Majority flips after 3 legislators drop party affiliation

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Three Republicans on the Cortland County Legislature changed their party affiliation to ‘Independent’ this morning.

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Linda Jones (LD-9), Kelly Preston (LD-10) and Joseph Nauseef (LD-12) filed their new voter registrations at the local Board of Elections on River Street around 8 am.

“I did not take my oath of office to protect the political interests of any party,” Jones said in a statement. “My mission has always been to address the challenges this county faces and to listen to each and every resident.”

She added that both major parties, even at the local level, “seem to be consumed with party lines, winning elections and control.”

“This has caused us to have a broken political system that I can no longer tolerate,” added Jones.

Preston acknowledged the division also and said she felt pressured to vote along party lines, even when she didn’t agree on policy.

“I was brought up and have run my life as an independent thinker. It only makes sense that I continue independent thinking in my political life,” said Preston. “I hope that other members of the County Legislature consider removing themselves from political caucuses and commit to working for the people in this county, not a political party.”

Nauseef is in his first year as a legislator. He said his decision came after being removed from several committees and accused of ethics violations that later got tossed.

Legislative chair Paul Heider said “every Legislator is treated fairly regardless of their political affiliation” and that the changes “will have no impact on the day to day workings of our Legislature.”

Prior to this morning, Republicans held a 9-8 majority on the legislature.

Democrats now have a slight advantage by a 8-6-3 margin.

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