December 30 2009, 9:57 AM
State Representative Kathleen Curry doesn't appear to have had her arm twisted or been bullied before deciding to leave the Democratic Party and become an independent. There wasn't even backbiting after the Gunnison lawmaker announced the change, which whittles the Democratic majority in the House to a still-cushy 10 representatives. House Speaker Terrance Carroll, who appointed Curry to the prestigious speaker pro-tem post, says he tried to convince Curry to stick with the Dems. "She really is an independent thinker. She believes that political parties aren't her thing, and I understand and respect her for that," he tells The Denver Post, which points out that Curry's major disagreements with the party regard budget and spending issues. State Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak tells the Glenwood Springs Post Independent in a statement that she is sad to see Curry go: "We have always welcomed diversity in the Democratic party, so we are saddened that Representative Curry has found it necessary to change her party affiliation. In keeping with our general policy, we will recruit a Democrat for each of the seats for the 2010 election." A rumor is circulating that Curry's decision is due to a rift in the party and/or that Curry plans to introduce a controversial bill on health care that party leaders don't like, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel. Curry dismissed the notion. "I want to make it clear that my decision does not reflect dissatisfaction with the accomplishments of the Democratic Party," she says in a statement. "I simply do not fit in either party."