Rep. Jo Bonner to resign from House for university job

Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala.
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Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., will resign from Congress on Aug. 15 to work at the University of Alabama System as their vice chancellor of government relations and economic development.

"While I had every intention of completing this term, sometimes opportunities come along that are so rare - and so special - that it forces you to alter even your best-made plans," Bonner said at a Mobile, Ala., press conference on Thursday. "After considerable thought and heartfelt prayer, I decided to accept this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to work for The University of Alabama System."

With responsibility for the school's three campuses, Bonner will coordinate University of Alabama economic initiatives and interactions with the government, Kellee Reinhart, Vice Chancellor for System Relations, told

"Jo's extensive government experience and outstanding economic development record make him ideally suited for this important new position," said Robert Witt, the chancellor of the University of Alabama System.

Bonner's sister, Judy, is the president of the school's Tuscaloosa campus, where Bonner will move with his family. He graduated from the college in 1982 with a journalism degree.

Bonner has been the state's first district representative since 2003; he ran unopposed for a second term in 2012.

Gov. Robert Bentley, R-Ala., will set a schedule for a special election to fill the seat, Jennifer Ardis, the governor's press secretary, told

"Congressman Bonner has made a tremendous difference for the people of South Alabama," Bentley said. "He's a devoted family man and a true friend. I've enjoyed working with him as Governor, and I wish him nothing but the best."