OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The White House has issued a response following news on Friday that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has dropped her Democratic Party affiliation and has re-registered as an Independent, according to an op-ed she published in a local outlet.
“Senator Sinema has been a key partner on some of the historic legislation President Biden has championed over the last 20 months, from the American Rescue Plan to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, from the Inflation Reduction Act to the CHIPS and Science Act, from the PACT Act to the Gun Safety Act to the Respect for Marriage Act, and more,” said a White House statement.
“We understand that her decision to register as an independent in Arizona does not change the new Democratic majority control of the Senate, and we have every reason to expect that we will continue to work successfully with her,” the statement continued.
In remarks to The Associated Press regarding her switch, Sinema said: “Registering as an independent and showing up to work with the title of independent is a reflection of who I’ve always been. Nothing’s going to change for me.”
In an op-ed for the Arizona Republic, Sinema slammed “partisanship” and the stranglehold it has on both major parties. Sinema, who is up for re-election in 2024, said she would continue to caucus with Democrats.
“Everyday Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years,” Sinema wrote. “Pressures in both parties pull leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest, most extreme voices to determine their respective parties’ priorities and expecting the rest of us to fall in line. In catering to the fringes, neither party has demonstrated much tolerance for diversity of thought,” she wrote. “Bipartisan compromise is seen as a rarely acceptable last resort, rather than the best way to achieve lasting progress. Payback against the opposition party has replaced thoughtful legislating.”
“There’s a disconnect between what everyday Americans want and deserve from our politics, and what political parties are offering. I am privileged to represent Arizonans of all backgrounds and beliefs in the U.S. Senate and am honored to travel to every corner of our state, listening to your concerns and ideas. While Arizonans don’t all agree on the issues, we are united in our values of hard work, common sense, and independence,” Sinema said.
Becoming an Independent won’t change my work in the Senate; my service to Arizona remains the same. Read my full Op-ed in the Arizona Republic 3/3 ⬇️https://t.co/P2JQXFT5IJ
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) December 9, 2022
“We make our own decisions, using our own judgment and lived experiences to form our beliefs. We don’t line up to do what we’re told, automatically subscribe to whatever positions the national political parties dictate or view every issue through labels that divide us. Each day, Arizonans wake up, work, and live alongside people with different views and experiences, usually without even thinking about partisan politics,” Sinema added.
“I promised I would never bend to party pressure, and I would stay focused on solving problems and getting things done for everyday Arizonans. Americans are more united than the national parties would have us believe. We’ve shown that a diverse democracy can still function effectively. Arizonans – including many registered as Democrats or Republicans – are eager for leaders who focus on common-sense solutions rather than party doctrine. But if the loudest, most extreme voices continue to drive each party toward the fringes – and if party leaders stay more focused on energizing their bases than delivering for all Americans – these kinds of lasting legislative successes will become rarer,” she noted further.
“When politicians are more focused on denying the opposition party a victory than they are on improving Americans’ lives, the people who lose are everyday Americans. That’s why I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington. I registered as an Arizona independent,” she declared.
She said: “Like a lot of Arizonans, I have never fit perfectly in either national party. Becoming an independent won’t change my work in the Senate; my service to Arizona remains the same. Arizonans who’ve supported my work expanding jobs and economic opportunity, or my opposition to tax hikes that would harm our economic competitiveness, should know my focus on these areas will continue,” the former Democrat added.
“I offer Arizonans something different. Some partisans believe they own this Senate seat. They don’t. This Senate seat doesn’t belong to Democratic or Republican bosses in Washington. It doesn’t belong to one party or the other, and it doesn’t belong to me,” she concluded.