A West Virginia state senator switched his party affiliation Thursday, swelling the party’s majority to 31 of 34 seats in the Senate.
The party switch by Sen. Glenn Jeffries means the three remaining Democratic senators could caucus in a supply closet, as a WV MetroNews report put it.
Jeffries told MetroNews reporter Hoppy Kercheval he switched to better represent his constituents.
“We have an influx of federal dollars that are coming in here to the state and there’s going to be decisions on how those dollars are spent,” Jeffries said. The new Republican state senator added he wants to be a part of those discussions.
The Daily Wire further reported:
State Senator Glenn Jeffries submitted paperwork to join the Republican caucus after being elected in 2016 to serve as a Democrat. The Republicans now hold a majority in the state senate of 31 senators.
“I have the greatest respect for the many friends and supporters I have been blessed with during my time in public office,” Jeffries said in his announcement. “I hope to continue and strengthen those relationships going forward.”
“Our politics have gotten so personal and difficult. I want to make sure that I serve constituents and our state in a respectful, thoughtful way that leads to a better life for all West Virginians,” he added.
Jeffries did not provide a purpose as to why he made the switch, but in a release, the West Virginia Democratic Party said the change was because of “discomfort with Democratic Party values.”
“Just last year Senator Jeffries received the highest score of any West Virginia Senator from Climate Cabinet Action, a national group dedicated to supporting the best climate and environmental justice champions in statehouses across the country,” West Virginia Democratic Party Chair Mike Pushkin said in a statement. “Hopefully, Glenn will be permitted to continue to be an environmental justice champion in his new party.”
His change in party status was first announced by the Putnam County Republican Executive Committee.
“I warmly welcome Senator Glenn Jeffries into the West Virginia Republican Party,” Tony Hodge, the Putnam County Republican Party Chairman and the Co-Chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party, said. “Senator Jeffries has proven himself to be a very hard worker for Putnam County. His efforts to improve infrastructure such as water and sewer services as well as road maintenance have been exemplary.”
effries worked as a union carpenter before he started his own company in 1997. He is now the president and owner of Cornerstone Interiors.
His actions in the past year included sending a letter to Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, asking him to come to West Virginia. The outreach ended with two subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway agreeing to buy 2,000 acres from the state to construct a manufacturing center.
“With Senator Jeffries as a member of our caucus, we stand at 31 members strong. Glenn has been a leader in the minority caucus with his work in economic development and infrastructure,” Senate President Craig Blair said. “As a successful small business owner, he knows what meeting a payroll, hard work, responsibility, and teamwork mean. I know he has been – and will continue to be – an incredibly valuable member of the West Virginia Senate.”
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