Lori Stegmann, the current Multnomah County commissioner in Oregon who has been a Republican for 40 years, announced that she wants to become a Democrat, citing Donald Trump’s misogyny and racism as her reasons for switching.
In her post on Facebook on Thursday
, Stegmann explained why she joined the Republican party at 18 when she was still an up and coming civil servant. She shared the party’s worldview and moral compass and praised the conservative leaders who served in the past.
“For 40 years, I have maintained that affiliation, working for my community and building relationships with caring people from all parties. For my entire political career I have served in nonpartisan offices,” she said. “As a Gresham city councilor for six years and a current Multnomah County commissioner, I have loved working in an environment where everyone shows up to do the work regardless of party affiliation.”
However, as the years went by and when Trump was elected president in 2016 and assumed office in January 2017, things began to take a drastic turn.
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“I have not changed but the Republican party clearly has,” wrote Stegmann, who was adopted as a child from an orphanage in Korea by an American couple. “There’s too much at stake in our country right now and we have to speak out. As a woman, a business owner, a mother, an immigrant, and a minority I cannot condone the misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior of the current administration.”
She decided to switch political parties when the Trump administration announced the zero-tolerance policy on immigration that separated thousands of children from their parents and ignited a protest led by many celebrities
“I’ve been so blessed,”
she told USA Today
on Thursday about her life as an immigrant. “Then to see the rhetoric coming from the Trump Administration dehumanizing immigrants. These are people like me and what he is spouting is not what the United States is about, what it has always stood for.”
Stegmann said she was vocal in her opposition to Trump and fought against his executive order on immigration.
“Since being elected as a County Commissioner, I have fought against these divisive and racist tactics starting with Trump’s first executive order on immigration and will continue to do so,” she said.
While the decision is final, Stegmann admitted that she didn’t want to leave the party she registered to vote as when she was still a teen.
“I didn’t want to leave the party, I wanted to engage and make change within the machine, but as our administration kept making more and more egregious policy changes, it became impossible for me stay,” Stegmann wrote. “So I stayed for as long as I could and chose to dig in and impact my community at the local level. To empower and support residents, my office hosted community meetings as soon as the first executive order on immigration was signed.”
She reassured everyone that even though she switched parties, she’s still the politician many people look up to.
“I am still the same person, I still vote my mind and conscience. I believe our world needs more people who feel empowered and who can think for themselves, and stand up to the bullies of the world,” Stegmann continued. “I am committed to doing what I can to help protect the future for my daughters and their children.”