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Bonner resigning from Congress

Published 3:16pm Thursday, May 23, 2013

U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner announced Thursday that he will resign from Congress to accept a position at the University of Alabama.

Bonner, a graduate of Fort Dale Academy who was born in Selma and raised in Pine Apple in Wilcox County, will leave Congress Aug. 15 to become vice chancellor of government relations and economic development at the University of Alabama System.

“While I had every intention of completing this term, sometimes opportunities come along that are so rare – and so special – that it forces you to alter even your best-made plans,” Bonner said in a statement Thursday.

Bonner, 53, has represented Alabama’s 1st Congressional District since 2003. The district includes Baldwin, Clarke, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe and Washington counties.

While Bonner, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, did not represent Butler County, Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said the congressman’s ties to the area made him an ally in Washington for local officials.

“He’s been a lot of help to us over the years,” McLendon said. “Because of his connections to Fort Dale and folks in Greenville, he knows our community and our needs, and he’s always been willing to do whatever he could to help us out. I think him leaving Congress is a loss for (the State of) Alabama.”

At the same time, McLendon said Bonner’s new role at the University of Alabama could put Bonner in a position to continue help Butler County in the future.

“I hate to see him leave Congress, but in his new role at (the University of) Alabama, he’s going to have a real good idea about (economic development) opportunities in the state, and you can be sure I’ll be reaching out to him. I think that can be a real advantage for us given his ties to the area.”

Rep. Martha Roby, who represents Butler County, thanked Bonner for his years of service to Alabama and the United States.

“Jo Bonner has been a dear friend and mentor to me since I first came to Congress,” she said. “I have deeply appreciated and valued his discerning, deliberate and consistent leadership from day one. Though I will miss him as a member of Alabama’s congressional delegation, I’m proud and happy for Jo and his family as they begin this new chapter of their lives. He will be an invaluable asset to the University of Alabama System, serving the students and faculty with same distinction as he has his constituents and the State of Alabama during his time in Congress.”

Gov. Robert Bentley is tasked with scheduling a special election in order to select Bonner’s replacement.

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