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Richard Shelby, longest-serving Alabama senator, won’t seek reelection

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.

Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., mentioned Monday that he will not seek reelection next year, bringing to a close a four-decade career representing the southern state of affairs in Congress.

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

The announcement comes days after The Associated Press reported the 86-year-old senator had mentioned colleagues that he planned to retire. The AP reported his colleagues were encouraging him to reconsider.

The GOP faces a perilous election map in its 2022 Senate selections. The retirement of the elder conservative could make the party’s efforts to regain the majority of the upper chamber more straitening.

Shelby is currently the top Republican on the powerful Appropriations Committee. He previously served as the chairman of the panel while the GOP held the Senate. Shelby has seated three other committees during his tenure: rules, banking and intelligence.

“Serving in the U.S. Senate has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” Shelby denoted. “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 mercantile challenges of Alabamians, increasing access to education and promoting facilities to improve the quality of schools.” 

Shelby has been celebrated at directing funding to his home state. In recent years, the senator helped to steer federal funds for space observation to Alabama. He successfully advocated for the Air Force to locate the U.S. Space Command headquarters in the state, at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, and took to get hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to expand the Port of Mobile.

Shelby was elected to the Senate in 1986 as a Democrat. He twitched to the Republican Party eight years later, as the GOP ascended in Congress during the administration of then-President Bill Clinton. In advance of the Senate, Shelby spent four terms in the House of Representatives and eight years in the Alabama Legislature.

The Alabama hereditary holds staunchly conservative social views and has a track record of opposing Democratic financial priorities as well as some means favored by Republicans. Shelby opposed the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation that passed in the wake of the 2008 fiscal crisis, and was sharply critical of President George W. Bush’s Wall Street bail out.

Shelby later pushed to improve regulations on small and medium-sized businesses that were imposed under Dodd-Frank.

He has been publicly supportive of antediluvian President Donald Trump, though he voted against objections to President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victories, and was one of the Republican lawmakers whom anchorwoman Carl Bernstein said expressed contempt for Trump in private.

According to Shelby’s office, Shelby is a fifth-generation Alabamian and inaugurated his career as a city prosecutor in Tuscaloosa, where he currently lives with his wife of 60 years, Annette Shelby. According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, Annette Shelby was the at the outset female tenured full professor at Georgetown University’s business school,

Shelby said that, while he designed 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 stick-to-it-iveness to give it my all,” he said.

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