Charleston City Council has lost a Democrat and gained a member of the Mountain Party.
Saying that the current political system is "broken," Councilwoman Kasey Russell has switched her party affiliation and resigned from the Democratic Executive Committee.
Russell, a two-term, at-large council member, made the change during a Mountain Party convention in Sutton on Sunday.
Russell also will not seek re-election when her term expires in 2015.
"I've been thinking about this for a while, and I know it's the right decision because I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders," she said.
She has become disenfranchised with both the Democratic and Republican parties on a national level. She felt it was time for a change. She believes large corporations and big money play too big a part in policy decisions within the two parties.
"I think our political system is broken," Russell said. "And I don't want to be a part of that system anymore."
Russell pointed out that she has long been a proponent of allowing local farmers to sell produce to the school system. However, large corporations oppose the measure and it has not been adopted, she said.
"I felt like this was an opportunity to join with some other people who are willing to speak up and say 'Hey, this isn't right,' " Russell said.
When asked why she opted not to become an independent instead of joining the Mountain Party, Russell answered, "I guess I thought there was value to belonging to a political party."
She doesn't expect the change will affect her performance on council. Partisan politics play no role in the city and that political affiliation does not play a role in council members' decisions, she said.
"There's not really any party affiliation when it comes to dealing with issues in the city," she said. "People on council don't make decisions based on their party."
Russell will continue to serve on the same committees, she said.
The Democrats will also remain the majority party on council. Fifteen members of council are Democrat, and 11 members are Republican counting Mayor Danny Jones.