Second GOP Lawmaker Switches Parties

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Already in firm control of the Kentucky
House, Democrats swayed the second GOP lawmaker in a week to switch
political sides.
Rep. Melvin Henley, of Murray, said Friday he left the
Republican Party to become a member of the state Democratic Party.
Henley's conversion gives the Democrats a 63-37 lead in the
Kentucky House.
"This has been a spectacular week for the House majority and
for the House Democrats," Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green,
said. "We started out the week with 61 members and finished the
week with 63. I'm just real excited about it."
Earlier in the week, state Rep. Milward Dedman Jr., of
Harrodsburg, announced he was leaving the GOP to return to the
Democratic Party. Both have been House members since 2005.
Richards said neither representative was promised anything in
exchange for their switch. But, Richards said, the moves would
likely help residents in their respective districts.
Henley, who represents a predominantly Democratic area in far
western Kentucky, said he felt he needed to join the majority in
the House to better represent his constituents. Henley said his
switch "had nothing to do with party" but centered on the
upcoming two-year budgets that lawmakers will begin forging early
next year.
"I can either sit on the bench another budget session or I can
get on the floor and play all four quarters," Henley said.
Henley's district had 18,591 registered Democrats to 6,925
Republicans, according to Kentucky Board of Elections records.
Meanwhile, Dedman's district had 21,927 Democrats and 8,986
Republicans, according to election records.
GOP lawmakers outnumber Democrats in the state Senate 21-16 with
one independent.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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