Twiggs County State Rep. James "Bubber" Epps is the latest Georgia legislator to switch from the Democratic to the Republican party.
Speaking by phone from Athens, Epps said Monday that he's joining the Republican caucus in the General Assembly.
He said he'll be better able to help the district, in a house dominated by Republicans and controlled by Republican leadership.
"I think it will give me a seat at the table," he said.
"My major role is to position myself where I can best serve my constituents," he said. "I have to be in the best position possible to bring back what can I can for the district."
Epps noted that only five bills from the Democratic caucus made it through the legislature to become law this year.
He said the change won't reflect a change in philosophy for him, saying in the past session, "I tended to vote with the leadership more so, I thought (Speaker David Ralston's) agenda was the better one."
Epps said he's been considering the change for awhile, and he's discussed the move with local leaders in his district.
"I'm 67 years old, I'm not trying to build a power base or build an agenda," he said. "I just think we have to realize where we are, and put the emotional approach aside."
Last month, Epps won a second term by beating Republican Allen Freeman.
He's the eighth Georgia Democrat in the state legislature to change parties since the election.
Epps is the eighth Democratic state lawmaker to switch sides
since the Nov. 2 general election.
The Associated Press reports that Republicans now hold 113 seats
in the 180-member House. Democrats control 64 seats, there is one independent and two seats are open. The GOP needs 120 seats for a supermajority in the chamber.
His House District 140 includes Twiggs and Wilkinson counties and parts of Jones and Bibb counties.