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On November 8, outgoing State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) will likely win the State Auditor election, replacing current State Auditor Jim Zeigler, who is term-limited.

Although his days as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives are numbered, Sorrell said he expected a school choice bill to be considered in the upcoming legislative session.

During an appearance on Monday's broadcast of FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," Sorrell explained the challenges working against school choice, including an outspoken opposition that may distort lawmakers' perception of public opinion on the matter.

"I think that there is probably going to be some school choice bill this coming session," Sorrell said. "Now, I don't know that it will be as strong as I would want, but I do think the political pressure is beginning to build, and that's going to happen. But the four years I spent in the legislature, I can tell you, any time school choice was talked about, my phone would blow up with phone calls from teachers and administrators and other education bureaucracy members lobbying me against it."

"And I never heard from parents who were for it. It was very rare I ever got a phone call for it. Now, if you poll it, people will say, 'Yeah, I'm for school choice.' And I think that they really are. But they don't ever call their legislators and tell them that. And I think that's part of our problem. When you're a legislator, if you only hear from 10 people on an issue and nine of them are against it, that affects the way you think about that issue when in reality, it could be 70-30 the other way that are actually in support of it."

Sorrell also mentioned the Alabama Education Association (AEA), which functions as the public school teachers' union, and how it was becoming more friendly with Republican Party politics.

"The teachers' union is very powerful in Montgomery, still," Sorrell added. "They hold a lot of control. You know, they give a lot of money to the Republican candidates now. They polled their teachers a few years ago and found out that 75% of the teachers in the AEA were Republican. They said we've got to change our stripes. We've got to become more Republican and start working these Republican legislators, or we're not going to have any influence left in Montgomery. Well, that has worked. The AEA does have a lot of influence with Republicans."

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.

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