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Archive for Monday, January 12, 2009

Republican lawmaker from Wichita switches to Democratic Party right after being sworn in

January 12, 2009

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Just moments after being sworn into office for another term, a veteran Republican legislator from Wichita switched to the Democratic Party.

State Rep. Dale Swenson said Monday that he changed parties because Democrats are offering more solutions to the country’s problems on the economy and health care.

“I believe that the Democratic Party has a more serious desire to fix some of the problems,” Swenson said shortly after all House members were sworn into office on the first day of the 2009 legislative session.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence welcomed Swenson, saying, “Dale is doing what he feels is best for his district.”

Swenson, who has served in the House for 14 years, said he started talking to Davis last week about switching parties.

While running for re-election in the fall, Swenson said a lot of Republicans in his district said they were voting him and then all Democrats.

Recently, he said he was upset when Republican Party officeholders blamed unions for troubles in the auto industry.

During his career, Swenson often voted with Democrats. He said his votes had nothing to do with partisan politics but were based on what he thought would be best for his constituents.

Kansas Republican Party Executive Director Christian Morgan criticized Swenson.

“I’m sure his constituents appreciate being lied to like this just a few weeks ago when he was running as a Republican, or just a few hours ago, when he was sworn in as a Republican,” Morgan said.

Republicans still hold a significant margin in the House. With Swenson’s move, Republicans have a 76-49 advantage.

House Republican leaders issued a statement, saying, “It is unfortunate that Representative Swenson feels he is no longer in tune with us. While we do not want to lose a Republican seat, we respect the fact that Dale is finally being honest with his constituency.”

Comments

Steve Jacob 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm I democrat and I hate it when they do this. He should refund all the money the state party gave him in 2008.

Chris Ogle 5 years, 11 months ago

This is BS. What is odd is how short our memories are.'I am not going to forget this one. Promise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

I certainly won't vote for him again. Wait, he's not in my district. Never mind.

Jim Phillips 5 years, 11 months ago

Sounds like he always was Republican in name only.

alm77 5 years, 11 months ago

This is why we should vote for individuals and not parties. What platform did he run on? Couldn't he have kept the "R" and voted his convictions?

ronwell_dobbs 5 years, 11 months ago

Naw, this guy was always a Republican. He actually went to my parents' church and was a "real God-fearing 'murkin". Apparently he also can detect the shifting winds of American politics. I'll give him that.

RedwoodCoast 5 years, 11 months ago

It's kind of like a Scooby Doo episode. At the very end, they finally pull the mask off of the villain to find that there really wasn't a monster after all.

jonas_opines 5 years, 11 months ago

Sad that the same man, followed by a D or an R, is different.

Drew_Carey 5 years, 11 months ago

100 Scooby Doo points for Redwood Coast.

igby 5 years, 11 months ago

This creep realized that this was his dead-end last term as a Republican and did this to save his own political future. He barely won as a republican and knew he'd be finished next time in politics completely. He also knows that for him to move up in a higher political office he could not win as a republican, winning support for that seat in 2010. He should payback his backers on the republican support because he did this only and solely, to save his own a$$. He has no clue as to fix the economy or health care. These are political buzz words for a world wide problem that no one government or political party will ever solve. Rallying dems to a gray zone of open-ended spillage of false promise.

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

RedwoodCoast (Anonymous) says… "It's kind of like a Scooby Doo episode. At the very end, they finally pull the mask off of the villain to find that there really wasn't a monster after all."Of course, in Scooby Doo episodes, Redwood, after the mask is removed, the guy is still a villain and a crook.***notnowdear (Anonymous) says… "I am happy when politicians are more loyal to the constituents than the political party."I completely agree - like U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman, for example.I agree with srj, though. He can vote with whichever side he wants, and should vote to represent his constituents' best interests. But he shouldn't have taken any money from the Republican party to get himself re-elected."Morgan knows that Kansas is voting more blue than ever. I am sure his ego will not allow him to reassess his own actions regarding this blue-ification of Kansas. He is not that enlightened or objective."Did you stop reading the story before you got to that little part about 79-46 edge in the house, dear? Maybe you're seeing blue, but the state is, and will remain (thankfully), red for the foreseeable future."I left the GOP in the 90's. I didn't mind switching parties, because the party switched their ideologies on me. I am faithful to the traditional GOP values of limited government, strong individual rights, fiscal responsibility (Ask Morgan about what is it like to run a political party in the red), a strong separation of state and church (any church), and constitutional restraint."I just saw Pilgrim2's response (I would have seen it earlier but I, too, was rolling hysterically in laughter), and that's exactly what I was about to type!

AjiDeGallina 5 years, 11 months ago

I always felt if someone wanted to switch parties while in elected office, that person should resign and run-again under the different party, no matter what direction the party switched was in.While people may or may not have voted for his stance, people also vote for candidates that they can count on to uphold their principles and that often goes along party lines.In other words, if 2 candidates are near equal to me, the ones that I consider more likely to support the platform of my party would get the benefit of the doubt. If, however, the republican was more favorable, he or she would earn my vote (fletch bell, for example).To switch like this, right after taking office, while legal, is not ethical.

Strontius 5 years, 11 months ago

As someone who actually attended the press conference where this switch was announced, I'm rather shocked at some of the reactions coming from people here. None of you understand the circumstances behind this switch, but you'll sure judge someone right away despite that ignorance. Someone who has served for 14 years in public office isn't deceiving anyone. His constituents know how he votes, and have records to that effect. Whether or not he has an "R" or a "D" next to his name doesn't change anything. And frankly, if you're stupid enough to vote for someone purely based on that letter next to their name, I question whether or not such a vote ought to be allowed.

Strontius 5 years, 11 months ago

"While people may or may not have voted for his stance, people also vote for candidates that they can count on to uphold their principles and that often goes along party lines."In some countries this is true, but not in the U.S., and certainly not in Kansas. Again, if you're voting in the U.S. based on party affiliation alone, you're an idiot and a poor citizen who obviously knows next to nothing about the American political system. Not that too many people do however. They just like to complain about it and pretend they know more than their elected officials. But it's so terribly easy to criticize anonymously and from a distance about things you have no experience handling.

notajayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Strontius (Anonymous) says… "Someone who has served for 14 years in public office isn't deceiving anyone. His constituents know how he votes, and have records to that effect. Whether or not he has an “R” or a “D” next to his name doesn't change anything."If you actually read the comments, you might realize some people aren't talking about the way he votes, which I agree should be based on nothing but the interests of the folks who sent him to Topeka. But having an 'R' or a 'D' next to his name does change at least one thing, and that's where the money that paid for his campaign came from. Using money from the RNC or the Kansas Republican party to win an election and then switching sides immediately after being sworn in is, indeed, dishonest. Also, here's something to consider: Was there a Democratic primary for his seat? Something he evaded by running as a Republican?>>> "Swenson said a lot of Republicans in his district said they were voting him and then all Democrats."Uh huh. As evidenced by the Sedgewick Cty election resultshttp://www.sedgwickcounty.org/elections/election_results/Gen08/index.htmlMcCain, 55-42%; Roberts, 59-36%; Tiahrt, 60-35%; Schodorf, 62-37%; Kelsey, 61-38%; Donovan, 66-33% ... yep, those constituents of Mr. Swenson are really hardcore Democrats, alright...

RedwoodCoast 5 years, 11 months ago

But NAJ, villain or no villain, they can usually rule out the existence of a monster or ghost or whatever thing might be lurking in the shadows. Most politicians are villains anyway, no?

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

The party of Blago, Cold-Cash Jefferson and the O'dude adds another member. They must all be very proud.

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