WASHINGTON — As the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Richard Shelby is his party’s point person on issues relating to financial services and other economic policy-related matters.

Shelby (R-Ala.), a former practicing lawyer and magistrate, started his career in elective office as a Democrat, switching parties in 1994. He has been a senator since 1987, and before that served in the U.S. House for eight years. He was chairman of the Banking Committee for four years until the GOP lost control of the Senate in 2006. Given the rules of the Senate, members of the minority party often can stop legislation from passing, even if a majority of members support it.

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