FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information:
November 12, 2010 Jay Finegan, 287-1445

Cites Democrats’ lack of focus on economy and welfare reform as reason for switch

AUGUSTA –State Representative Michael Willette of Presque Isle today announced he has left the Democratic Party to join the Republican Party.

“This was not an easy decision,” said Rep. Willette, who was re-elected last week to his second term in the Legislature and has shown that he has broad support from the voters in Presque Isle. “As a small businessman, my work in Augusta has always been focused on improving our economy. My experience in the 124th Legislature has shown that the Republican Party has the clear vision for our economic recovery and that we share the same views as to how we reach those goals”.
Rep. Willette was born and raised in Presque Isle and is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He and his wife, Pam, have three children: Alex, Maddy and Sophia. He co- owns a real estate company and has been a strong advocate for Maine’s small businesses in both Augusta and in his local community.

“My constituents expect me to do my best to represent their interests in Augusta,” he said. “The Maine Democrat agenda is too focused on the bidding of various special interests, to the detriment of the people of Presque Isle, and the people of Maine. I believe the Republican Party is best equipped to make the hard choices necessary to get Maine’s economy back on track, and that is why I will work with them to make sure my constituents are represented in the best way possible.”

Rep. Willette’s move increases the Republican majority in Maine’s House of Representatives to a net of six seats, 78 Republicans to 72 Democrats, with one independent.

“Republicans are determined to make real change in the way Augusta works,” said Maine House Republican Leader Josh Tardy. “We are pleased that Representative Willette has joined our team. He is a staunch advocate for Maine’s business community, and his leadership and dedication will be a tremendous addition to our caucus.”

“Switching parties is a difficult thing to do, and I know Representative Willette has given this a tremendous amount of thought,” Rep. Tardy said. ”We believe Representative Willette has shown a great deal of courage in his willingness to put the people of his district ahead of partisan interests. The people of Presque Isle will be well represented in the coming legislative session.”