Lawrence Councilman Carl Barnett has decided he's had enough. He's switching teams.
Citing his overall frustration with Mayor Dean Jessup, Barnett called a news conference at an abandoned firehouse Monday to announce his shift from the
Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
"This has been a long time coming," said Barnett
"It all started with the EMT," said Barnett, referring to when the mayor laid off 24 EMTs and took 18 firefighters off their regular duties in order to run the ambulances. That's why the firehouse Barnett chose to give his press conference was shut down, according to Barnett and other council members.
Four other council members also attended the news conference and said they, too, are disgruntled. The cut in EMTs and firemen was a particular concern.The article failed to mention the highly competitive nature of the Lawrence City Council. There are three-at large districts in the city which is split pretty much 50-50 between the parties. In 2011, Republicans won 2 of the 3 seats with the second candidate, now Council President Tom Shevlot, squeezing by a Democrat by a mere 37 votes. Winning 3 of the 6 district races, Republicans enjoyed a narrow 5-4 majority on the council before Barnett's switch. Barnett, whose district is fairly solidly Democratic, lost the primary to Democratic challenger Tyrell Giles this spring. The district most likely will stay in Democratic hands.