- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama House re-elected indicted Rep. Mike Hubbard as speaker Tuesday, securing for him a powerful position as he awaits trial on ethics charges.

The newly elected Alabama Legislature convened Tuesday for its organizational session.

House Majority Leader Micky Hammon of Decatur nominated Hubbard, R-Auburn, for a second four-year term as speaker. No one else was nominated, and Hubbard won with 99 of the 105 House members voting for him, including many Democrats

“It was a pretty loud statement, and I appreciate that,” Hubbard said in an interview after the vote.

Hubbard served as minority leader of the House before leading Republicans to control of both chambers of the Legislature in the 2010 election. In the election Nov. 4, he helped the GOP increase its control to 70 percent of the seats in the Legislature.

“He is a man of honor, a man of integrity, a man of honesty,” Hammon told the House.

An investigation from the state attorney general’s office resulted in Hubbard being indicted on 23 ethics charges in October. The charges accuse him of using his government position to benefit himself and his business. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Hubbard thanked House members for their support during the investigation and indictment.

“Over the past several months, this House has blessed my family and me with your prayers and constant expressions of support. Our home thanks this House for turning adversity into magnificent opportunity,” Hubbard said, as he was joined at the front of the House chamber by his wife Susan and son Riley.

The House also re-elected Republican Rep. Victor Gaston of Mobile to another four-year term as speaker pro tem, with 100 members supporting him.

In the Senate, Republican Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston was unanimously re-elected to a second four-year term as president pro tem. That means the leadership team that helped reshape state government during the last four years, including reducing the number of state employees and combining state agencies, is in place again.

“It means the people of Alabama like what we are doing and they like the direction we are headed,” Hubbard said in an interview.

Before the brief organizational session ends, the leadership in both chambers will announce committee assignments. They say many of the committee chairmanships will remain the same, providing even more continuity for the Republican majority.

The Legislature returns March 3 for its regular session, when it will address the state budgets and other major issues.

The one event out of the ordinary that occurred Tuesday was Republican Sen. Clay Scofield of Guntersville getting engaged in front of his fellow senators.

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