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Councilor's party switch shrinks Democrats' edge

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Indianapolis Democrats will have a slimmer majority on the City-County Council after a decision by Jose Evans to switch parties.

Evans, twice elected as Democrat, announced Tuesday he would become a member of the Republican Party and caucus with Republican councilors, taking the Democratic majority from 16-13 to 15-14.

Evans, 40, was first elected City-County Councillor in 2007. He had served as the executive director of the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males under former Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon and director of minority and women business enterprises for the city under former Mayor Bart Peterson.

"This is not a decision made in haste or without considerable thought," Evans said in a prepared statement.  "When looking around my district, our city, and this state, however, it is clear that Republican policies and Republican leadership are getting things done, and I want to be a part of a party that is focused on progress."

Council Minority Leader Michael McQuillen's statement reflected the surprising nature of Evans' shift. "While we've certainly not always agreed on the issues, I've always considered Councillor Evans a thoughtful colleague," McQuillen said in a prepared statement..

Recently, Evans called for a moratorium on new charter schools in the city, which is in direct opposition to Republican Mayor Greg Ballard's education improvement agenda.

Evans represents District One on the northwest side and lives in Pike Township with his wife and three children.

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