During his announcement, Coleman emphasized that while his political views had not changed, he believed his party's approach had. Coleman summarizes the problem:
"Both of the old two parties have forgotten their ties to the common man, and instead focus on power and control as elitists. I am a common man, campaigned for theAlthough Coleman's comments were not meant to be confined to Marion County politics, it is clear that the description perfectly fits the situation in Indianapolis where the party in power, whether it is Republican or Democrat, has for decades been competing to see who could hand out more corporate welfare at the expense of taxpayers.
common people, and I still represent the common people, the voters and taxpayers."
It is apparent from his prepared comments and his answers to questions that the situation with the Capital Improvement Board played a major role in Coleman's decision to leave the GOP. He indicated that he had been asking for information about the CIB's operations and continually was being given the brush-off. Coleman said other Republicans on the council felt like he did regarding the CIB, but were unwillingly to speak out publicly. Coleman's willingness to ask questions and perhaps express dissent regarding the CIB made him a target of GOP leadership.
One thing that is encouraging is that Coleman indicated that he intends to be even more aggressive at pursuing matters like the CIB. He said that he planned to still be "an advocate for the common person, an independent voice to challenge the status quo." Coleman's emphasis on transparency in government and accountability should be concepts both parties embrace rather than scorn.
While I strongly believe that Ed Coleman would have been better served in standing up to those thugs within the Republican Party who try to stifle dissent and independence, I certainly respect him for the decision he made. Whether he is a Republican, Libertarian or Democrat, Coleman brings values that every elected official should embrace. The Indianapolis City-County Council would be a far better place if we had more leaders like Ed Coleman and fewer sell-outs like Ryan Vaughn.
Below is the text of his speech in full:
"Good morning. As an At-Large member of the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council, I am announcing today that I have joined the Libertarian Party.
This is not a decision I take lightly, nor did I come to it without deep reflection. I have found that the direction of the Republican Party has changed, and it is not the same party I joined many years ago. Nor do I believe its current leaders truly represent the ideals that the party markets and advertises to voters.
Both of the old parties have forgotten their ties to the common man, and instead focus on power and control as elitists. I am a common man, I campaigned for the common people, and I still represent the common people; the voters and taxpayers.
I have come to find that my politics are actually more aligned with the Libertarian Party than any other; a party that still allows free thought, a party where dissent is not necessarily a dirty word.
Both of the old parties endeavor to silence dissent. During the Council's previous period of Democrat control, the majority's powers were used to silence Republicans. Now, under Republican control, the Council majority abuses their power to weaken Democrat influence. Over the past year I have been criticized for votes I made in response to the concerns I heard from my constituents. As a leader I have spoken out against the secretive and expensive affairs of the Capital Improvement Board; but the old two parties want obedient followers, not leaders.
As I stated during my campaign, I support good, transparent, fiscally responsible proposals whether they originate from Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians. I will continue to work with representatives from the other two parties and hope they will feel free to approach me for support of anything that makes our city safer, more livable and prosperous. I am not beholden to any special interest. I am beholden only to the wonderful citizens of Marion County.
Like a surprising number of other Libertarians, I am personally still a social conservative. I am proud of the Christian values that I hold but oppose using government to force my religious values on others or assume authority over things that should be the domain of the church. I am still the same person today as I was when I campaigned for office. The letter after my name may be changing, but if you wanted an advocate for the common person, an independent voice to challenge the status quo, then I am still your man.
I would also ask my fellow elected officials and anyone else that feels as I do, that the two-party system is broken, that maybe your party has left you or government's focus is on the wrong things, to consider taking a stand and joining me."