A special tip of my hat to my friend Oyster, over at the Lens, for reminding us about a letter that State Representative Walker Hines sent to the late, great Ashley Morris and the blogger Ray Shea way, way back in 2007, when the young Mr. Hines was first running for office. Quoting from Representative Hines (by way of The Lens, by way of Ray’s blog):
I will do everything in my power to prove to others that I have never overlooked where I came from and why I am where I am today. I spent a lot of time to write this e-mail and am seeking your support and endorsement.You will be pleasantly surprised by my passion, personality, background, and voting record. Unlike my opponent who tells you whatever you want to hear, I will never sacrifice my principles for popularity. I’m a progressive Democrat who believes in the Catholic values of social justice. Please work with me.
Why is this noteworthy?
Because today, Mr. Hines announced that he was defecting to the Republican Party, and in so doing, he ensured that the GOP is now the majority party in the Louisiana State House of Representatives for the first time in modern history.
Apparently, the 26-year-old State Representative is also mulling a run for Secretary of State, a seat that will be vacated once Jay Dardenne is sworn in as Lt. Governor. Some have suggested that Mr. Hines was primarily motivated by the prospect that Democrats would eliminate his seat during reapportionment. Either way, despite what Mr. Hines may say, his decision seems to be about popularity, not principles, and although it represents a largely symbolic blow to the Louisiana Democratic Party, it also reveals Walker Hines to be nothing more than a naive political opportunist, more interested in his own political career than in staying true to the principles that his constituents elected him to uphold.