and aerospace corridor and guided the future headquarters of U.S. Space Command as its home city, used his key Senate committees to expand and protect our manufacturing sectors and agriculture industries, and prioritized the deep military footprint that is in our state. On behalf of the Alabama Republican Party, I offer my gratitude for his many years of public service and we look forward to seeing what Senator Shelby accomplishes on behalf of our great state in the remaining two years of his term. We have no doubt he will continue to work on our behalf at a nonstop pace as he always has.

“Richard Shelby’s name will be repeated for generations to come when speaking of his deep devotion to Alabama and the massive work he accomplished for our state. We also are thankful for his great supporter and wife of sixty years, Dr. Annette Shelby, who has been a profoundly loyal partner for Alabama by his side.”

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale W. Strong said:

“Since 1996, I’ve been privileged to work with Senator Shelby on a variety of projects to benefit the people of Madison County. Our very first project was to implement a tornado warning siren system throughout Madison County. Since then, I’ve worked with Senator Shelby to bring job creation, infrastructure and transportation improvements, along with economic progress to every part of Madison County.

“For 42 years, Senator Shelby has been a true champion in our state and the United States Senate, and his immeasurable and valuable contributions to the great State of Alabama will be truly missed.”

Former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr, R-Montgomery, said:

“Senator Richard Shelby has been Alabama’s Lion in the US Senate. Outside Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Shelby has been the most powerful and influential Republican in Washington. He has worked diligently to confirm conservative Republican Federal Judges and US Supreme Court Justices. He is the reason we have a strong Military in Alabama and in our Country. Senator Shelby has been a shining star and a great leader for Alabama and our Nation during his 34 years in the Senate.

“He has done more for Alabama than anyone in the history of the Senate. I have heard for a couple of months that he was considering not to seek re-election. Selfishly, I hoped he would have decided to run again. However, Senator Shelby deserves our support and our overwhelming appreciation for his outstanding service to the great State of Alabama and to the United States of America.”

Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, said:

“Senator’s Shelby’s retirement will be a loss for Alabama. His decades of public service have undoubtedly left our state a better place. He has served Alabama with honor and distinction, both at home and on Capitol Hill, and has earned the opportunity to depart on his own terms. His work in appropriations, education, defense, and numerous other areas has served our state and our country well, and I’m confident he will finish his final term with the same commitment and care for America that he has always brought to his work.”

Shelby has served in the U.S. Senate since 1987. In 1978, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1970, he was elected to the Alabama State Senate. Shelby announced that he would not seek re-election in a statement Monday. Beginning in 2023, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, will be the senior senator from Alabama.

“Sen. Shelby is one of the most accomplished public servants in Alabama’s history & I look forward to working together closely over the next years to best serve the people of our great state,” Tuberville said on Twitter. “I am thankful to have spent time talking with him about the Senate, politics, & even some football over these past few months. Even in my short time up here, I’ve seen firsthand the tremendous amount of respect my colleagues have for him.”

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, the chair of the National Republican Senate Leadership Committee, said: 

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“Senator Shelby will retire as one of the finest statesmen that the state of Alabama has ever seen. From the Alabama legislature, the U.S. House, and his historic 42-year career in the U.S. Senate, Senator Shelby has always put the people of Alabama first. He is a lion of the Senate, and we will all miss his leadership.”

Former U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions said:

“The announcement by my friend and colleague, Richard Shelby, that he will not seek re-election is a significant moment in Alabama history. No one in the history of the Senate or Congress has delivered more financial benefits for Alabama than Senator Shelby. His work has been of monumental importance.

“The good news is that he will continue to serve and work for us for another two years as the top, Ranking Republican on the extremely important Appropriations Committee. There he is critically positioned to protect Alabama’s interests. I send my thanks for Richard’s friendship for me personally over the 20 years we served together in the Senate and afterwards. I cherish that partnership, which was productive in so many ways for Alabama and the nation. Mary and I send our best wishes to wonderful Annette and Richard and our sincere appreciation for their vital and continued service for the state we love.”

The opening will likely prompt a fierce election fight.

“After two years of a Democrat-controlled Senate, the people of Alabama will demand Senator Shelby’s successor uphold the same conservative principles that became his trademark,” Scott said. “Unfortunately for liberals hoping for another Senate miracle, Alabama’s deep bench of talent will lead Republicans to a resounding victory in 2022, en route to taking back control of the U.S. Senate.”

Shelby has served under Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now Joe Biden. His legacy will long be remembered both in Washington and in Alabama.

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

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