Mar 04 2019

Alabama Political Reporter: Sen. Shelby is now Alabama’s longest-serving U.S. senator

By: Chip Brownlee

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, has now served longer than any other U.S. senator from the state.

On Sunday, Shelby surpassed former U.S. Sen. John Sparkman to become the longest-serving U.S. senator from the state of Alabama.

Shelby has now served 32 years and 60 days. That’s 11,749 days in the U.S. Senate.

Sparkman’s record was 11,747 days. Sparkman served in the Senate until Jan. 3, 1979. He died in 1985.

Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986 and has served there since Jan. 3, 1987. He switched the Republican party in 1994. Shelby also served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat.

“Sen. Shelby is Alabama’s greatest statesman,” said Katie Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff. Britt is now the CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. “From Muscle Shoals to the Wiregrass and everywhere in between, there is no greater advocate for the state of Alabama than Richard Shelby.”

Britt said Shelby is a visionary and has always looked to use his time in Washington for the betterment of Alabama and the country.

“There is no doubt that Alabama is a better place because of the tireless efforts of Sen. Richard Shelby, and I am forever grateful to have had the privilege to work for him,” Britt said.

Shelby, born in 1934, also served eight years as a state senator.

Shelby is one of the most influential senators in Washington, serving as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He previously served as the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Shelby graduated from the University of Alabama in 1957 with a degree in political science and later from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1963.