POSTED: Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 11:14am
UPDATED: Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 9:07pm
BATON ROUGE, La -- Below is a message from Attorney General Buddy Caldwell discussing his reason for switching from Democrat to Republican.
"My entire career as an elected official has consisted of the practice of law on behalf of the citizens of Louisiana, first as a District Attorney for 29 years and now as Attorney General for the last three years.
"During my career I have been committed to one basic principle-that an attorney for the public must discharge his responsibilities based on law and facts without letting partisan politics affect his decisions. As District Attorney, I prosecuted thousands of criminals. I never once asked any of them whether they were a Democrat or a Republican.
"I have remained faithful to a commitment I made when I was first elected to public office more than 33 years ago-get my facts straight and go where the truth and the law lead me.
"My commitment to this principle has, over the last several years, resulted in me finding myself often taking legal positions on controversial and emotionally charged issues, which are not consistent with the political positions of the Democratic Party.
"An example of this is the federal health care bill. The Democratic Party has, in large measure, supported this legislation. However, after careful review, I concluded that this law, hastily passed by Congress, was fatally flawed legally, and in my view hurt the very people it was intended to help. I felt the people deserved and needed to have these issues resolved quickly. For this reason, I joined other Attorneys General around the country in filing a suit to resolve the defects of this legislation. In making my decision to join this suit I gave no weight to politics. I simply joined what I believe to be a correct legal fight for Louisiana. That’s my job. Only later, after filing, was it pointed out to me that I was the only Democratic Attorney General to fight this law.
"There has been, particularly in Louisiana, a trend for traditional life-long conservative Democrats to join the ranks of the Republican Party for different reasons. Recent voting patterns show a compelling number of registered Democrats voting for Republican candidates, more so than vice versa. To me this indicates that both Democrats and Republicans are voting more for the candidate than the party, though party affiliation still remains a significant factor in elections where candidates are less well-known. Recently the National Republican Party graciously extended an invitation to me to join the party. I am honored by their expression of confidence in me.
"I am equally honored and respectful of all my Democratic supporters, who with equal fervor, support me and ask that I remain with the Democratic Party. In 2007, I was elected with 68 percent of the vote statewide, carrying majorities in 62 of 64 parishes, and in most parishes overwhelming majorities of both Republicans and Democrats. I believe this is a reflection of my life-long commitment to let the law guide my actions as an attorney for the public.
"After consulting with my family, friends, and closest advisors, I have decided to accept the invitation to join the Republican Party. I do so after considerable thought and reflection, and hopefully with as little fanfare as possible. I understand that many are watching and interested in the dynamics of this change, and will speculate upon it for some time. The truth is that this change of party is in line with thousands of everyday people who simply feel more comfortable with most of what the Republican Party represents locally and nationally.
"In discharging my duties as Louisiana Attorney General, partisan politics will continue to be a non-issue with me. I will remain the same person with the same values and sensitivities, both as a public servant and as a private person. I will always endeavor to get my facts straight and go where the truth and the law lead me. I will strive to be worthy of the confidence placed in me by all my Republican, Democratic and independent constituents and their families, and continue to maintain integrity and professionalism as Attorney General for the State of Louisiana."