LODI — The number of Democrats on the 14-member Seneca County Board of Supervisors has increased by one-third.
Lodi Supervisor Kyle Barnhart has re-enrolled as a Democrat. He had been a Democrat before becoming an independent who was not enrolled in any political party.
Cindy Lorenzetti of Fayette and James Cleere of Waterloo are the other Democrats on the board.
“I unregistered from the party after the Affordable Care Act was passed because I thought that the party had compromised too much on the legislation and passed substandard healthcare policy,” Barnhart said. “Now, a decade later, the Democratic Party is finally lurching left and embracing the kind of people-focused policy that I had always hoped for. That shift felt like an invitation to return to the party for me.”
Barnhart said he rejoined the party because he does a lot of work for the Democratic Party, particularly at the town level, and has worked on the state Senate campaign of Democrat Leslie Danks Burke.
“I advise and encourage other candidates and Democratic committees on local races throughout the Finger Lakes, so I was very much involved in Democratic Party politics while still technically an unaffiliated voter,” he said. “I won my seat as supervisor on the Democratic Party line, so the public perception of my party affiliation was already in the Democratic corner.”
Barnhart said another reason for his move: With Lorenzetti not seeking reelection, he wants to be the new minority leader on the board.
“While there are only three Democrats on the county board currently, I have hope that we are going to grow that number in the years to come,” Barnhart said. “Demographics and opinions are shifting in Seneca County, and I think as Democrats pass more policy that focuses on helping people out at the local, state and federal level, more voters are going to feel comfortable supporting Democratic Party candidates.”