Congressman Jo Bonner is retiring from Congress—he's making it official as of next Friday night. He was in Mobile today saying goodbye to folks on the Alabama Travel Council, with whom he worked-- serving as co-chair on the Congressional House Travel and Tourism Caucus.
An emotional roller coaster is how congressman Jo Bonner describes his decade-long career.
He's just seven days away to stepping down from his congressional seat.
"And I've worked my heart out during some pretty challenging times like Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Katrina, the oil spill, but we've had some great successes too. The Airbus announcement last year, the groundbreaking earlier this year. The Thyssenkrupp announcement," says Bonner.
Bonner has had a busy week gearing up for his last few days in congress. He recently sat in on a congressional hearing to discuss the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship, which, in light of sequestration, has come under fire for its capabilities, use and cost.
"So we had the Navy there and we had the chance to ask some pretty good questions."
They also passed the defense appropriations bill, which budgets another four ships—two of which are for Mobile. But another daunting task still awaits him—cleaning his desk.
"It's not only the last ten years of being in Congress, but also 18 years before that as a staffer, so I've got a lot of memorabilia. Or as my wife puts it, junk."
And while he will not be publicly endorsing any of the nine people vying for his soon-to-be vacant seat in congress, he is looking forward to the special election—and for more than one reason.
"My daughter will be voting for the first time. One of the candidates actually asked her if she would vote for him, she said "I've got to look at all the candidates first" so that's a pretty good voter out there."
As his time in Congress winds down, Bonner says there's one emotion that is overwhelming.
"I will never be able to adequately express how grateful I am. My heart is full of gratitude and humility that they gave me that they gave me this opportunity to work for them."
Governor Robert Bentley is the one who will set a date for the special election to replace Bonner, he will be able to do that after next Friday. Just today, though, he announced the qualifying period--which will be August 3rd through 5th.