Athens lawmaker jumps to GOP

ATLANTA — Another Democratic state lawmaker has switched to the GOP in the wake of last month's election.

Rep. Doug McKillip of Athens was last month elected to his third term in the state legislature. But, he said he can better serve his constituents as a Republican.

“Our state faces a number of critical issues which will require decisive action in the upcoming session,” McKillip said in a statement. “Many issues will directly impact Athens like funding for higher education, changes to the Hope Scholarship and planning for our future water needs.

“I believe the citizens of District 115 deserve more than just to be a part of the conversation,” he added. “They deserve a seat at the table during those important deliberations. By joining the House Republican Caucus, I can best represent my community and help move beyond partisanship and the divisiveness that will only prevent real progress at this critical time.”

McKillip was first elected to the state legislature in 2006. Last month, he was selected to serve as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; he previously served as deputy whip.

Currently in the House, there are 113 Republicans, 65 Democrats and one independent. One seat is vacant following the death of Rep. Tony Sellier, R-Fort Valley.

“Rep. McKillip is a principled leader committed to putting the needs of his community before the interests of party,” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said in a statement. “He will be an important member of our team in the House as we prepare for the challenges we face in the upcoming legislative session.”

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