The governor of Alabama appointed his own state’s Attorney General, Luther Strange, Thursday to fill the Senate seat left vacant by former senator Jeff Sessions taking over President Donald Trump’s Justice Department.
“This is truly a remarkable time in our state’s history,” said Gov. Robert Bentley, who came into office with Strange after the 2010 election. The two men worked together to forge the state’s 2015 $2 billion settlement with BP after that company’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Strange was chosen after the governor and the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee spent 20 hours interviewing potential appointees, beginning in the fall after Trump announced Sessions was his choice for DOJ.
“Alabama has surely been well represented by Senator Sessions, and I am confident Senator Strange will serve as a fine representative for our people,” the governor said. “His leadership on a national level, service as a statewide elected official, and long record of taking on tough federal issues are the very qualities that will make him a strong conservative Senator for Alabama.”
Signing the Appointment letter for Alabama Senator Luther Strange. Personally delivering it to DC now, Senator Strange to be sworn-in today. pic.twitter.com/Ac2WU6zVH5
— Governor Robert Bentley (@GovRBentley) February 9, 2017
Strange said he was thrilled to accept his new post.
“I am greatly honored and humbled to accept the appointment to Alabama’s Senate seat vacated by Senator Jeff Sessions,” he said.
“Senator Sessions’ commitment to public service is nearly unparalleled in Alabama history and his departure from the Senate leaves tremendous shoes to fill,” he said. “I pledge to the people of Alabama to continue the same level of leadership as Jeff Sessions in consistently fighting to protect and advance the conservative values we all care about.”
Strange said he is also looking forward to Sessions appreciating Alabama’s concerns as attorney general.
“I am particularly grateful for the reprieve from federal overreach that states will surely be granted under Attorney General Sessions,” he said.
“Throughout my six years in this office, I have wrestled with the Justice Department on an endless number of oppressive federal policies stemming from a total lack of constitutional deference and respect for the states.,” he said. “I am confident that Jeff Sessions will do his part to restore the delicate balance between the states and the federal government that the Founders envisioned.”
The special election for the Senate seat is slated for 2018. Strange is expected to run in that election to keep the seat in his own right.