Alabama Democrats Defend AEA after Byrne Attack

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The two Democratic candidates for governor are coming to the defense of the Alabama Education Association.

Their comments come after Republican candidate Bradley Byrne called the teachers' organization the greatest impediment to quality education in the state.

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis said Wednesday he's disagreed with AEA on issues such as charter schools, but "Byrne's denunciation of AEA is the opposite of the consensus building that a governor needs to practice."

Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks called Byrne's criticism unwarranted and said he supports "the transformation AEA has delivered to our state's educational system."

AEA has reported giving $35,000 in campaign contributions to Sparks, but none to Davis.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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