Jo Bonner: Accepting Ivey chief of staff to set up future run for office ‘did not even enter into my mind’
In an interview with Alabama Public Television’s Don Dailey that aired on “Capital Journal” on Friday, former Rep. Jo Bonner, who is now Gov. Kay Ivey’s chief of staff, dismissed the suggestion that a future run for office was in his future.
Bonner was named Ivey’s chief of staff immediately after her inauguration earlier this month, filling a vacancy left behind by Steve Pelham, who accepted a job with Auburn University.
The former Republican congressman acknowledged he had a good run in politics and said he was looking to serve in fellow Wilcox County native Ivey’s administration.
“I have had an amazing journey on the ballot,” Bonner said. “And if I never see my name on the ballot again, it will be too soon. You know, I love what I’m doing. I love public policy. I love public service. And I wasn’t looking to necessarily get engaged in a public role like chief of staff for the governor, or senior advisor, but Governor Ivey can be pretty persuasive. She actually came to Tuscaloosa on her birthday, back in October, and we had lunch. And she said she would like for me to consider coming to work with her. I was extremely flattered.”
“I did think a little bit about getting in the arena, but I think people who have been blessed with the opportunity to live in this great state, there’s a certain debt that we owe,” he added. “So, I am thrilled and honored to be working with a lady who I not only have the greatest respect for, but I share her passion to make sure our days are in front of us.”
Bonner served as press secretary, then chief of staff for former Rep. Sonny Callahan, and ran for that same seat when Callahan announced his retirement. Bonner said it was not his intention to use the chief of staff role to catapult him into a run for governor.
“We’ll let me assure that did not even enter into my mind,” he replied. “The last few days – I’m not going to exaggerate, Don — everyone is busy, and everyone has a lot on their plate, but coming into this role everyone seems to want to visit, and everyone has an urgent matter that they want to bring to the governor’s attention. Of course, most of them had already talked with Steve [Pelham], or with the governor’s other great staff members that she has got. A lot of people now want to make sure I know what they’ve been telling the other. So, I’ve been pretty busy the past few days.”
“The last thing in my mind, on my mind – and certainly my wife would say if I ever thought about running for office again, I would probably need to hire a good divorce attorney,” Bonner added. “And I’m not looking to do that either.”