Senator Gabbard Switches to Democratic Party

Published: Aug. 30, 2007 at 7:28 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 30, 2007 at 9:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU (KHNL) - The Democrats in Hawaii now have a new member to add to its party list. Senator Mike Gabbard announced Thursday he is switching parties to become a Democrat.

Gabbard says his decision was made after discussing his intentions with his daughter who served as a former State Representative.

With supporters by his side, Gabbard says he was drawn to the Democratic party by the people around him.

"It was also talking story with Senator Akaka and also Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and also Senator McCartney that I really got the Democrats and leadership but also with my constituents, Democrats, Republicans and Independents that I came to this decision," said Senator Gabbard.

Gabbard, who represents Kalaeloa and Makakilo neighborhoods as a Republican, first became a public figure in the 1990s as a leader in the campaign to ban gay marriages in the islands.

Some Democrat Party members have said they didn't want him to join because of his opposition to gay marriages and civil unions.

Although some have questioned Gabbard's motives for the party switch, he says politics had nothing to do with his decision.