By Justin Boron
State Rep. Ron Dodson of Lake City notified the minority leader of the House of Representatives over New Year's weekend that he would be withdrawing from the Democratic Party.
In letter addressed to Minority Leader Rep. Dubose Porter, D-Dublin, Dodson said it was in his best interest to "discontinue (his) service as a member of the Democratic Party.
"I am declaring myself as an Independent," he said in the letter.
Dodson represents District 84 Post 1, which includes all of Morrow and parts of Lake City, Forest Park, and Jonesboro.
He first ran as a Democrat in 1988.
Dodson said the Democrats' movement further to the left has alienated him as a representative and limited the job he could do for his constituents.
"I just felt like where I stand on a lot of issues wasn't a good fit," he said.
Dodson ran unopposed as a Democrat in the recent election but said he had spoken with some of his constituents about the move ahead of time.
Many of the local legislative representatives had not heard of the news.
State Sen. Valencia Seay, D-College Park, said she was a little shocked at Dodson's actions given the number of Democrats in Clayton County.
"It's a big surprise to me," she said.
Dodson said he was one of several representatives throughout the state that felt abandoned by the Democrats.
"I'm certainly not the only one . . . that feels that way," he said.