GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - George County Sheriff Dean Howell announced Friday that he has changed his political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, and he will seek reelection in 2016.
In a press release sent to WLOX News, Howell cites changes within the Democratic Party as his reason for the switch. He says some of the changes conflict with his personal values and beliefs.
"My decision does not come lightly, and I want the citizens of George County to know that I am still the same person regardless of party affiliation," said Howell.
Howell says the Democratic Party's stance on abortion, gun control laws and illegal immigration have driven him away from the party.
"Abortion is wrong, and to those that believe tighter gun laws should be enforced, I say leave our Second Amendment right alone, and it is important that we send a message that our borders are closed to those who enter illegally," said Howell.
Here is the full statement released by Howell:
From today forward, I will be serving as a Republican and will seek reelection in 2016 as a Republican. My decision does not come lightly, and I want the citizens of George County to know that I am still the same person regardless of party affiliation. Since being elected as a Democrat, several years ago, many changes have occurred within the Democratic Party, changes that are in direct conflict with my values and beliefs. I am against abortion, and now, many within the Democratic Party have begun to support abortion rights. I agree with Governor Bryant when he said he wants to end all abortions in Mississippi and that he will go to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. Folks, it is my belief is that life begins at conception and every life is precious.
And our rights to bear arms should not be tampered with. It is our constitutional right, as our forefathers established, to be able to bear arms and protect life and property.
Throughout the recent years, so much has changed on the political front, but my beliefs have not. I refuse to be politically correct in order to hold this office. In good conscience, and with much prayer, I chose to switch parties so that I could represent the citizens of George County as I feel they would want to be represented. Abortion is wrong, and to those that believe tighter gun laws should be enforced, I say leave our Second Amendment right alone. And it is important that we send a message that our borders are closed to those who enter illegally.
Therefore, I humbly ask for your continued support throughout the remainder of this first term, and into the next as I seek a second term as your sheriff.