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Jan 4, 2010 28 Comments ›› Erik Wong

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Freshman Alabama congressman Parker Griffith has lost most of his staff after switching parties from Democrat to Republican last month.

Chief of staff Sharon Wheeler said in a resignation statement Monday that the economy of north Alabama’s 5th District has benefited from decades of Democratic representation in Washington.

The region relies heavily on defense and aerospace jobs.

She said Griffith “abandoned the legacy” of conservative Democratic leadership in the district, which includes Huntsville.

Several legislative aides and spokesman Sean Magers also quit.

Griffith is a former state senator. He narrowly won the seat last year but said on Dec. 22 that he could no longer support Congressional Democrats on health care and other policies.