Montgomery Chamber holds tribute honoring Sen. Richard Shelby

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 10:04 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce held a tribute honoring U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby Monday for his long-time service and contributions to the state.

During the event, held inside the Renaissance Hotel Alabama Ballroom, Shelby held a Washington brief for business stakeholders and various elected leaders. During the briefing, Shelby shared memories from his time in the Senate seat. From his favorite moment, escorting President H. W. Bush into the chamber and his worst, Jan. 6th, the day the Capitol was stormed.

Shelby told the audience of public officials that they have to “want to do this” and that it was important to be honest, and let the people know what you’re doing.

“There will always be a divide because we have differences,” Shelby added, saying there needs to be more bipartisanship and working towards the ideal.

Shelby switched to the Republican Party in 1994, but while he was still a Democrat Congresswoman Terri Sewell was his intern. She now represents District 7, Shelby’s former state seat district.

“He really does put aside politics to do what’s in the best interest of Alabama,” said Sewell. “If I’ve learned anything from him, it’s the importance of alliances of friendships.”

“We need to work toward the goal of bipartisanship and put issues first, if we do that, we’ll accomplish something,” said Shelby.

Shelby, 88, is a fifth-generation Alabamian and a graduate of UA’s undergraduate and law programs. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party in 1994. As Alabama’s longest-serving U.S. senator, Shelby has chaired four Senate committees, including appropriations, rules, banking and intelligence.

But, after serving 36 years in the Senate, Shelby announced he would not seek re-election and instead would retire. Katie Britt, who previously worked under Shelby as his chief of staff, will take the seat as the first elected female U.S. Senator.

Before serving in the Senate, Shelby was already a seasoned lawmaker, having served Alabama for four terms in the U.S. House and eight years in the Alabama Legislature.

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