Senator Shelby’s ‘stalwart leadership’ honored at The Evening for Progress 2022

The Business Council of Alabama’s recent Evening for Progress event provided the perfect opportunity for Alabama business leaders from across the state to recognize Senator Richard Shelby for his many contributions to the state and the nation. 

BCA was pleased to welcome special guest, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to honor Senator Shelby for his many accomplishments. Senator McConnell was joined by almost 600 BCA members and honored guests including Governor Kay Ivey, members of the state’s Congressional delegation, legislators from across the state, and members of the state judiciary.  

The night of celebration began with a Leadership Roundtable where Senator Shelby and Leader McConnell spoke to a small group of BCA leaders on a range of topics. BCA Chairman Mike Kemp led a discussion that included the country’s recently passed budget resolution, and the challenges of serving in both the minority and majority in the U.S. Senate.

Attendees watched a BCA produced video that paid tribute to Senator Shelby’s ‘stalwart leadership’ and service as the he came on stage. Before his comments, Chairman Kemp presented Senator Shelby with BCA’s Distinguished Service Award.

“As we can all agree, Senator Shelby is one of Alabama’s greatest statesmen. He has served the people of Alabama and the nation, leaving a historic legacy as the state’s longest serving senator,” said BCA Chairman, Mike Kemp. “With 44 years of service in the U.S. Senate and the [U.S.] House of Representatives, no leader has done more for Alabama’s progress than Senator Shelby. He has been a visionary leader in forging a 21st century economy with a focus on pro-growth, pro-job policies, and strategic investments in our state’s future.”

A grateful Senator Shelby underscored the importance of the business community here in Alabama.

“I tried to make a difference. Some days you do make a difference, but it is you, here tonight, that’s helped make a difference,” stated Senator Shelby. “Look at Alabama’s economy. You’re about business and opportunity for everybody and we all prosper that way. That’s what I have tried to follow – opportunity for everybody…I thank you for honoring me tonight, but I also want to thank you for letting me work with you over many, many years.”

Alabama’s ‘greatest statesman’ is more than deserving of this special recognition. His service spans over six decades – beginning as city prosecutor in Tuscaloosa, moving to federal magistrate judge and special assistant state attorney general. Senator Shelby was first elected to the Alabama Senate in 1970 and served until elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978. In 1986, Senator Shelby was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he has served for six terms. Senator Shelby is currently vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, of which he previously served as chairman. He is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration as well as the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, of which he is the longest serving member in the history of the committee. He also serves on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

It is almost impossible to find an area in Alabama where Senator Shelby has not made an indisputable impact. His leadership in Washington has shaped the economic climate in the Yellowhammer state for generations to come. From Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Birmingham’s innovation ecosystem, to the Port of Mobile, and infrastructure development statewide, Senator Shelby has touched every corner of Alabama.

The highlight of the evening included comments by Senator Shelby followed by a question-and-answer segment with Leader McConnell, moderated by BCA Chairman, Mike Kemp. Senator Shelby and Leader McConnell touched on their time serving together on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, where both Senator Shelby and Leader McConnell, who was born in Alabama, worked together on legislation benefitting the business community here in the state.

“If you’re in a job like Richard and I are in, everything is coming at you all the time. If you want to be as successful as Richard has been in Alabama, you need to figure out what is the most important thing you can do. Tune out the other stuff and go after it like a laser,” Leader McConnell stated. “I’ve watched Richard do that through the appropriations process during the time we have been there, and you all have seen all over Alabama the result of that. That laser-like focus on Alabama is something you can measure, you can see it around you here in the state. He did it better than anyone I’ve seen.”

The evening concluded with an optimistic message of hope for the state of business in Alabama from Senator Shelby.

“I think Alabama is on a roll right now…I like what I see. I like those unemployment numbers. I like what the Governor has done. Put Alabama first. Put opportunity out there. The future is good.”