MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner announced Thursday that he is resigning from Congress effective in August to take a post with the University of Alabama system.
In the letter to his congressional colleagues, the 53-year-old six-term Republican said he will resign to become vice chancellor of government relations and economic development at the University of Alabama System. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from the university.
Bonner represents a southwestern Alabama district that includes Mobile. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
His sister, Judy Bonner, is president of the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa — one of the three campuses in the system.
It will be up to Republican Gov. Robert Bentley to call a special election to fill Bonner's seat. The governor's press secretary Jennifer Ardis said the governor has not set a timetable for the special election.
"Congressman Bonner has made a tremendous difference for the people of South Alabama," Bentley said in a statement. "He's worked hard on several major issues, including the ongoing recovery from the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. He's a devoted family man and a true friend. I wish him nothing but the best."
The governor will call a special election to fill the vacancy.
Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard said, "Jo Bonner is a first-class person and his strong voice and character will be greatly missed in the Alabama congressional delegation. He is highly respected by our Legislative Leadership and Members for his 10 years of loyal service to the state."
UA system spokeswoman Kellee Reinhart said school officials have not determined how much Bonner will make in his new position.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead praised Bonner for the way he has served the residents of the 1st Congressional District.
"We have a lot of great conservative Republican talent who I am sure will line up to run for this open seat," Armistead said.
The chancellor of the University of Alabama system, Robert Witt, said Bonner will officially begin his job with the university on Aug. 16. Witt said Bonner is taking a new position.
Witt said Bonner's government experience and economic development record make him well-suited for the position.