He was elected to the Senate in 1986 but switched to the GOP in 1994. He has spent the last two years as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, before Democrats gained control of the chamber. All along, he has used his influence to benefit the state’s interests, particularly ports and military manufacturers. He played a key role in bringing an FBI campus and the newly announced Space Command to Huntsville.
“Few people have had a more consequential impact on our state than Senator Richard Shelby,” said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, who added, “The people of Alabama owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Shelby served in the Senate longer than any Alabamian. During his time in the chamber, he chaired four major committees: appropriations, rules, banking and intelligence.
“Serving in the U.S. Senate has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” the senator said in his statement. “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.”