This morning, Democrats announced that Republican Legislator Dorothy Styk will switch her party enrollment and will caucus will their side. That means that Democrats will control 11 of the Legislature's 29 seats.
Styk, whose district covers parts of Perinton and East Rochester, was appointed to the Legislature last year and elected to her seat in November. In a press release, she said that she became frustrated with the Republican caucus because it prioritized its political agenda over meaningful debate.
She singled out the party's approach to a Democratic budget amendment, which would have restored $400,000 in county funding for child day care subsidies. Styk said that she wanted to support the amendment, but was strongly discouraged from doing so by Republican caucus leaders.
“While this style may serve the interests of the Republican Party, it is not good democracy and is harmful to our community,” Styk said. “Almost without exception, Democratic proposals are dead on arrival regardless of merit, and caucus members are strongly discouraged from supporting them.”
She says that her belief in low taxes and limited government haven't changed, but that she believes her ideas will get a fairer hearing from Democratic legislators.
All Legislature seats are up for election this year, and whether the party switch helps or hurts Styk's re-election chances is debatable. The 18th Legislative District has 6,342 registered Republicans and 5,239 registered Democrats.
County Legislature Democrats have poached a member of the Republican caucus.