Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2009

State Rep. switches parties

January 13, 2009


— 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 for 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.”


texburgh 9 years, 4 months ago

It's not a lie, Christian. Because Swenson has always had a tendency to support working people, his colleagues in the Republican caucus left he out of everything. He has been ostracized by the party for not toeing the anti-labor line for years. I say, Welcome to the party of working people, Dale! We're glad to have you!

notajayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

"While running for re-election in the fall, Swenson said a lot of Republicans in his district said they were voting for him and then all Democrats."You might want to take a look at the Sedgewick Cty election results and see how many of Mr. Swenson's constituents voted for all Democrats. County-wide, it looks like three Dems won their races.Mr. Swenson also accepted campaign contributions as a Republican candidate, and avoided a Democratic primary by running as a Republican.If this guy was so honest, why didn't he run as a Democrat in the fall, folks? What happened since the election - with the legislature out of session - that caused this "change of heart?"(Psst - textburger - how much did the Dems spend on their campaign this year? That money all came from 'working people,' right?)

pelliott 9 years, 4 months ago

A lot of republicans feel they aren't leaving the party, the party left them. The Kansas republican party have become a cult. They thump the bible and name call fellow Kansans, they are stuck in the blame game, they insist on dehumanizing the real problems. They should look at where they came from and where they want to lead the state. The anti-environmentalism stances, the decision for going for the quick buck and hang the working class is not a good long term plan.We are facing real problems, not problems that will go away by spinning rhetoric but by good old fashioned hard work. The most important resources we have in Kansas are the people and the soil. The Republicans once cared about them. The new republican party doesn't.

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