By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY — Relative newcomer Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, has been elected the minority leader of the Alabama House of Representatives.
Daniels, who is 34-years-old and in his first term, took on the position Wednesday, ahead of the second full day of the legislative session. He is the youngest person ever to be named the leader of the Democratic Party in the House.
Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatom, was elected as the new House Democratic Caucus Chairwoman.
“Rep. Daniels and Rep. Beech, along with other Democrats in the House and Senate, will focus on the Democratic values of higher paying jobs, quality public schools, and affordable health care, as they guide the 2017 Democratic Legislative Program in the Alabama Legislature,” said Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley.
Daniels, who will lead the small minority in the House, said he was ready to hit the ground running.
“Democrats are ready to roll up their sleeves to boost public education, to help businesses create good-paying jobs, and to restore public confidence in Montgomery among the hard-working families of Alabama,” he said.
Daniels was first elected to the House in 2014 from a newly formed district in Huntsville with an easy victory. However, District 53 was included in a Federal court ruling last month and was ruled unconstitutional. A judge ordered the district redrawn before the next election.
The new minority leader grew up in Midway, Alabama, and got a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Alabama A&M University. After working as an elementary teacher for several years, he went on to become the first black man elected chair of the National Education Association Student Program.
He now runs a small business in North Alabama.
Daniels said he is ready to reach across the aisle and focus on productive bills, not bills that are controversial and divide the State.
“That means moving forward on our efforts to build a stronger business climate, boost both K-12 and higher education, and to balance our budget without trying to do so on the backs of our poor, our senior citizens and our veterans,” he said. “That means addressing the needs of rural Alabama as much as we work with our cities.
“Alabama Democrats have a bold agenda, but words on paper are not enough. From college affordability to simply restoring confidence in government, there is a lot of work to be done in Montgomery. We cannot do that without meeting with, listening to, and engaging communities across the state, and we’re ready to get to work.”