"The time has come to step off the public stage."

By Brandon Moseley         

State Representative Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) announced that he will not seek re-election. Gaston is the Speaker Pro-Tem and a senior member of the Alabama House leadership team. Gaston has served in the Alabama House of Representatives for 40 years.

“Representing the citizens of west Mobile in the Alabama House has been my distinct honor and pleasure for the past 40 years, but the time has come to step off the public stage and pass the mantle of leadership to someone else,” Gaston said. “It is important to note that serving in this office for so many years was possible only because of the unconditional love, support, and commitment given to me by my late wife of 46 years, Jean, and my sons, Hank and George.”

Gaston was first elected to the House in 1982.

His departure means that 2022 will see virtually a total overhaul of House leadership from the 2021 regular legislative session, regardless of what happens in the 2022 election. Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) has also announced that he won’t seek re-election. Rep. Connie Rowe (R-Jasper), the fourth member of the leadership team, has announced that she is not seeking re-election. The Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) is running for the State Senate seat currently held by the retiring State Sen. Jimmy Holley (R-Elba). The Chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Education Committee Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) has resigned his House seat to take a position as State Finance Director. The other budget committee Chairman, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) and the remaining member of the House leadership team, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) are running against each other to be the next Speaker of the House.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) said, “When I heard the news Rep. Gaston was not seeking reelection, I immediately thought about the fact that our state is better because of his many years of service. He has always stepped up to the plate when leadership was needed, and he will certainly leave big shoes to fill. I have known Victor for a long time and will always be proud to call him my friend.”

Gaston held the record as the Southern state legislator who has had the longest streak of running unopposed.

Former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said on social media, “I remember when Victor Gaston took on a big lift -  trying to beat a Democrat incumbent 40 years ago. He walked door to door and it mattered as he won - still a timely message on letting folks know you care. A good friend, mentor and a journey we've shared together ... thank you for loving us and showing it in your service.”

The Mobile County Republican Executive Committee released a statement praising Gaston for his service to the Mobile community.

“The Mobile County Republican Executive Committee would like to publicly thank State Representative Victor Gaston for the many years of service he provided to not only the people in House District 100, but the entire state of Alabama,” said Chairman Tricia Strange. “His efforts have truly been appreciated as he prioritized citizens first. Representative Gaston's integrity and work discipline has been a blessing to those he served. Mobile is proud of his lifelong service to our community and state. His actions to restore consistent unity to the Speaker Pro Tempore seat, and for a short time as Speaker of the House, is a true role model for those who serve now and for the future.”

“While our area is losing a giant of a statesman, we thank Dr. Gaston for his impeccable service, love of our state and for setting the bar high for others to role model the path to great achievements of public service. We look forward to his continued service until the end of his term in 2022.”

State Senator Sam H. Givhan (R-Huntsville) said on social media, “Congratulations on a great career in public service. Always a gentleman.  He has been such an encouragement to me, even before I was elected. Big shoes for someone to fill. War Eagle Mr. Pro Tem!”