Rep. Macbeth switches political parties

After eight years as a Democratic State Representative, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Karen Macbeth has switched parties.

"When you have one party that’s controlling everything here and we’ve not moving in a direction that I feel is the direction that people want us to then it’s time for change,” said Macbeth.

Macbeth says the decision has been a long time coming. She sites the handling of pension reform, the 38 Studios deal and most recently, what she calls the final straw,  the passage of the Rhode Works plan.

"That was enough for me to say what are we doing. People, average people like me need to stand up,” said Macbeth.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello indifferent about the change.

"I don’t have a strong reaction either way it’s a personal choice on her part,” said Mattiello.

The Speaker telling ABC 6 News that Macbeth will be removed from her leadership role on the House Oversight Committee.

"Of course I’ll have to remove her as the chairwoman and replace her with someone who supports my team and wants my team to succeed. I no longer consider her as part of that group,” said Mattiello.

"That’s exactly what I’m standing against. We need to put people in positions for what they stand for and where their strengths are and what they can do for the people not whether there’s a D next to them or an R next to them,” said Macbeth.

State Republican Party Chair Brandon Bell says he is overjoyed with the news. He says he hopes the switch sends a message to the Democratic Party.

"I think there’s a change there’s a real change in the air right now. The wind might be blowing from left to right,” said Bell.  “I would think that it will in fact inspire others to consider switching."

Also of note as a new Republican, Macbeth says she is considering a congressional run against Congressman David Ciciline in Rhode Island’s first district.

(C) WLNE 2016