Preparing for Congressional Transition
Last week, the people of America voted for a new president and the people of the Second Congressional District of Alabama selected a new representative in Congress. In two short months, new leadership will direct our nation, and just as transitional plans are underway for the hand-over of the White House, preparations are also being made for the shift to a new congressman.
First, I would like to congratulate Congressman-elect Bobby Bright on his election to Congress. As he makes his plans to come to Washington, DC to represent you for the next two years, I am also working to ensure a smooth transition. Officially, the new 111th Congress will be sworn in on Tuesday, January 6, 2009. While I await communication with Mr. Bright about the transfer, my offices are already in the process of finalizing their work.
Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives direct departing Congressional offices to close by a certain date in order to allow time for the new Members of Congress to move in. Accordingly, my Washington, DC office will officially close at noon on Tuesday, November 25, 2008. All phone, fax and email communications with my Washington office will cease at that same time.
However, my three Congressional offices in Alabama will remain open for limited walk-in and phone communications until Friday, December 19, 2008. My Alabama offices are: (Montgomery) 3500 Eastern Boulevard, Suite 250, Montgomery, Alabama 36116, (334) 277-9113; (Dothan) 256 Honeysuckle Road, #15, Dothan, Alabama, 36305, (334) 794-9680; and, (Opp) City Hall Building, 101 North Main Street, Opp, Alabama, 36467, (334) 493-9253.
While Congressman-elect Bright has not yet announced the location of his Alabama offices, I can tell you that his Washington, DC phone number will remain the same as mine: (202) 225-2901. However this phone number will not be answered during the transition period of November 25, 2008 to January 5, 2009.
In the meantime, I must point out that effective immediately all of my Congressional offices are unable to continue to respond to constituent inquiries or open new cases. If you require urgent assistance, I would suggest that you check with Alabama Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions. They each maintain Second Congressional District offices in Montgomery. Senator Shelby's local office is (334) 223-7303 and his Washington, DC office is (202) 224-5744. Senator Sessions' Montgomery office is (334) 244-7017 and he can be reached in Washington at (202) 224-4124.
My offices have already begun to receive inquiries about presidential inaugural tickets for January 20. To date, no details of the inaugural activities and ticket availability have been released by the new presidential transition office. Because my offices are in the process of shutting down, they will be unable to process requests for such information. For those seeking inaugural tickets and related information, I would again refer you to your two U.S. Senators, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions.
Finally, I would like to say it has been a pleasure and an honor to be of service to you over the last 16 years. Next week, in my final column, I'll reflect back on my years as your Congressman.