Sonny Callahan: Tribute to beloved Alabama congressman

This is an opinion cartoon.

Like Jack Edwards before him, Sonny Callahan was a throwback to the days when leaders could be passionate, reasonable and civil at the same time. And they got things done.

Rest in peace, Sonny Callahan. You served Alabama well.

Excerpts from the report:

Former longtime Alabama Congressman H.L. “Sonny” Callahan died early Friday. He was 88.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey made the announcement of Callahan’s death in a statement Friday morning.

“It is with genuine sadness that I share the passing of longtime Congressman H.L. “Sonny” Callahan of Mobile. Congressman Callahan passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. Without question, Sonny’s service to Alabama and to America was unrivaled. He was one of South Alabama’s most beloved public servants, and his legacy of helping others stands out as just one of his many wonderful qualities.

“Our state and nation have lost a giant of a man. My thoughts and prayers are extended to Sonny’s family, friends and longtime staffers,” Ivey stated. “I offer my sincere condolences and prayers to his family, friends and longtime staffers.”

Callahan was elected in 1984 and re-elected to the eight succeeding Congresses before retiring in January 2003. Prior to his service in Congress, he was a member of the Alabama state house of representatives from 1971-1979 and was a member of the Alabama state senate from 1979-1983. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, businessman and was an active member of his community, according to Ivey’s statement.

Like nearly all Alabama politicians of his era, the Mobile native entered elective office as a Democrat. But after losing a bid for Lt. Gov. in 1982 he switched to the GOP when he ran successfully for Congress in 1984. Then he watched a long parade of politicians, from U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby to local judges and county commissioners follow suit.


JD Crowe is the cartoonist for Alabama Media Group and and 2020 RFK Human Rights Award winner for Editorial Cartoons.

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