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Senator Richard Shelby, ‘Alabama’s greatest statesman,’ to retire after current term

U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) on Monday announced he will not seek reelection in 2022. His current term is set to expire on January 3, 2023.

Shelby, already Alabama’s longest-serving senator in history, continues to have an unprecedented impact on his home state. He is now serving as vice chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations after Democrats last month seized control of the upper chamber.

“Today I announce that I will not seek a seventh term in the United State Senate in 2022. For everything, there is a season,” said Shelby in a written statement.

Following four terms in the U.S. House representing Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District and eight years in the Alabama State Legislature, Shelby was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986.

During his time in Congress, he has focused on expanding economic opportunities throughout Alabama and our country, in addition to his foremost priority – the security of the nation.

“I am grateful to the people of Alabama who have put their trust in me for more than forty years,” Shelby remarked. “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.”

Alabama’s senior senator has also worked to improve and advance education, medical research, space exploration, infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture. The Alabama Legislature recently enshrined his name in history as “Alabama’s education senator,” and Shelby just last month helped secure Space Command Headquarters for Huntsville.

Importantly, he has worked to ensure that our nation’s warfighters are equipped with the tools they need to protect and defend the homeland. Additionally, Shelby has been instrumental in deepening and widening the Port of Mobile, a transformational project that he believes will have a profound long-term impact on Alabama’s economy. Further, Shelby has worked tirelessly to confirm highly qualified, conservative judges to Alabama’s federal courts.

Shelby stated, “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,” he continued. “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.”

Shelby, in addition to being the leading Republican on Appropriations and its subcommittee on defense, is also still a senior member of the Committees on Rules and Administration and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, of which he is the longest-serving member in history. He also serves on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“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,” Shelby commented.

The venerable senator has a strong record of standing for free-market principles and opposing bailouts and big government. He voted against the Chrysler bailout as a freshman in the House of Representatives, opposed the bailout for the financial industry in 2008, and has continuously fought on behalf of American taxpayers. In 2003 and 2005, Shelby introduced legislation to reform the government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He led the effort to tailor financial regulations following Dodd-Frank, and in 2015, he introduced a Dodd-Frank reform bill to roll back regulations on Main Street banks and businesses, which ultimately became the framework for a reform bill signed into law in 2018.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Shelby is a fifth-generation Alabamian and a graduate of the University of Alabama’s undergraduate and law programs. He began his career as a city prosecutor in Tuscaloosa and went on to serve as a U.S. Magistrate for the Northern District of Alabama before working as a Special Assistant Attorney General.

Shelby resides in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Annette – his bride of 60 years. They have two children, Richard and Claude, and two grandchildren.

“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,” Senator Shelby concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn