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Democratic Louisiana Congressman Defects to Republicans

August 07, 1995| Associated Press

KENNER, La. — Rep. W.J. (Billy) Tauzin, a conservative Democrat serving his eighth term, announced Sunday that he is becoming a Republican.

"You know it is time to move when you don't want your own leadership to come back into power," he said at a news conference in his district.

Tauzin said he is switching because he is tired of being repressed by his own party. He said he was often locked out of the room when decisions were being made.

"My views are not going to change. I'm still the same Billy Tauzin. My votes will be the same," he said.

Tauzin, 52, joins four other Democrats who have moved to the GOP since last fall's election, two in the House and two in the Senate.

Tauzin has acknowledged that he covets the Senate seat held by retiring Democrat J. Bennett Johnston, but he refused Sunday to say whether he will run for the job. Both of their terms end in 1996.

Several lawmakers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tauzin had talked with them in recent days of his intention to change parties.

Tauzin is one of only two House Democrats who voted with the GOP on 15 key elements of their "contract with America." His switch gives House Republicans 233 seats and Democrats 201.

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