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3 Kansas legislators switch from Republican to Democrat

Two state lawmakers in Kansas announced on Wednesday that they would be switching their political party from...

Posted: Dec. 20, 2018 4:46 PM
Updated: Dec. 20, 2018 4:46 PM

Two state lawmakers in Kansas announced on Wednesday that they would be switching their political party from Republican to Democrat.

In separate Facebook posts, state Rep. Stephanie Clayton and state Sen. Dinah Sykes said they would now be serving as Democrats in the state Legislature.

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Stephanie Clayton

Last Wednesday, Kansas state Sen. Barbara Bollier also had announced she would be leaving the Republican Party and would come back in 2019 as a Democrat.

"Leaders in the Kansas House and Senate have now indicated that they will seek to scrap the bipartisan education plan achieved over the last two years, just as we are so close to solving this problem and ending the cycle of school litigation," said Clayton, who is identified in the post as a "lifelong Republican." "My Republican Party, then, seems to no longer represent or serve the interests of the 19th District, Johnson County, or the State of Kansas."

In a phone call on Wednesday evening, Clayton said she hopes this decision will allow her to better represent her constituents. She added that she ultimately decided to switch because of her support for education.

"Representative Clayton's views and voting history prove her to be a true moderate, and one that works for every single person in her district," the House minority leader-elect, Rep. Tom Sawyer, was quoted as saying in Clayton's Facebook post.

"Rep. Clayton will be welcomed into the House Democratic Caucus. We have continuously worked with her on important issues such as education and healthcare, and look forward to working alongside Stephanie as a member of our caucus," he added.

In a separate Facebook post, Sykes said: "At this time, I feel like I can either fight to change the Republican party or fight for the state I love and the people I serve. I think I can better serve my state and constituents as a member of the Democratic party."

She added, "I am a moderate person who represents a moderate and pragmatic district that expects me to focus on issues and solutions that impact their day-to-day lives. Increasingly, I see the Republican party focusing on issues and approaches that divide our country. I do not agree with that approach."

Sykes told CNN in an email that she thinks "being a moderate inside the Republican Party is an increasingly difficult path to take with the trajectory of the party nationally."

She also said in the email that "several of my constituents told me they would be changing as well" following her decision.

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