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09 December 2010

Hall Co. Commish: "The Democratic Party is no longer aligned with my core beliefs"

Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell (pictured at left) today announced his decision to join with the Republican Party of Georgia, making him the known first African-American elected official in Georgia to leave the Democratic Party.

“After consulting with family my conscience leads me to determine that the Democratic Party is no longer aligned with my core beliefs,” Bell said. “In short, my personal convictions and conservative beliefs fit comfortably within the Republican Party. That’s why I have made my decision to officially become a Republican.”

While in the Democrat Party, Bell achieved national recognition as a leader. He was elected the President of the College Democrats of Georgia as well as the College Democrats of America. As the national president of College Democrats, Ashley was a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee and later served as chairman of the Hall County democratic party.

In 2000 Bell was the youngest delegate ever elected to a Democratic National Convention (elected at 18, attending at 19), and in 2004 Bell was a primetime speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

But Bell says that as he reflected on his core beliefs of less government intrusion and smaller government, he began to realize that he was a Republican.

“As a Hall County Commissioner, I have strongly supported privatization of services to make them less expensive and more efficient. I have voted against spending increases, supported a resolution to declare English our official language, and supported strengthening ethics standards for government,” Bell said. “Too many Democrats seem to oppose these basic conservative ideas.”

Bell is a native of Hall County. He attended law school at the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University, and he practices law throughout the state as a partner with Bell & Washington LLP. His wife, Lauren, who is also politically active, will join Ashley in the Republican Party.