House Democrats Pick Leaders - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

House Democrats Pick Leaders

For the first time in more than a century, Alabama's House Democrats had to select their lead the representatives who will lead them as the minority party.

Rep. Craig Ford, (D- Gadsden) was selected as party leader. He will essentially be serving in the role of Minority Floor Leader.

"We're the party that mirror images the state of Alabama. So we're excited" Ford said.

Ford is taking on an unfamiliar title because the party had to rewrite its charter. It hadn't been updated in nearly 30 years and they had to rewrite party rules to take into account their new role in minority.

"We understand the people of Alabama have spoken" said Ford. "They want Republican leadership this time so we're going to be bipartisan in our efforts. It's not in our position to stand in their way. Let the Republicans lead but we're going to be heard."

Democrats are now in a very weak position in the legislature from a technical standpoint.

Republicans have a filibuster proof majority in the House and a veto-proof majority in the Senate. Those two advantages translate into the Republicans being able to pass any legislation they want to pass so long as the entire GOP establishment votes together in a block.

They also appointed Rep. Thomas Jackson (D- Thomasville) as Majority Caucus Leader. He will share many of the day-to-day duties with Rep. Ford.

"I represent 45,000, Rep. Ford represents 45,000 people. We all have a responsibility to our districts" Jackson told reporters following the meeting at the Alabama Education Association in Montgomery.

Rep. Seth Hammett (D- Andalusia), the current Speaker of the House but not for much longer, also attended the meeting of Democrats. He was at one point the most powerful Democrat in the House of Representatives. He says Democrats will have no choice but to accept their new position.

Hammett "I think it'll be a recognition that things are different. You know. Different role. Different time."

If Gov. Bob Riley calls a Special Session of the Alabama Legislature on ethics reform then the new assignments will take effect immediately. If not, then they will assume their new responsibilities when the legislature convenes for its Regular Session March 1.

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