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McLean County Board evenly split after GOP member switches to Democratic side

McLean County Board member Josh Barnett
McLean County Board member Josh Barnett(Josh Barnett and WJBC)
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 12:05 AM CDT
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BLOOMINGTON (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Republicans have lost control of the McLean County Board after a GOP member announced he’s now a ‘ proud Democrat.’

Republicans held a narrow 11-9 majority, but District 10 representative Josh Barnett confirmed late Thursday night he’s a Democrat, creating a 10-10 split.

This is the first time in memory Republicans are not the majority party on the board, although the current board makeup will change after the November election and Barnett is not running for another for another term.

Barnett said he was a Republican for more than 20 years, but believes the Democratic Party is the “leading voice” on key issues.

Barnett issued a statement to Heart of Illinois ABC.

“Our nation is at a critical crossroads in our democracy. Each of us has a choice to make for how we envision our future. I choose to stand with those who advocate for personal privacy, working class families, the rights of women, trust in our teachers and educational institutions, green energy, faith in science, and involvement in international affairs. The Democratic Party is the leading voice on these issues and I am excited to help them move our community, county, state, and nation forward.”

Barnett’s district covers parts of Bloomington’s east side.

He does not expect big changes on the county board because it’s now evenly divided. Barnett noted that it’s rare for votes to fall along party lines as members weigh proposals on their merits.

Republican John McIntyre is expected to remain as the board’s chairman.

Thursday night, Barnett said Gov. JB Pritzker personally welcomed him to the party at a McLean County Democrats’ event at Illinois State University.

“It was an honor to hear Gov. Pritzker speak and celebrate the accomplishments of his first term and learn more about his vision for the next four years,” said Barnett.

As for his political future, Barnett said he’s looking forward to future opportunities to serve the community.

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