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Holley calling it a career after 44 years in the Legislature

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

After more than four decades in office, Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Elba, is not seeking reelection in 2022.

Holley, 76, said his health is the principal reason he’s retiring from state politics.

“My wife (Mary), she says we’ve contributed our fair-share of time,” Holley told IAP on Monday.

Holley often used a walker to get around the State House during the most recent legislative session.

Holley has spent more than half his life as a lawmaker. He’s in his sixth term in the Senate and prior to that served five terms in the House.

In that time, he earned the respect and appreciation of those in the State House.

“Sen. Jimmy Holley is an institution in the Alabama Senate, and our body will not be the same without him,” Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, said in a statement to IAP Monday. “I appreciate the decades of service he has given to his district and to our state in his long tenure in the Senate, and I am grateful for the wisdom and experience he has shared with our membership. I have enjoyed learning from and working with him over the years, and I am thankful for his extensive service to the state of Alabama.”

Holley’s Senate District 31 includes Coffee, Covington and Pike counties and the northern portion of Dale County.

Holley said legislation to put minimum requirements on auto insurance, numerous bills limiting access to abortions, and expanding alcohol sales in the state are some of the highlights of his career.

Holley said he’s proud to have helped the state go from an “anti-business climate” to a business friendly one.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to really change our image to a pro-business state,” he said.

He’s also sponsored product liability and food safety bills — not always the flashiest bills, but important ones.

“I’ve found out over the years that good legislation is not necessarily the popular legislation,” Holley said.

He chairs the Senate Government Affairs Committee and has been a fixture on the General Fund budget committee. Holley is a retired Troy University administrator.

In 2017, Holley was one of the Senators behind a bill to create the Legislative Services Agency, putting the non-partisan professionals who provide legal, fiscal and bill-drafting services to lawmakers under one agency to make the Legislature more efficient.

“Sen. Holley fights hard for what he believes in, and he believes in the role of the Legislature and the people who give of themselves in support of it,” said Othni Lathram, director of the Legislative Services Agency. “He genuinely cares about the people who work in this building: our wellbeing, our professionalism, and our ability to get the job done.  As a several time chair of the Legislative Council he was focused on taking care of every staffer at every level.  He wanted each employee treated fairly, with respect, and with dignity and I never saw him act in a way short of that himself.”

Other longtime senators who have announced they won’t seek reelection include Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Jim McClendon, R-Springville.

Candidates seeking to run in 2022 have until late January to qualify.

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