Today marks the final day of Congressman Jo Bonner’s ten and a half years representing Alabama’s First District. He is leaving to become vice chancellor of the University of Alabama System. While there is not a more perfect fit for the University, his retirement leaves big shoes for his successor to fill.
Over the past decade, Congressman Bonner has been a tireless advocate for economic development, leading the effort to recruit several significant economic projects to the state, a fact that led the Business Council of Alabama to present him the “Governor Bob Riley ‘Building a Better Alabama’ Award” in 2012.
As a former staffer in his Washington office, I know first-hand his unwavering dedication to the people of Alabama’s First Congressional District. As his press secretary, I quickly learned that his priority was not being in the spotlight or on the news each night, it was always what was best for the First District and for Alabama, a rare quality among many of today’s politicians.
As the news of his retirement has sunk in over the past several weeks, I keep finding myself reflecting on the time I spent working in his office. And, I won’t say – working for him – because every time I or someone else on his staff would say it that way, he would so quickly jump in to say we worked “with” him. It is that humility and diplomacy that defines both Jo Bonner and the office of the First Congressional District under his leadership.
I will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to work for the people of southwest Alabama as a part of Team Jo. I wish him the best in his new role. Roll Tide!
I joined Congressman Bonner and his other two press secretaries in one of his last weekly radio shows. You can listen to it below