Reaction to AEA chief's retirement

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Some lawmakers are reacting to the possible retirement of Alabama Education Association chief Dr. Paul Hubbert.

He told the organization's board last week that he was exploring the possibility of retiring and recommended to the board that it begin the process of vetting replacement for him and Joe Reed who is also mulling retirement.

"Well I think he deserves a retirement and to do something else." said Rep. Patricia Todd (D – Birmingham). "I'm sad to see him go. He's made a significant contribution to Alabama and to education and we'll see where we go from here."

Hubbert gained the reputation as one of the powerful and influential lobbyists in the Alabama State House. He became so powerful that many of the new Republican leaders used him as an example of the old guard that needed to be replaced when they swept into office in November 2010.

He championed education policy and funding issues for one of the state's largest unions.

"I never viewed him as a foe" said Sen. Del Marsh, the President Pro-Tem of the Senate.

Sen. Marsh (R – Anniston) said during his first few terms in the legislature that he always knew Hubbert was powerful and influential among the Democrats who controlled the legislate for longer than a century.

Marsh said Hubbert perhaps received a rude awakening when the GOP took control.

"It wasn't a rubber stamp for his issues anymore and he had a difficult time in the last session" Marsh said." "He didn't get everything the way he wanted it obviously and I think he sees the writing on the wall that this legislature is going to look at the broad picture as it moves forward and it may be more difficult for him and based on that it may be a good idea for an exit strategy.

The AEA hasn't released a time table regarding how much longer Hubbert and Reed will stay on with the organization.

Copyright 2011 WSFA. All rights reserved.