Sen. Richard Shelby will not seek 7th term

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby (Office of Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama on Monday announced that he will not seek a seventh term in office. Shelby, 86, has served in the U.S. Congress for 42 years, first elected to the the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979, then to the U.S. Senate in 1986.

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

“I am grateful to the people of Alabama who have put their trust in me for more than 40 years.  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. 

“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.  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 is the vice chairman and leading Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he recently served as chairman of the full committee and its subcommittee on defense.  He formerly served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, of which he is the longest serving member in history.  He remains a senior member on each of those committees.  Additionally, he was previously the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  Shelby also serves on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Following four terms in the U.S. House representing Alabama’s 7th congressional district and eight years in the Alabama State Legislature, Shelby was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986. 

According to Shelby’s office, during his time in Congress, he has focused on expanding economic opportunities throughout Alabama and the country, in addition to his top priority – the security of the nation.  Shelby has also worked to improve and advance education, medical research, space exploration, infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture. Importantly, he has worked to ensure that our nation’s warfighters are equipped with the tools they need to protect and defend the country.  Additionally, he has been instrumental in deepening and widening the Port of Mobile, a project that he believes will have a monumental and long-term impact on Alabama’s economy.  Further, Shelby has worked tirelessly to confirm highly qualified, conservative judges to Alabama’s federal courts.

Shelby has a strong record of standing for free-market principles and opposing bailouts and big government, said his office. 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, Shelby 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.

“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 said. “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.”

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

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama said in a statement Monday, “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.”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Shelby’s legacy will be felt for generations.

“Few people have had a more consequential impact on our state than Senator Richard Shelby,” she said. “During h is 42 years of service in Washington- and even before than during his time in the Alabama Legislature- Senator Shelby was always influenced by the guiding principle of doing what was best for the Alabama. His legacy will be felt for generations to come. While we will all 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.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan said in a statement, “Alabama has truly been blessed to have U.S. Senator Richard Shelby representing our state in Congress for the last 42 years. He has always fought for what is best for his constituents – from expanding economic opportunities to advancing education and research.

“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 60 years, Dr. Annette Shelby, who has been a profoundly loyal partner for Alabama by his side.”

According to NBC News, Shelby is the fourth Republican senator to announce plans to retire at the end of the current Congress.

No one has come forward yet to officially announce his or her candidacy for Shelby’s seat in 2022.

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