Rep. James Buskey, one of the longest-serving members of the Alabama House of Representatives, announced today his retirement from politics.

“It’s hard to find the words to express just how special this experience has been for me, and how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve the people of Mobile,” Buskey said. “But as much as I’ve enjoyed my forty-one years in the Legislature, I will be retiring after my forty-second year.”

Buskey said he would miss his friendships with legislators on both sides of the aisle, as well as the pride and joy that come with public service. But he said that he felt reassured in the knowledge that Mobile and South Alabama would be well represented by the other members of the local legislative delegation.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen some outstanding young people come into office. They’re passionate about serving the people, and they have a good head on their shoulders,” he said in a statement. “I know that Mobile is going to be in very good hands.”

Buskey was first elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1976. He is one of the longest-serving legislators in Alabama history, and is the second longest-serving member currently serving. He holds positions on the powerful House Rules and House Ways and Means – Education budget committees, serving as Ranking Minority Member on both. Buskey has previously served as chairman of the Joint Legislative Black Caucus, and is the namesake of the James Buskey Award, presented annually by the House Democratic Caucus.

A career educator, Buskey retired as a school administrator from E.S. Chastang Middle School. He received his B.S. in Secondary Education from Alabama State University, MAT degree in Teaching Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Ed.S. from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

“While I understand his decision, James Buskey’s retirement is a huge loss for the Legislature,” former House majority leader Rep. Craig Ford said. “Aside from his institutional knowledge of the House and it’s procedures and processes, James Buskey is a man that everyone – regardless of which party you’re in or how long you’ve served – respects and looks to for advice. I don’t care if you’re a newly elected legislator or the governor, when James Buskey speaks, you listen. He’s more than earned his retirement, but I sure do hate it for the Legislature and the people of Alabama.”

State Rep. Napoleon Bracy (D-Prichard) called Buskey a “mentor.”

“He taught us a lot about the Legislature, but he also knows how to bring people from all sides together to make sure that Mobile and South Alabama always come first before personal or partisan politics,” Bracy said in a statement. “I don’t think he can ever really be replaced, but I know that his influence will continue on because all of us who have served with him have learned from him and try to follow his example of what it means to be a legislator and a public servant.”

Buskey said he is grateful for the support he’s received throughout his career.
“At the end of the day, what I hope for the most is that everyone – regardless of whether you agreed with the decisions I made or supported someone else during the campaigns – felt like I always had an open door and did what I believed was in the best interests of the people of Mobile and the people of Alabama,” he said.