(Extensions of Remarks - August 02, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1240]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                          HON. SPENCER BACHUS

                               of alabama

                    in the house of representatives

                         Friday, August 2, 2013

  Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my delegation colleagues--
Congressman Robert Aderholt, Congressman Mo Brooks, Congresswoman 
Martha Roby, Congressman Mike Rogers, and Congresswoman Terri Sewell--
it is with great respect and admiration that we recognize the service 
of Congressman Jo Bonner to the First District of Alabama, his state, 
and his country. A determined and effective advocate for the people of 
Alabama, Jo Bonner has distinguished himself through his 
accomplishments in office, his integrity, and his deep humility. The 
members of the Alabama delegation have always worked together when the 
best interests of our state are involved and Jo Bonner has been 
integral to our cohesiveness. We have been honored to serve with him as 
a colleague and count him as a friend.
  Jo's calling to serve began early. The ethic was instilled by a 
close-knit family that valued the principles of hard work, honesty, and 
fair play. The many public officials and community leaders in his 
extended family included his father, Judge Josiah Robins Bonner of 
Wilcox County, and his mother Imogene, who was an Army nurse during 
World War II.
  The decision Jo made to attend the University of Alabama, where he 
earned a journalism degree, began a love affair with a great 
institution that has only strengthened over the years. An internship 
with Congressman Jack Edwards gave Jo his first intimate exposure to 
the U.S. House of Representatives. In a few years, Jo would return with 
Congressman Edwards' successor, Sonny Callahan, ascending to the 
position of Chief of Staff.
  Perhaps because he served for 18 years as a staff member himself, Jo 
Bonner has always been known for hiring excellent people and treating 
his staff with professionalism and respect. By doing so, he has 
developed a loyal and experienced team--led most recently by Chief of 
Staff Al Spencer--widely acknowledged as one of the hardest-working and 
most effective on Capitol Hill.
  Upon his election to the House in 2002, Jo faced enormous 
expectations in continuing the legacy established by his two 
outstanding predecessors and mentors. But Jo had listened and observed 
closely over the years and quickly established himself as a leader in 
our state's delegation and the House, achieving influence through his 
knowledge, attention to detail, diligence, and ability to form personal 
  A constant passion of Jo Bonner has been to promote economic 
opportunity and thereby improve the quality of life for citizens in the 
First District and the State of Alabama. He played a key role in such 
seminal economic development victories as the ThyssenKrupp steel 
complex, the Austal contract for construction of new ships for the U.S. 
Navy, and the decision by Airbus to build its new plant in Mobile. 
These transformational projects will provide a solid foundation for the 
South Alabama economy and indeed the economy of our entire state for 
decades to come.
  Jo is keenly aware of the importance of the Gulf to the economy and 
identity of the Mobile area. He has been an ardent supporter of the 
Port of Alabama. After the devastation caused by Hurricanes Ivan and 
Katrina, Jo mobilized the full resources of his office to bring needed 
relief to storm victims and accelerate economic recovery. Our 
delegation turned to him for guidance after the disastrous BP-Deepwater 
Horizon Oil Spill. Jo's skillful leadership in navigating the RESTORE 
Act into public law was a testament to his successful ability to move 
complex legislation in a thoughtful and inclusive manner. The RESTORE 
ACT is a signature accomplishment that will have long-lasting benefits 
for the Gulf Coast economy and help assure the environmental protection 
of the Gulf waters.
  Jo has taken special pride in providing the best level of service to 
his constituents. His high school workshops have touched thousands of 
students in South Alabama. A stalwart supporter of veterans, Jo helped 
establish the Alabama State Veterans Cemetery in Spanish Fort to honor 
the service of our men and women in uniform. He has placed an emphasis 
on open communications with his constituents and the news media.
  For the many of us who deeply care about this institution, Jo has 
stood out as a Member dedicated to making the House of Representatives 
work as the American people rightfully expect. A principled 
conservative, he commitment has been to a fair legislative process, to 
bridging political divides, and to civility. Jo was appointed to the 
important Appropriations Committee and entrusted to serve in the 
position of Chairman of the Ethics Committee during the 112th Congress. 
We have all gained enormously from his sound judgment and wise advice.
  Jo will be the first to admit that none of his achievements would 
have been possible without the support of his lovely wife Janee and his 
children, Robin and Lee. We thank them for sharing Jo with us and our 
  Now, Jo will be entering a new phase in public life as the Vice 
Chancellor for Economic Development and Government Relations for the 
University of Alabama System. His presence and counsel will further 
strengthen an educational institution in which Alabamians rightly take 
tremendous pride and which is an asset of incalculable value to our 
beloved state.
  We will greatly miss Jo Bonner as a colleague and friend, but know 
that he will continue to work with all of his considerable talents and 
energy to improve the lives of the people of Alabama.
  Our tribute today is just a small way of showing how much we 
appreciate Jo and how much he has meant to us and to the institution to 
which he has devoted so much of his life, the United States House of 
Representatives. On his last day of service representing Alabama's 
First Congressional District, we want Jo to know that he and his family 
have our most heartfelt best wishes and will continue to be in our 
prayers as they enter an exciting new chapter in their lives.