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Richard Shelby, Alabama's longest-serving senator, to retire after 2022

Richard Shelby, Alabama's longest-serving senator, to retire after 2022
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., stands behind Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Shelby announced Monday that he will retire from Congress in January 2023. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- After four decades on Capitol Hill, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama announced on Monday that he will leave Congress and won't run for re-election net year.

Shelby said in a statement that he won't run for a seventh Senate term in 2022.

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"For everything, there is a season," he wrote.

"I have been fortunate to serve in the U.S. Senate longer than any other Alabamian. During my time in the Senate, I have been given great opportunity, having chaired four committees. ... In these positions of leadership, I have strived to influence legislation that will have a lasting impact -- creating the conditions for growth and opportunity.

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"Although I plan to retire, I am not leaving today. I have two good years remaining to continue my work in Washington. I have the vision and the energy to give it my all."

Shelby, 86, did not cite a specific reason why he is leaving Congress.

Shelby is one of the longest-serving U.S. senators, having first taken office in 1987. Before that, he was a member of the House since 1979.

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"I look forward to what is to come for our great state and our great nation," he said.

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Shelby's retirement comes just weeks after Democrats regained control of the Senate by the slimmest of margins. The split is 50-50 in the chamber, with Vice President Kamala Harris representing the tiebreaker vote in her role as Senate president.

Shelby was a Democrat for the first seven years of his tenure in the Senate before he switched to the Republican Party in 1994.

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"It has been frustrating because I thought there was room in the Democratic Party for a conservative southern Democrat such as myself," he said at the time. "But I can tell you there is not."

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