A sheriff in Virginia has switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican because of rhetoric uttered by some Democratic politicians.
Smith County Sheriff Chip Shuler, who was elected a Democrat in 2015, said in a statement that he was making the choice because police officers, he said, faced attacks from Democratic politicians in Virginia and nationwide.
“I’m switching to the Republican Party because of the relentless attack on law enforcement by Democrats in Richmond and Washington,” Shuler said in his statement last week. “My delegates work hard to serve and protect the citizens of Smyth County. As sheriff, it was difficult to see how my delegates were trying to move forward during this unprecedented onslaught on our profession. We [law enforcement] remains an honorable profession and should not be judged by the bad deeds of individuals. I have always been a conservative judge my law enforcement career of 38 years. ”
According to Smyth County Republican Party Chairman Adam Tolbert, Shuler is now the third sheriff in Virginia to make the switch in the past few days. He noted that Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt and Buchanan Sheriff John McClanahan switched to the GOP a few months ago.
Tolbert told WJHL-TV that he accepted Shuler’s party conversion, saying: ‘I congratulate Sheriff Shuler on taking this bold step of leaving the Democratic Party and joining the Republican Party. … We are delighted to have him as a member of the Republican Party in Smyth County. ”
McClanahan, who switched parties last year, said he could not be associated ‘with the National Democratic Party’ because of bills introduced at the state and federal levels, which would negatively affect communities and his ‘livelihood’.
“Democratic leaders across the country have been the ones pushing for bills that negatively impact law enforcement, as well as other values I stand for,” he said in statement. I have many friends within our local Democratic Party and do not hold any negative feelings towards them. ”
Hieatt became a Republican in July last year – amid riots and violence that erupted in the United States following the death of George Floyd.
‘I’m not saying our locally elected Democratic officials are bad. What upset me was at state and national level, “he said at the time. according to to local media. ‘I think our locally elected Democrats really care about our people in Tazewell County, but those at the state and national level do not care about our citizens.
“Why are we easy on criminals, and not on victims?” Hieatt said referring to recent legislation in Virginia that states that someone who steals $ 1,000 or more can be charged with an offense – instead of $ 500, the previous amount. “Laws should make it difficult for criminals and not for victims.”
The Epoch Times reached out to the state Democratic Party for comment.