Mobile native Stephen McNair has been appointed by Gov. Kay Ivey to serve on the Southern Rail Commission.

The owner of McNair Historic Restoration and unsuccessful GOP candidate for House District 97 will serve a four-year term that will expire on July 31, 2022.

“As one of my appointees, you will be making important decisions that directly affect the citizens of Alabama,” Ivey wrote to McNair in a letter sent on Nov. 26. “I have made honesty and integrity a priority in my administration and I know you will embody these two virtues while serving the people of Alabama.”

McNair, who lost his House race to incumbent Democrat Adline Clarke last month, wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon that he built a relationship with Ivey’s office while running for the seat.

“As a candidate for the Alabama House of Representatives, I began working with Governor Ivey’s team on the possibility of passenger rail returning to Mobile,” he wrote. “The last Amtrak train to pass through Mobile was in 2005, and I believe that there is an appetite for services that
fulfills an economic development requirement while also serving as an alternative mode of transportation. My appointment was a result of these conversations with the Governor’s office.”

Ivey has previously balked at the state funding needed to return passenger rail service to Mobile and other southern Alabama cities.

In his email, McNair wrote that he’s excited to join the commission.

“My goal is to find solutions and work with leaders in the rail industry that eventually lead to a regular Amtrak service through Mobile,” he wrote.

McNair’s first meeting with the three-state commission will be Friday in Mobile.