Personnel note: Kay Ivey taps former Congressman Jo Bonner to be new chief of staff

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Jo Bonner
[Photo Credit: AP Photo]

On her second day of her first full term, Governor Kay Ivey announced on Tuesday announced a major change in her office.

Former U.S. Representative Jo Bonner will be her new chief of staff.

Bonner will replace longtime confidant and chief of staff Steve Pelham who will be leaving the Governor’s Office  to become the new Vice President for Economic Development and Chief of Staff to Auburn University President Steven Leath in February.  Pelham became Ivey’s chief of staff when she was elected Alabama’s first Republican woman Lieutenant Governor in 2011.

“Steve has been a close friend and a trusted confidant for a number of years and has provided our office with outstanding leadership,” Ivey said. “When we made the transition to the Governor’s Office in 2017, Steve was responsible for leading the effort to make certain the Ivey Administration was up and running on day one.  He has maintained that level of commitment to our organization, structure and focus to details throughout our first term together.”

Bonner joined the Ivey Administration on December 1, 2018, as the governor’s senior advisor. Prior to that he served as Interim Executive Director for the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority and prior to that as Vice Chancellor for Economic Development for The University of Alabama System. Before that, Bonner represented Alabama’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives, being elected to six terms. In Congress, Bonner earned a reputation as a respected and influential voice of reason in both Alabama and Washington, D.C. He was a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where he served on three key subcommittees, as well as the House Ethics Committee. Widely respected on both sides of the aisle, Bonner was selected by House Speaker John Boehner to serve as chairman of the House Ethics Committee in the 112th Congress.

“Jo brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our administration, and I know we aren’t going to miss a step as my cabinet, staff and I work, every day, to honor the support and confidence the people of Alabama gave us last November,” Ivey added. “Jo Bonner is a respected leader and a known quantity in Washington and throughout Alabama. We knew he would be a valuable addition to our team when I announced he was joining us last month.”

Ivey has encouraged Pelham to take some time off so that he may have the opportunity to regroup before he transitions to his new role, today is his last day in the office. As a result, Bonner will become Chief of Staff upon Pelham’s final separation but will immediately assume those responsibilities during his transition.