“Shelby has gone beyond the call of duty” Senator’s retirement announcement sends a shockwave through Congress

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 3:05 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Richard Shelby, the longtime U.S. Senator from Alabama announced Monday he will not seek reelection in 2022. Shelby rose through the ranks in the Senate becoming the most important Republican in charge of the purse strings on Capitol Hill.

His announcement sent shockwaves through Congress. Elected as a Democrat in 1986, Shelby is now one of the most important Republicans on Capitol Hill. His position as the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee has given Alabama a key seat at the table on all things having to do with federal funding.

In his announcement the Birmingham native said, “For everything, there is a season. I am grateful to the people of Alabama who have put their trust in me for more than forty years. I have been fortunate to serve in the U.S. Senate longer than any other Alabamian.”

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) sits on the House Appropriations Committee. He says Shelby’s retirement will be a huge loss for the state.

“I think when you look back over the years we will realize that really he has really made an impact on the state of Alabama and trying to make sure we get our fair share. I will say that Shelby has gone beyond the call of duty in making sure that has happened,” said Aderholt.

Aderholt says he looks forward to the two years they have left working together. And Shelby did note in his statement, “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’s counterpart on the Appropriations Committee Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy is currently the longest serving member in the U.S. Senate. The 80-year-old has not announced whether he will seek reelection in 2022 either.

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