KY State Representative switches to Republican Party - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KY State Representative switches to Republican Party

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Another Kentucky State Representative is switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party.

Rep. Jim Gooch announced Monday he has registered as a Republican after serving 20 years as a Democrat.

The move further narrows the Democratic majority in the House.

Rep. Gooch is an insurance agent from Providence, which is located in Webster County. The area is in western Kentucky, south of Henderson.

Gooch has served in the House since 1995. He is in the middle of his 11th term.

He is a supporter of the Kentucky coal industry and has gained national attention for opposing federal environmental (EPA) regulations. He denies climate change. He co-owns a company related to the making of equipment for coal mining.

Kentucky's House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover said in a released statement:

I am pleased and proud to welcome Representative Jim Gooch to the House Republican Caucus. Representative Gooch informed me this morning that he has officially switched his registration to Republican, and will be seeking re-election as a Republican. Representative Gooch and I have had a very good relationship over the years and have developed a strong friendship.  His extensive background in natural resources issues and unwavering support for our coal industry will be a tremendous benefit to our caucus and I know he will continue to serve the people of the 12th House District, as well as the Commonwealth as a whole, with integrity. He is a welcome addition to the House Republican ranks which currently stands at 48 members.”

Monday afternoon, Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo released a short statement, saying simply, "We'll see them on election day."

There will be a special election, probably in March, to fill the current House vacancies.

Democrat Tanya Pullen resigned to accept a post offered by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin as an administrative law judge.

John Tilley, also a Democrat, gave up his seat to become Gov. Bevin's Justice Secretary.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner-elect Ryan Quarles will leave the House to assume his new office next week, as will Auditor-elect Mike Harmon, also a Republican.

Gooch is the second Democrat in the House to change parties since the November election. Rep. Denny Butler of Louisville has also flipped from Democrat to Republican.

If nothing else changes, Democrats will hold a 50-46 majority when the 2016 session begins Jan. 5.

The following is a statement released by Rep. Gooch regarding the switch:

"Today I sent an e-mail to House Speaker Greg Stumbo and House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover informing them that I will seek a twelfth term as State Representative for the 12th Legislative District as a Republican. This decision was made after weeks of deliberation, prayer and conversations with close personal friends and family. Both Speaker Stumbo and Leader Hoover are learning of this decision at the same time, because this was a personal one, free of any negotiation for personal benefit to me. I have not sought nor has anyone offered any job or other benefit to me. As I seek re-election in 2016, a Presidential Election year, I want to run as a member of a party that I can support that party’s nominee. I cannot support any of the Democrats running for President. At a recent political gathering Speaker Stumbo acknowledged that the Democrat party was the “Party of Barack Obama”. I deliberated that thought and I came to the conclusion that I could be a member of the party of Obama, but that I cannot be a member of the party that SUPPORTS BARACK OBAMAS POLICIES! The majority of Democrats do support his radical agenda. Barack Obama will not be on the ballot in 2016, but 2016 will be his final year in office. It will be a year in which he uses every means at his disposal to cement his legacy and enact his radical agenda. He will do this mostly thru Executive Orders and Executive Branch Regulations. He will wage a war on two fronts. First he will escalate his “war on coal” at the same time he starts a full frontal assault on our 2nd amendment gun owner rights. He will lecture those of us from rural states like Kentucky for “clinging to our God and our guns”. His lectures will continue as he belittles us for not understanding the “true science” behind climate change. We will be told that “climate change” is the biggest threat to our nation and our planet, and he will never utter the words “Radical Islamic Terrorists”. His divisive policies of class warfare will continue as he punishes those who dare to work hard and be successful. After all, it is their fault that others are less fortunate. He will take no steps to make this nation “Energy Independent”. That would require him to embrace the technologies in oil and natural gas production, because fossil fuels are bad. We will be told that we as a nation must accept more Middle Eastern Immigrants even though we know that some “ISIS” members could be among them. I, like most of my constituents, am tired of all the political correctness. Let my departure from the Democrat Party send a message loud and clear. I stand behind the thousands of Kentuckians who have lost their jobs all across the coalfields of East & Western Kentucky, as well as in the steel mills and aluminum smelters during the last 7 years of Obama’s Administration. These are some of the finest hardworking people I know, and they like their ancestors in the coal, steel, gas and oil industries, are the backbone of America. These industries have helped build the great American economy that is the envy of the world. They have helped us win two World Wars. They ask for nothing more than a chance to have a job to provide for their families and give their children a better life than the one they have enjoyed. They are being asked to sacrifice their way of life and their financial security so that this President can have a legacy conceived in his own mind that is not real. Obama’s own EPA has admitted that the carbon reductions in his clean power plan will have no measurable effect on world carbon rates. They come at a time that the rest of the world is embracing coal power. There are 1,200 proposed coal plants worldwide scheduled to be built. China is bringing online a new 700 megawatt coal plant every 10 days and they plan to continue for the next 10 years. Another country, India is adding coal fired power plants at a rate that in just 5 years their carbon emission increases will be 2.5 times the reduction that we will attain, as a result of the clean power plan. In just 5 years, 40% or about 209 of the 536 coal electricity generators have been shut down. President Obama claims that this demonstrates that he is a world leader on climate change, but the reality is that he is the only world leader willing to sacrifice his country’s economy for some self perceived legacy. For these reasons, I cannot continue as a member of the Democrat Party. I acknowledge that most are issues associated with the national Democrat Party and not the State Party. We have many fine honorable Kentucky Democrats. I agree that there is a difference between Kentucky Democrats and Washington Democrats. My remarks are not directed at them. They are my friends and colleagues. They may feel that they can distinguish themselves from the national party while at the same time support their national office holders. But for me, I cannot."

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