I find myself sharing these thoughts today about my friend, Jeff Sessions, whom I have known literally since kindergarten. In a world where there is so much division and confusion and political campaigns are literally being defined by 280 characters in a tweet, I find myself wanting for something more.
This is especially true during this time in our nation’s life where we are inundated 24-7 with troubling news about the coronavirus, the economy, protests and shutdowns. For far too many, probably the last thing most people are focused on is the upcoming runoff election between Senator Sessions and Coach Tuberville.
I don’t know Coach Tuberville personally; he’s probably a good man. But I do know Jeff Sessions and I want to remind my friends why we elected him five times to statewide office, starting when we elected him Alabama’s Attorney General in 1994, and then four times later to represent us in the U.S. Senate. Six years ago, Jeff ran unopposed.
During his 20 years in the Senate, Jeff worked side-by-side with our senior senator, Richard Shelby, always fighting for Alabama values and looking after Alabamians. I’m sure Senator Shelby would agree that no finer person has ever served in the U.S. Senate than Jeff Sessions. Jeff is a man with the highest degree of integrity, character and honesty. Together, they made an impressive team for our state and can do so again.
While in the Senate, Jeff visited every county – all 67 – at least once a year. Like Senator Shelby, he knows Alabama like the back of his hand. And when our people have needed their senator to help them cut through the bureaucracy at the VA, Social Security or one of the many other federal agencies, Senator Sessions and his team were always there for us. He knows how to represent Alabama in Washington – and serve all of us – because he has been a servant leader his entire life.
When Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina hit Alabama in 2004 and 2005, Jeff and his wife, Mary, were literally passing water bottles out in Bayou La Batre and helping provide food and shelter to those affected throughout South Alabama. And when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in 2010, Senator Sessions, Senator Shelby and my brother, Jo, were keeping the pressure on Ken Feinberg and BP to make sure our state was compensated.
When he served in Congress, Jo always reminded his constituents to not judge a man by what he promises he’ll do in a political ad; judge him by what he does when the cameras aren’t on. Jeff Sessions is the same man we’ve always known … he’s a fighter, he stands on principle and he won’t back down for what believes he is right.
Another important point to consider is there will come a day when Senator Shelby decides to retire. Do we want our next senior senator to have more than 20-years-experience and seniority or do we want someone who is still learning his way around the Capitol?
Finally, with so many important government contracts in our state – from the space and rocket programs in Huntsville, to the 4,500 workers in Mobile building Navy ships, to Army aviation in the Wiregrass and the Air Force in Montgomery, not to mention the critical health care funding and grants that come to Birmingham and UAB, is now really the time we want to elect a senator who has no experience whatsoever – none – knowing how to navigate the complex ways of Washington, D.C.?
I admit, up front, I am biased. But I also know Senator Sessions and trust him. He is Alabama through and through. I hope you will consider giving him your support and trust as well. He has never let Alabama down and he never will.
Judy Bonner was the 28th President of The University of Alabama. This letter is not affiliated with or endorsed by The University of Alabama.