After 40 years in the public service, Victor Gaston de Mobile will not stand for re-election
Alabama Pro President Tem Victor Gaston, R-Mobile, who was first elected to the Legislature in 1982 and later served as acting president of Alabama House, announced Monday that he will not would not run for re-election in the 2022 campaign cycle.
“Representing the citizens of West Mobile in Alabama House has been my honor and pleasure for the past 40 years, but now is the time to step out of the public arena and pass the mantle of leadership to someone else. “said Gaston. “It is important to note that serving in this office for so many years was only possible 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. ”
When Republicans in Alabama won a legislative majority for the first time since reconstruction in 2010, Gaston was elected interim president, a position he continues to hold. He went on to serve as Acting Speaker of the House and received much praise for restoring faith and restoring stability to this office during a difficult time in the state’s history.
Gaston sits on the powerful House Rules Committee and the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee, which is responsible for allocating about $ 2.5 billion to non-educational public agencies each year. He also sits on the Mobile County Transportation, Utilities, and Infrastructure and Legislative Committees.
The current Speaker of the House Legislative Council and Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Council, Gaston previously chaired the Standing Committee on Oil and Gas, a position he held for 12 years. He served for eight years on the US Energy Council, an association of 13 US energy producing states and two Canadian provinces that collectively influence energy and environmental policies across North America.
Gaston’s legislative accomplishments include passing several reform measures that have improved and strengthened Alabama’s higher education system and a bill that dramatically reduced traffic fatalities and injuries by doubling fines. for speeding in road construction areas. The historic rehabilitation tax credit that Gaston sponsored boosted Alabama’s economy and sparked a wave of urban and rural renewal across the state.
Gaston also passed many bills and measures that have helped the Alabama State Docks become a major driver of the state’s economic engine.
Beating an entrenched Democrat with 53% of the vote in his first House race in 1982, Gaston won his next two campaigns with 79% and 84%, respectively. He has run without an opponent in all subsequent campaigns since 1986 and holds the record for the longest unopposed electoral streak of any state lawmaker who has served on the Southern Legislative Conference, made up of 16 states.
When he took office, Gaston was one of only 11 Republicans – eight state officials and three state senators – to have served in the 140-member Alabama legislature. In 1987, House Speaker Jimmy Clark appointed him as the only Republican committee chairman in the Democratic-dominated body and hired him to head the House State Government Committee, one of the four major legislative groups in the era.
An active and committed member of his party, Gaston was elected a delegate to six Republican national conventions between 1984 and 2004, and President Ronald Reagan appointed him a member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, a panel of private citizens responsible for selecting and honor the best students in the country in the academic and artistic fields. President George HW Bush re-elected Gaston to the White House committee, which allowed him a total of a dozen years of service on the prestigious panel.
He is a past member of the executive committee of the Southern Legislative Conference, a past member of the board of directors of the National Republican Legislators’ Association and previously served on the legislative advisory board of the Southern Regional School Board.
In 2005, Gaston was selected to participate in an eight-day legislative exchange trip to Romania, and he participated in a governor’s trade mission to Chile and Brazil that was sponsored by the Alabama Development Office. the next year. He was also one of six regional leaders chosen by the Southern Legislative Conference to visit China and Germany to promote economic development and international trade with the southeastern states.
Born in the Union Church community of Mobile County and raised on a family farm, Gaston earned a doctorate in education from Auburn University during a long career as a public school educator in Mobile County.
Gaston did his military service as a member of the Marine Corps Reserves, where he earned the rank of Master Sgt during a ten-year career, and served an additional ten years in the National Guard Alabama. He was called up to active duty in response to Hurricane Frederic in 1979 and was also deployed for a period in South Korea.
Gaston is active in several non-profit organizations and sits on the boards of directors of Volunteers of America; Penelope House, a domestic violence shelter; Home of Grace for Women, a drug and alcohol treatment center; and AltaPointe, a mental health center in southern Alabama. Previously, he served on the boards of the 4-H Club Foundation and the Mobile Zone Chamber of Commerce.
Gaston is the recipient of dozens of honors, including the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Southern Alabama, the Israel Leadership Award, the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Exemplary Leader Award, the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation Service, the Alabama YMCA Youth Advocacy Award, and the Mobile Association of Retarded Citizens Humanitarian of the Year Award.