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Jo Bonner to leave Congress, take job at Univ. of Alabama System

Congressman Jo Bonner (R-AL1)
Congressman Jo Bonner (R-AL1)
Jo Bonner, the six-term representative for Alabama’s First Congressional District, announced today that he is resigning from his seat in Congress to take a job as Vice Chancellor of Government Affairs and Economic Development for the University of Alabama System.

Bonner, 53, made the announcement from his office at the RSA Tower in downtown Mobile that he will officially step down by August 15th.

“It is only fair to ask what would motivate me to leave Congress, especially before my term is up. Just so you know, I was not looking for another job; in fact, the opportunity to work for The University of Alabama System was both unexpected and certainly unsolicited,” Bonner said.

“Even though I was grateful to, once again, run for reelection unopposed last November, both Janée and I have known that this time would one day come; quite frankly, it has come sooner than either of us could have anticipated,” he said.

Bonner’s departure will set up a special election with what could be a crowded Republican field vying for the seat. According to the Alabama secretary of state’s office, Gov. Robert Bentley has sole discretion as to when the special election will be held.

Judy Bonner, Jo Bonner’s sister was named the University of Alabama’s first woman president last November. However, Jo Bonner’s position would under fall under the direction of University of Alabama System Chancellor, Dr. Robert Witt, not his sister.

Prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Bonner was a long-time aide for Rep. Sonny Callahan. Since winning his first congressional election in 2002, Bonner has consistently won re-election without a serious challenge.

Yellowhammer will follow up with the scuttlebutt on who’s considering taking a shot at Bonner’s seat.

[Editor’s note: this article was updated at 4:27 with quotes from Rep. Bonner’s press conference]

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