Alabama Lawmaker Abandons GOP Over New Law Aimed At Teachers

May 26, 2011 3:32 pm

Chalk up another Democratic win this week: Alabama State Rep. Daniel Boman, who entered the legislature as a Republican in November, is switching parties to become a Democrat after he says the GOP went too far in attacking teachers in the state.

It’s just the latest example of mainline Republicans turning on their party following the November sweep which put them in control of the House. On Tuesday, the solidly-Republican 26th Congressional District in New York rejected the GOP in part over the party’s decision to end Medicare in the House budget. A few days before that, the Democrats stunned the Republican city of Jacksonville by electing the first Democratic mayor in 20 years. In New Hampshire, Democrats picked up a surprising win in a legislative special election.

Now there’s Boman, who’s walking away from the GOP after it took on the state’s public school teachers.From the Tuscaloosa News:

Boman, a 36-year-old lawyer from Sulligent, said Wednesday’s vote on a bill to change the state’s tenure and fair dismissal laws for educators convinced him he was in the wrong party.

Boman’s switch makes the new makeup of the Alabama state House 65 Republicans and 40 Democrats.

The bill in question makes it much easier for the state to fire teachers and impose what critics say are arbitrary and unclear performance standards to measure teacher performance. Huffington Post‘s Joy Resmovits wrote a rundown of the bill — which Gov. Robert Bentley (R) is expected to sign — here.

At a press conference today, Boman said that the law was just one of many that went too far and eventually forced him out of his Republican home.

“During this current session I have seen this legislative body pass bills that I feel adversely affect what my people back home want, need, and deserve. … I will never choose the Party over the people again,” he said.

Democrats in Alabama say Boman’s switch shows “the tide is changing” in Alabama. Nationally, Democrats say winning over Boman is just another step in winning back the nation after the 2010 losses that decimated the party in Washington and in legislatures across the country.

“This party switch is just more evidence that Republicans all across the country are overreaching with their extreme agendas and alienating not only voters, as we’ve seen in recent special elections, but also their own legislative membership,” Carolyn Fiddler, spokesperson for the DLCC, told TPM.

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