Three Transylvania County Commissioners have announced that they are changing their political affiliation from Republican to Unaffiliated.
David Guice, Mike Hawkins and Page Lemel have all left the Republican party.
In a joint statement the group explained that the decision was reached because “local government should not be partisan.” It outlined three core conservative principles that the commissioners are committed to: fundamental institutions, financial prudence and inclusivity.
“To be conservative is to be welcoming and inclusive, understanding that all of us share the same human aspirations; conservative tenets of self-determination cannot be exclusive,” explains the statement.
“Good ideas come from across the spectrum of political thought,” the statement continues.
The commissioners statement was careful not to condemn the GOP but highlighted the need for policy decisions to be held above party lines. Many town and city elected positions are nonpartisan in North Carolina, but county posts usually hold party affiliations.
All three commissioners have long been connected with the Rebublican party, reports the Transylvania Times. Lemel's father, Bill Ives, was a Republican in the NC House of Representatives for six years. Current-Commissioner David Guice served in the NC House as a Republican for two terms.