BERKELEY COUNTY, W. Va. (WDVM) — Delegate Jason Barrett of the West Virginia House of Delegates changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican on Friday.
Delegate Barrett oversees Berkeley County District 61. The West Virginia House is heavily republican, which largely influenced Delegate Barrett’s decision to switch his party affiliation. However, Delegate Barrett maintains that his policies will remain consistent following this change.
“I really believe that I have the best ability to shape public policy in the Republican party right now, as opposed to the Democratic caucus, which has 23 members,” said Delegate Barrett.
Now that he is a member of the majority party, Delegate Barrett believes his voice and his decisions will have a much larger impact on the state. Since he made the announcement of his switch, Delegate Barrett has heard large amounts of positive feedback regarding the decision.
“Berkeley County is certainly a Republican county in West Virginia,” said Delegate Roger Hanshaw, the speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates. “It’s long been a place where the Republican party has enjoyed support from the voters and from the constituents. So I think he’ll be welcomed. He’s certainly going to be welcomed by the House leadership.”
Still, in such a highly-politicized nation, Delegate Barrett has also heard negative feedback about his decision. While many Democrats respected and even congratulated the delegate, some expressed feelings of betrayal. But Delegate Barrett hopes once the shock of the change wears off, more people can come to understand.
“This is really about being effective and doing the best job that I can,” said Delegate Barrett. “And, you know, I really hope that people voted for me because they thought I was the best person for the job, not necessarily because of the party affiliation next to my name.”
Delegate Barrett will be joining almost 80 other members in the West Virginia House’s Republican caucus.