Id­abel rep­re­sen­ta­tive switches to GOP

The Oklahoman - - NEWS - BY RANDY EL­LIS Staff Writer rel­[email protected]

The num­ber of state House Democrats got even smaller Thurs­day as Id­abel state Rep. Johnny Tad­lock an­nounced he was switch­ing to the Re­pub­li­can Party.

The switch leaves state House Repub­li­cans with a 77-24 ma­jor­ity.

Repub­li­cans also re­main in firm con­trol the state Se­nate, 39-9.

“This to me is not at all about party af­fil­i­a­tion,” Tad­lock said in a House news re­lease. “This is about rep­re­sent­ing the peo­ple who live in my dis­trict to the best of my abil­ity and mak­ing sure their voice is heard at the state Capi­tol.”

Tad­lock said he thought he could bet­ter ac­com­plish that as a mem­ber of the ma­jor­ity Re­pub­li­can Party.

Tad­lock rep­re­sents House Dis­trict 1, which serves part of Le Flore and all of McCur­tain coun­ties in south­east­ern Ok­la­homa. He was first elected to that po­si­tion in 2014 and was re-elected without op­po­si­tion ear­lier this year.

“I have not changed my be­liefs,” he said.

“As a Demo­crat, I was en­dorsed by the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion. I have al­ways been pro-life. I have cared about safe and de­cent roads and bridges, pub­lic safety, free and fair pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and health care that reaches those in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. These are still the is­sues with which I will be con­cerned.”

Democrats once con­trolled most House seats in ru­ral south­east­ern Ok­la­homa, an area known as Lit­tle Dixie, but that has changed dra­mat­i­cally over the past decade or so as ru­ral Ok­la­homa has be­come in­creas­ingly Re­pub­li­can.

Of the 24 Democrats re­main­ing in the House, only four are from out­side of the Ok­la­homa City, Tulsa and Nor­man met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas.

“Whether the leg­is­la­tor from House Dis­trict 1 is a Re­pub­li­can or a Demo­crat, the Demo­cratic Cau­cus is go­ing to con­tinue to fight for leg­is­la­tion that ben­e­fits towns like Bro­ken Bow and Id­abel,” House Mi­nor­ity Leader Emily Vir­gin said Thurs­day af­ter Tad­lock an­nounced his switch.

“For the last decade, Re­pub­li­can poli­cies from health care to ed­u­ca­tion have been dev­as­tat­ing to ru­ral Ok­la­homa so while we don’t un­der­stand Rep. Tad­lock’s de­ci­sion, we wish him the best of luck.”

Johnny Tad­lock

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