The state representative who switched parties after last week’s election expects to be more effective the next two years.
Linda Black has been elected to her final term as a state representative from Desloge, having won all four elections as a Democrat. A week ago this morning she announced she is now a Republican. She became the 118th member of the dominant House Republican caucus.
Black says she doesn’t regret her move, and says she’s received a lot of support.
“Like Ronald Reagan said years ago, he didn’t leave the party, the party left him,” says Black. “I think a lot of people are feeling that way after six years of President Obama. They don’t identify with his agenda and our country is in disarray.”
She says she switched parties because her beliefs on issues like abortion and gun control don’t mesh with those of the Democratic party, but she also thinks she can have more impact now.
“I just look forward to the next two years now and I think that I’ll be much more effective as a representative, which will benefit my district,” says Black.
Black says she has been supported by constituents in her decision to change parties.
“I can’t tell you the overwhelming amount of people that tell me they wish I wasn’t a Democrat because my voting record aligns with their beliefs but they’ve never voted for a Democrat,” says Black.
Her decision has earned sharp criticism from her former floor leader in the House, however.
The House Minority Leader says Black lied to voters
Representative Jacob Hummel (D-St. Louis) says he didn’t know about her switch until he saw it reported on social media.
“Never got a phone call from her, never got the courtesy of being told that to my face, which was a little upsetting,” says Hummel.
He accuses her of lying to the voters in St. Francois County.
“She lied to them with a straight face, went to the polls knowing she was going to switch. If I were them I’d be very upset,” says Hummel. “If she wanted to run as a Republican she could have done it back then or at least let them know that she was going to.”
Black says she hadn’t made the decision to change parties before the election.
“I wish maybe this had happened before filing or sometime during the summer or however that would have happened, but the timing that happened seemed to be where it naturally fell,” says Black. She says she woke up the morning after the election, “looked at what happened nationally and sat and thought about, ‘Where am I going to be in that Democrat minority?’ I know where that would have been; the minority of the minority.”
Black says Hummel remains a good friend of hers, but in response to his criticism, she notes that her stance on the issues that led to her switch hasn’t changed.
“Jake and I, we part ways on social, moral convictions. He came in as a pro-life Democrat and now is voting pro-choice. I’ve remained consistent,” says Black.
Black says she will pursue a bill to provide more information to a woman considering an abortion about her pregnancy, and will support the “sanctity of marriage” and gun rights.
She says she doesn’t know yet what her political future will be beyond the end of her time in the House in two years.