MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Powerful Alabama teacher lobbyist and former gubernatorial candidate Paul Hubbert has died. He was 78.
A spokeswoman for the Alabama Education Association said Hubbert died Tuesday afternoon at a Montgomery hospital. Spokeswoman Amy Marlowe said he was hospitalized Oct. 6 after a fall and died from complications.
Hubbert served as leader of the AEA from 1969 until his retirement at the end of 2011 for health reasons. He took a low-key organization led by school administrators and turned it into a political kingmaker that could pump more than $9 million into elections in one year.
Alabama political leaders released statements shortly after news of Hubbert’s death.
“It is difficult to believe that Paul Hubbert has passed away because while Alabama governors and legislators have come and gone, he was a constant in the corridors of the Capitol and the hallways of the Alabama State House for decades,” said Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon. The Decatur representative added, “Whether lawmakers agreed with him on the issues or not, they always respected him and knew they could count him at his word. I doubt Alabama will ever see another lobbyist amass the power and influence that Paul Hubbert commanded.”
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said “While we were usually on opposing sides of issues, Paul Hubbert was a man who commanded respect and whose word you could trust,” Rep. Hubbard also said “The turmoil within AEA since Dr. Hubbert’s retirement has revealed the great difficulties in replacing him. He will be remembered as the most powerful unelected leader in Alabama politics, and his imprint will be felt for many years to come.”
Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford also released a statement. “Dr. Paul Hubbert changed Alabama. From the dramatic improvements to public education, to the rise of AEA as a political force in Montgomery, Dr. Hubbert made a huge impact on our state. He fought for and won huge victories for educators, but he also fought for education and to make sure every child in Alabama had a chance to get a quality education.”
Hubbert told reporters at his retirement that he wanted to be remembered as someone who cared about education.