FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Missi Eaton (978) 895-9606
August 21, 2017
Whipps chooses “People Over Party”
State Representative Susannah Whipps officially changes voter registration from Republican to Unenrolled (Independent)
2nd Franklin District Rep. Susannah Whipps of Athol has officially changed her voter registration from republican to unenrolled (independent). “I represent a district where nearly 2/3 of the voters are unaffiliated with any major political party” explained Whipps. Public records show that 65% of voters in the 2nd Franklin District are unenrolled, 22% are registered as members of the Democratic Party, and 12% are registered as members of the Republican Party.
“Serving as state representative while not affiliating with either major political party will allow me to more effectively utilize the relationships I have developed with the members and leadership on both sides of the aisle, and will allow me to better serve all of the people of my district, without the obligation of towing any particular party line,” Whipps continued. “I want my party affiliation to reflect my position as an independent voice for the people of my district.”
The second-term representative, whose district includes Athol, Belchertown - precinct A, Erving, Gill, New Salem, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Templeton, Warwick and Wendell, currently serves on the Joint Committee on Higher Education, the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use & Recovery, and has been a republican member of the House Ethics Committee. “Leadership has the authority to change my committee assignments,” said Whipps, “however, I have requested to remain on the Higher Education Committee and the Mental Health, Substance Use & Recovery Committee, which is particularly relevant to me as it is a topic I feel very passionately about and is also very important and helpful to the people of my district.”
“I often say that the federal government could look at Massachusetts as a model, in regards to the way our legislature and state government operates,” said Whipps. “That contrasts sharply with politics at the national level, where the current political atmosphere has become unpalatable for me and many other folks I know. The once healthy, lively debate of issues has turned to almost constant partisan attacks.” Whipps continued, “This is a decision that I have spent a great deal of time making. I look forward to having the freedom to support colleagues and candidates regardless of their party affiliation, and I look forward to continuing to work hard for the great people of this district and the Commonwealth.”
Whipps spent some time reaching out to her neighboring colleagues as well as legislative and party leadership last week to make this transition as smooth and undisruptive as possible. “I just want to do my job and that being said, I don’t intend to make any further comments on this change,” she said. “The purpose of this change is to avoid partisan bickering and politics as usual, and accordingly I will not engage in any commentary that suggests blame, reaction to any particular person or incident, or anything other than professional growth and a desire to best align with and serve the people of my district.”
Representative Whipps has an office located at 352 Main Street in Athol that is staffed by her legislative aide Melissa Eaton.