State Representative Jeff Wood of Chippewa Falls has left the Republican Party. Wood filed his nomination papers as an Independent on Tuesday. He's been elected to the 67th district three times as a Republican, but said he just couldn't support the national Republican agenda anymore. "The party that used to be of fiscal responsibility isn't anymore," said Wood, who ticked off several more problems he has with the GOP. "The borrow and spend mentality, the commitment of troops without any clear mission or exit strategy, the suspension of habeas corpus, the immunity for telecom companies. I think we're constantly trying to prove Benjamin Franklin wrong, in saying that we can gain security by selling our liberty."
Wood said he's always voted his conscience, rather than along party lines, and the change won't affect the way he votes. "When I was out there (in his district) talking to people, and having to defend what I believe is indefensible, I just decided it was time for me to leave," he explained. "I'm still the same person I was yesterday, I still believe the same things. I just don't think that the party follows what I believe is the right direction for this country to go." Wood said he's taking a risk by breaking away from the party. He was running unopposed, but the Republican Party can enter another candidate if they wish.