TUSCUMBIA — Democratic Colbert County Commissioner Jimmy Gardiner has switched to the Republican Party ahead of the 2020 elections, according to a news release from the Alabama Republican Party.
Gardiner, the owner of Singing River Dentistry, is serving his third term as a county commissioner. He was first elected as a Democrat in 2008.
According to the release, the Colbert County Republican Executive Committee voted to accept Gardiner's request to switch to the Grand Old Party during a meeting last week.
Gardiner said nationally, the Democratic party has been trending away from conservative values.
"As a business person for over 25 years, I've seen the benefit of lower tax rates for small business owners," Gardiner said. "I know I put everything I can back into my business to hire more people and expand more services. I feel like the Republican banner in the state does a better job representing the working people of America, better than the Democratic party."
Gardiner has served District 3 as a Democrat since 2008, but asked to qualify as a Republican candidate for the 2020 primary, the release stated.
"We are pleased to welcome Commissioner Gardiner into our ranks," Colbert County Republican Party Chairman Phillip Green said. "When he introduced himself to our committee, he explained with great sincerity how he had come to a realization his views did not align with the modern-day Democrat Party. We look forward to working with Commissioner Gardiner in 2020 and for many years to come."
Gardiner said he is still going to support the values and the people of the community he represents the best way he knows how, just like he has for the past 12 years.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said she is excited to have Gardiner in the party.
"The Colbert County GOP has done a great job of growing the party and winning over voters by showing how important conservative policies are to their county and our state," Lathan said.
Colbert County politicians who wish to switch to the Republican party must receive approval from the local executive committee.