Two female Kansas lawmakers betray voters; ran as ‘Republicans’ just to get in and switch parties

Some Kansas lawmakers who were elected to office as Republicans have announced they will switch their party affiliation and register as Democrats.

Sen. Dinah Sykes and Rep. Stephanie Clayton made their announcements via Facebook posts, after voters had already made their decisions, joining Sen. Barbara Bollier who also left the Republican Party earlier this month, according to The Wichita Eagle.

(Images: Senator Dinah Sykes, Representative Stephanie Clayton)

As the House reconvenes next month, Clayton – a lifelong Republican – will be returning to serve her constituents as a Democrat, presumably without asking their permission.

“I first ran for office in 2010, when my daughter was in first grade, because of the lack of stable funding for public education,” Clayton, who has served in the Kansas Legislature for the 19th District since 2013, said in a Facebook post where she made her announcement.

“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,” she wrote. “My Republican Party, then, seems to no longer represent or serve the interests of the 19th District, Johnson County, or the State of Kansas.”

Sykes, in a statement on Facebook as well, announced that she believed she could better serve the state and her constituents as a Democrat.

“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 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,” she wrote. “I think I can better serve my state and constituents as a member of the Democratic party.”

Outgoing state Rep. Joy Koesten, also a Republican, was also reportedly flipping parties and becoming a Democrat, according to The Associated Press.

Representing Mission Hills in the Kansas City area, State Sen. Barbara Bollier abandoned the party and those who voted her into office on Dec. 12. The lawmakers all hail from Johnson County, traditionally a Republican stronghold, according to The Wichita Eagle.

Republican state House Speaker Ron Ryckman denounced the move by Clayton just weeks after the election.

“While this certainly raises questions about a lack of transparency, this is a decision ultimately between Rep. Clayton and her constituents,” Ryckman said.

Retired Lt. Co.l Tony Shaffer, a Bronze Star recipient and a senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, shared his perspective on the defections in a tweet on Monday.

Shaffer’s comments sparked a lot of reaction on Twitter as the lawmakers were blasted for “a disgusting betrayal of the voters.”

 

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