Senator Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Speaks to reporters on the Senate subway on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.
Bill Clark | CQ appeal group | Getty Images
Senator Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Said Monday that he would not seek re-election next year, ending a four-decade career as the southern state representative in Congress.
"Today I announce that I will not seek a seventh term in the United States Senate in 2022. There is a season for everything," Shelby said in a statement.
The announcement comes days after The Associated Press reported the 86-year-old senator told colleagues he was planning to retire. The AP reported that his colleagues encouraged him to reconsider.
The GOP faces a dangerous voting card in its Senate elections in 2022. The senior Conservative's resignation could hamper the party's efforts to regain a majority in the upper chamber.
Shelby is currently the top Republican on the powerful Appropriations Committee. He was previously chairman of the board while the GOP held the Senate. Shelby chaired three other committees during his tenure: Rules, Banking, and Intelligence.
"Serving the Senate was a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Shelby. “I have done my best to address challenges and find ways to improve the daily lives of all Americans. I have also focused on Alabamian economic challenges, improving access to education, and promoting facilities to improve the quality of schools . ""
Shelby has managed to direct funding to his home state. In recent years, the Senator has helped direct federal funding for space exploration to Alabama. He successfully campaigned for the Air Force to locate the US Space Command headquarters in the state of Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, and helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Port of Mobile.
Shelby was elected a Democrat to the Senate in 1986. Eight years later he joined the Republican Party when the GOP rose in Congress during the tenure of then President Bill Clinton. Before the Senate, Shelby served four terms in the House of Representatives and eight years in the Alabama legislature.
Born in Alabama, he has a strictly conservative social stance and a track record of rejecting Democratic financial priorities and some Republican-favored policies. Shelby opposed the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation passed after the 2008 financial crisis and harshly criticized President George W. Bush's bailout of Wall Street.
Shelby later pushed for the repeal of the small and medium business regulations imposed under Dodd-Frank.
He publicly supported former President Donald Trump despite voting against objections to President Joe Biden's electoral college victories and was one of the Republican lawmakers that journalist Carl Bernstein said privately despised Trump.
According to Shelby's office, Shelby is a fifth generation Alabamian and began his career as a city attorney in Tuscaloosa, where he currently resides with his 60-year-old wife, Annette Shelby. According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, Annette Shelby was the first female full professor in Georgetown University's Business School.
Shelby said while he was about to retire, "I'm not going today."
"I have two good years to continue my work in Washington. I have the vision and the energy to give my all," he said.
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